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The Thalamus is an area of the brain that helps process information from the senses and transmit it to other parts of the brain.
Researchers identify role of darks in visual brain maps

Researchers identify role of darks in visual brain maps

Scientists have been studying how visual space is mapped in the cerebral cortex for many decades under the assumption that the map is equal for lights and darks. Surprisingly, recent work demonstrates that visual brain maps are dark-centric and that, just as stars rotate around black holes in the Universe, lights rotate around darks in the brain representation of visual space. [More]
Heavy marijuana use may lead to lower dopamine release in the brain

Heavy marijuana use may lead to lower dopamine release in the brain

In a recent study, researchers found evidence of a compromised dopamine system in heavy users of marijuana. Lower dopamine release was found in the striatum - a region of the brain that is involved in working memory, impulsive behavior, and attention. Previous studies have shown that addiction to other drugs of abuse, such as cocaine and heroin, have similar effects on dopamine release, but such evidence for cannabis was missing until now. [More]
Understanding neuronal feedback could provide new insight into visual perception

Understanding neuronal feedback could provide new insight into visual perception

Ever see something that isn't really there? Could your mind be playing tricks on you? The "tricks" might be your brain reacting to feedback between neurons in different parts of the visual system, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience by Carnegie Mellon University Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Sandra J. Kuhlman and colleagues. [More]
Defective PTCHD1 gene in brain creates symptoms associated with autism and ADHD

Defective PTCHD1 gene in brain creates symptoms associated with autism and ADHD

Evidence is mounting that a gene called PTCHD1 helps the brain sort between important sights and sounds — and distractions. This gene is active in a brain region that attaches more attention to a conversation with your boss, for instance, than to an air conditioner buzzing in the background. [More]
MU researchers use MRI to study effects of Phenylketonuria

MU researchers use MRI to study effects of Phenylketonuria

All children are screened for a host of conditions at birth, such as Phenylketonuria (PKU), a genetic disorder that is passed by mutated genes from both parents to their offspring. PKU is rare, only affecting one in every 10,000 children in the U.S.; therefore, it is seldom studied. [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]
New deep brain stimulation improves symptoms in Tourette's patients

New deep brain stimulation improves symptoms in Tourette's patients

Specifically-targeted deep brain stimulation improves symptoms in patients with severe Tourette's, a study reports in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry. [More]
Astrocytes implicated in preclinical AD

Astrocytes implicated in preclinical AD

Astrocytes are activated in the brains of people with autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease long before symptoms appear and even before amyloidosis begins, a study shows. [More]
Study could open door for new treatment targets to help Parkinson's disease patients walk more easily

Study could open door for new treatment targets to help Parkinson's disease patients walk more easily

Two secrets of one of the brain's most enigmatic regions have finally been revealed. In a pair of new studies, scientists from the Gladstone Institutes have discovered a specific neural circuit that controls walking, and they found that input to this circuit is disrupted in Parkinson's disease. [More]
Higher-order thalamus enhances and temporarily stores sensory signals

Higher-order thalamus enhances and temporarily stores sensory signals

Every day, we constantly absorb information through our sensory organs, which the brain then needs to process correctly. The information initially reaches the main relay center, the thalamus, and then travels to the cerebral cortex. [More]
Ultrafast near-infrared lasers deliver gene therapy to treat macular degeneration

Ultrafast near-infrared lasers deliver gene therapy to treat macular degeneration

Millions of adults over age 50 struggle each year with vision loss caused by damage to the retina or common macular degeneration. [More]

Study explores how contextual information shapes our visual perception

The Thalamus not only relays visual signals from the eye to the visual cortex as previously thought, but also conveys additional, contextual information. [More]
Bern study sheds light on the brain mechanism of arousal

Bern study sheds light on the brain mechanism of arousal

Scientists from Bern have discovered a mechanism which is responsible for the rapid arousal from sleep and anesthesia in the brain. The results of their study suggest new strategies for the medical treatment of sleep disorders and recovery of consciousness in vegetative states. [More]
Central thalamus tunes the brain to different states of activity and arousal

Central thalamus tunes the brain to different states of activity and arousal

Scientists showed that they could alter brain activity of rats and either wake them up or put them in an unconscious state by changing the firing rates of neurons in the central thalamus, a region known to regulate arousal. [More]
Brain regions cause PTSD patients to generalize non-threatening events

Brain regions cause PTSD patients to generalize non-threatening events

Regions of the brain function differently among people with post-traumatic stress disorder, causing them to generalize non-threatening events as if they were the original trauma, according to new research from Duke Medicine and the Durham VA Medical Center. [More]
Specific deep-brain circuit's firing frequency can alter forebrain activity, alertness levels

Specific deep-brain circuit's firing frequency can alter forebrain activity, alertness levels

Adjusting a specific deep-brain circuit's firing frequency immediately and dramatically alters rats' forebrain activity and alertness levels, Stanford University School of Medicine investigators have shown. [More]
Researchers identify brain processes in mice that shape different sensory perceptions

Researchers identify brain processes in mice that shape different sensory perceptions

Scientists have long known that when sounds are faint or objects are seen through fog in the distance, repetition of these weak or ambiguous sensory “inputs” can result in different perceptions inside the same brain. [More]
Study shows mindfulness meditation reduces pain more effectively than placebo

Study shows mindfulness meditation reduces pain more effectively than placebo

Scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have found new evidence that mindfulness meditation reduces pain more effectively than placebo. [More]
Scientists map out the brain circuitry critical for filtering out distractions

Scientists map out the brain circuitry critical for filtering out distractions

In a study of mice, scientists discovered that a brain region called the thalamus may be critical for filtering out distractions. The study, published in Nature and partially funded by the National Institutes of Health, paves the way to understanding how defects in the thalamus might underlie symptoms seen in patients with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and schizophrenia. [More]
Scientists reveal link between depression and paraventricular thalamus

Scientists reveal link between depression and paraventricular thalamus

Scientists from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute have shown that a mouse strain with a mutation that leads to dysfunction of mitochondria--the "powerhouses" that provide energy to cells--spontaneously undergo periodic episodes of depression-like behavior that resemble those in human. Through this research, published in Molecular Psychiatry, the scientists uncovered a link between depression and the paraventricular thalamus, a region of the brain not previously tied to depression. [More]
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