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Understanding the Brain

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Exercise After Stroke Could Help Improve Memory: Study. Here's even more evidence that physical fitness can help your brain: Canadian researchers have found that stroke survivors experience better memory , thinking and language skills with six months of exercise. The study, presented at a meeting of the Canadian Stroke Congress, showed that mild cognitive impairment among people who had suffered a stroke decreased to 37 percent from 66 percent after they participated in a six-month exercise program that included both aerobic exercise and strength training. "If we can improve cognition through exercise , which also has many physical benefits, then this should become a standard of care for people following stroke," study researcher Susan Marzolini, of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, said in a statement.

Who’s conscious? A recent meeting of neuroscientists tried to define a set of criteria for that murky phenomenon called “consciousness”.

Who’s conscious?

I don’t know how successful they were; they’ve come out with a declaration on consciousness that isn’t exactly crystal clear. It seems to involve the existence of neural circuitry that exhibits specific states that modulate behavior. The neural substrates of emotions do not appear to be confined to cortical structures. In fact, subcortical neural networks aroused during affective states in humans are also critically important for generating emotional behaviors in animals. Artificial arousal of the same brain regions generates corresponding behavior and feeling states in both humans and non-human animals.

Rat Study Shows Early Mental Training May Aid Later Brain Function. By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor Reviewed by John M.

Rat Study Shows Early Mental Training May Aid Later Brain Function

Grohol, Psy.D. on August 23, 2012 A new study suggests that preemptive cognitive training — an early intervention to address neuropsychiatric deficiencies — can help the brain function normally later in life. The findings appear in the journal Neuron, and may result in a new method to address a range of brain impairments in humans, including schizophrenia. Historically, researchers have aimed to address human neuropsychiatric impairments, such as schizophrenia, through mental training. Training sessions often include executive function exercises that teach patients to focus their attention and selectively recall important information.

Neurons Produced Via Adult Cells - Health News. October 5, 2012 [ Watch the Video: New Human Neurons from Adult Cells Right There in the Brain ] Connie K.

Neurons Produced Via Adult Cells - Health News

Ho for — Your Universe Online. Brain Damaged ‘Patient R’ Challenges Theories of Self Awareness. According to some theories on how self-awareness arises in the brain, Patient R, a man who suffered a severe brain injury about 30 years ago, should not possess this aspect of consciousness.

Brain Damaged ‘Patient R’ Challenges Theories of Self Awareness

In 1980, a bout of encephalitis caused by the common herpes simplex virus damaged his brain, leaving Patient R, now 57, with amnesia and unable to live on his own. Even so, Patient R functions quite normally, said Justin Feinstein, a clinical neuropsychologist at the University of Iowa who has worked with him. Simple mathematical computations underlie brain circuits. (Medical Xpress) -- The brain has billions of neurons, arranged in complex circuits that allow us to perceive the world, control our movements and make decisions.

Simple mathematical computations underlie brain circuits

Deciphering those circuits is critical to understanding how the brain works and what goes wrong in neurological disorders. MIT neuroscientists have now taken a major step toward that goal. In a new paper appearing in the Aug. 9 issue of Nature, they report that two major classes of brain cells repress neural activity in specific mathematical ways: One type subtracts from overall activation, while the other divides it. "These are very simple but profound computations," says Mriganka Sur, the Paul E. Newton Professor of Neuroscience and senior author of the Nature paper. The findings could help scientists learn more about diseases thought to be caused by imbalances in brain inhibition and excitation, including autism, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Mice Study Suggests Brain Switch Implicated in PTSD. By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor Reviewed by John M.

Mice Study Suggests Brain Switch Implicated in PTSD

Grohol, Psy.D. on October 8, 2012 UK researchers report the discovery of a neural mechanism that protects individuals from stress and trauma turning into post-traumatic stress disorder. Investigators from the University of Exeter Medical School began with the knowledge of the brain’s “plasticity,” its unique capability to adapt to changing environments. Studying mice, they found that stressful events reprogram certain receptors in the amygdala, the brain’s emotional nexus. These receptors then determine how the brain reacts to the next traumatic event. The receptors (called protease-activated receptor 1 or PAR1) act in the same way as a command center, telling neurons whether they should stop or accelerate their activity. Normally, PAR1s tell amygdala neurons to remain active and produce vivid emotions. Brain imaging can predict how intelligent you are, study finds. (Medical Xpress) -- When it comes to intelligence, what factors distinguish the brains of exceptionally smart humans from those of average humans?

Brain imaging can predict how intelligent you are, study finds

As science has long suspected, overall brain size matters somewhat, accounting for about 6.7 percent of individual variation in intelligence. More recent research has pinpointed the brain’s prefrontal cortex, a region just behind the forehead, as a critical hub for high-level mental processing, with activity levels there predicting another 5 percent of variation in individual intelligence. Now, new research from Washington University in St. Louis suggests that another 10 percent of individual differences in intelligence can be explained by the strength of neural pathways connecting the left prefrontal cortex to the rest of the brain. Published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the findings establish “global brain connectivity” as a new approach for understanding human intelligence. How will we build an artificial human brain?

Scientists use light to control brain with flick of a switch. How Do You Assemble a Brain? Randomly. Paralyzed Rats Learn to Walk Again. Paralyzed rats learned to walk again after a combination of electro-chemical stimulation to their injured spines and intensive rehabilitation therapy.

Paralyzed Rats Learn to Walk Again

Researchers say the treatment “woke up” dormant or sleeping neurons in their spinal cords, and formed new connections to the brain. Scientists hope the treatment might someday help paralyzed humans. Researchers at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, injected a mixture of chemicals to stimulate the rats' spinal nerve cells, which communicate with the brain. Ten minutes later, they used electrodes just below the cord injury to "wake up" the otherwise healthy nerve cells involved in walking, but which had became inactive following the injury to the spine.


Learning. Mice have different neural subsystem associated with instinctually important smells. A new study finds that mice have a distinct neural subsystem that links the nose to the brain and is associated with instinctually important smells such as those emitted by predators.

Mice have different neural subsystem associated with instinctually important smells

That insight, published online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, prompts the question whether mice and other mammals have specially hardwired neural circuitry to trigger instinctive behavior in response to certain smells. In the series of experiments and observations described in the paper, the authors found that nerve cells in the nose that express members of the gene family of trace amine-associated receptors (TAAR) have several key biological differences from the much more common and diverse neurons that express members of the olfactory receptor gene family. Those other nerve cells detect a much broader range of smells, said corresponding author Gilad Barnea, the Robert and Nancy Carney Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Brown University.

Different circuits and genes. The language of neural cells. Imagine if we could under­stand the lan­guage two neu­rons use to com­mu­ni­cate.

The language of neural cells

We might learn some­thing about how thoughts and con­scious­ness are formed. At the very least, our improved under­standing of neuron com­mu­ni­ca­tion would help biol­o­gists study the brain with more pre­ci­sion than ever before. Heather Clark, an asso­ciate pro­fessor of phar­ma­ceu­tical sci­ences at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, has received a $300,000 Young Fac­ulty Award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to explore neural cell com­mu­ni­ca­tion using her exper­tise in nanosensors.

"We were inter­ested in looking into neural cells because of the need to mea­sure chem­i­cals in the brain," she explained. In sep­a­rate work, Clark had already been devel­oping nanosen­sors to mea­sure the bio­chem­ical envi­ron­ment inside a single neuron.


To Your Brain, the World Is 2D. Scientists Successfully ‘Hack’ Brain To Obtain Private Data. By Peter V. Milo August 25, 2012 1:56 AM News Get Breaking News First Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning. Sign Up. Biggest Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011.