Brain Activity News

Bird Brains Have Significantly More Neurons Than Primate Brains Of The Same Mass

June 14, 2016

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Birds Have Primate-Like Numbers of Neurons in the Forebrain

A new study systematically measures the number of neurons in the brains of birds, revealing that they have significantly more neurons packed into their small brains than are stuffed into mammalian and even primate brains of the same mass. The macaw has a brain the size of an unshelled walnut, while the macaque monkey has […]

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Yale Researchers Track How the Brain Routes Visual Signals

March 10, 2016

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Yale Scientists Track How Brain Routes Visual Signals

Newly published research from Yale’s Department of Neuroscience provides some clues to how cells in the visual cortex direct sensory information to different targets throughout the brain. Understanding how the brain manages to process the deluge of information about the outside world has been a daunting challenge. By imaging activity in the mouse brain, the […]

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MIT Researchers Identify Cells That Represent Feelings of Isolation

February 16, 2016

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Researchers Identify Cells That Represent Feelings of Isolation

In a newly published study, MIT neuroscientists reveal how they identified a brain region that represents the feelings of loneliness. Humans, like all social animals, have a fundamental need for contact with others. This deeply ingrained instinct helps us to survive; it’s much easier to find food, shelter, and other necessities with a group than […]

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Neuroscientists Identify a Protein That Allows Brain Cells to Dampen Their Sensitivity

January 18, 2016

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Scientists Identify Protein That Allows Brain Cells to Dampen Their Sensitivity

In a newly published study, neuroscientists from MIT identify a protein that allows brain cells to dampen their sensitivity. Strengthening and weakening the connections between neurons, known as synapses, is vital to the brain’s development and everyday function. One way that neurons weaken their synapses is by swallowing up receptors on their surfaces that normally […]

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Neuroscientists Identify New Mechanism That Contributes to Strengthening Synapses

November 18, 2015

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Newly Identified Mechanism Helps Strengthen Links between Neurons

Neuroscientists from MIT have identified a new mechanism that allows the brain to strengthen links between neurons. When the brain forms memories or learns a new task, it encodes the new information by tuning connections between neurons. MIT neuroscientists have discovered a novel mechanism that contributes to the strengthening of these connections, also called synapses. […]

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Neuroscientists Observe Signs of Synaptic Plasticity Emerging in a Living Brain

November 3, 2015

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Researchers Observe Signs of Synaptic Plasticity Emerging in a Living Brain

Using measurements of changes in neural activity in neurons of the inferior temporal cortex of mature nonhuman primates as they observed novel and familiar stimuli, neuroscientists have observed signs of synaptic plasticity emerging in a living brain while it accomplishes the feat of beholding and recognizing stimuli. From the first project David Sheinberg took on […]

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Neuroscientists Reveal That the Ventral Pre-Arcuate Holds “Attentional Template”

October 29, 2015

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MIT Neuroscientists Identify Brain Region That Holds Objects in Memory

Neuroscientists from MIT have identified the region of the brain that holds objects in memory until they are spotted. Imagine you are looking for your wallet on a cluttered desk. As you scan the area, you hold in your mind a mental picture of what your wallet looks like. MIT neuroscientists have now identified a […]

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New Research Shows Individual Brain Activity Is As Unique As Fingerprints

October 13, 2015

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Functional Connectome Fingerprinting Identifying Individuals Using Patterns of Brain Connectivity

A newly published study from Yale University reveals that a person’s brain activity appears to be as unique as his or her fingerprints. These brain “connectivity profiles” alone allow researchers to identify individuals from the fMRI images of brain activity of more than 100 people, according to the study published October 12 in the journal […]

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Neuroscientists Reveal Neuron-Firing Patterns That Underlie Time Measurement

October 9, 2015

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Scientists Reveal Neuron-Firing Patterns That Underlie Time Measurement

In a newly published study, neuroscientists from MIT and Columbia University reveal how neurons in one part of the brain measure time intervals and accurately reproduce them. The researchers found the lateral intraparietal cortex (LIP), which plays a role in sensorimotor function, represents elapsed time, as animals measure and then reproduce a time interval. They […]

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New Evidence That the Brain’s Inferotemporal Cortex Can Identify Objects

October 5, 2015

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Evidence That The Brain’s Inferotemporal Cortex Can Identify Objects

In a newly published study, neuroscientists from MIT reveal evidence that the brain’s inferotemporal cortex can identify objects. When the eyes are open, visual information flows from the retina through the optic nerve and into the brain, which assembles this raw information into objects and scenes. Scientists have previously hypothesized that objects are distinguished in […]

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Neuroscientists Reveal How the Brain Encodes Time and Place

September 24, 2015

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Neuroscientists Reveal How the Brain Encodes Time and Place

Neuroscientists from MIT have now identified a brain circuit that processes the “when” and “where” components of memory, revealing that this information is split even before it reaches the hippocampus. This circuit, which connects the hippocampus and a region of the cortex known as entorhinal cortex, separates location and timing into two streams of information. […]

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Scientists Report a Major Breakthrough in Alzheimer’s Disease

September 20, 2015

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Researchers Report a Major Breakthrough in Alzheimer's Disease

New research sheds light on a fundamental mechanism underlying the development of Alzheimer’s disease and could lead to new forms of therapy people with the disease. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia globally and affects up to 40,000 people in Ireland today. It is the fourth leading cause of death in individuals over […]

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Neuroscientists Show Multiple Cortical Regions Are Needed to Process Information

June 19, 2015

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Scientists Show Multiple Cortical Regions Needed to Process Information

Neuroscientists from MIT show that multiple cortical regions work together simultaneously to process sensorimotor information despite their predetermined specialized roles. Researchers at MIT have proven that the brain’s cortex doesn’t process specific tasks in highly specialized modules — showing that the cortex is, in fact, quite dynamic when sharing information. Previous studies of the brain […]

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Galactic Cosmic Rays Can Cause Dementia-Like Symptoms During Extended Space Travel

May 14, 2015

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Study Shows Extended Space Travel May Warp Astronauts' Brains

A new study from UC Irvine shows that galactic cosmic rays can cause dementia-like symptoms, making extended space trips to locations such as Mars more difficult to accomplish. What happens to an astronaut’s brain during a mission to Mars? Nothing good. It’s besieged by destructive particles that can forever impair cognition, according to a UC […]

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Yale Maps Evolutionary Changes of the Human Brain

March 6, 2015

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Researchers Map Switches That Shaped the Evolution of the Human Brain

New research from Yale University reveals a detailed catalog of human-specific changes in gene regulation and pinpoints several biological processes potentially guided by these regulatory elements that are crucial to human brain development. Thousands of genetic “dimmer” switches, regions of DNA known as regulatory elements, were turned up high during human evolution in the developing […]

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Scientists Discover a Gene for Brain Size

March 4, 2015

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Scientists Identify a Gene for Human Brain Size

A team of researchers has identified for the first time a gene (ARHGAP11B) that is only present in humans and contributes to the reproduction of basal brain stem cells, triggering a folding of the neocortex. About 99 percent of human genes are shared with chimpanzees. Only the small remainder sets us apart. However, we have […]

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Neuroscientists Examine How Brain Waves Guide Memory Formation

February 23, 2015

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Neuroscientists Reveal How Brain Waves Guide Memory Formation

New research from MIT shows that the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex use two different brain-wave frequencies to communicate as the brain learns to associate unrelated objects. Our brains generate a constant hum of activity: As neurons fire, they produce brain waves that oscillate at different frequencies. Long thought to be merely a byproduct of […]

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Yale Neurobiologists Discover Surprising Trigger of New Brain Cell Growth

February 19, 2015

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Researchers Find Trigger of New Brain Cell Growth

A newly published study from Yale University shows that adult hippocampal neural stem cells (NSCs) express vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) 3 and its ligand VEGF-C, which activates quiescent NSCs to enter the cell cycle and generate progenitor cells. Scientists have discovered that the human brain can produce new neurons, but exactly how those […]

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