Psychology Research News -- ScienceDaily

Food for thought: New maps reveal how brains are kept nourished
Scientists have created new brain maps featuring unprecedented detail. The insights provided by the new maps are helping answer questions about blood supply and how more active parts of the brain are kept nourished versus less demanding areas.

New study gives the most detailed look yet at the neuroscience of placebo effects
A large proportion of the benefit that a person gets from taking a real drug or receiving a treatment to alleviate pain is due to an individual's mindset, not to the drug itself. Understanding the neural mechanisms driving this placebo effect has been a longstanding question. A meta-analysis finds that placebo treatments to reduce pain, known as placebo analgesia, reduce pain-related activity in multiple areas of the brain.

Individualized brain cell grafts reverse Parkinson's symptoms in monkeys
Grafting neurons grown from monkeys' own cells into their brains relieved the debilitating movement and depression symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease, researchers report.

A new theory for how memories are stored in the brain
Research has led to the development of the MeshCODE theory, a revolutionary new theory for understanding brain and memory function. This discovery may be the beginning of a new understanding of brain function and in treating brain diseases such as Alzheimer's.

A weak heart makes a suffering brain
Heart problems cause disturbed gene activity in the brain's memory center, from which cognitive deficits arise. Researchers at the DZNE come to this conclusion based on laboratory studies. They consider that they have found a possible cause for the increased risk of dementia in people with heart problems.

Early-warning for seizures could be a game-changer for epilepsy patients
A research team has developed mathematical model to predict seizures that will give epilepsy patients an accurate warning five minutes to one hour before they are likely to experience a seizure.

Artificial 'brain' reveals why we can't always believe our eyes
A computer network closely modelled on part of the human brain is enabling new insights into the way our brains process moving images - and explains some perplexing optical illusions.

Gut health and mood genetically entwined
Researchers have provided clues to how the gut and brain work together by studying health data from nearly half a million people.

Two new genes linked to Alzheimer's disease discovered
A research team has discovered two new genes potentially involved in Alzheimer's disease. They identified them by exploring which genes were turned on and off in the hippocampus of people who suffered from the disease.

Study identifies potential link between Soldiers exposed to blasts, Alzheimer's
Research shows that Soldiers exposed to shockwaves from military explosives are at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer's disease -- even those that don't have traumatic brain injuries from those blasts. A new study identifies how those blasts affect the brain.

Scientists map the brain of a nematode worm
Researchers have mapped the physical organization of the brain of a microscopic soil-living nematode worm called Caenorhabditis elegans, creating a new model for the architecture of the animal's brain and how it processes information. The scientists say the worms' brains might have a lot more in common with larger animals than previously thought.

New experiences enhance learning by resetting key brain circuit
A study of spatial learning in mice shows that exposure to new experiences dampens established representations in the brain's hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, allowing the mice to learn new navigation strategies.

Reactivating aging stem cells in the brain
As people get older, their neural stem cells lose the ability to proliferate and produce new neurons, leading to a decline in memory function. Researchers have now discovered a mechanism linked to stem cell aging - and how the production of neurons can be reactivated.

Signal coupling between neuron-glia super-network may lead to improved memory formation
Scientists have revealed glial cells act as amplifiers for synaptic signals and artificial control of the glial state can potentially be used for enhanced memory function of the brain.

Seeing schizophrenia: X-rays shed light on neural differences, point toward treatment
An international research team used the ultrabright X-rays of the Advanced Photon Source to examine neurons in the brains of schizophrenia patients. What they learned may help neurologists treat this harmful brain disorder.

ALS neuron damage reversed with new compound
Scientists have identified the first compound that eliminates the ongoing degeneration of upper motor neurons that become diseased and are a key contributor to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a swift and fatal neurodegenerative disease that paralyzes its victims. In ALS, movement-initiating nerve cells in the brain and muscle-controlling nerve cells in the spinal cord die. After administering the new compound,, the diseased brain neurons stopped degenerating so much that they became similar to healthy control neurons after 60 days of treatment.

Beta blockers can repair malformed blood vessels in the brain
Propranolol, a drug that is efficacious against infantile haemangiomas ('strawberry naevi', resembling birthmarks), can also be used to treat cerebral cavernous malformations, a condition characterized by misshapen blood vessels in the brain and elsewhere.

Seasonal variation in daylight influences brain function
A research group has studied how seasons influence the function of the brain. Researchers showed that the length of daylight affects the opioid receptors, which in turn regulates the mood we experience.

Sleep is vital to associating emotion with memory, study finds
When you slip into sleep, it's easy to imagine that your brain shuts down, but new research suggests that groups of neurons activated during prior learning keep humming, tattooing memories into your brain.

Lonely adolescents are susceptible to internet addiction
Loneliness is a risk factor associated with adolescents being drawn into compulsive internet use. The risk of compulsive use has grown in the coronavirus pandemic: loneliness has become increasingly prevalent among adolescents, who spend longer and longer periods of time online.

Scientists repair injured spinal cord using patients' own stem cells
Intravenous injection of bone marrow derived stem cells (MSCs) in patients with spinal cord injuries led to significant improvement in motor functions, researchers report.

How a longevity gene protects brain stem cells from stress
A gene linked to unusually long lifespans in humans protects brain stem cells from the harmful effects of stress, according to a new study.

How the brain processes sign language
Over 70 million deaf people use sign languages as their preferred communication form. Although they access similar brain structures as spoken languages, it hasn't been identified the brain regions that process both forms of language equally. Scientists have now discovered that Broca's area in the left hemisphere, central for spoken languages, is also crucial for sign languages. This is where the grammar and meaning are processed, regardless of whether it is spoken or signed language.

Discovery of biomarker could help predict Alzheimer's years before symptoms emerge
A unique brain protein measured in the blood could be used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease decades before symptoms develop, according to new Edith Cowan University (ECU) research.

Researchers uncover new information on the effects of antidepressants
The findings of a new study challenge the prevailing thinking on the primary role of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the effects of antidepressants.

Pandemic got you down? A little nature could help
Researchers have long been aware of the positive impact of a connection with nature on psychological health and, according to a new study, the pandemic hasn't decreased the power of nature to improve mental well-being.

Preschoolers with higher cardiorespiratory fitness do better on cognitive tests
Researchers report that 4-6-year-old children who walk further than their peers during a timed test - a method used to estimate cardiorespiratory health - also do better on cognitive tests and other measures of brain function. The study suggests that the link between cardiorespiratory fitness and cognitive health is evident even earlier in life than previously appreciated.

Protein linked to Alzheimer's, strokes cleared from brain blood vessels
Amyloid deposits in the brain increase the risk of dementia and strokes. Researchers have identified an antibody that clears amyloid deposits from the brain without raising the risk of brain bleeds.

Mimicking a chronic immune response changes the brain
Researchers show that simulating an overactive autoimmune response in mice leads to changes in the hippocampal region of the brain.

How the 'noise' in our brain influences our behavior
The brain's neural activity is irregular, changing from one moment to the next. To date, this apparent 'noise' has been thought to be due to random natural variations or measurement error. However, researchers have shown that this neural variability may provide a unique window into brain function.

Researchers uncover altered brain connectivity after prolonged anesthesia
A body of evidence supports the association between prolonged anesthesia and cognitive impairment, but a new study is among the first to address the effect of the procedure on neural connections.

Small 'window of opportunity' for best recovery after stroke
An international study has shown, for the first time, that the capacity of the human brain to recover and rewire itself peaks around two weeks after a stroke and diminishes over time.

Regular caffeine consumption affects brain structure
Coffee, cola or an energy drink: caffeine is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive substance. Researchers have now shown in a study that regular caffeine intake can change the gray matter of the brain. However, the effect appears to be temporary.

Promising biomarkers to diagnose mild traumatic brain injury
Certain plasma microRNAs could serve as diagnostic biomarkers in mild traumatic brain injury, a new study shows. The biomarkers were discovered in an animal model and they were successfully used also to diagnose mild traumatic brain injury in a subgroup of patients.

Sounds influence the developing brain earlier than previously thought
In experiments in newborn mice, scientists report that sounds appear to change 'wiring' patterns in areas of the brain that process sound earlier than scientists assumed and even before the ear canal opens.

Study may lead to solutions for overeating
The 10-member team made discoveries about a specific area of the brain tied to recollection and the desire to seek and consume food. It could lead to a way to inhibit the desire to overeat.

Study explores neurocognitive basis of bias against people who look different
A new brain-and-behavior study clarifies how the 'anomalous-is-bad' stereotype manifests, and implicates a brain region called the amygdala as one of the likely mediators of this stereotype.

How comparable different stress tests are
Scientists use many different tests to investigate what happens in the brain in people experiencing stress. It is unclear to what extent the various methods with which subjects are placed under stress are comparable to each other. In a meta-analysis, researchers compared 31 previous studies that had investigated stress using functional magnetic resonance imaging. The team worked out which regions of the brain are activated as standard during stress and which stress tests trigger similar activation patterns.

Changing the connection between the hemispheres affects speech perception
When we listen to speech sounds, our brain needs to combine information from both hemispheres. How does the brain integrate acoustic information from remote areas? In a neuroimaging study, a team of researchers applied electrical stimulation to participants' brains during a listening task. The stimulation affected the connection between the two hemispheres, which in turn changed participants' listening behavior.

Prediabetes may be linked to worse brain health
Researchers analyzed data from the UK Biobank of 500,000 people aged 58 years on average, and found that people with higher than normal blood sugar levels were 42% more likely to experience cognitive decline over an average of four years, and were 54% more likely to develop vascular dementia over an average of eight years (although absolute rates of both cognitive decline and dementia were low).

The politics of synonyms
Researchers found people are more successful at identifying language associated with Republican speech than Democratic speech patterns.

Once bitten, twice shy: the neurology of why one bad curry could put us off for life
A negative experience with food usually leaves us unable to stomach the thought of eating that particular dish again. Using sugar-loving snails as models, researchers believe these bad experiences could be causing a switch in our brains, which impacts our future eating habits.

Wake-up call for neural stem cells
A brain enzyme activates dormant neural stem cells, revealing how defects in its gene could lead to neurodevelopmental disorders.

Tiny population of neurons may have big role in depression
Scientists report the first evidence that, not short-term stress, like a series of tough college exams, rather chronic, unpredictable stress like that which erupts in our personal and professional lives, induces changes in the function of AgRP neurons that may contribute to depression.

Mediterranean-style diet linked to better thinking skills in later life
People who eat a Mediterranean-style diet -- particularly one rich in green leafy vegetables and low in meat -- are more likely to stay mentally sharp in later life, a study shows. Closely adhering to a Mediterranean diet was associated with higher scores on a range of memory and thinking tests among adults in their late 70s, the research found. The study found no link, however, between the Mediterranean-style diet and better brain health.

Depressed moms who breastfeed boost babies' mood, neuroprotection and mutual touch
Feeding method and affectionate touch patterns in depressed and non-depressed mothers and babies as well as infant's EEG activity showed that mother-infant affectionate touch differed as a function of mood and feeding method (breastfeeding and bottle-feeding). Infants in the depressed and bottle-fed group reduced touch toward their mothers while breastfeeding had a positive effect on both mother and baby. Infants of depressed and breastfeeding mothers showed neither behavioral nor brain development dysregulation previously found in infants of depressed mothers.

Function identified of 'mystery protein' that kills brain cells of people with Parkinson's
Scientists have made a 'vital step' towards understanding the origins of Parkinson's Disease - the fastest growing neurological condition in the world. A study presents a compelling new evidence about what a key protein called alpha-synuclein actually does in neurons in the brain.

How messenger substances influence individual decision-making
Psychologists and physicists investigated the neurobiological processes in different types of decision-making. They report that variations in the ratio of two messenger substances affects short-term and long-term strategic decisions in a different manner.

Distinctness of mental disorders traced to differences in gene readouts
A new study suggests that differences in the expression of gene transcripts - readouts copied from DNA that help maintain and build our cells - may hold the key to understanding how mental disorders with shared genetic risk factors result in different patterns of onset, symptoms, course of illness, and treatment responses.

Synchronization of brain hemispheres changes what we hear
Most of the time, our brain receives different input from each of our ears, but we nevertheless perceive speech as unified sounds. This process takes place through synchronization of the areas of the brain involved with the help of gamma waves, neurolinguists have now discovered. Their findings may lead to new treatment approaches for tinnitus.