Psychology Research News -- ScienceDaily

Playing American football before age 12 could have long-term health effects
Playing American football before the age of 12 may have long-term consequences for players' mood and behavior, according to a study involving 214 professional and amateur football players.

Overcoming the brain's fortress-like barrier
Scientists have helped provide a way to better understand how to enable drugs to enter the brain and how cancer cells make it past the blood brain barrier.

The brain at work: Spotting half-hidden objects
The human and non-human primate brain is remarkable in recognizing partially hidden objects. A study, conducted during a shape recognition task, shows as more of the shape is hidden, a brain area involved in cognition starts to sends signals to the visual cortex. The findings make the scientists wonder if this communication between different brain areas might be impaired in people with autism or Alzheimer's. Both conditions can cause confusion in cluttered surroundings and problems recognizing objects.

Sex, aggression controlled separately in female animal brains, but overlap in male brains
Brain structures that control sexual and aggressive behavior in mice are wired differently in females than in males, new research shows.

Why bad sleep doesn't always lead to depression
Poor sleep is both a risk factor, and a common symptom, of depression. But not everyone who tosses and turns at night becomes depressed. Individuals whose brains are more attuned to rewards may be protected from the negative mental health effects of poor sleep, says a new study.

Magnetic fields to alleviate anxiety
It is possible to unlearn fears. And this works even better when a specific region of the brain has previously been stimulated magnetically.

Differences in aggression among people with dementia
Physical aggression among people with dementia is not unusual. A study showed that one-third of patients with the diagnosis Alzheimer’s disease or frontotemporal dementia were physically aggressive towards healthcare staff, other patients, relatives, animals and complete strangers. This manifestation of disease must be both understood and addressed in the right way.

Memory decline after head injury may be prevented by slowing brain cell growth
Scientists say a new study indicates that the excessive burst of new brain cells after a traumatic head injury that researchers have traditionally believed helped in recovery could instead lead to epileptic seizures and long-term cognitive decline.

Immune system linked to alcohol drinking behavior
Researchers have found a new link between the brain's immune system and the desire to drink alcohol in the evening.

Decreased glucose metabolism in medial prefrontal areas is associated with nutritional status in patients with prodromal and early Alzheimer's disease
A new study shows that hypometabolism in the medial prefrontal areas is specifically associated with Alzheimer's disease-related nutritional problems, and decrease in fat mass may have a key role.

Brain halves increase communication to compensate for aging, study finds
Increased communication between distant brain regions helps older adults compensate for the negative aspects of aging, reports a new study.

New study on the placebo effect and antidepressants in children and adolescents
Although the clinical efficacy of antidepressants in children and adolescents is proven, it is frequently accompanied by side effects. In addition, the influence of the placebo effect on the efficacy of antidepressants is unclear. A meta-analysis of data from over 6,500 patients has now shown that, although antidepressants are more effective than placebos, the difference is minor and varies according to the type of mental disorder.

45 percent of parents experience depression, anxiety and stress when newborns leave NICU
Almost half of parents whose children were admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit experienced postpartum depressive symptoms, anxiety and stress when their newborns were discharged from the hospital.

Scientific explanation for why spurned males abandon courtship attempts
Unsuccessful courtship attempts by males create aversive memories that can reduce their level of enthusiasm for subsequent courtship attempts. Scientists have attempted to understand this behavior at the molecular level.

SIDS research confirms changes in babies' brain chemistry
Researchers have confirmed that abnormalities in a common brain chemical are linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Young binge drinkers show altered brain activity
Researchers have studied the brain activity of young binge-drinking college students in Spain, and found distinctive changes in brain activity, which may indicate delayed brain development and be an early sign of brain damage. The results suggest that bingeing has tangible effects on the young brain, comparable with some of those seen in chronic alcoholics.

Synaptic receptor mobility: Discovery of a new mechanism for controlling memory
A new mechanism has been discovered for storing information in synapses and a means of controlling the storage process. The breakthrough moves science closer to unveiling the mystery of the molecular mechanisms of memory and learning processes.

The bilingual brain calculates differently depending on the language used
How do multilingual people solve arithmetical tasks presented to them in different languages? The question will gain in importance in the future, as an increasingly globalized job market and accelerated migration will mean that ever more people seek work and study outside of the linguistic area of their home countries.

Antidepressants associated with significantly elevated risk of death, researchers find
Antidepressant medications, most commonly prescribed to reduce depression and anxiety, increase the risk of death, according to new research findings.

For worriers, expressive writing cools brain on stressful tasks
Chronic worriers, take note: Simply writing about your feelings may help you perform an upcoming stressful task more efficiently, finds a new study that measured participants' brain activity.

Brain rewiring in Parkinson's disease may contribute to abnormal movement
A new study suggests that the brain's own compensatory mechanisms contribute to the debilitating motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Studies help explain link between autism, severe infection during pregnancy
Two new studies shed light on why mothers who experience an infection severe enough to require hospitalization during pregnancy are at higher risk of having a child with autism.

Popular bottle-breaking trick is giving insight to brain injuries
As many YouTube videos show, striking the top of a liquid-filled bottle can shatter the bottom. Researchers are hoping to use new knowledge of that party trick to help fill a gap in something much more serious: brain research.

Modified blood thinner reduces the impact of traumatic brain injury in mice
A chemically modified version of the common blood thinner heparin may be the first promising method of preventing the harmful cascade of destruction to brain tissue that commonly follows traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to new research findings.

Teens' ability to consider the intentions of others linked to structural changes in the brain
When it comes to the concept of fairness, teenagers' ability to consider the intentions of others appears to be linked to structural changes underway in the brain, according to a study. The study is the first to provide evidence linking structural changes with behavioral changes within this context. Understanding the intentions of others is fundamental to human cooperation and how we exist as social beings.

Systems analysis points to links between Toxoplasma infection and common brain diseases
Nearly one out of every three humans on earth has a lifelong infection with the brain-dwelling parasite Toxoplasma gondii. In a new report, researchers from multiple institutions describe efforts to learn how infection with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii may alter, and in some cases amplify, several brain disorders, including epilepsy, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases as well as some cancers.

Brain activity between seizures informs potential treatment for childhood absence epilepsy
New research shows that in a mouse model of childhood absence epilepsy, brain activity is perturbed between seizures. The researchers speculate that this could underlie cognitive problems of the disease, which can persist despite treatment of seizures.

Reversing the negative effects of adolescent marijuana use
Researchers have identified a specific mechanism in the prefrontal cortex for some of the negative mental health risks associated with adolescent marijuana use. By demonstrating that adolescent THC exposure modulates the activity of a neurotransmitter called GABA in the prefrontal cortex region of the brain, they were also able to identify a mechanism to reverse those risks.

Explaining bursts of activity in brains of preterm babies
The source of spontaneous, high-amplitude bursts of activity seen in the brains of preterm babies, which are vital for healthy development, has been identified by a team of researchers.

Childhood maltreatment may change brain's response to threat
Neural activity associated with defensive responses in humans shifts between two brain regions depending on the proximity of a threat, suggests neuroimaging data from two independent samples of adults in the Netherlands. In one sample, the findings suggest that emotional abuse during childhood may shift the balance of activity between these regions.

New treatment option discovered for brain injury patients suffering from aggression
A drug originally developed in the 1960s as an antiviral medication is showing promise as a treatment option for people who suffer from increased feelings of aggression following traumatic brain injury, researchers have reported.

Cocaine users' brains unable to extinguish drug associations
Researchers are studying if longtime cocaine users could benefit from a psychological technique that might help them quit.

Scientific discovery explains why stress hormone can prevent disorders after exposure to traumatic event
A study reveals that the Ppm1f gene is altered when exposed to traumatic stress and is associated with posttraumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.

Eye changes may signal frontotemporal lobe degeneration
Frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) is a progressive neurodegenerative condition that is present in tens of thousands of Americans, but is often difficult to diagnose accurately. Now a study has found evidence that a simple eye exam and retinal imaging test may help improve that accuracy.

New guidelines discourage use of brain imaging as a 'lie detector' for chronic pain
A task force consisting of researchers from around the world has released a set of recommendations that advise against the use of brain imaging as a test for chronic pain.

Interrupting Parkinson's disease
Scientists have identified a toxic cascade that leads to neuronal degeneration in patients with Parkinson's disease and figured out how to interrupt it, reports a study. Intervening with an antioxidant early in the disease process may break the degenerative cycle and improve neuron function in Parkinson's, the study showed. Parkinson's is second most common neurodegenerative disorder.

Listening to happy music may enhance divergent creativity
Listening to happy music may help generate more, innovative solutions compared to listening to silence, according to a study.

Seven steps to keep your brain healthy from childhood to old age
A set of simple steps that promote heart health, called Life's Simple 7, can also foster ideal brain health, an expert panel says. Improving your health status with Life's Simple 7 may reduce the risk of dementia caused by strokes, vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

New mindset in the search for stroke therapies
Researchers have identified a promising new avenue to explore in the search for stroke treatments, after translating findings from Alzheimer's disease.

Emoji fans take heart: Scientists pinpoint 27 states of emotion
The Emoji Movie, in which the protagonist can't help but express a wide variety of emotions instead of the one assigned to him, may have gotten something right. A new study challenges a long-held assumption in psychology that most human emotions fall within the universal categories of happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear and disgust.

Concussions in women: Rates, symptoms and recovery are different than men
Females tend to report more symptoms -- and more severe ones -- and may also take longer to recover from brain injuries than their male counterparts.

Common cerebral white matter abnormalities found in children with autistic traits
White matter structural changes in children correspond to severity of autistic traits, a brain imaging study shows.

One powerful cell makes or breaks your habits
Neuroscientists have pinpointed a single type of neuron deep within the brain that serves as a 'master controller' of habits. The team found that habit formation boosts the activity of this influential cell, and that shutting it down is enough to break unhelpful habits in sugar-seeking mice. The findings may point towards new treatments for addiction or compulsive behavior in humans.

Determining motor deficits more precisely following a stroke
After a stroke, many people are unable to successfully perform basic hand movements in everyday life. The reason are symptoms of hemiparesis resulting from damage to the brain. These very frequently affect fine motor skills. A new study is paving the way to better diagnosis and more targeted therapy.

Yoga, meditation improve brain function and energy levels, study shows
Practicing brief sessions of Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation can significantly improve brain function and energy levels, according to a new study.

Longtime antidepressant could slow Parkinson's
Scientists now have early proof that an antidepressant drug that's been around for more than 50 years could slow the progression of Parkinson's.

'Waves' of neural activity give new clues about Alzheimer's
While unconscious during deep sleep, millions of neurons' activity travels across the cerebral cortex. This phenomenon, known as slow waves, is related to the consolidation of memory. The European project called SloW Dyn, has now revealed anomalies in this activity in mice displaying a decline similar to Alzheimer's.

Glowing cancer tool illuminates benign, but dangerous, brain tumors during pituitary surgery
An experimental imaging tool that uses a targeted fluorescent dye successfully lit up the benign brain tumors of patients during removal surgery, allowing surgeons to identify tumor tissue, a new study shows.

Cannot sleep due to stress? Here is the cure
Everyone empirically knows that stressful events certainly affect sound sleep. Scientists have found that the active component rich in sugarcane and other natural products may ameliorate stress and help having sound sleep.

Gene related to brain damage in pre-term infants identified
A gene has been identified by researchers that is thought to be associated with the types of brain damage that can be caused by pre-term birth.