Scientists Image Brain at Point When Vocal Learning Begins

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High resolution in vivo images of neurons and associated dendritic spines in the brain of a juvenile songbird during the initial stages of song learning. Images taken by Todd Roberts.

Duke University Medical Center scientists crowded around a laser-powered microscope in a darkened room to peer into the brain of an anesthetized juvenile songbird right after he heard an adult tutors’ song for the first time.

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Built-in Amps: How Subtle Head Motions, Quiet Sounds Are Reported to the Brain

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A single hair cell from a frog ear magnified by a scanning electron microscope.

The phrase “perk up your ears” made more sense last year after scientists discovered how the quietest sounds are amplified in the cochlea before being transmitted to the brain.

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First Brain Recordings from Flying Fruit Flies

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A dye-filled glass electrode (pink) is inserted into a fruit fly’s brain.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have obtained the first recordings of brain-cell activity in an actively flying fruit fly.

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Can Chocolate Lower Your Risk of Stroke?

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Eating chocolate may lower your risk of having a stroke, according to an analysis of available research.

Eating chocolate may lower your risk of having a stroke, according to an analysis of available research that was released February 11 and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto April 10 to April 17, 2010. Another study found that eating chocolate may lower the risk of death after suffering a stroke.

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Seeing the Brain Hear Reveals Surprises About How Sound Is Processed

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The left shows thousands of dye-loaded cells in the mouse auditory cortex over a large area. The right shows the preferred frequency of many cells, and shows that neighboring cells can have dramatically different frequency preference.

New research shows our brains are a lot more chaotic than previously thought, and that this might be a good thing. Neurobiologists at the University of Maryland have discovered information about how the brain processes sound that challenges previous understandings of the auditory cortex that suggested an organization based on precise neuronal maps. In the first study of the auditory cortex conducted using advanced imaging techniques, Patrick Kanold, Assistant Professor of Biology, Shihab Shamma, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Sharba Bandyopadhyay, post-doctoral.

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Is the Hobbit’s Brain Unfeasibly Small?

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These are the skulls of Homo floresiensis (left) and Homo sapiens (right).

Homo floresiensis, a pygmy-sized small-brained hominin popularly known as ‘the Hobbit’ was discovered five years ago, but controversy continues over whether the small brain is actually due to a pathological condition. How can its tiny brain size be explained? Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Biology have tackled this question in the context of a comprehensive assessment of the evolution of brain and body size throughout the larger primate family.

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Neurons Developed from Stem Cells Successfully Wired With Other Brain Regions in Animals

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This is a single stem cell-derived neuron that has migrated away from the transplantation site in the cortex and grown into a mature neuron.

Transplanted neurons grown from embryonic stem cells can fully integrate into the brains of young animals, according to new research in the Jan. 20 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

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Video Gamers: Size of Brain Structures Predicts Success

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Brain structures are a clear indicator of video game success

Researchers can predict your performance on a video game simply by measuring the volume of specific structures in your brain, a multi-institutional team reports this week.

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How Music ‘Moves’ Us: Listeners’ Brains Second-Guess the Composer

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Our brains continuously predict what is going to happen next

New research predicts that expectations about what is going to happen next in a piece of music should be different for people with different musical experience and sheds light on the brain mechanisms involved.

Have you ever accidentally pulled your headphone socket out while listening to music? What happens when the music stops? Psychologists believe that our brains continuously predict what is going to happen next in a piece of music. So, when the music stops, your brain may still have expectations about what should happen next.

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New Stroke Therapy Successful in Rats: Protein Completely Restores Motor Function

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James Fallon mobilizes existing stem cells, causing them to proliferate, migrate and eventually differentiate into new cells (shown by the red area back left) that fill in the damaged brain, returning function to the stroke victim.

People with impaired mobility after a stroke soon may have a therapy that restores limb function long after the injury, if a supplemental protein works as well in humans as it does in paralyzed rats.

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Naked Mole Rats May Hold Clues to Surviving Stroke

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Naked mole rats.

Blind, nearly hairless, and looking something like toothy, plump, pink fingers, naked mole rats may rank among nature’s most maligned creatures, but their unusual physiology endears them to scientists.

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New Brain Connections Form Rapidly During Motor Learning

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New connections begin to form between brain cells almost immediately as animals learn a new task, according to a new study.

New connections begin to form between brain cells almost immediately as animals learn a new task, according to a study published recently in Nature. Led by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the study involved detailed observations of the rewiring processes that take place in the brain during motor learning.

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