During sleep, our perception of the environment decreases. However the extent to which the human brain responds to surrounding noises during sleep remains unclear. In a study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers from University of Liège (Belgium) used brain imaging to study responses to sounds during sleep. In this study, the research team led by Dr Thanh Dang-Vu and Prof. Pierre Maquet (Cyclotron Research Center, University of Liège) shows that brain activity induced by sounds during sleep closely depends on brain waves that constitute our sleep.
Imagine tapping into the mind of a coma patient, or watching one’s own dream on YouTube. With a cutting-edge blend of brain imaging and computer simulation, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, are bringing these futuristic scenarios within reach. Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and computational models, UC Berkeley researchers have succeeded in decoding and reconstructing people’s dynamic visual experiences – in this case, watching Hollywood movie trailers.
The human brain does not stop developing at adolescence, but continues well into our 20s, demonstrates recent research from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta. It has been a long-held belief in medical communities that the human brain stopped developing in adolescence. But now there is evidence that this is in fact not the case, thanks to medical research conducted in the Department of Biomedical Engineering by researcher Christian Beaulieu, an Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions scientist, and by his PhD student at the time, Catherine Lebel.
New research from MIT suggests that there are parts of our brain dedicated to language and only language, a finding that marks a major advance in the search for brain regions specialized for sophisticated mental functions. Functional specificity, as it’s known to cognitive scientists, refers to the idea that discrete parts of the brain handle distinct tasks.
All of us, at times, ruminate or brood on a problem in order to make the best possible decision in a complex situation. But sometimes, rumination becomes unproductive or even detrimental to making good life choices. Such is the case in depression, where non-productive ruminations are a common and distressing symptom of the disorder. In fact, individuals suffering from depression often ruminate about being depressed.
In an effort to understand what happens in the brain when a person reads or considers such abstract ideas as love or justice, Princeton researchers have for the first time matched images of brain activity with categories of words related to the concepts a person is thinking about. The results could lead to a better understanding of how people consider meaning and context when reading or thinking.
Depression is increasingly recognized as an illness that strikes repeatedly over the lifespan, creating cycles of relapse and recovery. This sobering knowledge has prompted researchers to search for markers of relapse risk in people who have recovered from depression. A new paper published in Elsevier’s Biological Psychiatry suggests that when formerly depressed people experience mild states of sadness, the nature of their brains’ response can predict whether or not they will become depressed again.
Our memories work better when our brains are prepared to absorb new information, according to a new study by MIT researchers. A team led by Professor John Gabrieli has shown that activity in a specific part of the brain, known as the parahippocampal cortex (PHC), predicts how well people will remember a visual scene.