Where Memory is Encoded and Retrieved

Hippocampus

Are the same regions and even the same cells of the brain area called hippocampus involved in encoding and retrieving memories or are different areas of this structure engaged? This question has kept neuroscientists busy for a long time. Researchers at the Mercator Research Group “Structure of Memory” at RUB have now found out that the same brain cells exhibit activity in both processes. They have published their results in the journal “Hippocampus” (citation below). Read More →

Reconstructing Speech from Brain Activity

Brain activity

Speech is produced in the human cerebral cortex. Brain waves associated with speech processes can be directly recorded with electrodes located on the surface of the cortex. It has now been shown for the first time that is possible to reconstruct basic units, words, and complete sentences of continuous speech from these brain waves and to generate the corresponding text. Researchers at KIT and Wadsworth Center, USA present their ”Brain-to-Text“ system in the scientific journal Frontiers in Neuroscience (citation below). Read More →

Developmental Brain Plasticity in Humans

brain plasticity

Human development and plastic have little in common, yet they are both malleable. Developmental plasticity in humans refers to the ability to adapt to information, environmental or physical changes. When you learn new things, compensate for physical problems or speak a foreign language fluently, you are relying on your brain’s innate plasticity, which is most apparent during childhood. Read More →

Identifying the Principal Protein Sensor for Touch

Sense of Touch Research

A team led by biologists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has solved a long-standing mystery in neuroscience by identifying the “mechanoreceptor” protein that mediates the sense of touch in mammals. Mice that lack the Piezo2 ion-channel protein in their skin cells and nerve endings lose nearly all their sensitivity to ordinary light touch, but retain a mostly normal sensitivity to painful mechanical stimuli. Read More →

To See or Not to See

Motor-Neurons

The brain is a complicated network of small units called neurons, all working to carry information from the outside world, create an internal model, and generate a response. Neurons sense a signal through branching dendrites, carry this signal to the cell body, and send it onwards through a long axon to signal the next neuron. However, neurons can function in many different ways; some of which researchers are still exploring. Read More →

Brain Model Pins Down Motor Decisions

Image Credit: University of Nottingham

Image Credit: University of Nottingham

Talking or reading. Texting a message or listening. The dilemma of choosing between various tasks is not an invention of the modern information age. Humans and all vertebrates have to prioritize their actions. But to understand the neurobiology of how these decisions are made is a challenging scientific problem. Now, the EU-funded project Select-and-Act, completed in 2012, has provided further insight into the problem. Read More →

Science App to Explore Human Consciousness

CCA

I was recently introduced to a new science-based initiative on Indiegogo that looks pretty exciting. Years of scientific laboratory work have gone into the project that the new app is based upon, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned thus far. The idea of collective consciousness states that there is a real measurable relationship between human consciousness and the tangible world that we live in. This relationship is generally referred to as mind-matter interaction. This new Collective Consciousness app is designed to help us further understand these ideas. Read More →

Using Ultrasound to Boost Brain Performance

Jamie Tyler, Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, VTCRI, lab, research

Jamie Tyler, Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, VTCRI, lab, research

Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists have demonstrated that ultrasound directed to a specific region of the brain can boost performance in sensory discrimination.

Whales, bats, and even praying mantises use ultrasound as a sensory guidance system — and now a new study has found that ultrasound can modulate brain activity to heighten sensory perception in humans. Read More →

New Drug Reduces Negative Memory

Genome-based identification of drugs (Image: University of Basel)

Genome-based identification of drugs (Image: University of Basel)

Through analysis of the human genome, Basle scientists have identified molecules and compounds that are related to human memory. In a subsequent pharmacological study with one of the identified compounds, the scientists found a drug-induced reduction of aversive memory. This could have implications for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, which is characterized by intrusive traumatic memories. The findings have been published in the latest edition of the magazine PNAS. Read More →

When Neurons Have Less to Say, They Speak Up

Even when neurons in the visual cortex are cut off from their main source of information, within 48 hours their activity returns to a level similar to that prior to the disruption. Under the microscope the currently active cells light up thanks to the addition of a calcium indicator. Credit: MPI of Neurobiology/Hübener

Even when neurons in the visual cortex are cut off from their main source of information, within 48 hours their activity returns to a level similar to that prior to the disruption. Under the microscope the currently active cells light up thanks to the addition of a calcium indicator. Credit: MPI of Neurobiology/Hübener

The brain is an extremely adaptable organ – but it is also quite conservative. That’s in short, what scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried and their colleagues from the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel and the Ruhr-Universität Bochum were now able to show. The researchers found that neurons in the brain regulate their own activity in such a way that the overall activity level in the network remains as constant as possible. Read More →