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Brain's motor cortex can directly turn down hearing

Brain's motor cortex can directly turn down hearing

When we want to listen carefully to someone, the first thing we do is stop talking. The second thing we do is stop moving altogether. This strategy helps us hear better by preventing unwanted sounds generated by our own movements. [More]
Researchers endow mice with greater touch sensitivity by striking brain rhythm

Researchers endow mice with greater touch sensitivity by striking brain rhythm

By striking up the right rhythm in the right brain region at the right time, Brown University neuroscientists report in Nature Neuroscience that they managed to endow mice with greater touch sensitivity than other mice, making hard-to-perceive vibrations suddenly more vivid to them. [More]
Scientists discover area of brain that could control person's motivation to exercise

Scientists discover area of brain that could control person's motivation to exercise

Scientists at Seattle Children's Research Institute have discovered an area of the brain that could control a person's motivation to exercise and participate in other rewarding activities - potentially leading to improved treatments for depression. [More]
NIH-funded study explores how thalamic reticular nucleus influences consciousness

NIH-funded study explores how thalamic reticular nucleus influences consciousness

Ever wonder why it's hard to focus after a bad night's sleep? Using mice and flashes of light, scientists show that just a few nerve cells in the brain may control the switch between internal thoughts and external distractions. [More]
New techniques offer insight into cell-by-cell makeup of organisms

New techniques offer insight into cell-by-cell makeup of organisms

In general, our knowledge of biology-and much of science in general-is limited by our ability to actually see things. Researchers who study developmental problems and disease, in particular, are often limited by their inability to look inside an organism to figure out exactly what went wrong and when. [More]
New technology in field of optogenetics can remotely control specific receptors by light

New technology in field of optogenetics can remotely control specific receptors by light

Institute for Basic Science (IBS), the main organization of the International Science and Business Belt project in South Korea, has announced that a group of researchers, led by professor Won Do Heo, have developed a new technology in the field of optogenetics that can remotely control specific receptors by light. [More]
New evidence for painless AF treatment to be presented at FCVB 2014

New evidence for painless AF treatment to be presented at FCVB 2014

The first evidence for a shockless treatment for atrial fibrillation (AF) will be presented today at Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology (FCVB) 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. T [More]
Light-sensitive molecule enables noninvasive silencing of neurons

Light-sensitive molecule enables noninvasive silencing of neurons

Optogenetics, a technology that allows scientists to control brain activity by shining light on neurons, relies on light-sensitive proteins that can suppress or stimulate electrical signals within cells. This technique requires a light source to be implanted in the brain, where it can reach the cells to be controlled. [More]
Neuroscientists can control muscle movement by applying optogenetics

Neuroscientists can control muscle movement by applying optogenetics

For the first time, MIT neuroscientists have shown they can control muscle movement by applying optogenetics - a technique that allows scientists to control neurons' electrical impulses with light - to the spinal cords of animals that are awake and alert. [More]
Scientists use a flash of light to erase and restore memory

Scientists use a flash of light to erase and restore memory

Using a flash of light, scientists have inactivated and then reactivated a memory in genetically engineered rats. The study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, is the first cause-and-effect evidence that strengthened connections between neurons are the stuff of memory. [More]
Researchers develop imaging system that reveals neural activity throughout brains of living animals

Researchers develop imaging system that reveals neural activity throughout brains of living animals

Researchers at MIT and the University of Vienna have created an imaging system that reveals neural activity throughout the brains of living animals. [More]

Researchers identify certain neurons responsible for behavioral decisions in rats

A new paper published by OIST's Neurobiology Research Unit identifies some of the neurons responsible for behavioral decisions in rats. Using a technique that employs light to control nerve cell activity, researchers in Professor Jeff Wickens' Unit inactivated a region of the brain and showed that it caused the rats to behave more flexibly while trying to get a reward. [More]
Researchers find two types of neurons that enable spinal cord to control skilled forelimb movement

Researchers find two types of neurons that enable spinal cord to control skilled forelimb movement

Researchers have identified two types of neurons that enable the spinal cord to control skilled forelimb movement. The first is a group of excitatory interneurons that are needed to make accurate and precise movements; the second is a group of inhibitory interneurons necessary for achieving smooth movement of the limbs. [More]
Study points to new therapeutic strategy for treating depression

Study points to new therapeutic strategy for treating depression

A new study points to a conceptually novel therapeutic strategy for treating depression. Instead of dampening neuron firing found with stress-induced depression, researchers demonstrated for the first time that further activating these neurons opens a new avenue to mimic and promote natural resilience. [More]
Study identifies touch-activated molecule in skin cells

Study identifies touch-activated molecule in skin cells

In a study published in the April 6 online edition of the journal Nature, a team of Columbia University Medical Center researchers led by Ellen Lumpkin, PhD, associate professor of somatosensory biology, solve an age-old mystery of touch: how cells just beneath the skin surface enable us to feel fine details and textures. [More]

Scientists present protein that facilitates control of nerve cells by light

​Networked nerve cells are the control center of organisms. In a nematode, 300 nerve cells are sufficient to initiate complex behavior. To understand the properties of the networks, re-searchers switch cells on and off with light and observe the resulting behavior of the organism. [More]
Opiate use alters activity of specific protein needed for normal functioning of brain's reward center

Opiate use alters activity of specific protein needed for normal functioning of brain's reward center

Identifying the specific pathways that promote opioid addiction, pain relief, and tolerance are crucial for developing more effective and less dangerous analgesics, as well as developing new treatments for addiction. [More]
Optogenetics technique allows scientists to control neurons' electrical activity

Optogenetics technique allows scientists to control neurons' electrical activity

Optogenetics is a technique that allows scientists to control neurons' electrical activity with light by engineering them to express light-sensitive proteins. Within the past decade, it has become a very powerful tool for discovering the functions of different types of cells in the brain. [More]
Researchers pinpoint neural circuitry that promotes stress-induced anxiety

Researchers pinpoint neural circuitry that promotes stress-induced anxiety

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 18 percent of American adults suffer from anxiety disorders, characterized as excessive worry or tension that often leads to other physical symptoms. Previous studies of anxiety in the brain have focused on the amygdala, an area known to play a role in fear. [More]
New ways to treat substance abuse, neurological diseases and mental illnesses

New ways to treat substance abuse, neurological diseases and mental illnesses

​Researchers at the University at Buffalo have found a way to change alcohol drinking behavior in rodents, using the emerging technique of optogenetics, which uses light to stimulate neurons. [More]