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Social Neuroscience Advances
Understanding ourselves and how we interact
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Extending the amygdala in theories of threat processing: Trends in Neurosciences

Extending the amygdala in theories of threat processing: Trends in Neurosciences | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
•Central extended amygdala includes portions of the amygdala (Ce) and lateral BST.
•Central extended amygdala regions share connectivity and gene expression patterns.
•Animal studies show central extended amygdala to be involved in threat processing.
•Human functional imaging studies are beginning to translate these animal findings.
•Maladaptive central extended amygdala function may underlie stress-related psychopathology.
The central extended amygdala is an evolutionarily conserved set of interconnected brain regions that play an important role in threat processing to promote survival. Two core components of the central extended amygdala, the central nucleus of the amygdala (Ce) and the lateral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BST) are highly similar regions that serve complimentary roles by integrating fear- and anxiety-relevant information. Survival depends on the ability of the central extended amygdala to rapidly integrate and respond to threats that vary in their immediacy, proximity, and characteristics. Future studies will benefit from understanding alterations in central extended amygdala function in relation to stress-related psychopathology.
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Amygdala lesions do not compromise the cortical network for false-belief reasoning

Amygdala lesions do not compromise the cortical network for false-belief reasoning | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Humans use a so-called “theory-of-mind” to reason about the beliefs of others. Neuroimaging studies of belief reasoning suggest it activates a specific cortical network. The amygdala is interconnected with this network and plays a fundamental role in social behavior. For the first time, to our knowledge, we test whether amygdala lesions compromise the cortical implementation of theory-of-mind. Two patients with bilateral amygdala lesions performed a belief reasoning test while undergoing functional MRI. Remarkably, both patients showed typical test performance and cortical activity when compared with nearly 500 healthy controls. This result shows that the amygdala is not a necessary part of theory-of-mind function in adulthood and forces a reevaluation of the amygdala’s role in social cognition.
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Researchers at Duke have made breakthrough on Alzheimer's treatment

Researchers at Duke have made breakthrough on Alzheimer's treatment | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Duke University scientists have potentially discovered new avenues for Alzheimer's and dementia treatments.


They observed that in Alzheimer’s, immune cells that normally protect the brain instead begin to consume a vital nutrient called arginine.


By blocking this process with a drug, they were able to prevent the formation of ‘plaques’ in the brain that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease, and also halted memory loss in the mice.

What's more is that they were researching with a drug that has already begun human trials for cancer treatments—possibly paving the way for clinical trials in the near future.


While no technique that is tested in an animal can be guaranteed to work the same way in humans, the findings are particularly encouraging because, until now, the exact role of the immune system and arginine in Alzheimer’s was completely unknown.
The drug that was used to block the body’s immune response to arginine – known as difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) – is already being investigated in drug trials for certain types of cancer and may be suitable for testing as a potential Alzheimer’s therapy.

This follows on the heels of other recent breakthroughs in possible "plaque fighting" techniques for Alzheimer's patients.

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The mechanisms and functions of spontaneous neurotransmitter release

The mechanisms and functions of spontaneous neurotransmitter release | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

Fast synaptic communication in the brain requires synchronous vesicle fusion that is evoked by action potential-induced Ca2+ influx. However, synaptic terminals also release neurotransmitters by spontaneous vesicle fusion, which is independent of presynaptic action potentials. A functional role for spontaneous neurotransmitter release events in the regulation of synaptic plasticity and homeostasis, as well as the regulation of certain behaviours, has been reported. In addition, there is evidence that the presynaptic mechanisms underlying spontaneous release of neurotransmitters and their postsynaptic targets are segregated from those of evoked neurotransmission. These findings challenge current assumptions about neuronal signalling and neurotransmission, as they indicate that spontaneous neurotransmission has an autonomous role in interneuronal communication that is distinct from that of evoked release.(...) -  by Ege T. Kavalali,, Nature Reviews Neuroscience,  16, 5–16 (2015)


Via Julien Hering, PhD
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Alcohol may elevate the expression of two enzymes called CYP2E1 and CYP2U1

Alcohol may elevate the expression of two enzymes called CYP2E1 and CYP2U1 | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) and amygdala (AMG) are brain regions that not only referee cognitive functions and emotional states, but also contribute to the reinforcing effects of alcohol and tobacco.
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This Siemens MRI Scanner Is a Beautiful Machine That Saves Lives

This Siemens MRI Scanner Is a Beautiful Machine That Saves Lives | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Siemens’ latest MRI machine (Ma­gne­tom Pris­ma Tim+Dot Sys­tem 3 Tes­la) is one of the most powerful, state of the art medical imaging devices in the marketplace.
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How the brain reads music: the evidence for musical dyslexia

How the brain reads music: the evidence for musical dyslexia | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
If the brain processes words and mathematical symbols differently, why not musical symbols too?

Via Collection of First
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Frontiers in Brain Based Therapeutic Interventi...

Frontiers in Brain Based Therapeutic Interventi... | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Developmental neuroscience research is on the cusp of unprecedented advances in the understanding of how variations in brain structure and function within neural circuits confer risk for symptoms o...
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Network ‘hubs’ in the brain attract information, much like airport system

Network ‘hubs’ in the brain attract information, much like airport system | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
One of the brain’s main jobs is information processing – what is critical, however, is that information in the brain gets transferred to the right places at the right times.
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Study shows how deep-brain stimulation reshapes neural circuits in Parkinson’s disease

Study shows how deep-brain stimulation reshapes neural circuits in Parkinson’s disease | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
UC San Francisco scientists have discovered a possible mechanism for how deep-brain stimulation (DBS), a widely used treatment for movement disorders, exerts its therapeutic effects.
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Marijuana extract tames debilitating brain seizures without the buzz

Marijuana extract tames debilitating brain seizures without the buzz | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
In a group of children and young adults with the most intractable forms of epilepsy, a liquid form of marijuana called cannabidiol reduced seizures by more than 50% without causing the drug's usual "high," researchers said.

Via Marianne PokeBunny Lenaerts
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Depression is genetic, not a pain in the back

Depression is genetic, not a pain in the back | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
If you suffer from depression and back pain odds are it's down to your genes, suggests new research from the University of Sydney.
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Wasabi Receptor (TRPA1) Could Pave The Way For New Pain Medicine

Wasabi Receptor (TRPA1) Could Pave The Way For New Pain Medicine | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

Scientists have modeled the stunning structure of the receptor in our bodies that jolts our senses when we eat sushi garnished with spicy wasabi -- and it turns out that this so-called 'wasabi receptor' may hold clues for developing new pain treatments.


The receptor, a protein called TRPA1, resides in the cellular membrane of our sensory nerve cells. Not only does it detect certain chemical agents outside of our bodies -- from wasabi to tear gas -- but it also gets triggered by pain-inducing signals within our bodies from itches and inflammation.


“The pain system is there to warn us when we need to avoid things that can cause injury, but also to enhance protective mechanisms,” Dr. David Julius, professor and chair of the physiology department at the University of California, San Francisco, and senior co-author of the new study, said in a written statement. “Of course, this information may also help guide the design of new analgesic drugs.”


The researchers built the new detailed 3D model using an advanced imaging technique known as electron cryo-microscopy, Science magazine reported. Using the model, the researchers discovered a spot in the receptor where wasabi chemical compounds bind, according to a video from UCSF about the research (see above). They noticed that when a receptor encounters such chemical compounds, it activates nerve fibers that then send pain signals to the brain.


There are already a few experimental drugs that target the wasabi receptor to alleviate pain, Smithsonian magazine reported, and the new model allows scientists to see the exact cleft in the protein where those drugs bind -- a discovery which may help guide the development of innovative pain medications.


"A dream of mine is that some of the work we do will translate into medicines people can take for chronic pain," Julius told NPR. "What the structure does is, it gives pharmaceutical firms sort of a map for either tweaking the drugs that they have... or for developing drugs that might have different properties."


The study was published online in the journal Nature on April 8, 2015.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Submission | Neurobiology of Social Influence 2015

Submission | Neurobiology of Social Influence 2015 | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
We invite submission of research abstracts. Abstracts are encouraged from any area of social influence and neuroscience. All submissions will be evaluated by a Program Committee.

Abstracts should describe novel theoretical, computational and empirical results; abstracts that fail to do so will not be considered.
Abstracts should not report findings that will be published elsewhere prior to the meeting, although presentation of the work at a recent meeting (e.g., within a year) of another society is acceptable.
 

The abstract should state the study's objective, briefly describe the methods used, summarize the results obtained, and state the conclusions. Ideally, these sections will be indicated explicitly. It is not satisfactory to say, "The results will be discussed." Abstracts should emphasize the significance of results and general principles rather than describe common methods and procedures.
Use standard abbreviations for units of measure. Other abbreviations should be fully spelled out on first mention, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. 

The body of your abstract should be no more than 2,300 characters, including punctuation (not spaces), and no longer than 1 page. Abstracts longer than this limit will be returned to the submitting author for revision and must be resubmitted by the abstract deadline or will not be accepted. The title, author, affiliations, contact information, acknowledgements, and references are NOT included in the character count but everything must fit on one page.
 
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Why scientists are making brain cells from skin - Futurity

Why scientists are making brain cells from skin - Futurity | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Researchers can now make brain cells from the skin cells of patients with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, to better study the fatal disease.

The team used a genetic engineering technique to convert patients’ adult skin cells into “induced pluripotent stem cells,” which can then be coaxed into becoming brain cells.

“We make brain cells out of the patient’s own skin,” says Jeffrey Rothstein, professor of neurology, who directs the Brain Science Institute and the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins University.

Via Wildcat2030
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Alzheimer's study finds possible cause of disease

Alzheimer's study finds possible cause of disease | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A study using mice has uncovered a possible cause of Alzheimer’s disease, and suggests that a drug currently being investigated in human clinical trials to treat cancer could prevent the illness.

The research has been heralded as offering hope of finding new treatments for dementia.

The findings, by Duke University in America and published in the Journal of Neuroscience, are surprising, according to one of the authors, as they contradict current thinking on the disease.

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A new tool for understanding Lou Gehrig’s disease: ALS patients’ brain cells

A new tool for understanding Lou Gehrig’s disease: ALS patients’ brain cells | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine have transformed skin cells from patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), into brain cells affected by the progressive, fatal disease and deposited those human-made cells into...
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Experimental drug that may repair nerve damage in MS moves forward

Experimental drug that may repair nerve damage in MS moves forward | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A new study suggests that an investigational drug for multiple sclerosis (MS) may repair myelin, the fatty material that protects nerves and is damaged in MS, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of...
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RECOMMENDED VIDEO 76mins▶ @ProfDavidNutt British Neuroscience Association Public Lecture 2015


Via Julian Buchanan
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Julian Buchanan's curator insight, April 14, 10:32 PM

Prof. David Nutt always speaks good rational, well reasoned and evidenced based sense...

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Study may help find treatments for nerve cell damage, neurodegenerative disorders

Study may help find treatments for nerve cell damage, neurodegenerative disorders | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Scientists from Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences in Japan have have discovered how nerve cells adjust to low energy environments during the brain's growth process.
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Certain genes might make some people more prone to experience the placebo effect

Certain genes might make some people more prone to experience the placebo effect | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Researchers are beginning to explore whether the genetics of patients who experience a placebo effect are different from those of patients who don’t.
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Study challenges view that sight-based brain sensory network organization is impaired with blindness

Study challenges view that sight-based brain sensory network organization is impaired with blindness | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Is visual input essential to how the topographical map of the visual cortex develops in the human brain?
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UK funding for stroke and dementia research still too low, study says

UK funding for stroke and dementia research still too low, study says | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Sums spent on conditions bear little relation to their costs to health services, as compared with cancer or heart disease, say researchers Continue reading...
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Your pain reliever may also be diminishing your joy

Your pain reliever may also be diminishing your joy | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Researchers studying the commonly used pain reliever acetaminophen found it has a previously unknown side effect: It blunts positive emotions.
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Cyberchondria: What is it?

Cyberchondria: What is it? | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Cyberchondria is the unsubstantiated escalation of a patient’s concern about health, based on their personal online research and websites’ information about illnesses.
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