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Social Neuroscience Advances
Understanding ourselves and how we interact
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Learning brakes in the brain

Learning brakes in the brain | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A brain capable of learning is important for survival: only those who learn can endure in the natural world. When it learns, the brain stores new information by changing the strength of the junctions that connect its nerve cells.
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RAAV/ABAD-DP-6His generates fusion peptide that protects PC12 cells from oxidative stress injury

RAAV/ABAD-DP-6His generates fusion peptide that protects PC12 cells from oxidative stress injury | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

The effects of Amyloid beta (Aβ)-Aβ-binding alcohol dehydrogenase (ABAD) may exacerbate Alzheimer's disease pathology.


Via Philippe Smelty
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Inhibitory Plasticity Dictates the Sign of Plasticity at Excitatory Synapses

The broad connectivity of inhibitory interneurons and the capacity of inhibitory synapses to be plastic make them ideal regulators of the level of excitability of many neurons simultaneously. Whether inhibitory synaptic plasticity may also contribute to the selective regulation of single neurons and local microcircuits activity has not been investigated. Here we demonstrate that in rat primary visual cortex inhibitory synaptic plasticity is connection specific and depends on the activation of postsynaptic GABAB–Gi/o protein signaling. Through the activation of this intracellular signaling pathway, inhibitory plasticity can alter the state of a single postsynaptic neuron and directly affect the induction of plasticity at its glutamatergic inputs. This interaction is modulated by sensory experience. Our data demonstrate that in recurrent circuits, excitatory and inhibitory forms of synaptic plasticity are not integrated as independent events, but interact to cooperatively drive the activity-dependent rewiring of local microcircuits. (...) - by Wang L and Maffei A, The Journal of Neuroscience, 22 January 2014, 34(4): 1083-1093


Via Julien Hering, PhD
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Wired and Wireless Components of the Brain | MIND Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network

Wired and Wireless Components of the Brain | MIND Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Traditionally, we have understood the immune system and the nervous system as two distinct and unrelated entities. The former fights disease by responding to pathogens and ...
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Sprout Film festival celebrates autism in style

Sprout Film festival celebrates autism in style | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
New York - The Sprout film festival will open its doors between Saturday May 31 and June 1, and has a program dedicated to people on and around the autistic spectrum.

Via Autism Daily Newscast
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Prof. Simon Baron-Cohen: Zero Degrees of Empathy - YouTube

Simon Baron-Cohen is a world leading neuroscientist and Cambridge professor. He's spent his career conducting research into autism and has garnered a string ...

Via VISÃO\\VI5I0NTHNG, Emre Erdogan
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Better cognition seen with gene variant carried by one in five

Better cognition seen with gene variant carried by one in five | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A scientific team led by the Gladstone Institutes and UC San Francisco has discovered that a common form of a gene already associated with long life also improves learning and memory, a finding that could have implications for treating age-related diseases like Alzheimer's.
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New brain cells erase old memories

New brain cells erase old memories | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Neurogenesis interferes with past learning in infant and adult mice.


For anyone fighting to save old memories, a fresh crop of brain cells may be the last thing they need. Research published today in Sciencesuggests that newly formed neurons in the hippocampus — an area of the brain involved in memory formation — could dislodge previously learned information1. The work may provide clues as to why childhood memories are so difficult to recall.


“The finding was very surprising to us initially. Most people think new neurons mean better memory,” says Sheena Josselyn, a neuroscientist who led the study together with her husband Paul Frankland at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada.


Humans, mice and several other mammals grow new neurons in the hippocampus throughout their lives — rapidly at first, but more and more slowly with age. Researchers have previously shown that boosting neural proliferation before learning can enhance memory formation in adult mice23. But the latest study shows that after information is learned, neuron growth can degrade those memories.


Although seemingly counterintuitive, the disruptive role of these neurons makes some sense, says Josselyn. She notes that some theoretical models have predicted such an effect4. “More neurons increase the capacity to learn new memories in the future,” she says. “But memory is based on a circuit, so if you add to this circuit, it makes sense that it would disrupt it.” Newly added neurons could have a useful role in clearing old memories and making way for new ones, says Josselyn.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Neuron study helps explain why we forget - The Conversation

Neuron study helps explain why we forget - The Conversation | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Examiner.com
Neuron study helps explain why we forget
The Conversation
Memories from early childhood are notoriously elusive but why can't we recall our most formative experiences?
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Mouse Study Offers New Clues to Cognitive Decline

Mouse Study Offers New Clues to Cognitive Decline | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
New research suggests that certain types of brain cells may be "picky eaters," seeming to prefer one specific energy source over others.
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Musical training increases blood flow in the brain

Musical training increases blood flow in the brain | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Research by the University of Liverpool has found that brief musical training can increase the blood flow in the left hemisphere of our brain. This suggests that the areas responsible for music and language share common brain pathways.
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What’s Special, or Not, about Human Brain Anatomy | Talking back, Scientific American Blog Network

What’s Special, or Not, about Human Brain Anatomy | Talking back, Scientific American Blog Network | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
As a teenager, Chet Sherwood, a biological anthropologist at George Washington University, did not know he was destined to become a scientist. “I wasn’t the kind ...
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Researchers identify genetic marker linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder

Researchers identify genetic marker linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A group of researchers led by Johns Hopkins scientists say they have identified a genetic marker that may be associated with the development of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), whose causes and mechanisms are among the least understood among...
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How Attention Works: The Brain’s Anti-Distraction System Discovered — PsyBlog

How Attention Works: The Brain’s Anti-Distraction System Discovered — PsyBlog | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

“Attention is only partly about what we focus on, but also about what we manage to ignore.”


Via Howard Rheingold, Emre Erdogan
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Howard Rheingold's curator insight, May 13, 2014 1:36 PM

Empirical research on the neural correlates of attention is revealing a multi-functional system by which we balance the center of attention with the periphery, focus and scanning, allowing and suppressing attention to input. For students and those who are beginning to train their online infotention, it begins with strengthening the ability to ignore distractions. However, experts are also good at paying attention to perceptions on the periphery that might be important now or later (think of an expert aviator, scanning the horizon.)

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Alternative pathways let right and left communicate in early split brains

Alternative pathways let right and left communicate in early split brains | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Humans who lack the corpus callosum, a bundle of 200 million fibers that connect the left and right hemispheres of the brain, have long fascinated physicians, neuroscientists and other curious minds.
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Mlik Sahib's curator insight, May 12, 2014 8:29 PM

"The authors believe that the development of alternative pathways results from the brain's ability for long-distance plasticity and occurs in the utero during embryo development, which indicates that connections formed in the human brain early in development can be greatly modified, and most likely by environmental or genetic factors.

These findings will change the way we perceive the mechanisms of brain plasticity and may pave the way for a better understanding of a number of human disorders resulting from abnormal neuronal connections during embryonic development."

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The Neuroscience of Mathematical Beauty | Beautiful Minds, Scientific American Blog Network

The Neuroscience of Mathematical Beauty | Beautiful Minds, Scientific American Blog Network | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty” -- Bertrand Russell

The latest neuroscience of aesthetics suggests that the experience of visual, musical, and moral ...
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Chronic Pain Is A Result of Conversation By Immune and Brain Cells

Chronic Pain Is A Result of Conversation By Immune and Brain Cells | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Recent research shows that chronic pain is a result of conversation by immune and brain cells that occurs in higher brain regions as well as periphery
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The Science Behind Compassion: Center for Social Innovation (CSI), Dr. James Doty, Director, Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism

The Science Behind Compassion: Center for Social Innovation (CSI), Dr. James Doty, Director, Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

Download  1 hour 13 minutes,

At the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Nonprofit Management Institute, Dr. James Doty criticizes Silicon Valley’s reluctance to attribute success to support and goodwill in favor of personal genius.


He argues for the necessity of altruism and funding for both societal and individual benefit.


Drawing on his expertise as a neurosurgeon, Doty highlights the mental and physical health benefits that result from compassion. Referencing a “compassion deficit” among the wealthy, he addresses their general fear of “wasting” funds, despite access to vast resources. Finally, using his personal story as an example of the importance of social entrepreneurship and funding support,


Doty urges listeners to consider whether the

amount of emphasis our society places

on compassion is enough.


Via Edwin Rutsch
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RealChange's curator insight, July 4, 2014 9:45 PM

An important reflection...Silicon Valley innovation culture can also be traced back to the willingness of people to give of themselves and of their time to others with whom they don't have an immediate connection. 

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Autism-related protein shown to play vital role in addiction

Autism-related protein shown to play vital role in addiction | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
In a paper published in the latest issue of the neuroscience journal Neuron, McLean Hospital investigators report that a gene essential for normal brain development, and previously linked to Autism Spectrum Disorders, also plays a critical role in...
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Lasers That Detect Neurological Disease

Lasers That Detect Neurological Disease | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Telltale protein clumps absorb more light than healthy tissue
-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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Study: Inability to empathize: brain lesions that disrupt sharing and understanding another’s emotions

Study: Inability to empathize: brain lesions that disrupt sharing and understanding another’s emotions | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

by Argye E. Hillis

Emotional empathy—the ability to recognize, share in, and make inferences about another person’s emotional state—is critical for all social interactions.


The neural mechanisms underlying emotional empathy have been widely studied with functional imaging of healthy participants.


However, functional imaging studies reveal correlations between areas of activation and performance of a task, so that they can only reveal areas engaged in a task, rather than areas of the brain that are critical for the task.


Lesion studies complement functional imaging, to identify areas necessary for a task. Impairments in emotional empathy have been mostly studied in neurological diseases with fairly diffuse injury, such as traumatic brain injury, autism and dementia.


The classic ‘focal lesion’ is stroke. There have been scattered studies of patients with impaired empathy after stroke and other focal injury, but these studies have included small numbers of patients. This review will bring together data from these studies, to complement evidence from functional imaging. Here I review how focal lesions affect emotional empathy.


I will show how lesion studies contribute to the understanding of the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying emotional empathy, and how they contribute to the management of patients with impaired emotional empathy.



Via Edwin Rutsch
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Team captures handoff of tracked object between brain hemispheres

Team captures handoff of tracked object between brain hemispheres | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
When tracking a moving object, the two halves of the human brain operate much like runners successfully passing a baton during a relay race, says a University of Oregon researcher.
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Study of jazz players shows common brain circuitry processes music and language

Study of jazz players shows common brain circuitry processes music and language | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
The brains of jazz musicians engrossed in spontaneous, improvisational musical conversation showed robust activation of brain areas traditionally associated with spoken language and syntax, which are used to interpret the structure of phrases and sentences. But this musical conversation shut down brain ...
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In resting brains, researchers see signs of schizophrenia

In resting brains, researchers see signs of schizophrenia | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
(Medical Xpress)—In an advance that increases hopes of finding biological markers for schizophrenia, Yale researchers have discovered widespread disruption of signals while the brain is at rest in those suffering from the disabling neuropsychiatric disease.
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