Rats’ Mental ‘Instant Replay’ Drives Next Moves

090826152810-large

rats use a mental instant replay of their actions to help them decide what to do next

Researchers at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory have found that rats use a mental instant replay of their actions to help them decide what to do next, shedding new light on how animals and humans learn and remember.

Continue reading… “Rats’ Mental ‘Instant Replay’ Drives Next Moves”

0

Blast Waves May Cause Human Brain Injury Even Without Direct Head Impacts

57708_united_states_army_soldier_09

The Army’s Advanced Combat Helmet replaced the older Personal Armor System for Ground Troops helmet.

New research on the effects of blast waves could lead to an enhanced understanding of head injuries and improved military helmet design.

Continue reading… “Blast Waves May Cause Human Brain Injury Even Without Direct Head Impacts”

0

Brain’s Center For Perceiving 3-D Motion Is Identified

090721091831-large

Drs. Bas Rokers (pictured), Alex Huk and Larry Cormack discovered the center for 3-D motion processing in the human brain, the MT+ area

Ducking a punch or a thrown spear calls for the power of the human brain to process 3-D motion, and to perceive an object (whether it’s offensive or not) moving in three dimensions is critical to survival. It also leads to a lot of fun at 3-D movies.

Continue reading… “Brain’s Center For Perceiving 3-D Motion Is Identified”

0

Newborn Brain Cells Improve Our Ability To Navigate Our Environment

090709140808-large

This image depicts a Paired Associates Learning (PAL) task, in which mice have to choose a specific object in its correct location on a touch screen to obtain a reward.

Although the fact that we generate new brain cells throughout life is no longer disputed, their purpose has been the topic of much debate. Now, an international collaboration of researchers made a big leap forward in understanding what all these newborn neurons might actually do. Their study, published in the July 10, 2009, issue of the journal Science, illustrates how these young cells improve our ability to navigate our environment. Continue reading… “Newborn Brain Cells Improve Our Ability To Navigate Our Environment”

0

Paralyzed People Using Computers, Amputees Controlling Bionic Limbs, With Microelectrodes On (Not In) Brain

090629081137-large

Microwires emerging from the green and orange tubes connect to two arrays of 16 microelectrodes. Each array is embedded in a small mat of clear, rubbery silicone

Experimental devices that read brain signals have helped paralyzed people use computers and may let amputees control bionic limbs. But existing devices use tiny electrodes that poke into the brain. Now, a University of Utah study shows that brain signals controlling arm movements can be detected accurately using new microelectrodes that sit on the brain but don’t penetrate it.

Continue reading… “Paralyzed People Using Computers, Amputees Controlling Bionic Limbs, With Microelectrodes On (Not In) Brain”

0

Site For Alcohol’s Action In The Brain Discovered

bud-light-alcohol-drink1.jpg

New research sheds light on how alcohol alters the way brain cells work.

Alcohol’s inebriating effects are familiar to everyone. But the molecular details of alcohol’s impact on brain activity remain a mystery. A new study by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies brings us closer to understanding how alcohol alters the way brain cells work.

Continue reading… “Site For Alcohol’s Action In The Brain Discovered”

0

Evidence Of Memory Seen In Songbird Brain

 090626141237-large.jpg

University of Illinois cell and developmental biology professor David Clayton

When a zebra finch hears a new song from a member of its own species, the experience changes gene expression in its brain in unexpected ways, researchers report. The sequential switching on and off of thousands of genes after a bird hears a new tune offers a new picture of memory in the songbird brain. Continue reading… “Evidence Of Memory Seen In Songbird Brain”

0

Social Competition May Be Reason For Bigger Brain

 skulls.jpg

 human brains have grown more than any other mammals

For the past 2 million years, the size of the human brain has tripled, growing much faster than other mammals. Examining the reasons for human brain expansion, University of Missouri researchers studied three common hypotheses for brain growth: climate change, ecological demands and social competition. The team found that social competition is the major cause of increased cranial capacity.

Continue reading… “Social Competition May Be Reason For Bigger Brain”

0

Male Or Female? Coloring Provides Gender Cues

090527121049-large.jpg

Our brain is wired to identify gender based on facial cues and coloring, according to a new study published in the Journal of Vision. Psychology Professor Frédéric Gosselin and his Université de Montréal team found the luminescence of the eyebrow and mouth region is vital in rapid gender discrimination.

Continue reading… “Male Or Female? Coloring Provides Gender Cues”

0