Neuroscientists have provided an insight into the neuronal mechanisms involved in prosocial behavior, and how they are modulated by perceived group membership. Researchers suggest that there is a neurobiological basis of whether people chose to help, or withdraw help, based on positive or negative identification of the person in pain.
Neuroscience research published in September's Journal of Neuroscience suggests early life stresses may modify the GAD1 gene, which controls the production of GABA. Through their research on rats, researchers were able to note that those who experienced a lack of affection showed an obstruction within the DNA which controls the GAD1 gene. As it is believed that GABA deficits might be apparent within schizophrenic patients, researchers propose that the modification of GAD1 might determine a child's predisposition to mental illness.
Correlating data from 588 patients diagnosed with frontotemporal lobe degeneration (FTLD), researchers found that subjects with professions which related highly for verbal skills had greater tissue loss on the right hand side of the brain. By contrast, those whose professions required less aptitude for verbal skills, for example flight engineers, had more tissue damage to the left hand side of the brain.
Neuroscientists have identified an area within the brain which controls impulsive behavior and have discovered the mechanisms that affect how impulsive behavior is learned. Training rats to control impulsive responses, neuroscientists discovered electrical signals between cells in the frontal lobe grew stronger when impulses were controlled. These findings could eventually help to help diagnose and treat impulse behavior problems such as addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder and ADHD.
Researchers have discovered that children exposed to high levels of manganese in drinking water perform poorly on cognitive tests. The research stated that, on average, children who drink water with more concentrated levels of manganese have an IQ score 6 points lower than children whose drinking water contained little to no manganese.
New psychology research from CU-Boulder suggests that "neural inhibition" is a critical component in our ability to make choices. Psychologists have proposed people who suffer from anxiety could have decreased neuronal inhibition, which makes it more difficult to make important decisions.
Neuroscience researchers have discovered how a structural component within neurons performs coordinated movements when connections are strengthened. Researchers also distinguished two separate steps during long term potentiation which are involved in remodeling the internal "skeletons" of dendritic spines. The research could be influential in providing further understanding of many neurological, cognitive and neurodegenerative diseases.
New research proposes that academic performance of adolescents is linked to specific dopamine gene variations. Researchers also suggest a correlation exists between the variants of dopaminergic genes a student possesses and performance in specific subject areas.
Scientists have identified two proteins which may have a critical function in biological systems. The proteins, named Piezo1 and Piezo2, have been identified as being involved in cellular response to mechanical stimulation.
Neuroscience researchers suggest that utilizing fMRI studies could help to provide biomarkers for the diagnosis of depression. A recent fMRI study of patients with depression showed marked abnormal activations in the medial prefronal cortex. Researchers believe that by identifying the neurobiological markers for depression, psychiatrists can tailor medications and therapies to suit the needs of individual patients.