Psychology Research News -- ScienceDaily

Brief cardiac arrest? Tend to the heart, but don't neglect the brain
Patients who survive a brief cardiac arrest and who appear neurologically intact should nonetheless receive a detailed neuropsychological assessment before being discharged, suggests a new study.

Parkinson's gene initiates disease outside of the brain
The most common gene mutation associated with Parkinson's alters cells circulating outside the brain, not within, offering a new understanding of what causes the disease.

Forgetting details, getting the gist may prompt false memories in older adults
Older adults often complain about forgetting, but psychologists now suggest that another problem may be misremembering.

Neuroscientists develop potential tools for the study of brain function
A team of neuroscientists are inching closer to developing the tools needed to decipher the brain. Now, the team has demonstrated how these proteins can be used as tools to regulate the activity of individual neurons in the brain through changes in temperature. These tools will advance fundamental brain research and potentially lead to 'deep brain stimulation' treatments used for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients.

The quest for neuronal origins
The cerebral cortex consists of a large diversity of neurons, each displaying specific characteristics in terms of molecular, morphological and functional features. But where are these neurons born? How do they develop their distinct properties? Scientists have discovered a unique molecular factor allowing them to track, from birth to maturity, a homogeneous class of neurons called the neurogliaform cells.

Brain stethoscope listens for silent seizures
By converting brain waves into sound, even non-specialists can detect 'silent seizures' -- epileptic seizures without the convulsions most of us expect.

Decision-making is shaped by individual differences in the functional brain connectome
Each day brings with it a host of decisions to be made, and each person approaches those decisions differently. A new study found that these individual differences are associated with variation in specific brain networks -- particularly those related to executive, social and perceptual processes.

Amygdala neurons increase as children become adults -- except in autism
Researchers have found that typically-developing children gain more neurons in a region of the brain that governs social and emotional behavior, the amygdala, as they become adults. This phenomenon does not happen in people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Instead, children with ASD have too many neurons early on and then appear to lose those neurons as they become adults.

Role of specific gene in 16p11.2 deletion autism
New findings in mice suggest that the lack of a copy of the gene MVP may contribute to the symptoms of 16p11.2 deletion syndrome because it is needed for brain circuits to incorporate changes driven by experience.

Pressing a button is more challenging than it appears
Pressing a button appears easy, but the brain needs a probabilistic internal model to control a press. A new theory exposes significant improvements to button design that help gamers and musicians.

Why do some people 'hear' silent flashes?
Up to one in five people may show signs of a synesthesia-like phenomenon in which they 'hear' silent flashes or movement, according to a new study.

Vegetable compound could have a key role in 'beeting' Alzheimer's disease
A compound in beets that gives the vegetable its distinctive red color could help slow the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain, a process associated with Alzheimer's disease. Scientists say this could lead to the development of drugs that could alleviate some of the long-term effects of the disease, the world's leading cause of dementia.

Social media use at age 10 could reduce wellbeing of adolescent girls
Social media use may have different effects on wellbeing in adolescent boys and girls, according to new research. Researchers found an association between increased time spent on social media in early adolescence (age 10) and reduced well-being in later adolescence (age 10-15) -- but only among girls.

LSD blurs boundaries between the experience of self and other
LSD reduces the borders  between the experience of our own self and others, and thereby affects social interactions. Researchers have now found that the serotonin 2A receptor in the human brain is critically involved in these intertwined psychological mechanisms. This knowledge could help develop new therapies for psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia or depression.

At first blush, you look happy -- or sad, or angry
Our faces broadcast our feelings in living color -- even when we don't move a muscle. That's the conclusion of a groundbreaking study into human expressions of emotion, which found that people are able to correctly identify other people's feelings up to 75 percent of the time -- based solely on subtle shifts in blood flow color around the nose, eyebrows, cheeks or chin.

Scientists caution that a rare childhood liver cancer can spread to the brain
A new report details three cases of secondary brain tumors in people with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma. The researchers say imaging tests could improve treatment for patients whose cancer spreads to the brain from the liver.

New method manages and stores data from millions of nerve cells -- in real time
Recent developments in neuroscience set high requirements for sophisticated data management, not least when implantable Brain Machine Interfaces are used to establish electronic communication between the brain's nerve cells and computers. A new method makes it possible to recode neural signals into a format that computer processors can use instantly.

Decoding the chemistry of fear
A new team charts the pathway for fear in worms to reveal more about human anxiety.

Exposure to low levels of BPA during pregnancy can lead to altered brain development
New research in mice provides an explanation for how exposure to the widely used chemical bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy, even at levels lower than the regulated 'safe' human exposure level, can lead to altered brain development and behavior later in life.

Neighborhood wellbeing and a sense of community is at the heart of a good home, say researchers
A sense of wellbeing and a thriving community is key to a happy neighborhood according to housing researchers, who looked at the relationship between the experience of the home and well-being.

Getting lost: Why older people might lose their way
Researchers have found a possible explanation for the difficulty in spatial orientation experienced sometimes by elderly people. In the brains of older adults, they detected an unstable activity in an area that is central for spatial navigation.

Cell therapy could improve brain function for Alzheimer's disease
Inhibitory interneurons are particularly important for managing brain rhythms. Researchers have uncovered the therapeutic benefits of genetically improving these interneurons and transplanting them into the brain of a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

Neuroscientists identify brain circuit that integrates head motion with visual signals
Neuroscientists have identified a circuit in the primary visual cortex (V1) of the brain that integrates head- and visual-motion signals. The study elucidates the mechanisms by which visual and vestibular inputs to the brain sum together to enable appropriate behavioral responses.

Brain mechanism involved in language learning
Psychologists found that when we learn the names of unfamiliar objects, brain regions involved in learning actively predict the objects the names correspond to.

The brain puts the memories warehouse in order while we sleep
During the hours of sleep the memory performs a cleaning shift. A study reveals that when we sleep, the neural connections that collect important information are strengthened and those created from irrelevant data are weakened until they get lost.

Underlying cause of brain injury in stroke
New research shows how the drug QNZ-46 can help to lessen the effects of excess release of glutamate in the brain -- the main cause of brain injury in stroke. As stroke is the second leading cause of disability and early death in the UK, this study could offer hope to thousands of people at risk.

Scientists illuminate mechanism at play in learning
The process we call learning is in fact a well-orchestrated symphony of thousands of molecular reactions, but the exact interplay between these reactions remains largely unknown. Now, researchers have modeled the molecular basis of learning in the cerebellum, a part of the brain that receives sensory input and coordinates voluntary movements.

Nightmares are common but underreported in US military personnel
A new study shows that a high percentage of military personnel with sleep disturbances met criteria for nightmare disorder, but few of them reported nightmares as a reason for sleep evaluation. Those with nightmare disorder had an increased risk of other sleep and mental health disorders.

Researchers link defects in a nuclear receptor in the brain to autism spectrum disorders
Scientists are reporting that defects in a portion of the brain's hippocampus, called the dentate gyrus, is regulated by the nuclear receptor LXR? (Liver X receptor Beta). The dentate gyrus, or DG, is responsible for emotion and memory and is known to be involved in autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Making new memories is a balancing act
Salk scientists discover that brain storage capacity is dynamic and varies by region.

ADHD drugs increase brain glutamate, predict positive emotion in healthy people
New findings offer clues about how misused drugs affect healthy brains and hint at an undiscovered link between glutamate and mood.

Thyroid gene variation may increase risk for Alzheimer's disease in African Americans
African Americans with a common genetic variation are at increased risk for developing Alzheimer's disease, while European Americans with the same variation are not, according to a new study.

Men and women have opposite genetic alterations in depression
Men and women with major depressive disorder (MDD) have opposite changes in the expression of the same genes, according to a new postmortem brain study. The findings indicate distinct pathology, and suggest that men and women may need different types of treatment for depression.

Emotional suppression reduces memory of negative events
By peering at the brains of study subjects prompted to suppress negative emotions, scientists have gained new insights into how emotional regulation influences negative feelings and memories. The researchers hope the findings will lead to new methods to combat depression.

How would the brain process alien music?
What might alien music sound like? Would it be structured hierarchically as our music is with verses and a chorus? Would we even be able to appreciate it? Researchers think the answer would be yes, assuming it was predicated on local and non-local dependencies.

Sleep apnea study finds male-female differences in cerebral cortex thickness, symptoms
Researchers examined clinical records and magnetic resonance imaging brain scans of patients who were recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, and discovered several apparent connections between thinning of the brain's cerebral cortex and apnea symptoms.

Brain is less flexible than we thought when learning
Nobody really knows how the activity in your brain reorganizes as you learn new tasks, but new research reveals that the brain has various mechanisms and constraints by which it reorganizes its neural activity when learning over the course of a few hours. The new research finds that, when learning a new task, the brain is less flexible than previously thought.

Worldwide study triples number of known genetic risk factors for stroke
The largest genetic study of stroke to date triples the number of known genetic risk factors for the disease and also should enable researchers to find novel treatments for dementia.

Can pursuing happiness make you unhappy?
Researchers have found that people who pursue happiness often feel like they do not have enough time in the day, and this paradoxically makes them feel unhappy.

Caloric restriction in combination with low-fat diet helps protect aging mouse brains
New research finds that a low-fat diet in combination with limited caloric consumption prevents aging-induced inflammatory activation of immune cells in the mouse brain - and that exercise is significantly less effective than caloric restriction in preventing these age-related changes. This indicates that the fat content of a diet, as well as caloric intake, are important parameters for the detrimental effects of aging on the brain.

Children as young as 3 have brain network devoted to interpreting thoughts of other people
An new study finds the brain network that controls theory of mind has already formed in children as young as 3. The study is the first to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brains of children that young as they perform a task requiring the ability to make inferences about someone else's state of mind.

Could living at high altitude increase suicide risk? Evidence suggests possible treatments, reports Harvard Review of Psychiatry
High-altitude areas -- particularly the US intermountain states -- have increased rates of suicide and depression, suggests a review of research evidence in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry. The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

Newfound clock in blood brain barrier of fruit flies regulates daily permeability
Researchers found that the fruit fly blood brain barrier has a molecular clock that makes it more or less penetrable during over 24 hours. Giving mutant flies a drug for treating seizures at night was more effective.

Why the world looks stable while we move
Neuroscientists investigate the interaction of visual perception and head movements with functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Emotional support is key for stroke patients, research suggests
Doctors caring for severe stroke patients need to take account of their psychological needs and help prepare families for the possibility that they may not recover, a study suggests.

Social stress leads to changes in gut bacteria
Exposure to psychological stress in the form of social conflict alters gut bacteria in Syrian hamsters, according to a new study.

How does the brain's spatial map change when we change the shape of the room?
A new study explores the consequences of distorting the shape of the enclosing box on cognitive maps of space. The results detail how our cognitive maps adapt to changed environments and shed light on how distinct types of neurons may connect to form these maps.

Is your stress changing my brain?
Scientists have discovered that stress transmitted from others can change the brain in the same way as a real stress does.

Cueing newly learned information in sleep improves memory, and here's how
Scientists have long known that sleep is important to the formation and retention of new memories. Memory consolidation is associated with sudden bursts of oscillatory brain activity, called sleep spindles, which can be visualized and measured on an electroencephalogram (EEG). Now researchers have found that sleep spindles also play a role in strengthening new memories when newly learned information is played back to a person during sleep.

Scientists discover a key function of ALS-linked protein
The protein FUS, whose mutation or disruption causes many cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), works as a central component of one of the most important regulatory systems in cells, according to a new study.