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Beautiful Minds: The Psychology of the Savant

Beautiful Minds: The Psychology of the Savant
In the field of brain research there is no subject more intriguing than the savant - an individual with mental, behavioral, or even physical disability who possesses acute powers of observation, mathematical aptitude, or artistic talent. This three-part series provides an enthralling look into the psychology and neuroscience of the savant’s mysterious world. 3-part series, 53 minutes each. Memory Masters: How Savants Store Information. Reudiger Gamm performs complex arithmetic instantly and without help - his brain stores numbers like a calculator. The Einstein Effect: Savants and Creativity. A Little Matter of Gender: Developmental Differences among Savants. Watch the full documentary now (playlist - 2 hours, 38 minutes) Related:  Neurology

What the McLean brain bank malfunction means for autism research | Simon Baron-Cohen The sensitivities of organ donation mean that brain banks' tissue collections take years of patient effort to acquire. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian This week, the freezer at the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital broke down, with the loss of about 150 brain samples from people who had died and who had had conditions such as autism, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, or schizophrenia. This is bad news for at least five different communities. First, there are the families of the bereaved individuals who had to make the very difficult decision about whether to donate their loved one's brain for research, hoping that such a donation would result in scientific advance in our understanding of the causes of a condition like autism. For some relatives, such a decision will have meant wrestling with their own religious beliefs, or with their own strongly-held emotions and wishes about how their relative should be treated.

Emotionally neglected children more likely to suffer strokes in old age By Daily Mail Reporter Published: 20:00 GMT, 19 September 2012 | Updated: 20:00 GMT, 19 September 2012 How children are treated when they are young can affect their future health People who were emotionally neglected as children are more likely to suffer a stroke as adults, according to a new study. Researchers found people who felt ignored and unsupported when young had a higher risk of the brain-damaging condition in later life. Study author Dr Robert Wilson, of Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago, said: 'Studies have shown that children who were neglected emotionally in childhood are at an increased risk of a slew of psychiatric disorders, however, our study is one of few that look at an association between emotional neglect and stroke.' For the study, 1,040 people 55 years of age or older took a survey measuring physical and emotional abuse before the age of 18.

The fear factor: Researchers discover technique to erase short newly formed memories Researchers claim to be able to erase newly formed emotional memoriesBreakthrough could lead to new treatments for phobias and post traumatic stress Published: 18:53 GMT, 20 September 2012 | Updated: 06:43 GMT, 21 September 2012 Erasing memories has long been a staple of sci-fi films, but researchers now believe they have made a breakthrough in making the process reality. The groundbreaking research at Uppsala University in Sweden could lead to radical new treatments for sufferers of anxiety and post traumatic stress disorders. It shows for the first time that newly formed emotional memories can be erased from the human brain. Men in Black famously used memory erasing gadgets - now scientists believe they can actually erase short term memories. This is shown by researchers from Uppsala University in a new study now being published by the academic journal Science. 'These findings may be a breakthrough in research on memory and fear.

The Roots of Autism Are in the…Skin? The skin is our gateway to the physical world. Below its surface are oodles of nerve fibers relaying different types of messages to the brain. At the ends of the fingertips, for example, fat and fast Aβ nerves help you fish for keys at the bottom of a messy purse, or feel the difference between cotton and polyester. Nearby those big nerves are thinner and slower C-fiber nociceptors, which transmit pain, and others that relay itchiness. What I didn’t know until this week is that there is yet another type of nerve, found only under hairy skin, that carries information about our social interactions. These nerves, known as C-tactile (CT) afferents, respond to slow, gentle stroking — the soft touch you’d give to a baby’s forehead or a lover’s arm. “A hand on the shoulder, a pat on the back — these things anchor and cement social relationships in a meaningful way,” says Francis McGlone, a cognitive neuroscientist at Liverpool John Moores University in the U.K.

Repeats in human DNA may aggravate autism symptoms Bee Johnson Only human: People carry 271 copies of a repeated DNA sequence, compared with 30 repeats in monkeys, 4 in dolphins and 1 in mice. Certain DNA repeats that increased exponentially during human evolution are directly related to the severity of autism symptoms, according to a preliminary study published 20 March in PLoS Genetics1. The repeats each span 65 amino acids and are collectively referred to as DUF1220, for ‘domain of unknown function.’ There are six types of these repeats, each with a slightly different sequence and all of which diverged from a common ancestor. The repeats mostly cluster in a set of 22 genes on a section of chromosome 1 called 1q21.1, which is linked to autism. Researchers first hit upon the significance of the repeats when searching for genomic regions that arose during the evolution from primates to humans3. DUF1220 may be responsible for the boost in brain power that drove human evolution, the researchers say. Dose count: References: 1: Davis J.M. et al.

'Emotional' brain circuit study is the first to use MRI to track depression It has been long suspected that mothers can 'pass on' depression to their daughters. Scientists have previously pinpointed the circuit in the brain involved in regulating emotion and mood disorders, and now a team says the size of the structure appears to be handed down through the female line of families. Researchers believe the wiring in the brain structure, known as the corticolimbic system, may be an inherited factor contributing to risk, or resistance to depression being passed on. Scientists have pinpointed a brain circuit that regulates emotion and plays a role in mood disorders, which is handed passed down from mother to daughter. The corticolimbic system incorporates the amygdala, hippocampus, anterior cingulate cortex and ventromedial prefrontal cortex brain regions. The brain circuits involved are less likely to pass from mothers to sons or from fathers to children of either gender, according to a study of 35 families by the University of California, San Francisco. Loaded: 0%

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