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Improving prefrontal cortex activity could help autistic people regulate emotions

Improving prefrontal cortex activity could help autistic people regulate emotions

Tantrums, irritability, self-injury, depression, anxiety. These symptoms are associated with autism, but they're not considered core symptoms of the disorder. Researchers from the UNC School of Medicine are challenging this assertion. They have used functional MRI to show that - when it comes to the ability to regulate emotions - brain activity in autistic people is significantly different than brain activity in people without autism. [More]

Large numbers of boys suffer from cognitive disabilities linked to lead than girls

A study recently published in the Journal of Environmental Health provides evidence the female hormones estrogen and estradiol may help ward off the effects of lead exposure for young girls, explaining why boys, in greater numbers than girls, are shown to suffer from the cognitive disabilities linked to lead. [More]
International study identifies genetic factors that influence the size of brain structures

International study identifies genetic factors that influence the size of brain structures

An international study, which included researchers from NUI Galway, has identified significant genetic factors that influence the size of structures within the brain. It is hoped these new insights may help scientists better understand disorders such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease and epilepsy. [More]
UCLA researchers find new treatment that restores normal social behavior in autism mice model

UCLA researchers find new treatment that restores normal social behavior in autism mice model

Among the problems people with Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) struggle with are difficulties with social behavior and communication. That can translate to an inability to make friends, engage in routine conversations, or pick up on the social cues that are second nature to most people. Similarly, in a mouse model of ASD, the animals, like humans, show little interest in interacting or socializing with other mice. [More]
Brain uses separate pathway to recall old fear memories

Brain uses separate pathway to recall old fear memories

People with anxiety disorders, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), often experience prolonged and exaggerated fearfulness. Now, an animal study suggests that this might involve disruption of a gradual shifting of brain circuitry for retrieving fear memories. Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have discovered in rats that an old fear memory is recalled by a separate brain pathway from the one originally used to recall it when it was fresh. [More]
Scientists explore how the brain adapts to visual restoration

Scientists explore how the brain adapts to visual restoration

Recent scientific advances have meant that eyesight can be partially restored to those who previously would have been blind for life. However, scientists at the University of Montreal and the University of Trento have discovered that the rewiring of the senses that occurs in the brains of the long-term blind means that visual restoration may never be complete. [More]

New brain-imaging technique may help identify autistic children in just two minutes

Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists have developed a brain-imaging technique that may be able to identify children with autism spectrum disorder in just two minutes. [More]
McGill University researchers identify network of complex neurons in the brain

McGill University researchers identify network of complex neurons in the brain

Our ability to pay attention to certain things while ignoring distractions determines how good we are at a given task, whether it is driving a car or doing brain surgery. A research team at McGill University has for the first time convincingly identified a network of neurons in a particular area of the brain, the lateral prefrontal cortex, that interact with one another to promptly filter visual information while at the same time ignoring distractions. It's a discovery with potentially far reaching implications for people who suffer from diseases such as autism, ADHD and schizophrenia. [More]

Researchers detect close functional link between two brain regions for 'absolute pitch'

People who have "absolute pitch" can identify notes immediately without relying on a reference tone. Intensive research is being conducted into the neuronal basis of this extraordinary ability at the University of Zurich's Department of Neuropsychology. The researchers have now detected a close functional link between the auditory cortex in the brain and the frontal lobe in these extraordinary people - a discovery that is not only important in theory, but also in practice. [More]
New study shows that menstrual cycle may have an effect on nicotine cravings

New study shows that menstrual cycle may have an effect on nicotine cravings

The menstrual cycle appears to have an effect on nicotine cravings, according to a new study by Adrianna Mendrek of the University of Montreal and its affiliated Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal. [More]
Transcranial direct current stimulation can help modify attention to threat

Transcranial direct current stimulation can help modify attention to threat

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a painless treatment strategy that uses weak electrical currents to deliver targeted stimulation to the brain via electrodes placed on the scalp. tDCS has shown promise in treating mood, anxiety, cognition, and some symptoms of Parkinson's disease. [More]
Researchers say that misfiring of the brain's control system may underpin compulsions in OCD

Researchers say that misfiring of the brain's control system may underpin compulsions in OCD

Misfiring of the brain's control system might underpin compulsions in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), according to researchers at the University of Cambridge, writing in the American Journal of Psychiatry. [More]
Bipolar brain changes both state- and trait-dependent

Bipolar brain changes both state- and trait-dependent

Some of the alterations in brain activation in patients with bipolar disorder are dependent on their current mood, study findings show. [More]
Novel technique to identify biological markers in brain development

Novel technique to identify biological markers in brain development

With a unique, multi-faceted approach, researchers at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development have quantified the effect of previously unidentified anomalies in genetic expression that determine how the human brain develops from its earliest stages. [More]
Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition 2014 winners announced

Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition 2014 winners announced

From algae to zebrafish, life under the microscope can be beautiful, surprising and mysterious. This week, amazing glimpses of the unseen universe earned top prizes in the 2014 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®, the world’s foremost forum for showcasing microscope images of life science subjects. [More]
UT Southwestern researchers identify possible therapy to treat neurofibromatosis type 1

UT Southwestern researchers identify possible therapy to treat neurofibromatosis type 1

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have identified a possible therapy to treat neurofibromatosis type 1 or NF1, a childhood neurological disease characterized by learning deficits and autism that is caused by inherited mutations in the gene encoding a protein called neurofibromin. [More]
Experts expose fundamental role of chaos and complexity in biological information processing

Experts expose fundamental role of chaos and complexity in biological information processing

The interdisciplinary approach to problems that till recently were addressed in the hermetic framework of distinct disciplines such as physics, informatics, biology or sociology constitutes today one of the most active and innovative areas of science, where fundamental issues meet problems of everyday concern. [More]
Study: Obese children's brains light up differently when tasting sugar

Study: Obese children's brains light up differently when tasting sugar

A new study led by researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine finds that the brains of obese children literally light up differently when tasting sugar. [More]
Cerebellar cortical volume reduction specific to schizophrenia

Cerebellar cortical volume reduction specific to schizophrenia

Reduced cerebellar cortical volume occurs only in patients with schizophrenia, rather than all those with psychosis, say researchers. [More]
New study explores reliability of optogenetics as method of intervention of temporal lobe seizures

New study explores reliability of optogenetics as method of intervention of temporal lobe seizures

Optogenetics is one of the hottest tools in biomedical research today, a method that uses gene therapy to deliver light-sensitive proteins into specific cells. This new tool allows researchers to interact with a single cell or a network of cells with exquisite precision. Whereas imaging and other technologies allow researchers to watch the brain in action, optogenetics enables them to influence those actions. [More]