Brain Activity News

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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Neuroscientists Reveal Fundamental Discovery about Cortical Neurons

December 11, 2014

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Neuroscientists Reveal Fundamental Discovery about Cortical Neurons

Neuroscientists from the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory uncover a fundamental discovery about cortical neurons, showing that inhibitory neuron functionality is not an immutable property of cortical cells, but a consequence of more complex network dynamics. The two major types of neuron in the brain’s cerebral cortex are connected by intricate cortical circuits that […]

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Brain’s Response to Smoking is Different in Men and Women

December 10, 2014

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Men and Women Respond Differently to Cigarettes

New research from Yale University shows that men and women respond to cigarettes differently, demonstrating for the first time that smoking-induced dopamine activation occurs in a different brain region and much faster in nicotine-dependent men than women. Yale researchers using a new brain imaging analysis method have confirmed that smoking cigarettes activates a dopamine-driven pleasure […]

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Proper Copper Levels Essential to Spontaneous Neural Activity

December 2, 2014

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Proper Copper Levels Essential to Spontaneous Neural Activity

A new study from the Berkeley Lab reveals that proper copper levels are essential to the health of a brain at rest and suggests that mismanagement of copper in the brain linked to Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders can also contribute to misregulation of signaling in cell−to-cell communications. In recent years it has been established […]

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White Matter Changes Allow Older People to Learn New Visual Tasks

November 21, 2014

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White Matter Changes Allow Older Brains to Learn

New research from Brown University shows that older people can learn a visual task just as well as younger ones, revealing that a significant change in the white matter of the brain takes place when the older subjects learn. Providence, Rhode Island (Brown University) — A widely presumed problem of aging is that the brain […]

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Decoy Drug Allows Brains of Adult Mice to Form New Synapses

October 29, 2014

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Decoy Drug Allows Brain to Form New Connections

New research from Stanford Bio-X scientists shows that the brains of adult mice are able to form new synapses by disabling the function of a single protein for as little as a week. This research has the potential to help adults recover from stroke and forms of blindness or to prevent the loss of connections […]

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Study Finds Stimulant Use Increases by 30% During the School Year

October 14, 2014

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Research Shows Stimulant Use Increases by 30 Percent During the School Year

New research from Yale, NYU and the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that students are 30% more likely to take a stimulant medication during the school year than they are to take one during the summer. The authors found that school-year increases in stimulant use are largest for children from socioeconomically advantaged families. Because many children […]

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Noninvasive Arterial Spin Labeling MRI Detects Evidence of Cognitive Decline Before Symptoms Appear

October 8, 2014

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New MRI Technique Detects Evidence of Cognitive Decline

A new study shows that a noninvasive arterial spin labeling MRI can detect signs of cognitive decline in the brain even before symptoms appear, finding that patients who showed reduced brain perfusion at their initial exams exhibited cognitive decline at follow-up 18 months later. Oak Brook, Illinois — A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique can […]

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Media Multitaskers Have Lower Grey-Matter Density in the Brain

September 25, 2014

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Study Shows Multitasking May Change Brain Structure

New research from the University of Sussex shows that people who frequently use several media devices at the same time have lower grey-matter density in one particular region of the brain compared to those who use just one device occasionally. Simultaneously using mobile phones, laptops and other media devices could be changing the structure of […]

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Neuroscientists Reverse Emotional Association of Specific Memories

August 28, 2014

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Neuroscientists Reverse Emotional Association of Memories

Neuroscientists from MIT have identified the brain circuit that controls how memories become linked with positive or negative emotions, revealing that they could reverse the emotional association of specific memories by manipulating brain cells with optogenetics. Most memories have some kind of emotion associated with them: Recalling the week you just spent at the beach […]

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Psychology and Public Health Experts Claim Regular Marijuana Use Bad for Teens’ Brains

August 11, 2014

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Researchers Show Regular Marijuana Use Bad for Teens Brains

Psychology and public health experts claim that that regular cannabis use, which they consider once a week, is not safe and may result in addiction and significant neurocognitive damage to the brains of teenagers and young adults. Washington — Frequent marijuana use can have a significant negative effect on the brains of teenagers and young […]

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Magnetic Stimulation Shifts Abnormal Neural Connections Towards Their Correct Locations

August 7, 2014

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Reprogramming Your Brain to Work Better

A newly published study demonstrated that weak sequential electromagnetic pulses on mice can shift abnormal neural connections towards their correct locations in the brain. Researchers from The University of Western Australia have shown that electromagnetic stimulation can alter brain organisation which may make your brain work better. In results from a study published today in […]

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Scientists Confirm Cellular Basis for Memory by Implanting and Erasing Fear in Rats

June 2, 2014

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Researchers Confirm Cellular Basis for Memory by Implanting and Erasing Fear

In a newly published study, scientists at the University of California show the ability to selectively remove a memory and predictably reactivate it by stimulating nerves in the brain at frequencies that are known to weaken and strengthen the connections between nerve cells. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have […]

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Neurobiologists Block the Effects of Stress

April 14, 2014

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New Research Reveals How to Block Stress Damage

By deleting the REDD1 gene in mice, researchers from Yale University were able to block the synaptic and behavioral deficits caused by stress. Ketamine, an anesthetic sometimes abused as a street drug, increases the synaptic connections between brain cells and in low doses acts as a powerful antidepressant, Yale researchers have found. However, stress has […]

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