Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

Fantasy and Reality – how does the brain tell the difference?

fantasy dreamAC

Some people, like history’s greatest artists or scientists, have a fantastic imagination that long transcends reality. Others have this line completely blurred and can’t make sense of what’s real or not. For most of us, however, fantasy and reality are clearly separated in our mental psyche. Now, a team of neuroscientists have explored the neural pathways that move information pertaining to…

Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

Anxiety can damage the brain and foster Alzheimer’s

Studies have shown that anxiety in MCI is associated with abnormal concentrations of plasma amyloid protein levels and T-tau proteins in cerebrospinal fluid, which are biomarkers of Alzheimer’s. Photo: Therapy Ideas

Researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences’ Rotman Research Institute have found that patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who also show anxiety symptoms are at a much greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This was the first study of its kind that isolated anxiety in a longitudinal study covering people diagnosed with MCI, painting a clearer picture of how anxiety interferes with cognitive…

Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

Brain’s response to threat silenced when we are reminded of being loved and cared for

Being reminded that you are loved and cared for, even through pictures, makes you feel less threatened. Image via Imgion.

Something as small as seeing pictures of others being loved and cared for silences our brain’s response to threat, a new study has found. The amygdalae, listed in the Gray’s Anatomy textbook as the nucleus amygdalæ, are a group of nuclei in the brain involved in  the processing of memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions. The amygdala is also considered to be…

Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

Curiosity sparks Brain Mechanisms that Facilitate Learning

Photo: quotevadis.com

Whether we’re assigned a learning task or choose to follow it, those subjects that interest us are always easier to comprehend, assimilate and remember over a long time. In this context, interest is actually another word for curiosity and a new research found that it is an important factor for effective learning. The team at University of California, Davis, found that…

Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

Automated tasks are still processed while you sleep

sleep

Despite an incredible body of work dedicated to researching what goes inside the brain while we sleep, consensus among neuroscientists suggests we’re just beginning to scratch the surface. For instance, we’ve yet to answer a fundamental question: why do we need sleep? We all agree that we needed it  – going without sleep for long periods of time can bring…

Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

What goes on in an altruist’s head: good deeds may be rooted in the brain

Scientists analyzed the brains of kidney donors to see what makes them more altruistic than other people. Photo: kidneybuzz.com

Costly altruism, the kind that you see expressed by people who willingly agree or seek to donate their kidneys, is a puzzling phenomenon for many scientists. Most of these people would tell you that they do it out of love, sympathy or a higher purpose. Neuroscientists, however, are more interested in finding whether there are any neural mechanisms associated with…

Health & Medicine, Neurology, News

Newly discovered ‘sleep node’ in the brain puts you to sleep without sedatives

sing designer genes, researchers at UB and Harvard were able to 'turn on' specific neurons in the brainstem that result in deep sleep. Image: Dreamstime

Neuroscientists at University of Buffalo have identified a sleep-promoting circuit inside the brainstem or the primitive part of the brain, whose activity appears to be both necessary and sufficient to produce deep sleep. This is only the second ‘sleep node’ in the mammalian brain that was identified to serve this function. To demonstrate the sleep node’s function, the researchers used…

Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

Vegetative state man responds to Hitchcock clip

Alfred Hitchcock movie

Neuroscientists at University of Western Ontario in London, Canada  found that a man who was thought to be living in a vegetative state for almost twenty years showed response when an Alfred Hitchhock movie was played in the background. The findings suggest that doctors might want to explore more methods to determine whether or not a possibly vegetative state patient is…

Mind & Brain, Neurology, News

Brain-to-brain communication demonstrated for the very first time

Image: CARLES GRAU ET AL., PLOS ONE, 2014

A group of neuroscientists have achieved what some might believe strictly belongs to the realm of science fiction – they’ve successfully transmitted a message relayed by the brain of a person to another directly; no voice, no video, no sound, no text. The information was fed directly to the brain. If that wasn’t enough, the message was transmitted over thousands…