Social Neuroscience Advances
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Social Neuroscience Advances
Understanding ourselves and how we interact
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Imaging study finds first evidence of neuroinflammation in brains of chronic pain patients

Imaging study finds first evidence of neuroinflammation in brains of chronic pain patients | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A new study from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has found, for the first time, evidence of neuroinflammation in key regions of the brains of patients with chronic pain.
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How new epigenetic tools could rewrite our understanding of memory and more

How new epigenetic tools could rewrite our understanding of memory and more | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

If the human genome is the book of life, then the epigenome is its editor. Epigenetic marks — chemical tags that switch genes on and off — allow the body to produce more than 200 cell types from the same genetic code. Creating a neuron, for example, involves silencing a third of the genome.


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Scientists uncover potential to control the body's internal clock

Scientists uncover potential to control the body's internal clock | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
If the body's internal clock is disrupted, it can lead to sleep disorders and mental health problems. But researchers say they may have found a way to control our body clock.
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Study finds experience of pain relies on multiple brain pathways, not just one

Study finds experience of pain relies on multiple brain pathways, not just one | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
People’s mindsets can affect their experience of pain. For example, a soldier in battle or an athlete in competition may report that an injury did not feel especially painful in the heat of the moment.
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The blood test that could revolutionize concussion treatment — and pro sports

The blood test that could revolutionize concussion treatment — and pro sports | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Neuroscientists have developed a means of assessing an individual injury's long-term neurological damage
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Remapping the damaged brain

Remapping the damaged brain | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Scientists at the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies, along with researchers from the AIST Human Technology Research Institute in Japan, have identified a time-dependent interplay between two brain regions that contributes to the recovery...
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Hands-on: Thync mood-changing wearable is like doing drugs, without all the bad stuff

Hands-on: Thync mood-changing wearable is like doing drugs, without all the bad stuff | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
After spending a week walking the showroom floors of CES, a wearable claiming to change your mood is probably going to activate your BS sensors.
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Humans Are Heading Down A Path That Will Allow Us To Supercharge The Brain

Humans Are Heading Down A Path That Will Allow Us To Supercharge The Brain | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

“...”


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Millisecond-Scale Motor Encoding in a Cortical Vocal Area

Millisecond-Scale Motor Encoding in a Cortical Vocal Area | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Studies of motor control have almost universally examined firing rates to investigate how the brain shapes behavior. In principle, however, neurons could encode information through the precise temporal patterning of their spike trains as well as (or instead of) through their firing rates. Although the importance of spike timing has been demonstrated in sensory systems, it is largely unknown whether timing differences in motor areas could affect behavior. We tested the hypothesis that significant information about trial-by-trial variations in behavior is represented by spike timing in the songbird vocal motor system. We found that neurons in motor cortex convey information via spike timing far more often than via spike rate and that the amount of information conveyed at the millisecond timescale greatly exceeds the information available from spike counts. These results demonstrate that information can be represented by spike timing in motor circuits and suggest that timing variations evoke differences in behavior.

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The Unexpected Connection Between Gut Bacteria and Depression and Anxiety — PsyBlog

The Unexpected Connection Between Gut Bacteria and Depression and Anxiety — PsyBlog | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

How depression and anxiety are connected to bacteria in the gut. Consuming a prebiotic bacteria can have an anti-anxiety effect, the first ever human study of its kind has found. Researchers at the University of Oxford have discovered that an advanced prebiotic bacteria can reduce levels of anxiety in a clinical trial.

Like probiotics, prebiotics are functional foods: they have benefits beyond their purely nutritional valu


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Neuroplasticity can help with depression. Watch comedian Ruby Wax explain how

Neuroplasticity can help with depression. Watch comedian Ruby Wax explain how | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Comedian Ruby Wax discusses her journey that led her to learn about neuroplasticity and how it relates to mental illness.
The post Neuroplasticity can help with depression. Watch comedian Ruby Wax explain how appeared first on PsyPost.
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The Weird Reason It’s Hard to Empathise And Be Logical At The Same Time — PsyBlog

The Weird Reason It’s Hard to Empathise And Be Logical At The Same Time — PsyBlog | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
The strange influence of empathising on the capacity for logical thought.
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Neuroscience fiction

Neuroscience fiction | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

After two decades of almost complete dominance, a few bright souls started speaking up, asking: are all these brain studies really telling us much as we think they are?

Jocelyn Stoller's insight:

Computational neuroscience and neuroinformatics have advanced quite a bit, helping scientists understand the actual limitations and potentials of these tools. Not everyone keeps up . . . and there are knee jerk backlashes as well as overly quick adoption of claims.

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Lon Woodbury's curator insight, January 2, 2015 11:54 PM

The search for the definitive answer continues, and the past candidates are now seen as simplistic to the extent of wrong.  Remember reading about when all professionals believed the universe was like a big mechanical clock? -Lon

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The Secret of Empathy

The Secret of Empathy | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

In both mice and men, stress from the presence of strangers prevents feelings of empathy, a new study reports.'


“It turns out that even a shared experience that is as superficial as playing a video game together can move people from the ‘stranger zone’ to the ‘friend zone’ and generate meaningful levels of empathy,” said Mogil. “This research demonstrates that basic strategies to reduce social stress could start to move us from an empathy deficit to a surplus.”


“These findings raise many fascinating questions because we know failures in empathy are central to various psychological disorders and even social conflicts at both the personal and societal level,” said Mogil. “It’s also pretty surprising that empathy appears to work exactly the same way in mice and people.”


The research was supported by the Louise and Alan Edwards Foundation, the Natural

Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Pain Society, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Contact: Cynthia Lee – McGill University


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Hibernation hints at novel dementia and Alzheimer's therapy

Hibernation hints at novel dementia and Alzheimer's therapy | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

Bears, hedgehogs and mice destroy brain connections as they enter hibernation, and repair them as they wake up. A team of scientists now discovered "cold-shock chemicals" that trigger the process. They used theses to prevent brain cells dying in animals, and say that restoring lost memories may eventually be possible.


Experts have described the findings as "promising" and "exciting". In the early stages of Alzheimer's, and other neurodegenerative disorders, synapses are lost. This inevitably progresses to whole brain cells dying. But during hibernation, 20-30% of the connections in the brain - synapses - are culled as the body preserves precious resources over winter. And remarkably those connections are reformed in the spring, with no loss of memory.


In experiments, non-hibernating mice with Alzheimer's disease and prion disease were cooled so their body temperature dropped from 37˚C to 16-18˚C. Young diseased mice lost synapses during the chill and regained them as they warmed up. Old mice also lost brain connections, but were unable to re-establish them. The study, published in the journal Nature, found levels of a "cold-shock" chemical called RBM3 soared when young mice were chilled, but not in old mice. It suggested RBM3 was key to the formation of new connections.


In a further set of tests, the team showed the brain cell deaths from prion disease and Alzheimer's could be prevented by artificially boosting RBM3 levels. The discovery comes from the laboratory that was the first to prevent the death of brain tissue in a neurodegenerative disease.



Dr Doug Brown, the director of research and development at the Alzheimer's Society said: "We know that cooling body temperate can protect the brain from some forms of damage and it's interesting to see this protective mechanism now also being studied in neurodegenerative disease. "Connections between brain cells - called synapses - are lost early on in several neurodegenerative conditions, and this exciting study has shown for the first time that switching on a cold-shock protein called RBM3 can prevent these losses.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Representing “stuff” in visual cortex

Representing “stuff” in visual cortex | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Despite decades of study, we do not understand the fundamental processes by which our brain encodes and represents incoming visual information and uses it to guide perception and action. A wealth of evidence suggests that visual recognition is mediated by a series of areas in primate cortex known as the ventral stream, including V1 (primary visual cortex), V2, and V4 (Fig. 1A) (1). The earliest stages are to some extent understood; Hubel and Wiesel famously discovered, for example, that neurons in V1 respond selectively to the orientation and direction of a moving edge (2). However, a vast gulf remains between coding for a simple edge and representing the full richness of our visual world. David Hubel himself observed in 2012 that we still “have almost no examples of neural structures in which we know the difference between the information coming in and what is going out—what the structure is for. We have some idea of the answer for the retina, the lateral geniculate body, and the primary visual cortex, but that’s about it” (3). In PNAS, Okazawa et al. (4) make significant headway in this quest by uncovering and characterizing a unique form of neural selectivity in area V4.

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What is My Brain Telling Me and How? Decoding the Neural Syntax

What is My Brain Telling Me and How? Decoding the Neural Syntax | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

As I walk back to my car after a long and exciting day in class and lab, I have to pay attention to my environment for multiple reasons. First, I am clumsy and very likely to trip if I don’t. Secon...


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Neurons that detect disease

Neurons that detect disease | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Life in a group entails a major risk: that of being exposed to contagious pathogens. To counter this danger, different strategies have evolved in social species.
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Research looks at whether side effects of concussions lead to neurodegenerative diseases

Research looks at whether side effects of concussions lead to neurodegenerative diseases | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Dr. Alon Friedman, a neuroscience researcher and the Dennis Chair in Epilepsy Research, focuses his work on blood vessels and how they affect brain functions.
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Brain Damage Saved His Music - Issue 20: Creativity - Nautilus

Brain Damage Saved His Music - Issue 20: Creativity - Nautilus | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

“Five years ago, when neurosurgeon Marcelo Galarza saw images from jazz guitarist Pat Martino’s cerebral MRI, he was astonished.…”


Via Luis Valdes
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Understanding the Brain: The Neurobiology of Everyday Life

Understanding the Brain: The Neurobiology of Everyday Life | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Understanding the Brain: The Neurobiology of Everyday Life is a free online class taught by Peggy Mason of The University of Chicago
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Optogenetics Captures Neuronal Transmission in Live Mammalian Brain

Optogenetics Captures Neuronal Transmission in Live Mammalian Brain | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Researchers observe and measure synaptic transmission in a live animal using optogenetics.

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Is depression a kind of allergic reaction?

Is depression a kind of allergic reaction? | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A growing number of scientists are suggesting that depression is a result of inflammation caused by the body’s immune system
Barely a week goes by without a celebrity “opening up” about their “battle with depression”.
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Growth of cells offers dementia hope - Belfast Telegraph

Growth of cells offers dementia hope - Belfast Telegraph | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Cells used to study "dementia in a dish" have led scientists to a potential new treatment strategy for an inherited form of the brain disease.
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Shifting brain asymmetry: the link between meditation and structural lateralization

Shifting brain asymmetry: the link between meditation and structural lateralization | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Previous studies have revealed an increased fractional anisotropy and greater thickness in the anterior parts of the corpus callosum in meditation practitioners compared with control subjects.

Via Dave Vago
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