Psychology Research News -- ScienceDaily

The neurobiology of noshing: Why is it so easy to overeat calorie-rich tasty foods?
When you eat something super tasty, ever wonder why you really don't want to stop even though you know you've eaten enough? Scientists may have found the reason. In lab experiments, They have discovered a specific network of cellular communication emanating from the emotion-processing region of the brain, motivating mice to keep eating tasty food even though their basic energy needs had been met.

Smelling with your tongue
Scientists report that functional olfactory receptors, the sensors that detect odors in the nose, are also present in human taste cells found on the tongue. The findings suggest that interactions between the senses of smell and taste, the primary components of food flavor, may begin on the tongue and not in the brain, as previously thought.

Obesity linked with differences in form and structure of the brain
Researchers using sophisticated MRI technology have found that higher levels of body fat are associated with differences in the brain's form and structure, including smaller volumes of gray matter, according to a new study. The findings add important information to our understanding of the connection between obesity and negative health consequences such as dementia.

More evidence that blood tests can detect the risk of Alzheimer's
A new study confirms that a simple blood test can reveal whether there is accelerating nerve cell damage in the brain. The researchers analyzed neurofilament light protein (NFL) in blood samples from patients with Alzheimer's disease. The study suggests that the NFL concentration in the blood could be able to indicate if a drug actually affects the loss of nerve cells.

Stressed, anxious? Ask the brain!
Our actions are driven by 'internal states' such as anxiety, stress or thirst -- which will strongly affect and motivate our behaviors. Little is known about how such states are represented by complex brain-wide circuits, including sub-cortical structures such as the amygdala. Scientists have now used a deep brain imaging technique to monitor amygdala activity in active mice and revealed the neuronal dynamics encoding behavioral states.

A new window into macaque brain connections
Researchers can now see how the two sides of the living brain mirror each other thanks to a new combination-imaging technique. The method dubbed 'opto-OISI' takes advantage of rapidly developing high-resolution optical technologies to help make sense of the trillions of connections in the brain.

Brains of blind people adapt to sharpen sense of hearing, study shows
Research uses functional MRI to identify two differences in the brains of blind individuals -- differences that might be responsible for their abilities to make better use of auditory information.

Sugar entering the brain during septic shock causes memory loss
The loss of memory and cognitive function known to afflict survivors of septic shock is the result of a sugar that is released into the blood stream and enters the brain during the life-threatening condition.

Neuroscientists reverse some behavioral symptoms of Williams syndrome
In a study of mice, neuroscientists have found that impaired myelination underlies the hypersociability seen in patients with Williams syndrome.

New insight into how obesity, insulin resistance can impair cognition
Obesity can break down our protective blood brain barrier resulting in problems with learning and memory, scientists report.

Light, physical activity reduces brain aging
Incremental physical activity, even at light intensity, is associated with larger brain volume and healthy brain aging, according to new research.

Important insight on the brain-body connection
A study reveals that neurons in the motor cortex exhibit an unexpected division of labor, a finding that could help scientists understand how the brain controls the body and provide insight on certain neurological disorders.

Brain wiring differences identified in children with conduct disorder
Behavioral problems in young people with severe antisocial behavior -- known as conduct disorder -- could be caused by differences in the brain's wiring that link the brain's emotional centers together, according to new research.

Behavioral disorders in kids with autism linked to reduced brain connectivity
More than a quarter of children with autism spectrum disorder are also diagnosed with disruptive behavior disorders. Now researchers have identified a possible biological cause: a key mechanism that regulates emotion functions differently in the brains of the children who exhibit disruptive behavior.

Brain's imperfect execution of mathematically optimal perception
Human perception is based on mathematically optimal principles, but the brain implements those principles imperfectly, suggests new research.

Growing a cerebral tract in a microscale brain model
An international research team modeled the growth of cerebral tracts. Using neurons derived from stem cells, they grew cortical-like spheroids. In a microdevice, the spheroids extended bundles of axons toward each other, forming a physical and electrical connection. Fascicles grew less efficiently when one spheroid was absent, and when a gene relevant to cerebral tract formation was knocked-down. The study further illuminates brain growth and developmental disorders.

Researchers map sound, response and reward anticipation in mouse brain
Neuroscientists report that two areas of the mouse brain combine representations of what is heard and anticipated, guiding behavior that leads mice to the best reward.

Scientists restore some functions in a pig's brain hours after death
Circulation and cellular activity were restored in a pig's brain four hours after its death, a finding that challenges long-held assumptions about the timing and irreversible nature of the cessation of some brain functions after death.

Taking care of people with TBI: New tool could speed caregiver research
A traumatic brain injury happens in an instant: a battlefield blast, a car crash, a bad fall. But the effects can last a lifetime -- and can leave the survivor dependent on daily care from their loved ones for decades. Now, a new tool seeks to give a voice to those caregivers, who spend countless hours tending to the daily needs of family members whose moods, thinking and abilities seemed to change overnight.

Gender identity leaves imprint on human brains
Society's expectations about gender roles alter the human brain at the cellular level, according to a new article.

Cannabidiol could help deliver medications to the brain
Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, is being touted as beneficial for many health conditions, ranging from anxiety to epilepsy. Although much more research is needed to verify these claims, scientists have now shown that CBD could have a different use as a 'Trojan horse': helping slip medications across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and into mouse brains.

How college students can end up in vicious cycle of substance abuse, poor academics, stress
One negative behavior such as substance abuse or heavy alcohol drinking can lead college students toward a vicious cycle of poor lifestyle choices, lack of sleep, mental distress and low grades, according to new research.

New microscopy technique peers deep into the brain
Using new imaging technology, researchers can now record the activity of large populations of brain cells with unprecedented speed, and at new depths.

For busy medical students, two-hour meditation study may be as beneficial as longer course
For time-crunched medical students, taking a two-hour introductory class on mindfulness may be just as beneficial for reducing stress and depression as taking an eight-week meditation course, a study finds.

Brain marker for angry dreams
Researchers have identified a pattern of brain activity that predicts anger experienced during dreaming, according to a new study of healthy adults. The research could potentially inform efforts to understand the neural basis of the emotional content of nightmares, a feature of various mental and sleep disorders.

Low-intensity ultrasound can change decision-making process in the brain
Imagine working in your office while the sun is shining outside. Thinking about what you could be doing instead of working is an example of "counterfactual thinking."

Cell-type specific mechanism for formation and retrieval of cocaine-associated memories
Scientists have revealed neuronal mechanisms underlying the formation and retrieval of cocaine use-associated memories. Their research sheds light on how drug addiction develops and reveals pathways that can be exploited for the development of strategies to treat cocaine addiction.

A specific gene could play a major role in reducing brain swelling after stroke
Inflammation gone awry in the brain due to stroke, head injury or infection causes damage; in a lab model of stroke, a particular gene tamped down swelling.

Train your brain, change your brain
Less than one hour of brain training with neurofeedback leads to a strengthening of neural connections and communication among brain areas. This is the main finding of a new study. According to the authors, the study may pave the way for the optimization and development of therapeutic approaches against stroke and Parkinson's, for example.

ICU patients with non-brain-related injuries may suffer undetected cognitive dysfunction
Researchers assessed 20 patients as they left the ICU and every single patient had detectable cognitive deficits in two or more cognitive areas of investigation, including memory, attention, decision-making and reasoning.

Want to learn a new skill? Take some short breaks
In a study of healthy volunteers, researchers found that our brains may solidify the memories of new skills we just practiced a few seconds earlier by taking a short rest. The results highlight the critically important role rest may play in learning.

Heads in the cloud: Scientists predict internet of thoughts 'within decades'
Researchers predict that exponential progress in nanotechnology, nanomedicine, artificial intelligence, and computation will lead this century to the development of a 'human brain/cloud interface' (B/CI), that connects neurons and synapses in the brain to vast cloud-computing networks in real time.

Anesthesia sends neurons down the wrong path in unborn rat babies
A study provides new insight into why -- and when -- anesthesia during pregnancy harms unborn brains. Most research into prenatal exposure to anesthesia has focused killing brain cells, this rat study showed how anesthesia disrupts the 'precisely choreographed' migration neurons make in utero, and how not 'arriving at their proper and predetermined' locations can have profound impact on brain development.

New role for sensory signals in the brain
Learning how to tie a shoe or shoot a basketball isn't easy, but the brain somehow integrates sensory signals that are critical to coordinating movements so you can get it right. Now, scientists have discovered that sensory signals in the brain's cerebral cortex, which plays a key role in controlling movement and other functions, have a different pattern of connections between nerve cells and different effects on behavior than motor signals. The motor area of the cortex sends signals to stimulate muscles.

Ketamine reverses neural changes underlying depression-related behaviors in mice
Researchers have identified ketamine-induced brain-related changes that are responsible for maintaining the remission of behaviors related to depression in mice. Ketamine treatment restored lost dendritic spines and rescued coordinated neural activity in the Prefrontal Cortex of the mice -- findings that may help researchers develop interventions that promote lasting remission of depression in humans.

Body mass index may play a significant role in the progression of multiple sclerosis
A new article identifies a link between high levels of blood lipids and worsening of disease in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who are overweight or obese.

New study advances treatment options for PTSD
New research examines the psychological and neural basis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

I feel you: Emotional mirror neurons found in the rat
Researchers have found that the rat brain activates the same cells when they observe the pain of others as when they experience pain themselves. In addition, without activity of these 'mirror neurons,' the animals no longer share the pain of others. Finding the neural basis for sharing the emotions of others is an exciting step towards understanding empathy.

'Mindreading' neurons simulate decisions of social partners
Scientists have identified special types of brain cells that may allow us to simulate the decision-making processes of others, thereby reconstructing their state of mind and predicting their intentions. Dysfunction in these 'simulation neurons' may help explain difficulties with social interactions in conditions such as autism and social anxiety.

Releasing an immune system brake could help patients with rare but fatal brain infection
The anti-cancer drug pembrolizumab has shown promise in slowing or stopping the progression of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a typically fatal infection of the brain caused by the JC virus (JCV).

Experimental PET scan detects abnormal tau protein in brains of living former NFL players
Using an experimental positron emission tomography (PET) scan, researchers have found elevated amounts of abnormal tau protein in brain regions affected by chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in a small group of living former National Football League (NFL) players with cognitive, mood and behavior symptoms.

Active lifestyles may help nerves to heal after spinal injuries
Leading an active lifestyle may increase the likelihood of damaged nerves regenerating after a spinal cord injury.

Marijuana for morning sickness? It's not great for baby's brain
With a growing number of states legalizing recreational or medical marijuana, more women are using the drug during pregnancy, in part due to its reported ability to relieve morning sickness. A new study, conducted in rats, sheds light on how cannabis exposure affects the brain of a developing fetus.

Animal-assisted therapy improves social behavior in patients with brain injuries
Animal-assisted therapy can foster social competence in patients with brain injuries and increase their emotional involvement during therapy, according to new findings.

Childhood trauma has lasting effect on brain connectivity in patients with depression
A study found that childhood trauma is linked to abnormal connectivity in the brain in adults with major depressive disorder (MDD). The paper shows symptom-specific, system-level changes in brain network connectivity in MDD.

An EEG to assess a baby's developmental risk?
Does exposure to stress early in life affect a baby's brain development, and is there a way to single out babies who might benefit from early intervention? A new study used brain EEGs to begin to get at these questions in an objectively measurable way.

Advances in deep brain stimulation could lead to new treatments
A new article suggests that recent advances in deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson disease could lead to treatments for conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Gilles de la Tourette syndrome and depression. The authors of the article argue that bi-directional electrodes which can both stimulate and record from deep brain structures -- known as closed-loop DBS -- could have applications beyond Parkinson disease.

Dietary supplement boosts cognitive function in vegetarians
Vegetarians who take the dietary supplement creatine may enjoy improved brain function, according to a new study.

Why heart failure patients suffer depression, impaired thinking
A new study explains why heart failure patients often have trouble with thinking and depression, pointing to ways to prevent and treat both heart and brain maladies through the emerging field of circadian medicine.

New hope for treating childhood brain cancer
Recent research has shown that a drug known as MI-2 can kill cells that cause a fatal brain cancer. But only now have scientists been able to explain how the compound works: by targeting cholesterol production in tumors.