September 21, 2019

    Being Bilingual could help in restricting Alzheimers. Image by pixabay.com
    Bilingualism could combat brain changes seen in Alzheimer's

    Learning to speak multiple languages seem to have benefits beyond the social. Researcher Natalie Philips and colleagues of Concordia University, have shown that knowledge of a second language was associated with higher brain cortex thickness and tissue density in the frontal and medial temporal lobes which are the regions associated with language and cognitive control in patients with Alzheimers disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Bilingualism was also associated with delayed symptoms of these conditions as compared to those who spoke just one language.

    Read the full story: sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific publication: www.sciencedirect.com


    magnetic stimulation might affect negative emotions. Image by pixabay.com
    Stimulating the brain magnetically might help alter negative emotions

    Researchers at the University of Munster have used the technique of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to decrease individual responses to fearful images. While inhibitory TMS has been used for depression treatment, for the first time excitatory TMS of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) have been shown to decrease sensory processing of fearful images as compared to neutral facial images thereby indicating that excitatory TMS increases top-down regulation of negative emotion. This could pave the way for developing treatments of major depressive disorders.

    Read the full story: sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific publication: www.sciencedirect.com


    Dim light might affect cognitive function. Image by pixabay.com
    Maybe dim light is making us dumber.

    Joel Soler and colleagues from Michigan State University have discovered that exposing Nile grass rats to dim light resulted in a 30% decrease in the capacity of the hippocampus and also decrease in BDNF (brain-derived neurotropic factor) which is an important peptide for brain health. The hippocampus is a critical region for learning and memory, it also translated in poor performances on spatial tasks. Surprisingly, reexposure to bright light seemed to recover the capacity of the brain and also performance on the memory task. An important research one must say since lighting conditions affecting cognitive performance might have similar effects on humans too.

    Read the full story: www.sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific publication: onlinelibrary.wiley.com


    NFL players could be at higher risk of death. Image by pixabay.com
    Playing in the NFL might have long-term health problems

    While previous studies have compared NFL players to an age-appropriate population of non-playing individuals and found that NFL players have lower mortality, these comparisons are unfair since NFL players are very dissimilar to the general population. However, in 1987, when the NFL players went on strike, their teams filled up the places with replacement players who had limited college or professional football experience. Comparisons with replacement players have shown that NFL players have 38% higher risk of death. Also, there was a higher probability of death due to traffic accidents, drug overdose and neurological diseases which shows that indeed NFL players have higher risks of early death.

    Read the full story: www.sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific publication: jamanetwork.com


    Depression is a major public health concern. Image by pixabay.com
    Grapefruit chemicals added to the arsenal against  depression

    A study conducted by Dr Giulio Pasinetti and colleagues of Icahn School of medicine at Mount Sinai have shown that grape-derived chemicals namely, dihydrocaffeic acid and malvidin-3'-O-glucoside could be explored as options for treatment of depression. These chemicals tested in mice promoted benefits in models of depression in mice including decreasing signs of inflammation and deleterious brain plasticity. This study indicates the need to identify new mechanisms of depression like inflammation and develop strategies against them.

    Read the full story: www.sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific publication: www.nature.com


    Sodium benzoate improves symptoms in schizophrenic patients. Credit: bigstockphoto
    New hope for schizophrenia: symptoms improved by a common food preservative

    Sodium benzoate is a common food preservative, but it seems that this dull chemical may have some previously unknown applications. A new study shows that sodium benzoate improves symptoms in clozapine-resistant schizophrenia. The food preservative was added to the standard clozapine-based treatment and this strategy worked better compared with other treatments. Sodium benzoate works by preventing the breakdown of D-serine, a brain chemical involved in a signaling pathway that is disrupted in the brains of people with schizophrenia. “If the finding can be confirmed, this approach may bring hope for treating patients with the most refractory schizophrenia,” said Dr. Lane, one of the authors of the study.

    Read the full story: www.sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific publication: Biological Psychiatry


    Antivaccine opinions go hand in hand with conspiracy theories. Image by: bigstockphoto
    Supporters of conspiracy theories are more likely to be skeptical about vaccines

    Scientists consider vaccines to be one of the greatest scientific achievements, and the reason why people now live around 30 years more than a century ago. However, many consider vaccines to be harmful and are against vaccination. A recent scientific study tried to understand why some people have negative opinions about vaccines. The study involved 5,323 people from 24 countries and it found that those with strong beliefs in conspiracy theories had antivaccination attitudes. Interestingly, the level of education of an individual had little effect on antivaccination attitudes. Read more about it following the links below.

    Read the full story: www.sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific publication: psycnet.apa.org


    Maternal depression has long term effects on the child. Image from pixabay.com
    Childhood development is severely affected by persistent postnatal depression

    Maternal care is known to influence childhood development. However, the long-term effects of maternal depression have not been extensively studied. In a first, researchers from Universities of Bristol, Reading and Oxford has found that severe postnatal maternal depression which has persisted beyond 6 months adversely affects the child's long-term development. It increased the risk of behavioural problems, low GCSE math scores at 16 years of age and a higher risk of depression at 18 years. This makes it an urgent issue to tackle not only for new moms but also for the long-term benefits of their offsprings.

    Read the full story: www.sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific publication: jamanetwork.com


    sleep deprivation may impact working memory in women. Image from pixabay.com
    Women beware- an all-nighter might impair your working memory more

    Working memory is important for keeping in mind, thoughts for a short period of time for reasoning and planning. A team of scientists from Uppsala University studied the effect of acute sleep deprivation on working memory. Sleep deprived individuals were tested in a memory task of remembering an 8-dight sequence. It was discovered that short-term sleep deprivation resulted in a higher impairment of working memory especially in women which could increase the risks of accidents and mistakes.

    Read the full story: www.sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific publication: onlinelibrary.wiley.com


    Friends might process the external world similarly. Image: Pixabay
    Brain activity predicts friendship

    A study by researchers from Dartmouth University has shown that friends have more similar brain responses to video clips when compared with brain responses of friends-of-friends and more distant people. This astonishing result suggests that friends process information from the world around them in rather similar ways, even to such an extent that brain reactivity should be able to predict who are likely to engage in friendship.

    Read the full story: Dartmouth University - Eurekalert
    Scientific publication: Nature Communications


    Deep brain stimulation improves Alzheimers. Image from pixabay.com
    A pacemaker for the brain? Alzheimer patients show improvement

    Researchers at the Ohio State University implanted electrodes in the frontal cortex of the brain of Alzheimer's patients and sought to understand if deep brain stimulation could improve signs of dementia. Thye found that patients implanted with 'brain pacemaker' improved cognition, problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities. These effects were more pronounced in individuals with an early stage of Alzheimer's and now researchers are looking to develop non-invasive methods for wider application.

    Read the full story: wexnermedical.osu.edu
    Scientific publication: content.iospress.com


    Klotho protein might improve cognition. Image from maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com
    Klotho - a funny sounding protein might be our answer to dementia and ageing

    Researcher Dena Dubal, from the UCSF Weill Institute of neurosciences, wants to reverse ageing and ameliorate dementia. The protein, Klotho, first discovered by Japanese researchers and found to increase longevity in mice might just be the answer. Dr Dubal found that higher amount of klotho resulted in better cognitive functioning. The next step is to find out how does it work without crossing the blood-brain barrier. This is exciting since maybe some day klotho becomes a therapy for humans to protect the brain against ageing.

    Read the full story: www.ucsf.edu


    Language learning recruits general learning circuits. Image: Pixabay
    Language is learned in evolutionary old brain structures

    In contrast to what has been assumed until now, humans acquire language skills using brain regions that occur in animals that existed already before humans appeared on the face of the globe. Children learning their mother tongue, or adults learning a second language both use declarative and procedural memory systems that rats use, for instance, to navigate in their environment. These “general purpose” memory systems could be examined further for the study of language and language disabilities in humans.

    Read the full story: Georgetown University Medical Center
    Scientific publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


    Autism is characterized by deficits in social interactions. Image dreamstime.com
    New insights about why children with autism are less social

    Children with autism are known to be less social compared with the other kids. Why this is the case is a matter of debate for a long time. To answer this question, researchers monitored the brain activity of 43 children between the ages of 7 and 10, with and without autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. The study found that kids with more severe autism were anticipating the nonsocial rewards as compared to normal kids that anticipated social rewards. Basically, children with autism are less social because they find less reward in social interaction than their peer. The results provide support for two hypotheses behind social behavior in autism: the social motivation hypothesis and the overly intense world hypothesis.

    Read the full story: www.sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific publication: https://molecularautism.biomedcentral.com


    Avoiding intuition bias in decision making. Image from pixabay.com
    Religious vs Atheist- Who's smarter?

    Researchers Richard Daws and Adam Hampshire from Imperial College London state that even though religious people score lower on overall IQ tests, they do not have general lower intelligence but are comparatively poor on tasks in which reason and intuition are in conflict. Their work suggests that stronger the religious beliefs more pronounced is the impact of intuition on decision making. However, it was also shown that cognitive training, could help religious people maintain their belief but at the same time avoid the interference of intuitive decision making for day-to-day tasks.

    Read the full story: digest.bps.org.uk
    Scientific publication: www.frontiersin.org


    Stimulating the brain for improving memory. Image by Andreashorn via creativecommons.org
    Stimulate the brain electrically- improve memory

    Michal Kucewicz from Mayo clinic and fellow researchers discovered that low-intensity stimulations of the lateral temporal cortex of the brain significantly improved word recall. While electrical stimulation is beginning to emerge as a potential treatment for a variety of neurological disorders, this is the first time that improvement in memory processes was shown. This opens up an avenue to develop memory enhancement stimulation devices to treat deficits in cognition and memory.

    Read the full story: newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org
    Scientific publication: academic.oup.com


    drugs to be delivered accurately in the brain. Image by pixabay.com
    Drug delivery directly in the brain with ultra-thin needles.

    MIT researchers in collaboration with LG Electronics have developed an ultra-thin needle to deliver drugs directly in the brain. This miniature system, which is as thin as a human hair, can deliver medicine to specific brain regions in quantities as small as one cubic millimeter. Further this system call be remotely operated and simultaneously deliver drugs as well as monitor neural activity for feedback control. The applications of this system are multifold, with the potential to treat neurological disorders like addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder as well as delivering cancer drugs and performing bio-sensing experiments.

    Read the full story: news.mit.edu
    Scientific publication: stm.sciencemag.org/


    Magic mushroom. Image from pixabay.com
    Magic Mushroom messes your brain, but in a good way

    Researchers have been testing the effect of psilocybin, the psychedelic substance in magic mushrooms for treatment of depression, which doesn’t respond to the classical antidepressants (Treatment resistant depression). Preliminary evidence has shown that the recovery is pretty long lasting in these patients. In addition, there is a side benefit. These patients also report an increased connection with nature, which persisted months after treatment. Surprisingly, the patients reported a shift away from authoritarian political views. This shown that treatment with psilocybin could change a person’s outlook and political perspectives.

    Read the full story: www3.imperial.ac.uk
    Scientific publication: journals.sagepub.com


    Lifestyle could be beneficial for dementia. Image by pixabay.com
    Genetic susceptibility to dementia could be mitigated by lifestyle changes

    Carriers of the APOE4 gene are at risk at Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia. However, the two year long FINGER trial has shown that enhanced lifestyle counselling and modification could help mitigate this risk. This enhanced counselling involved counselling for nutrition, physical and cognitive exercises and also advice on managing risk for cardiovascular diseases. This is encouraging for many individuals since it also emphasizes the critical importance of early preventive strategies which target several risk factors at the same time.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com
    Scientific publication: jamanetwork.com


    Modulating epigenetic mechanisms for treatment. Image by pixabay.com
    Getting silenced genes to express again

    Prader-Willi syndrome is a genetic disorder which affects 1 in 15,000 births and is the most common cause of fatal childhood obesity. Unlike other genetic diseases, children with Prader-Willi syndrome have all genes intact but the gene inherited from the mother is silenced. The protein produced by gene ZNF274 is suspected to be involved in this process. However, researchers Maéva Langouët and colleagues at the University of Connecticut were able to induce expression of this gene by deleting the gene for ZNF274. This could branch out a novel therapy for children with this condition.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com
    Scientific publication: academic.oup.com


    Eyes and eardrums move together. Image from publicdomainpictures.net
    'You two boys move together', says brain to the eye and the eardrum.

    Dr Jennifer Groh and her team from Duke University made an interesting observation when they found that moving the eyes triggers vibrations of the eardrum even in the absence of any sounds. Whats more surprising is that these eardrum vibrations begin a bit before the eye movements which might point that both, the eardrums and the eyes are controlled by the same motor commands from the brain. This co-ordinated movements of the eyes and eardrums could mean that the brain is merging visual and auditory information.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com
    Scientific publication: www.pnas.org


    Remembering names using the temporal lobe. Image from pixabay.com
    Do you keep forgetting names? Brains left hemisphere might be the culprit

    Psychologists from Univerity of Manchester studied how the left and the right hemisphere of the brain process semantic memory. The research was conducted in epilepsy patients who had undergone surgery to remove either their left or right anterior temporal lobes. The results indicate that both sides of the brain play a significant role in visual and verbal semantic memory. However, there were differences between these two groups of patients and mainly the left lobe resected patients performed worse in tasks that required naming a written word, indicating that the left temporal lobe could be the seat for naming function.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com
    Scientific publication: academic.oup.com


    Alzheimers disease. Image from maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com
    Mitochondria could be the seat of Alzheimer disease

    Mitochondria, the cell organelles which are concerned with energy production might show the first signs of Alzheimer's pathology. Researchers at the Arizona State University found that oligomeric beta-amyloid (OA-beta) accumulates in the mitochondria and disrupts its normal functioning. Neurons from deceased Alzheimer patients showed a drastic reduction of protein synthesized by mitochondrial genes pointing towards their degradation by OA-beta. However, the most exciting finding was that one could protect these neurons from OA-beta if they were pretreated CoQ10 which assists in reducing oxidative stress thereby opening a potential line of treatment.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com


    Distinct neuron populations for positive and negative emotions
    What decides whether you like or dislike something?

    MIT neuroscientist Kay Tye and her team at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory have dug deeper in the networks of the amygdala, the brain region associated with assigning valence or significance. They discovered that within the amygdala there are specific populations of neurons for good and bad feelings. Neurons projecting to the nucleus accumbens (commonly known as reward centre) are associated with positive valence while those projecting to the central amygdala were associated with negative valence. Dr Tye predicts that these two population of neurons engage in cross-talk and might influence each other.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com


    Brain responds differently in musicians
    Are you a musician or not? Well, your brain responses might just tell.

    Researchers at the University of Jyväskylä and Aarhus University have discovered that listening to music might trigger different responses in musicians and non-musicians. Using machine learning and computational music analysis on fMRI data, researchers were able to predict with 77% accuracy these two sets of individuals. The brain regions which predicted most accurately this distinction were frontal cortex, temporal cortex, cingulate gyrus and caudate nucleus which are usually associated with engagement and attention. This shows that music training alters our neural responses significantly.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com
    Scientific publication: www.nature.com


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