Social Neuroscience Advances
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Social Neuroscience Advances
Understanding ourselves and how we interact
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New Experiences Can Strengthen Old Memories

New Experiences Can Strengthen Old Memories | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Recall can improve for events that seemed forgettable but later gained significance

 

"What makes for a long-lasting memory? Research has shown that emotional or important events take root deeply, whereas neutral or mundane happenings create weak impressions that easily fade. But what about an experience that initially seemed forgettable but was later shown to be important? Animal research suggested that these types of older memories could be strengthened, but scientists had not been able to replicate this finding in humans—until now. New evidence suggests that our initially weak memories are maintained by the brain for a period, during which they can be enhanced."


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iPamba's curator insight, November 11, 2015 4:32 PM

Stronger memories are not necessarily more reliable.

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Higher Levels of Fitness Linked to Executive Function and Brain Activity in Older Adults

Higher Levels of Fitness Linked to Executive Function and Brain Activity in Older Adults | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A new study reveals a link between brain activation, cardiorespiratory fitness and executive function in older adults.

 

"The aging process is associated with declines in brain function, including memory and how fast our brain processes information, yet previous research has found that higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness in older adults leads to better executive function in the brain, which helps with reasoning and problem solving. Higher cardiorespiratory fitness levels have also been found to increase brain volume in key brain regions."


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Motor Skills Improved in Parkinson’s Patients with Help of Noninvasive Brain Stimulation

Motor Skills Improved in Parkinson’s Patients with Help of Noninvasive Brain Stimulation | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
According to a new study, cortical stimulation temporarily improved motor symptoms in some patients with Parkinson's disease.

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Cochlear Implants May Benefit Mind and Mood of Older People

Cochlear Implants May Benefit Mind and Mood of Older People | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Cognition, social interactions and quality of life may improve for older people with hearing loss when hearing is restored with a cochlear implant, according to a new study

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Could melatonin drug treat neuropathic pain? - Futurity

Could melatonin drug treat neuropathic pain? - Futurity | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Drugs that target a specific melatonin receptor appear to relieve chronic pain that results from nerve damage.

This condition, known as neuropathic pain, is often severe and can be permanent. It develops after nerve damage from conditions such as shingles, injury, amputation, autoimmune inflammation, and cancer.

Melatonin, a neurohormone present in mammals, acts on the brain by activating two receptors called MT1 and MT2. Those receptors are responsible for regulating several functions, including sleep, depression, anxiety, and circadian rhythms.

A team led by Gabriella Gobbi, associate professor of psychiatry at McGill University, demonstrated that a drug called UCM924, which targets the MT2 receptors, relieves chronic pain in animal models. The team also identified the drug’s mechanism in the brain.

The drug is able to switch off the neurons that trigger pain and switch on the ones that turn off pain by activating the MT2 receptors in the periaqueductal grey (a brain area controlling pain). The findings are reported in the February issue of the journal PAIN.

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If you're smoking to be thin, heads up! Smoking also thins a vital part of brain | Neuroscientist News

If you're smoking to be thin, heads up! Smoking also thins a vital part of brain | Neuroscientist News | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Years ago, children were warned that smoking could stunt their growth, but now a major study by an international team including the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University and the University of Edinburgh shows new evidence that long-term smoking could cause thinning of the brain’s cortex. The cortex is the outer layer of the brain in which critical cognitive functions such as memory, language and perception take place. Interestingly, the findings also suggest that stopping smoking helps to restore at least part of the cortex’s thickness.

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Study: Harnessing a virtual reality brain training game to diagnose mild cognitive impairment (MCI) | SharpBrains

Study: Harnessing a virtual reality brain training game to diagnose mild cognitive impairment (MCI) | SharpBrains | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Vir­tual real­ity brain train­ing game can detect mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment, a con­di­tion that often pre­dates Alzheimer’s dis­ease (press release):

“Geek researchers demon­strated the poten­tial of a vir­tual super­mar­ket cog­ni­tive train­ing game as a screen­ing tool for patients with mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment (MCI) among a sam­ple of older adults…

In an arti­cle pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease, the researchers have indi­cated that the vir­tual super­mar­ket (VSM) appli­ca­tion displayed…a level of diag­nos­tic accu­racy sim­i­lar to stan­dard­ized neu­ropsy­cho­log­i­cal tests, which are the gold stan­dard for MCI screen­ing. Patients with MCI can live inde­pen­dently and not all such patients progress to AD. There­fore the global effort against cog­ni­tive dis­or­ders is focused on early detec­tion at the MCI stage…

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Planning may start in brain's emotion centre

Planning may start in brain's emotion centre | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
An almond-shaped clusters of neurons deep in the brain known as the amygdala may play a vital part in long-term planning, suggests a new study.

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Brain's Compass Relies on Geometric Relationships

Brain's Compass Relies on Geometric Relationships | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
People use geometrical relationships to help orient themselves, a new study reports.

 

The brain has a complex system for keeping track of which direction you are facing as you move about; remembering how to get from one place to another would otherwise be impossible. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have now shown how the brain anchors this mental compass.

 

Their findings provide a neurological basis for something that psychologists have long observed about navigational behavior: people use geometrical relationships to orient themselves.

The research, which is related to the work that won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, adds new dimensions to our understanding of spatial memory and how it helps us to build memories of events.

The study was led by Russell Epstein, a professor of psychology in Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences, and Steven Marchette, a postdoctoral fellow in Epstein’s lab. Also contributing to the study were lab members Lindsay Vass, a graduate student, and Jack Ryan, a research specialist.

It was published in Nature Neuroscience.


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Long term use of benzodiazepine for anxiety & sleep disorders can increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Long term use of benzodiazepine for anxiety & sleep disorders can increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

This case-control study based on 8980 individuals representative of elderly people living in the community in Quebec showed that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease was increased by 43-51% among those who had used benzodiazepines in the past. Risk increased with density of exposure and when long acting benzodiazepines were used. Further adjustment on symptoms thought to be potential prodromes for dementia—such as depression, anxiety, or sleep disorders—did not meaningfully alter the results.


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MRI Shows Gray Matter Myelin Loss Strongly Related to MS Disability

MRI Shows Gray Matter Myelin Loss Strongly Related to MS Disability | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A new MRI study finds myelin loss in the gray matter of people's brains with MS is closely correlated with the severity of the disease.

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Magnetic brain stimulation treatment shown to boost memory

Magnetic brain stimulation treatment shown to boost memory | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Non-invasive transcranial technique leads to 24-hour-long improvement in memory function and could lead to new treatments for Alzheimer's and other conditions

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MRI Brain Scans Detect People with Early Parkinson's

MRI Brain Scans Detect People with Early Parkinson's | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Researchers have developed a simple MRI technique which could help with early diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

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Low Vitamin D Levels Associated with Cognitive Decline and Alzheimer’s in Older People

Low Vitamin D Levels Associated with Cognitive Decline and Alzheimer’s in Older People | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
According to a new study, vitamin D deficiency in elderly people is highly correlated with accelerated cognitive decline and memory loss, two symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease.

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Resveratrol Impacts Alzheimer’s Disease Biomarker

Resveratrol Impacts Alzheimer’s Disease Biomarker | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
The largest nationwide clinical trial to study high-dose resveratrol long-term in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease found that a biomarker that declines when the disease progresses was stabilized in people who took the purified form of resveratrol.

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Focusing the Brain on Better Vision: “You can teach an older brain new tricks.”

Focusing the Brain on Better Vision: “You can teach an older brain new tricks.” | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
As adults age, vision deteriorates. One common type of decline is in contrast sensitivity, the ability to distinguish gradations of light to dark, making it possible to discern where one object ends and another begins.

When an older adult descends a flight of stairs, for example, she may not tell the edge of one step from the next, so she stumbles. At night, an older driver may squint to see the edge of white road stripes on blacktop. Caught in the glare of headlights, he swerves.

But new research suggests that contrast sensitivity can be improved with brain-training exercises. In a study published last month in Psychological Science, researchers at the University of California, Riverside, and Brown University showed that after just five sessions of behavioral exercises, the vision of 16 people in their 60s and 70s significantly improved.

After the training, the adults could make out edges far better. And when given a standard eye chart, a task that differed from the one they were trained on, they could correctly identify more letters.

“There’s an idea out there that everything falls apart as we get older, but even older brains are growing new cells,” said Allison B. Sekuler, a professor of psychology, neuroscience and behavior at McMaster University in Ontario, who was not involved in the new study. “You can teach an older brain new tricks.”

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Study Maps Extroversion Types in the Brain's Anatomy

Study Maps Extroversion Types in the Brain's Anatomy | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Everyday experience and psychological studies alike tell us that there are two different types of extroverts: The gregarious “people-persons” who find reward in sharing affection and affiliation with others, and the ambitious “go-getters” who flash those bright-white smiles in their pursuit of achievement and leadership agendas. A new study shows that these overlapping yet distinct personalities have commensurately overlapping yet distinct signatures in the anatomy of the brain.

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Natural 'high' could avoid chronic marijuana use

Natural 'high' could avoid chronic marijuana use | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Replenishing the supply of a molecule that normally activates cannabinoid receptors in the brain could relieve mood and anxiety disorders and enable some people to quit using marijuana, a new study suggests.

 

Summary from Learning & the Brain Society Newsletter - Feb 2015

Natural 'high' could avoid chronic marijuana use, study finds 

Vanderbilt University

 

Cannabinoid receptors are normally activated by compounds in the brain called endocannabinoids, the most abundant of which is 2-AG. They also are "turned on" by the active ingredient in marijuana. Sachin Patel, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues developed a genetically modified mouse with impaired ability to produce 2-AG in the brain. The mice exhibited anxiety-like behaviors, and female mice also displayed behaviors suggestive of depression. When an enzyme that normally breaks down 2-AG was blocked, and the supply of the endocannabinoid was restored to normal levels, these behaviors were reversed, the researchers reported in the journal 


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Brain Scans Predict Effectiveness of Talk Therapy to Treat Depression

Brain Scans Predict Effectiveness of Talk Therapy to Treat Depression | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
UNC School of Medicine researchers have shown that brain scans can predict which patients with clinical depression are most likely to benefit from a specific kind of talk therapy.

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Chronic Pain Associated with Activation of Brain's Glial Cells

Chronic Pain Associated with Activation of Brain's Glial Cells | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

"Patients with chronic pain show signs of glial activation in brain centers that modulate pain, according to results from a PET-MRI study"

 

Summary from BrainHQ Brain Fitness News: January 2015

Brain’s Glial Cells Drive Chronic Pain
Is your back out of whack? Blame your glial cells. Scientists in Boston have found that the brain’s glial cells play a key role in chronic pain. They plan to use this new finding to develop drugs that target the glial pathway in hopes of improving pain relief therapies. 


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How the brain remembers to fear danger - Futurity

How the brain remembers to fear danger - Futurity | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A new study with mice identifies a life-preserving circuit that's responsible for recognizing and remembering threats.

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Erasing Memory With Light

Erasing Memory With Light | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

Using optogenetics, researchers at the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience and Department of Psychology have used light to erase specific memories in mice, and proved a basic theory of how different parts of the brain work together to retrieve episodic memories.

Optogenetics, pioneered by Karl Diesseroth at Stanford University, is a new technique for manipulating and studying nerve cells using light. The techniques of optogenetics are rapidly becoming the standard method for investigating brain function.

 


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Sleep Disorders Widely Undiagnosed in Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis

Sleep Disorders Widely Undiagnosed in Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Fatigue associated with MS could be the result of widely undiagnosed sleep disorders, a new study reports.

 

In what may be the largest study of sleep problems among individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), researchers at UC Davis have found that widely undiagnosed sleep disorders may be at the root of the most common and disabling symptom of the disease: fatigue.


Conducted in over 2,300 individuals in Northern California with multiple sclerosis, the large, population-based study found that, overall, more than 70 percent of participants screened positive for one or more sleep disorders.

The research highlights the importance of diagnosing the root causes of fatigue among individuals with MS, as sleep disorders may affect the course of the disease as well as the overall health and well-being of sufferers, the authors said.


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What happens in the brain when you learn a language?

What happens in the brain when you learn a language? | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

Kara Morgan-Short using electrophysiology to examine the inner workings of the brain during language learning. Photograph: Yara Mekawi/University of Illinois


Scans and neuroscience are helping scientists understand what happens to the brain when you learn a second language


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Part of the Brain Stays "Youthful" Into Older Age

Part of the Brain Stays "Youthful" Into Older Age | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
At least one part of the human brain may be able to process information the same way in older age as it does in the prime of life, according to new research conducted at the University of Adelaide.

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