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Functional organization of the insula and inner perisylvian regions

In the last few years, the insula has been the focus of many brain-imaging studies, mostly devoted to clarify its role in emotions and social communication. Physiological data, however, on which one may ground these correlative findings are almost totally lacking. Here, we investigated the functional properties of the insular cortex in behaving monkeys using intracortical microstimulation. Behavioral responses and heart rate changes were recorded. The results showed that the insula is functionally formed by two main subdivisions: (i) a sensorimotor field occupying the caudal–dorsal portion of the insula and appearing as an extension of the parietal lobe; and (ii) a mosaic of orofacial motor programs located in the anterior and centroventral insula sector.

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Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
Covering topics and controversies in Cognitive Neuroscience and Brain Imaging
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Frontiers | Cortical Connectivity Maps Reveal Anatomically Distinct Areas in the Parietal Cortex of the Rat | Frontiers in Neural Circuits

A central feature of theories of spatial navigation involves the representation of spatial relationships between objects in complex environments. The parietal cortex has long been linked to the processing of spatial visual information and recent evidence from single unit recording in rodents suggests a role for this region in encoding egocentric and world-centered frames. The rat parietal cortex can be subdivided into up to four distinct rostral-caudal and medial-lateral regions, which includes a zone previously characterized as secondary visual cortex. At present, very little is known regarding the relative connectivity of these parietal subdivisions. Thus, we set out to map the connectivity of the entire anterior-posterior and medial-lateral span of this region. To do this we used anterograde and retrograde tracers in conjunction with open source neuronal segmentation and tracer detection tools to generate whole brain connectivity maps of parietal inputs and outputs. Our present results show that inputs to the parietal cortex varied significantly along the medial-lateral, but not the rostral-caudal axis. Specifically, retrosplenial connectivity is greater medially, but connectivity with visual cortex, though generally sparse, is more significant laterally. Finally, based on connection density, the connectivity between parietal cortex and hippocampus is indirect and likely achieved largely via dysgranular retrosplenial cortex. Thus, similar to primates, the parietal cortex of rats exhibits a difference in connectivity along the medial-lateral axis, which may represent functionally distinct areas.
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New research charts how little we know about the brain | Uncommon Descent

New research charts how little we know about the brain | Uncommon Descent | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
Researchers: And no one knows whether information is encoded differently in various parts of the brain.
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Where will big neuroscience take us?

Where will big neuroscience take us? | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
The U.S., Europe and Asia have launched big brain research projects. What impact will they have? Scientists integral to three projects share their insights ahead of a special session hosted by the Society for Neuroscience.
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First known molecular signalling control for neurogenesis identified.

First known molecular signalling control for neurogenesis identified. | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have succeeded in explaining how stem cells in the brain change to allow one type of stem cell to produce different cell types at different stages. In an openso...
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Oxytocin helps to better overcome fear — Universität Bonn

Oxytocin helps to better overcome fear — Universität Bonn | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
Researchers at the University of Bonn Hospital show that the bonding hormone inhibits the fear center in the brain
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Liberals are more emotion-driven than conservatives

Liberals are more emotion-driven than conservatives | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
Researchers have studied the interaction between emotion and political ideology, showing that the motivating power of emotions is not the same for those on different ends of the ideological spectrum.
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I still have large reservations about political findings in the brain.

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First peek at how neurons multitask

First peek at how neurons multitask | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
Researchers have shown how a single neuron can perform multiple functions in a model organism, illuminating for the first time this fundamental biological mechanism and shedding light on the human brain.
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It's official, a virus that 'makes humans more stupid' has been discovered

It's official, a virus that 'makes humans more stupid' has been discovered | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
A virus that infects human brains and makes us more stupid has been discovered, according to scientists in the US.
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Betting on brain research: Experts review challenges of translational neuroscience

Betting on brain research: Experts review challenges of translational neuroscience | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
Despite great advances in understanding how the human brain works, psychiatric conditions, neurodegenerative disorders, and brain injuries are on the rise. Progress in the development of new diagnostic and treatment approaches appears to have stalled. Experts look at the challenges associated with 'translational neuroscience,' or efforts to bring advances in the lab to the patients who need them.
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Review of the issues with translational neuroscience.

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Brain dissociates emotional response from explicit memory in fearful situations

Brain dissociates emotional response from explicit memory in fearful situations | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
Researchers have been tracking the traces of implicit and explicit memories of fear in human. The study describes how in a context of fear, our brain differently encodes contextual memory of a negative event (the place, what we saw ...) and emotional response associated.
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Brain anatomy differences between autistic, typically developing individuals are indistinguishable

Brain anatomy differences between autistic, typically developing individuals are indistinguishable | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
'Our findings offer definitive answers regarding several scientific controversies about brain anatomy, which have occupied autism research for the past 10 to 15 years,' says one expert. 'Previous hypotheses suggesting that autism is associated with larger intra-cranial gray matter, white matter and amygdala volumes, or smaller cerebellar, corpus callosum and hippocampus volumes were mostly refuted by this new study.'
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Astrocytic mechanism that repairs brain after stroke discovered.

Astrocytic mechanism that repairs brain after stroke discovered. | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
A previously unknown mechanism through which the brain produces new nerve cells after a stroke has been discovered at Lund University and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The findings have been pub...
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Mind-controlled prosthetic arms that work in daily life are now a reality

Mind-controlled prosthetic arms that work in daily life are now a reality | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
For the first time, robotic prostheses controlled via implanted neuromuscular interfaces have become a clinical reality. A novel osseointegrated (bone-anchored) implant system gives patients new opportunities in their daily life and professional activities.
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The replicated-misinterpretation crisis - Psychonomic Society

The replicated-misinterpretation crisis - Psychonomic Society | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
Red alert? Or just yellow or amber? Caren Rotello, Evan Heit, and Chad Dubé caution against taking multiple replications at face value. They argue in a recent p
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New type of neuron that plays key role in nicotine addiction found

New type of neuron that plays key role in nicotine addiction found | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
Grieder, now first author of the new study, ran the test again and got the same weird result. She then ran a third test: same result.

George decided to take a closer look at the VTA and worked clo
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Removing the brake: How to increase brain activity and memory

Removing the brake: How to increase brain activity and memory | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it

Is it possible to rapidly increase (or decrease) the amount of information the brain can store? A new international study led by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) suggests is may be. Their research has identified a molecule that improves brain function and memory recall is improved. Published in the latest issue of Cell Reports, the study has implications for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases, such as autism spectral disorders and Alzheimer’s disease.


“Our findings show that the brain has a key protein called FXR1P (Fragile X Related Protein 1) that limits the production of molecules necessary for memory formation,” says RI-MUHC neuroscientist Keith Murai, the study’s senior author and Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University. “When this brake-protein is suppressed, the brain is able to store more information.”


Murai and his colleagues used a mouse model to study how changes in brain cell connections produce new memories. When FXR1P was selectively removed from certain parts of the brain, new molecules were produced. They strengthened connections between brain cells, which correlated with improved memory and recall in the mice.


“The role of FXR1P was a surprising result,” says Dr. Murai. “Previous to our work, no-one had identified a role for this regulator in the brain. Our findings have provided fundamental knowledge about how the brain processes information. We’ve identified a new pathway that directly regulates how information is handled and this could have relevance for understanding and treating brain diseases.” 


“Future research in this area could be very interesting,” he adds. “If we can identify compounds that control the braking potential of FXR1P, we may be able to alter the amount of brain activity or plasticity. For example, in autism, one may want to decrease certain brain activity and in Alzheimer’s disease, we may want to enhance the activity. By manipulating FXR1P, we may eventually be able to adjust memory formation and retrieval, thus improving the quality of life of people suffering from brain diseases.” 



Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Carlos Rodrigues Cadre's curator insight, November 17, 4:28 PM

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Diane Johnson's curator insight, November 18, 9:21 AM

NGSS includes opportunities for students to understand and apply learning about information processing in biological systems

Lucile Debethune's curator insight, November 21, 5:45 AM

Parmi les nombreuses proteines du cerveau, cette recherche se concentre sur la proteines FXR1P, qui agit comme un frein à la production de molécule nécessaire à la formation de molécules. Travailler sur cette protéine pourait être un élément clef dans le traitement du fonctionnement anormal du cerveau.

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Neuroimaging study begins to map damage caused by anxiety in the brain.

Neuroimaging study begins to map damage caused by anxiety in the brain. | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
People with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are at increased risk of converting to Alzheimer's disease within a few years, but a new study warns the risk increases significantly if they suffer from...
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How to Study the Brain

How to Study the Brain | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
Neuroscience is almost 200 years old. Why are there no grand theories of how the brain works?
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New knowledge about human brain's plasticity

New knowledge about human brain's plasticity | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
The brain's plasticity and its adaptability to new situations do not function the way researchers previously thought, according to a new study. Earlier theories are based on laboratory animals, but now researchers have studied the human brain, and reached some new conclusions.
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Brain's response to threat silenced when we are reminded of being loved and cared for

Brain's response to threat silenced when we are reminded of being loved and cared for | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
Being shown pictures of others being loved and cared for reduces the brain's response to threat, new research has found. The study discovered that when individuals are briefly presented pictures of others receiving emotional support and affection, the brain's threat monitor, the amygdala, subsequently does not respond to images showing threatening facial expressions or words. This occurred even if the person was not paying attention to the content of the first pictures.
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The female nose always knows: Do women have more olfactory neurons?

The female nose always knows: Do women have more olfactory neurons? | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
Using a new method called isotropic fractionator, a group of researchers has found biological evidence that may explain the superior olfactory abilities that women have over men.
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Deanna Dahlsad's curator insight, November 7, 1:36 PM

Hubby & talk about this all the time - he can't smell a thing, I swear!

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Direct brain interface between humans

Researchers have successfully replicated a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of people as part of a scientific study following the team's initial demonstration a year ago. In the newly published study, which involved six people, researchers were able to transmit the signals from one person's brain over the Internet and use these signals to control the hand motions of another person within a split second of sending that signal.
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Liberal or conservative? Reactions to disgust are a dead giveaway

Liberal or conservative? Reactions to disgust are a dead giveaway | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
The way a person's brain responds to a single disgusting image is enough to reliably predict whether he or she identifies politically as liberal or conservative. As we approach Election Day, the researchers say that the findings come as a reminder of something we all know but probably don't always do: 'Think, don't just react.'
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Granger Causality test can make epilepsy surgery more effective

Granger Causality test can make epilepsy surgery more effective | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
A new statistical test that looks at the patterns of high-frequency network activity flow from brain signals can help doctors pinpoint the exact location of seizures occurring in the brain and make surgery more effective, according to researchers.
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In a battle of brains, bigger isn't always better: Rats and mice perform similarly in cognitive tests

In a battle of brains, bigger isn't always better: Rats and mice perform similarly in cognitive tests | Brain Imaging and Neuroscience: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly | Scoop.it
It's one of those ideas that seems to make perfect sense: the bigger the brain, the more intelligent the creature. Exceptions are becoming increasingly common, yet the belief persists even among scientists. Most biologists, for example, assume that rats are smarter than mice. Scientists now challenge this belief. They compared mice and rats and found very similar levels of intelligence, a result that could have powerful implications for researchers studying complex behaviors and learning.
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