Psychology Research News -- ScienceDaily

Autism behaviors show unique brain network fingerprints in infants
A new study has identified unique functional brain networks associated with characteristic behaviors of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in 12- and 24-month old children at risk for developing ASD.

Dynamic audiovisuals increase spectator attention, but inhibits conscious processing
According to a new study, scene changes diminish a spectator's blink rate, producing an increase in attention. The results of the study demonstrate that a dynamic and chaotic audiovisual editing causes more activity in the visual processing areas, while continuous and orderly editing produces more cognitive processing activity.

New insights into the aging brain
A group of scientists investigated why the choroid plexus contains so much more klotho than other brain regions.They showed that klotho functions as a gatekeeper that shields the brain from the peripheral immune system.

Mild blast forces cause brain pathology and deficits, despite lack of macroscopic damage
Using a rat model of bTBI, researchers show how even mild exposure to a single blast shock wave is able to induce small but potentially very meaningful pathogenic effects that accumulate with time. These effects, detected at the microscopic level, included microvascular damage, injury to nerve axons and signs of neuroinflammation in various brain regions. Brain function also changed, as shown by impaired short-term synaptic plasticity.

Scalpel-free surgery enhances quality of life for Parkinson's patients
A high-tech form of brain surgery that replaces scalpels with sound waves improved quality of life for people with Parkinson's disease that has resisted other forms of treatment, a new study has found.

Scientists solve century-old neuroscience mystery; answers may lead to epilepsy treatment
Scientists have solved a 125-year-old mystery of the brain, and, in the process, uncovered a potential treatment for acquired epilepsy. Perineuronal nets modulate electrical impulses in the brain, and, should the nets dissolve, brain seizures can occur.

Moving the motivation meter
Rats given the drug that reduced dopamine were much less likely to work for preferred morsels of food. But when these rats were then given one of the experimental drugs, they regained their motivation to work for the treat.

Navigating our thoughts: Fundamental principles of thinking
Humans think using their brain's navigation system: Researchers combine individual threads of evidence to form a theory of human thinking.

Brain signature of depressed mood unveiled in new study
New research has identified a common pattern of brain activity that may be behind low mood feelings, particularly in people who have a tendency towards anxiety. The newly discovered network is a significant advance in research on the neurobiology of mood, and could serve as a biomarker to help scientists developing new therapies to help people with mood disorders such as depression.

Brain activity pattern may be early sign of schizophrenia
Neuroscientists have identified a pattern of brain activity that is correlated with development of schizophrenia, which they say could be used as marker to diagnose the disease earlier.

Don't stare! Monkey gaze study shows dopamine's role in response inhibition
Researchers revealed the importance of the brain's dopaminergic system for inhibiting already-planned actions. They trained monkeys to redirect their gaze towards targets newly presented on a screen, apart from when presented with signals to avoid such redirection. Simultaneous analysis showed that the activity of dopaminergic neurons correlated with successful refusal to redirect gaze to a new target. These findings could aid the development of treatments for diseases with impaired inhibition like Parkinson's.

Automated detection of sleep states from olfactory brain waves
Scientists have developed a completely automated technique for real-time detection of sleep/wake states in freely moving mice.

Culture may explain why brains have become bigger
A theory called the cultural brain hypothesis could explain extraordinary increases in brain size in humans and other animals over the last few million years, according to a new study.

Can stimulating the brain treat chronic pain?
For the first time, researchers have shown they could target one brain region with a weak alternating current of electricity, enhance the naturally occurring brain rhythms of that region, and significantly decrease symptoms associated with chronic lower back pain.

Neurons that fire together, don't always wire together
As the adage goes 'neurons that fire together, wire together,' but a new article demonstrates that, in addition to response similarity, projection target also constrains local connectivity.

Brain learns to recognize familiar faces regardless of where they are in the visual field
A new study finds that recognition of faces varies by where they appear in the visual field and this variability is reduced by learning familiar faces through social interactions. The findings suggest that repeated social interactions may tune populations of visual neurons in the face processing network to enable consistent and rapid recognition of familiar faces.

One type of brain cell might hold key to inflammation after head injury
By eliminating one type of immune cell in the brain, researchers were able to erase any evidence of inflammation following traumatic brain injury, according to a new study.

Tiny molecule has big effect in childhood brain tumor studies
A very small molecule under study is able to kill a childhood brain cancer, and the lead researcher said it may be possible to reduce by 90 percent the amount of chemotherapy and radiation required to kill such tumors.

Singing may reduce stress, improve motor function for people with Parkinson's disease
Singing may provide benefits beyond improving respiratory and swallow control in people with Parkinson's disease, according to new data. The results from the pilot study revealed improvements in mood and motor symptoms, as well as reduced physiological indicators of stress.

Ultrasound releases drug to alter activity in targeted brain areas in rats
Scientists have developed a noninvasive way of delivering drugs to within a few millimeters of a desired point in the brain. The method, tested in rats, uses focused ultrasound to jiggle drug molecules loose from nanoparticle 'cages' that have been injected into the bloodstream.

Selective amnesia: How rats and humans are able to forget distracting memories
Our ability to selectively forget distracting memories is shared with other mammals, suggests new research. The discovery that rats and humans share a common active forgetting ability -- and in similar brain regions -- suggests that the capacity to forget plays a vital role in adapting mammalian species to their environments, and that its evolution may date back at least to the time of our common ancestor.

Preschool children show awake responses to naptime nonsense words
Hearing has long been suspected as being 'on' all the time -- even in our sleep. Now scientists are reporting results on what is heard and not heard during sleep and what that might mean for a developing brain. Preliminary results show preschool children seem to have memory traces for sounds heard during nap time.

Immune system and postpartum depression linked?
The immune system might play an important role in the development of postpartum depression after a stressful pregnancy, new research suggests.

Cancer: Brain-derived compounds show surprising benefits
In a Veterans Affairs study, a humanmade compound based on a brain hormone spurred the growth of cancer in Petri dishes but enigmatically had the opposite effect in mice. The compound and others like it are being looked at not only for their effect on cancer, but for their ability to regrow healthy tissue to heal damaged hearts and other organs.

Adolescent cannabis use alters development of planning, self-control brain areas
Adolescent marijuana use may alter how neurons function in brain areas engaged in decision-making, planning and self-control, according to researchers.

New insights into the neural risks and benefits of marijuana use
Research released today underscores both the dangers and the therapeutic promise of marijuana, revealing different effects across the lifespan. Marijuana exposure in the womb or during adolescence may disrupt learning and memory, damage communication between brain regions, and disturb levels of key neurotransmitters and metabolites in the brain. In Alzheimer's disease, however, compounds found in marijuana, such as the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), may improve memory and mitigate some of the disease's symptoms.

Brain-computer interface advances improve prosthetics, therapies
Advances in connecting neural stimulation to physical control of the body are transforming the development of prosthetics and therapeutic training for people with disabilities, according to new research.

Researchers develop new test to objectively measure pain, test medications
The electroencephalography-based test could improve patient pain assessments and reduce the over-prescription of opioids, the researchers say.

Study shows potential to develop brain tumour liquid biopsies
Scientists are making strides in developing liquid biopsies for brain tumours by detecting tumour DNA in the fluid from around the brain and spine.

Adolescent brain development impacts mental health, substance use
Advances in understanding adolescent brain development may aid future treatments of mental illness and alcohol and substance use disorders, according to new research.

How childhood stress contributes to anxiety, depression
New research could help explain why stress early in life can create vulnerabilities to mood and anxiety disorders later on.

Extracellular vesicles help pass information between cells and onto offspring
New studies reveal that small, membrane-bound particles transported between cells have wide-ranging and long-term effects in the brain and throughout the body, from helping neurons communicate to passing the effects of stress onto the next generation. Such extracellular vesicles released from the brain into the blood can also provide a window into brain pathology to help with disease diagnosis.

Evidence of restored vision in rats following cell transplant
Researchers have discovered that neurons located in the vision centers of the brains of blind rats functioned normally following fetal retina cell transplants, indicating the successful restoration of vision.

The reasons for hemispheric dominance in the brain
The left and the right hemispheres specialize in different tasks. However, it has not yet been fully understood how one hemisphere assumes dominance over the other when it comes to controlling specific functions. Biopsychologists have demonstrated in pigeons that the dominance is caused by slight differences in temporal activity patterns in both hemispheres.

Disrupted circadian rhythms may drive anxiety and exacerbate brain disorders
Sleep disruptions are associated with many brain disorders, including anxiety, dementias, and traumatic brain injury. While these disruptions are sometimes viewed as a side effect of brain disorders, new findings suggest that aberrant sleep-wake cycles can also drive brain pathology. The studies were presented at Neuroscience 2018, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

New gene therapy reprograms brain glial cells into neurons
A new gene therapy can turn certain brain glial cells into functioning neurons, which in turn could help repair the brain after a stroke or during neurological disorders like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's diseases.

Music improves social communication in autistic children
Improved communication skills may be linked to increased connectivity between auditory and motor regions of the brain, researchers find.

Studies highlight lasting effects of early life stress on the genome, gut, and brain
Excessive stress during fetal development or early childhood can have long-term consequences for the brain, from increasing the likelihood of brain disorders and affecting an individual's response to stress as an adult to changing the nutrients a mother may pass on to her babies in the womb. The new research suggests novel approaches to combat the effects of such stress, such as inhibiting stress hormone production or 'resetting' populations of immune cells in the brain.

Genetic risk factor for CTE detected
Researchers have identified a genetic variation that may influence chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) disease severity. TMEM106B is one of the first genes to be implicated in CTE. It may partially explain why some athletes present with severe CTE symptoms while others are less affected despite similar levels of head trauma.

Culture strongly influences coping behaviors after natural disasters
Demographic and cultural differences strongly influence the coping styles young people use when they're affected by a natural disaster, and these disparities should be taken into account when providing services to help them recover from these traumatic experiences, researchers say.

Traumatic brain injuries can lead to long-term neurological and psychiatric disorders
New research suggests that children who suffer traumatic brain injuries are at significantly increased risk of developing new post-traumatic neuropsychiatric disorders, and may benefit from ongoing outpatient follow-up to facilitate early detection and intervention.

Nature of immune cells in the human brain disclosed
Researchers have disclosed the nature of how T cells protect the brain against harmful viruses. The results of the study are important for investigating the role of the immune system in numerous brain disorders.

Lateral inhibition keeps similar memories apart
Our brains are able to store memories of very similar events as distinct memories. This, for example, allows you to find your car even though you parked it in a different spot the previous day, and even though the two memories are very similar. Researchers are deciphering how the brain computes this pattern separation in a brain region called the dentate gyrus.

The protein Matrin-3 determines the fate of neural stem cells in brain development
A Japanese research group has discovered a new neurogenic mechanism responsible for brain development. By applying proprietary technology for detecting trace proteins, they found that a novel protein, Matrin-3, is responsible for determining the fate of neural stem cells.

Zebrafish larvae help in search for appetite suppressants
Researchers have developed a new strategy in the search for psychoactive drugs. By analyzing the behavior of larval zebrafish, they can filter out substances with unwanted side effects right from the start. This method has resulted in the discovery of a number of new appetite modulators.

Strengthening self-regulation in childhood may improve resiliency later in life
Millions of families live in poverty in the United States. Associated stressors can often lead to adverse life experiences for children in those families, and negative socioemotional outcomes later in life.

Dangerous blood pressure caused by specific signalling in the brain
Scientists have found that high blood pressure caused by specific signalling from the brain promotes heart disease by altering stem cells with the bone marrow. The results demonstrate how an overactive sympathetic nervous system that causes elevated blood pressure can instruct bone marrow stem cells to produce more white blood cells that clog up blood vessels.

Decoding how brain circuits control behavior
Scientists have combined genetic analyses, anatomical maps, and detailed studies of neuronal activity to reveal brain cells' roles in controlling movement.

A comprehensive 'parts list' of the brain built from its components, the cells
Neuroscientists have moved one step closer to understanding the complete list of cell types in the brain. In the most comprehensive study of its kind to date, the researchers sorted cells from the cortex, the outermost shell and the cognitive center of the brain, into 133 different 'cell types' based on the genes the cells switch on and off.

Cooling 'brains on fire' to treat Parkinson's
A promising new therapy to stop Parkinson's disease in its tracks has been developed by scientists who found that a small molecule, MCC950, stopped the development of Parkinson's in several animal models. The team hope to commence human clinical trials in 2020.