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New technology allows researchers to temporarily shut down brain area to better understand function

New technology allows researchers to temporarily shut down brain area to better understand function

Capitalizing on experimental genetic techniques, researchers at the California National Primate Research Center, or CNPRC, at the University of California, Davis, have demonstrated that temporarily turning off an area of the brain changes patterns of activity across much of the remaining brain. [More]
Researchers identify stress mechanism in the brain that appears to act as social switch

Researchers identify stress mechanism in the brain that appears to act as social switch

Meeting new people can be both stressful and rewarding. Research at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, reported today in Nature Neuroscience, suggests that a molecule involved in regulating stress in the brain may also help determine how willing we are to leave the safety of our social group and strike up new relationships. [More]
Study shows parvalbumin-interneurons in the amygdala influence fear memory encoding

Study shows parvalbumin-interneurons in the amygdala influence fear memory encoding

Fear memory encoding, the process responsible for persistent reactions to trauma-associated cues, is influenced by a sparse but potent population of inhibitory cells called parvalbumin-interneurons (PV-INs) in the amygdala, according to a study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published online July 14 in the journal Neuron. [More]
Regular drug use may hamper moral decision making

Regular drug use may hamper moral decision making

Regular cocaine and methamphetamine users can have difficulty choosing between right and wrong, perhaps because the specific parts of their brains used for moral processing and evaluating emotions are damaged by their prolonged drug habits. [More]
Study shows stress relief after eating highly palatable foods may vary between sexes

Study shows stress relief after eating highly palatable foods may vary between sexes

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have found that the brain networks that mediate stress relief after eating highly palatable foods may vary between males and females, and may also depend on the stage of the estrous cycle. [More]
Changes in neural circuit involved in emotional resilience may help youngsters adapt to childhood adversity

Changes in neural circuit involved in emotional resilience may help youngsters adapt to childhood adversity

A new study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging reports a neural signature of emotional adaptation that could help researchers understand how the brain adapts to childhood adversity and predict which kids may be vulnerable to developing later psychopathology. [More]
Why does appetite loss occur during illness? An interview with Prof. Conti and Prof. Francesconi

Why does appetite loss occur during illness? An interview with Prof. Conti and Prof. Francesconi

Appetite, as a word, come from the Latin appetitus, meaning "desire for.” Therefore, appetite can be defined as a pleasurable sensation or the desire to eat. This sensation is coordinated by several brain areas associated with reward processing such amygdala, hippocampus, ventral pallidum, nucleus accumbens and striatum, and others. [More]
HDAC inhibitors may help regulate alcoholism-induced anxiety

HDAC inhibitors may help regulate alcoholism-induced anxiety

Epigenetics is the study of changes in organisms caused by modifying gene expression - by alcohol, for example - rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. Recent evidence suggests that alcohol can inhibit activity of an enzyme called histone deacetylase (HDAC) in the amygdala, a brain region that is crucial for storing memories and regulating fear, anxiety, and other emotions. [More]
Research highlights significance of ultra-rapid brain responses to threat-related visual stimuli

Research highlights significance of ultra-rapid brain responses to threat-related visual stimuli

An international team lead by researchers from CTB-UPM shows that the amygdala in the human brain is able to detect possible threats in the visual environment at ultra-fast time scales. [More]
Scientists use optogenetics technique to increase memory in mice brain

Scientists use optogenetics technique to increase memory in mice brain

Raül Andero Galí, one of the heads of the "Neurobiology of Stress and Addiction" research group at the Institut de Neurociències of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and researcher at Harvard University, published an article in which, for the first time in Spain, optogenetics was used to increase memory. [More]
Understanding how opiates affect brain pathways to drive addiction cycle

Understanding how opiates affect brain pathways to drive addiction cycle

New research by Steven Laviolette's research team at Western University is contributing to a better understanding of the ways opiate-class drugs modify brain circuits to drive the addiction cycle. [More]
Altered circadian somatostatin expression linked to bipolar disorder

Altered circadian somatostatin expression linked to bipolar disorder

Results of the first study of its kind to link abnormalities in circadian rhythms to changes in specific neurotransmitters in people with bipolar disorder will be published this week in the journal Biological Psychiatry. [More]
New experimental drug may prevent stress damage in the brain

New experimental drug may prevent stress damage in the brain

Chronic stress can make us worn-out, anxious, depressed--in fact, it can change the architecture of the brain. [More]
Rockefeller scientists develop new technique that captures detailed snapshot of brain activity

Rockefeller scientists develop new technique that captures detailed snapshot of brain activity

When it comes to measuring brain activity, scientists have tools that can take a precise look at a small slice of the brain (less than one cubic millimeter), or a blurred look at a larger area. [More]
Coprophagia linked to neurodegenerative dementia

Coprophagia linked to neurodegenerative dementia

Coprophagia, eating one's feces, is common in animals but rarely seen in humans. Mayo Clinic researchers reviewed the cases of a dozen adult patients diagnosed with coprophagia over the past 20 years and found that the behavior is associated with a wide range of neuropsychiatric disorders, particularly neurodegenerative dementias. [More]
Researchers explore effects of adolescent obesity on cognitive performance in adulthood

Researchers explore effects of adolescent obesity on cognitive performance in adulthood

The Franco-Mexican research explores the cognitive performance in adulthood when the subjects have been exposed to an obesogenic environment during adolescence. [More]
Changes in the brain make people prone to alcoholism

Changes in the brain make people prone to alcoholism

The brain tissue of persons with alcohol dependence shows a variety of changes compared to non-alcoholic control persons. All alcoholics' brains share some characteristics, but some are exclusive to the brain tissue of anxiety-prone type 1 alcoholics or impulsive type 2 alcoholics, according to a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland. [More]
UNC-Chapel Hill researchers identify functional brain circuit that controls alcohol binge drinking

UNC-Chapel Hill researchers identify functional brain circuit that controls alcohol binge drinking

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have identified a circuit between two brain regions that controls alcohol binge drinking, offering a more complete picture on what drives a behavior that costs the United States more than $170 billion annually and how it can be treated. [More]
Study points to potential way to make people behave in less selfish, more altruistic ways

Study points to potential way to make people behave in less selfish, more altruistic ways

It's an age-old quandary: Are we born "noble savages" whose best intentions are corrupted by civilization, as the 18th century Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau contended? Or are we fundamentally selfish brutes who need civilization to rein in our base impulses, as the 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes argued? After exploring the areas of the brain that fuel our empathetic impulses -- and temporarily disabling other regions that oppose those impulses -- two UCLA neuroscientists are coming down on the optimistic side of human nature. [More]
Patients with schizophrenia demonstrate specific leftward asymmetry for globus pallidus volume

Patients with schizophrenia demonstrate specific leftward asymmetry for globus pallidus volume

A Japanese research group found that patients with schizophrenia demonstrated a specific leftward volumetric asymmetry for the globus pallidus, one of the basal ganglia of the brain. The basal ganglia are involved in motivation and volition, the impairment of which may result in difficulties in social life. This finding is expected to help elucidate the underlying pathological mechanisms of schizophrenia. Moreover, it will be a step toward the development of therapeutic strategies for schizophrenia. [More]
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