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Neuroscience

Researchers have gained partial control of a specific memory and created 'hybrid' memories...

You may remember – pun intended – that earlier in the week we reported on research that may provide an explanation of how memories are stored in the brain. In related news, a team consisting of researchers from the Scripps Research Institute, the University of Oregon and the University of North Carolina has found a way to partially control a specific memory in mice by turning neurons in their brains on and off. Although the research is in its early stages, the scientists say it could lead to a better understanding of how memories form and maybe even provide ways to change people’s thought patterns.  Read More

Scientists have developed a theory regarding how the brain stores memories (Photo via Shut...

While it’s generally accepted that memories are stored somewhere, somehow in our brains, the exact process has never been entirely understood. Strengthened synaptic connections between neurons definitely have something to do with it, although the synaptic membranes involved are constantly degrading and being replaced – this seems to be somewhat at odds with the fact that some memories can last for a person’s lifetime. Now, a team of scientists believe that they may have figured out what’s going on. Their findings could have huge implications for the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer's.  Read More

An anticancer drug, bexarotene, reverses the physical and cognitive effects of Alzheimer's...

Studies of the anticancer drug bexarotene have shown that, in mice, the drug quickly reverses the physiological, cognitive, and memory deficits which are characteristic of Alzheimer's. More than half of the amyloid beta plaques associated with Alzheimer's were cleared from the brain within hours, and normal behavioral patterns which had been blocked by the plaques were restored within 72 hours.  Read More

The NovoTTF treatment involves placing pads onto the patient's skin that creates a low int...

The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) has approved a new treatment for patients as an alternative to chemotherapy. The promising new non-invasive treatment by Novocure uses "Tumor Treating Fields" (NovoTTF) to treat cancerous growths and is now available for adult patients with recurring brain tumors (recurrent glioblastoma or GBM). The treatment delivers electric fields to a patient utilizing a portable, wearable device that permits the patient to maintain normal daily activities without down time.  Read More

U.S. researchers have developed a nonsurgical technique to repair severed nerves in minute...

Professor George Bittner and his colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin Center for Neuroscience have developed a simple and inexpensive procedure to quickly repair severed peripheral nerves. The team took advantage of a mechanism similar to that which permits many invertebrates to regenerate and repair nerve damage. The new procedure, based on timely application of common chemicals to the severed nerve ends, could help patients to recover nearly full function in days or weeks.  Read More

A report published by the Royal Society warns the neuroscience community to be aware of th...

Neuroscience has ramifications for future warfare, and the scientific community must be more aware. So says a new report published by the Royal Society titled Neuroscience, conflict and security, which cites interest in neuroscience from the military community, and identifies particular technologies that may arise. Among them is the potential for "neural interface systems" (NIS) to bring about weapons controllable by the human mind, though the reports also discusses more benign military applications of neuroscience, such as fostering a revolution in prosthetic limbs.  Read More

Researchers have used functional magnetic resonance imaging technology to help test subjec...

How would you like to have the ability to play the piano downloaded into your brain? You might not end up with the same sense of achievement, but it sure would be a lot quicker and easier than years of lessons and practicing. Well, we're not there yet (and perhaps we never should be), but that sort of scenario is now a little closer to reality, thanks to research conducted at Boston University and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan.  Read More

UCLA neuro-physicists have discovered that changes in synaptic strength have an optimal 'r...

Neuroscientists have long pondered the mechanism behind learning and memory formation in the human brain. On the cellular level, it's generally agreed that we learn when stimuli are repeated frequently enough that our synapses - the gap-connections between neurons - respond and become stronger. Now, a team of UCLA neuro-physicists has discovered that this change in synaptic strength actually has an optimal "rhythm," or frequency, a finding that could one day lead to new strategies for treating learning disabilities.  Read More

DBS mice (S) spent a greater amount of time (indicated in red) swimming near a submerged l...

With the possible exception of those affected by hyperthylmesia – a rare condition where a person has an extraordinary capability to recall events from their past - most of us wouldn’t mind having our memory enhanced. That’s just what appears to have happened to a group of mice when targeted areas of their brains were electrically stimulated. The treatment triggered an increase in the creation of new cells in the hippocampus, with experiment results suggesting the mice’s spatial learning improved. The researchers responsible say the results could have implications for the treatment of memory disorders in humans.  Read More

Scientists are a step closer to developing a computer model of the brain thanks to a new t...

"Connectomics" is an area of neuroscience that aims to map the brain's connections, known as synapses, to gain an understanding of how information flows through the circuits of the brain. With an estimated 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain, each connected to thousands of other nerve cells, adding up to an estimated 150 trillion synapses, the creation of such a map is no small task – but a new technique is bringing scientists a step closer to developing a computer model of the brain.  Read More

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