Researchers have new evidence in rats to explain how it is that chocolate candies can be so completely irresistible. The urge to overeat such deliciously sweet and fatty treats traces to an unexpected part of the brain and its production of a natural, opium-like chemical.
Scientists at the Allen Institute for Brain Science reported that human brains share a consistent genetic blueprint and possess enormous biochemical complexity. The findings stem from the first deep and large-scale analysis of the vast data set publicly available in the Allen Human Brain Atlas.
The absence of a specific type of neuron in the brain can lead to obesity and diabetes in mice report researchers. The outcome, however, depends on the type of diet that the animals are fed.
Proof of concept: Researchers identify principles to support brain simulation models. Blue Brain Project has identified key principles that determine synapse-scale connectivity by virtually reconstructing a cortical microcircuit and comparing it to a mammalian sample. These principles now make it possible to predict the locations of synapses in the neocortex.
Scientists used an electronic prosthetic system to tap into existing circuitry in the brain at the cellular level and record the firing patterns of multiple neurons in the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain involved in decision-making. They then “played” that recording back to the same brain area to electrically stimulate decision-based neural activity. Not only did it restore function, in some cases, it also improved it.
By watching individual neurons at work, a group of psychologists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has revealed just how stress can addle the mind, as well as how neurons in the brain's prefrontal cortex help remember information in the first place.
Researchers have discovered how to store diverse forms of artificial short-term memories in isolated brain tissue. Using isolated pieces of rodent brain tissue, the researchers demonstrated that they could form a memory of which one of four input pathways was activated.
Frequently, as many as one thousand signals rain down on a single neuron simultaneously. To ensure that precise signals are delivered, the brain possesses a sophisticated inhibitory system. Scientists have now illuminated how this system works.
Scientists found that adverse listening situations are difficult for the brain, partly because they draw on the same, limited resources supporting our short-term memory. The new findings are particularly relevant to understanding the cognitive consequences of hearing damage, a condition that affects an increasing number of people.
A new study finds strength of communication between the left and right brain hemispheres predicts performance on basic arithmetic problems. Findings shed light on the neural basis of human math abilities and suggest a possible route to aiding those who suffer from dyscalculia - an inability to understand and manipulate numbers.
Neuroscience researchers show how astrocytes control the generation of new neurons in the brain. “In the brain, astrocytes control how many new neurons are formed from neural stem cells and survive to integrate into the existing neuronal networks. Astrocytes do this by secreting specific molecules but also by much less understood direct cell-cell interactions with stem cells”, says Prof. Milos Pekny.
Neuroscientists have believed that three brain regions are critical for self-awareness: the insular cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex, and the medial prefrontal cortex. Patient R is helping a research team show that self-awareness is more a product of a diffuse patchwork of pathways in the brain—including other regions—rather than confined to specific areas.