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brain regions in autism

Brain Imaging Shows That Social Brain Circuits Are Disrupted In Autism

In a study of high-functioning adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder, scientists using functional brain imaging have found reduced connectivity selectively affecting parts of the brain that form circuits supporting social behavior. The findings sharpen the focus of previous reports suggesting disruptions in connectivity across the brain in autism, and offer a target for future studies to search for the genes that shape the development of these circuits and how they become disrupted in the disorder.

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brain neural activity

Researchers Uncover Two Brain Signals Involved In How Humans Predict Other Peoples’ Decisions

Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute (BSI) in Japan have uncovered two brain signals in the human prefrontal cortex involved in how humans predict the decisions of other people. Their results suggest that the two signals, each located in distinct prefrontal circuits, strike a balance between expected and observed rewards and choices, which enables humans to predict the actions of people with different values than their own.

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MRI of the brain

Brain Structure Helps Guide Behavior By Anticipating Changing Demands

Every day the human brain is presented with tasks ranging from the trivial to the complex. How much mental effort and attention are devoted to each task is usually determined in a split second and without conscious awareness. Now a study from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers finds that a structure deep within the brain, believed to play an important role in regulating conscious control of goal-directed behavior, helps to optimize behavioral responses by predicting how difficult upcoming tasks will be.

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Researchers Yi-Yuan Tang and Michael Posner

Integrative Body-Mind Training Prompts Positive Changes In Brain White Matter

Scientists studying the Chinese mindfulness meditation known as integrative body-mind training (IBMT) say they have confirmed and expanded their findings on changes in structural efficiency of white matter in the brain that can be related to positive behavioral changes in subjects practicing the technique regularly for a month.

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PET scan machine

Neurotransmitter Dopamine Impacts Willingness to Work

Everyone knows that people vary substantially in how hard they are willing to work, but the origin of these individual differences in the brain remains a mystery. Now the veil has been pushed back by a new brain imaging study that has found an individual’s willingness to work hard to earn money is strongly influenced by the chemistry in three specific areas of the brain.

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dsi brain scan of a monkey

The Brain’s Connections Revealed In 3-D

The brain appears to be wired more like the checkerboard streets of New York City than the curvy lanes of Columbia, Md., suggests a new brain imaging study. The most detailed images, to date, reveal a pervasive 3D grid structure with no diagonals, say scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health.  Included in this report is a very cool video that shows the brain’s connections in three dimensional (3-D) viewing.

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