Neuroscience

A new paper challenges a long-accepted hypothesis about the role the hippocampus plays in our unconscious memory. 

For decades, neuroscientists have believed that this part of the brain is not involved in processing unconscious memory, the type that allows us to do things like button a shirt without having to think about it, but research by University of Texas at Dallas lecturer Dr. Richard Addante raises doubts about that. 

Much of the knowledge about the hippocampus and how our brains organize memory comes from research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on an amnesia patient known in textbooks as "Patient H.M.", revealed as Henry Molaison, upon his death in 2008. 
Though adopting a whole-food diet has become popular in some circles, is it really going to help you? Perhaps, perhaps not. 

One reason to err on the side of caution and not chase diet fads is that fads tend to be expensive and their benefit is unknown. A gluten-free diet, for example, will be 242 percent higher cost and the extra sugar, extra fat, hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose and xanthan gum in gluten-free foods are not a health positive.

What about the whole food diet?
Drinking coffee may  lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new paper out today

For the study, researchers looked at a Swedish study of 1,629 people with MS and 2,807 healthy people, and a U.S. study of 1,159 people with MS and 1,172 healthy people. The studies characterized coffee consumption among persons with MS one and five years before MS symptoms began (as well as 10 years before MS symptoms began in the Swedish study) and compared it to coffee consumption of people who did not have MS at similar time periods.

The study also accounted for other factors such as age, sex, smoking, body mass index, and sun exposure habits.

Anyone who knows me also knows that I have a huge sweet tooth.

I always have. My friend and fellow graduate student Andrew is equally afflicted, and living in Hershey, Pennsylvania – the “Chocolate Capital of the World” – doesn’t help either of us.

But Andrew is braver than I am. Last year, he gave up sweets for Lent. I can’t say that I’m following in his footsteps this year, but if you are abstaining from sweets for Lent this year, here’s what you can expect over the next 40 days.

A new mathematical analysis tool can numerically describe the skull as an extended network structured in ten modules. 

Anatomical Network Analysis (AnNA) is based on network analysis mathematical tools for studying anatomy and has led to several studies of both the human skeleton and of the rest of terrestrial vertebrates, especially in regard to the development and evolution of the skull.

People are not as conscious of tasting fat as they are of other taste qualities. John Benson, CC BY

By Russell Keast, Deakin University

The brain’s GPS wouldn't be much value if its maps of our surroundings that were not calibrated to the real world - grounded in reality.

But they are, and a new study shows how this is done.

The way that the brain’s internal maps are linked and anchored to the external world has been a mystery for a decade, ever since 2014 Nobel Laureates May-Britt and Edvard Moser discovered grid cells, the key reference system of our brain’s spatial navigation system. Now, researchers at the Mosers’ Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience believe they have solved this mystery. 
A new study has shown an unprecedented degree of connectivity reorganization in newly-generated hippocampal neurons in response to experience, suggesting their direct contribution to the processing of complex information in the adult brain.

The hippocampus is an anatomical area of the brain classically involved in memory formation and modulation of emotional behavior. It is also one of the very few regions in the adult brain where resident neural stem cells generate new neurons life-long, thus providing the hippocampal circuitry with an almost unique renewal mechanism important for information processing and mood regulation.

Learning disabilities may make life more of a challenge, but a diagnosis is not a life sentence. Shutterstock

By Sue O'Neill; Iva Strnadová, and Therese M. Cumming

A new study has identified genes involved in long-term memory in the worm as part of research aimed at finding ways to retain cognitive abilities during aging.

The study identified more than 750 genes involved in long-term memory, including many that had not been found previously and that could serve as targets for future research, said senior author Coleen Murphy, an associate professor of molecular biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University.