Researchers at the University of Sheffield have moved one step closer to a gene therapy that could silence the faulty SOD1 gene responsible for triggering a form of Motor Neurone Disease also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Higher levels of stress, hostility and depressive symptoms are associated with significantly increased risk of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) in middle-age and older adults, according to new research in the American Heart Association...
Scientists at the Salk Institute have created a new model of memory that explains how neurons retain select memories a few hours after an event. This new framework provides a more complete picture of how memory works, which can inform research into disorders liked Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, post-traumatic stress and learning disabilities. “Previous models of memoryRead More
Discoveries about the brain have implications for fields ranging across Business, Law, Psychology, and Education. The Stanford Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging supports scientific investigations into the brain that make rigorous connections between neuroscience and society. Our Mission is to:
Support neuroscience discovery for enhancing society
Develop and disseminate cognitive and neurobiological imaging methods
Create a structured, safe, and innovative environment for human neuroscience research
The CNI facility has been designed to reflect experimental needs in the social sciences disciplines. Visit ourWiki for the latest details on the facility and all research equipment.
The core instrumentation provided by the CNI is a research-dedicated 3T MRI scanner, a GE Discovery MR750. Technical information is available at GE Healthcare.
The CNI has an array of MRI Coils, including Nova Medical32-channel and 16-channel head coils and a GE 8-channel head coil.
For stimulus delivery we provide a custom large-screen flat-panel display as well as a goggle system with eye tracker and audio from Resonance Technology, Inc.
Other Equipment includes an MR-compatible 256-channel EEG system, made by EGI, a Polhemus 3D digitizer used for EEG electrode localization, Fiber Optic Response Devices (FORP), by Current Designs, as well as a MRI Simulator (Mock Scanner), provided by Psychology Software Tools, Inc.
The Where’s Waldo problem concerns how individuals can rapidly learn to search a scene to detect, attend, recognize, and look at a valued target object in it. This article develops the ARTSCAN Search neural model to clarify how brain mechanisms across the What and Where cortical streams are coordinated to solve the Where's Waldo problem. The What stream learns positionally-invariant object representations, whereas the Where stream controls positionally-selective spatial and action representations. The model overcomes deficiencies of these computationally complementary properties through What and Where stream interactions. Where stream processes of spatial attention and predictive eye movement control modulate What stream processes whereby multiple view- and positionally-specific object categories are learned and associatively linked to view- and positionally-invariant object categories through bottom-up and attentive top-down interactions. Gain fields control the coordinate transformations that enable spatial attention and predictive eye movements to carry out this role. What stream cognitive-emotional learning processes enable the focusing of motivated attention upon the invariant object categories of desired objects. What stream cognitive names or motivational drives can prime a view- and positionally-invariant object category of a desired target object. A volitional signal can convert these primes into top-down activations that can, in turn, prime What stream view- and positionally-specific categories. When it also receives bottom-up activation from a target, such a positionally-specific category can cause an attentional shift in the Where stream to the positional representation of the target, and an eye movement can then be elicited to foveate it. These processes describe interactions among brain regions that include visual cortex, parietal cortex inferotemporal cortex, prefrontal cortex, amygdala, basal ganglia, and superior colliculus.
Deficits in social cognition are an evident clinical feature of the Asperger syndrome (AS). Although many daily life problems of adults with AS are related to social cognition impairments, few studies have conducted comprehensive research in this area. The current study examined multiple domains of social cognition in adults with AS assessing the executive functions (EF) and exploring the intra and inter-individual variability. Fifteen adults diagnosed with AS and 15 matched healthy controls completed a battery of social cognition tasks. This battery included measures of emotion recognition, theory of mind, empathy, moral judgment, social norms knowledge and self-monitoring behavior in social settings. We controlled for the effect of EF and explored the individual variability. The results indicated that adults with AS had a fundamental deficit in several domains of social cognition. We also found high variability in the social cognition tasks. In these tasks, AS participants obtained mostly subnormal performance. Executive functions did not seem to play a major role in the social cognition impairments. Our results suggest that adults with AS present a pattern of social cognition deficits characterized by the decreased ability to implicitly encode and integrate contextual information in order to access to the social meaning. Nevertheless, when social information is explicitly presented or the situation can be navigated with abstract rules, performance is improved. Our findings have implications for the diagnosis and treatment of individuals with AS as well as for the neurocognitive models of this syndrome.
This Research Topic features several papers tapping the situated nature of emotion and social cognition processes. The volume covers a broad scope of methodologies (behavioral assessment, functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI], structural neuroimaging, event related potentials [ERPs], brain connectivity, and peripheral measures), populations (non-human animals, neurotypical participants, developmental studies, and neuropsychiatric and pathological conditions), and article types (original research, review papers, and opinion articles). Through this wide-ranging proposal, we introduce a fresh approach to the study of contextual effects in emotion and social cognition domains. We report four levels of evidence. First, we present studies examining how cognitive and neural functions are influenced by basic affective processes (interoception, motivation and reward, emotional impulsiveness, and appraisal of violent stimuli).
An international team of researchers identified a pathogenic mechanism that is common to several neurodegenerative diseases. The findings suggest that it may be possible to slow the progression of dementia even after the onset of symptoms.
Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health have conducted the first-ever analysis of clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), revealing an urgent need to increase the number of agents entering the AD drug development...
Researchers from UCSD have for the first time directly created and destroyed neural connections that connect high level sensory input and high level behavioral responses.
Donald Hebb in 1949 was one of the first to seize upon this observation. He proposed that on the biological level, neurons were rewired so that coordinated inputs and outputs get wired together. As such, were there a nausea neuron and a boat neuron, through the effects of association, the two would get wired together so that the “boat” itself fires up pathways in the “nausea” part of the brain.
In the field of neural networks, this has a name: Hebbian learning. Pavlov of course also described this phenomenon, and tested it in animals, bequeathing its name the “conditioned response”.
Until now the wiring of neural inputs and outputs was a theory with good but indirect evidence. At UCSD, neuroscientists teamed up with molecular biologists to engineer a mouse whose neurons can be directly controlled for forming and losing connections.
They did this by injecting an engineered virus into the auditory nerve cells. The viruses, largely harmless, carry a light responsive molecular switch (a membrane protein “channel” actually) which gets inserted into cells of the auditory region. Using laser light of certain frequencies it is possible to both “potentiate” or “depress” the auditory nerve cells.
The upshot is that the researchers could directly make the auditory nerve cells increase or decrease their signal strength to other nerve cells, without needing a real, external noise. In effect, they’ve short-circuited the noise input. In experiments, they used a light electrical pulse to shock mice while simultaneously stimulating the auditory input with the laser-activated switch.
Basically they flashed the laser light at the ear of the mouse. Over time, the mouse began to associate the laser pulse induced nerve signal with the electrical shock. The mice were conditioned to exhibit fear even when there was no shock.
The crux of the experiment is what happened when the scientists flashed the laser in a way to weaken the auditory nerve. Now the mouse stopped responding in fear to the laser auditory stimulus.
The experiments showed for the first time that associative learning was indeed the wiring together of sensory and response neurons. The study was published in Nature.
Stanford has launched a new interdisciplinary center for the integration of research on Mind, Brain and Computation (MBC). The Center is dedicated to understanding how mental functions such as perceiving, understanding, thinking, feeling, and decision-making arise from neural processes in the brain. Research in the Center will address the processes and mechanisms that underlie the development of these abilities as well as disorders and diseases that affect them. MBC will foster the integration of theoretical, computational and experimental approaches to these issues, in hopes of increasing understanding and fostering improved methods for enhancement of human potential and life satisfaction. The Center will develop integrative research and educational programs and will promote interdisciplinary links between faculty and research trainees throughout the university.
The Center began operations during 2007. It is led by Jay McClelland, Professor of Psychology, with a steering committee currently consisting of representatives of the Departments of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Linguistics, Neurobiology and Psychology, and of the Neurosciences Institute at Stanford. Initial goals include:
Fostering research at the interface between mind, brain, and computation, with a focus on the integration of computational, statistical, and theoretical methods into functional brain imaging and other investigations of mental and neural processes.
Facilitating faculty appointments relevant to the agenda of the Center.
Developing a graduate training program aimed at increasing the involvement of individuals with backgrounds in quantitative, computational, and theoretical disciplines in the scientific investigation of mental and neural processes.
Test for 10 proteins predicts onset of disease over 12 months in those with mild memory loss with 87% accuracy. A blood test to detect which people with failing memories will go on to develop Alzheimer's disease has been developed by British...
Human behavior and decision making is subject to social and motivational influences such as emotions, norms and self/other regarding preferences. The identification of the neural and psychological mechanisms underlying these factors is a central issue in psychology, behavioral economics and social neuroscience, with important clinical, social, and even political implications. However, despite a continuously growing interest from the scientific community, the processes underlying these factors, as well as their ontogenetic and phylogenetic development, have so far remained elusive. In this Research Topic we call for articles that will provide challenging insights and stimulate a fruitful controversy on the question of “what determines social behavior.”
Harvard scientists say they’re closer to unraveling one of the most basic questions in neuroscience — how the brain encodes likes and dislikes — with the discovery of the first receptors in any species evolved to detect cadaverine and putrescine,...
Persons with reduced levels of the TREM2 protein could be at greater risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or frontotemporal dementia, according to an international study which included the participation of the...