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.
Neuroscientists at USC have discovered that carbonated drinks set off the same pain sensors in the nasal cavity as mustard, albeit at a lower intensity. During experimentation, researchers flowed carbonated saline over a dish containing nerve cells taken from the sensory circuits in the nose and mouth. They discovered that the gas activated a specific cell which serve as general pain sensors and expresses the TRPA1 gene.
Neuroscientists at UC Berkeley have discovered that stimulation of a certain area of the brain can cause a change in which hand a person favors to perform a task. Using transcranial magnetic stimulation on right handed test subjects, researchers discovered that stimulating the posterior parietal cortex on the left side caused an increase in the use of the left hand. Researchers suggested this finding might be useful in discovering methods to help patients overcome learned limb disuse.
A study published in October's Cortex has shown young people who regularly play video games have an advantage in performing tasks which require visuomotor skills. The study also found that gamers show increased activity in the prefrontal cortex when asked to perform visuomotor tasks. By contrast, non-gamers had more reliant use of the parietal cortex, an area which involves hand-eye coordination, when performing visuomotor tasks.
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.
Researchers have discovered that disabling the RGS14 gene in mice can make them smarter. When the RGS14 gene was disabled within the CA2 region of the hippocampus, researchers found that mice were better able to remember objects they had explored and learn to navigate mazes better than regular mice.
Neuroscience researchers have discovered the anterior prefrontal cortex appears to be larger in people with strong introspective abilities. Additionally, the structure of white matter within this area of the brain is also linked to the process of introspection.
Neuroscientists have reported they have found an association between physical fitness and brain development in children. The report suggests children who are physically fitter tend to have larger hippocampi and perform better in memory based tests than their less fit counterparts.