Awake mental replay of past experiences is essential for making informed choices, suggests a study in rats. Without it, the animals’ memory-based decision-making faltered, say scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health. The researchers blocked learning from, and acting on, past experience by selectively suppressing replay — encoded as split-second bursts of neuronal activity in the memory hubs of rats performing a maze task. Included in this report is an extended video presentation of the study results.
Tag Archives | Cognition
Combining mentally stimulating activities, such as using a computer, with moderate exercise decreases your odds of having memory loss more than computer use or exercise alone, a Mayo Clinic study shows. Included in this report is a video summary of the study results with the lead research.
New research by psychologists at Queen Mary, University of London has revealed that the way we see the world might depend on reflexes in the brain. Writing in the Journal of Vision, Dr Michael Proulx from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, and former student Monique Green, explain how an optical illusion known as the Müller-Lyer Illusion captures our attention more strongly than other visual tests, suggesting that the brain calculates size as a reflex fast enough to guide where the eyes look. Check the end of this report for a link to download the full text, original research paper.
People with diets high in several vitamins or in omega 3 fatty acids are less likely to have the brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer’s disease than people whose diets are not high in those nutrients, according to a new study published in the December 28, 2011, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study author was Gene Bowman, ND, MPH, of Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
Both children and the elderly have slower response times when they have to make quick decisions in some settings. But recent research suggests that much of that slower response is a conscious choice to emphasize accuracy over speed. In fact, healthy older people can be trained to respond faster in some decision-making tasks without hurting their accuracy – meaning their cognitive skills in this area are not so different from younger adults.
Babies born at a very low birth weight are more likely to have memory and attention problems when they become adults than babies born at a low to normal weight, according to a study published in the December 6, 2011, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
A healthy diet and the right amount of exercise are key players in treating and preventing obesity but we still know little about the relationship both factors have with each other. A new study now reveals that an increase in physical activity is linked to an improvement in diet quality. Many questions arise when trying to lose weight. Would it be better to start on a diet and then do exercise, or the other way around? And how much does one compensate the other?
As we get older, our cognitive abilities change, improving when we’re younger and declining as we age. Scientists posit a hierarchical structure within which these abilities are organized. There’s the “lowest” level — measured by specific tests, such as story memory or word memory; the second level, which groups various skills involved in a category of cognitive ability, such as memory, perceptual speed, or reasoning; and finally, the “general,” or G, factor, a sort of statistical aggregate of all the thinking abilities.