Neuroscience researchers from Tufts have demonstrated, for the first time, that the physiological response to stress depends on neurosteroids acting on specific receptors in the brain, and they have been able to block that response in mice. This breakthrough suggests that these critical receptors may be drug therapy targets for control of the stress-response pathway. This finding may pave the way for new approaches to manage a wide range of neurological disorders involving stress.
Tag Archives | Neuroscience
Before she could seek to convince the world that her computer model of a key brain circuit explains a fundamental, 80-year-old mystery of neuroscience with potential relevance to Parkinson’s disease, Stephanie Jones sought to convince Christopher Moore. The new Brown neuroscience professors are now close collaborators, but when they first started talking about the beta oscillations of the cortex, Moore thought Jones was plain wrong, if not a bit nuts.
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.
“Working memory” is what we have to keep track of things moment to moment: driving on a highway and focusing on the vehicles around us, then forgetting them as we move on; remembering all the names at the dinner party while conversing with one person about her job. Most psychologists explain working memory with a “controlled attention” model: one flexible system that directs the brain’s focus to stimuli and tasks that are important and suppressing the rest. The capacity of working memory, they say, is limited by our ability to attend to only one thing at a time.
University of Manchester scientists have taken a key step towards producing a high-performance computer which aims to create working models of human brain functions. Chips based on ARM processor technology will be linked together to simulate the highly-complex workings of the brain, whose functionality derives from networks of billions of interacting, highly-connected neurons.
Two studies featuring research from Weill Cornell Medical College have uncovered surprising details about the complex process that leads to the flow of neurotransmitters between brain neurons – a dance of chemical messages so delicate that missteps often lead to neurological dysfunction.
Scientists and educators alike have long known that cramming is not an effective way to remember things. With their latest findings, researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan, studying eye movement response in trained mice, have elucidated the neurological mechanism explaining why this is so. Published in the Journal of Neuroscience, their results suggest that protein synthesis in the cerebellum plays a key role in memory consolidation, shedding light on the fundamental neurological processes governing how we remember.
Scientists have developed a way to turn memories on and off — literally with the flip of a switch. Using an electronic system that duplicates the neural signals associated with memory, they managed to replicate the brain function in rats associated with long-term learned behavior, even when the rats had been drugged to forget. “Flip the switch on, and the rats remember. Flip it off, and the rats forget,” said Theodore Berger of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.