Neuroscience

Brain scans from nearly 200 adolescent boys provide evidence that the brains of compulsive video game players are wired differently.

Chronic video game play is associated with hyperconnectivity between several pairs of brain networks. Some of the changes are predicted to help game players respond to new information. Other changes are associated with distractibility and poor impulse control. The research, a collaboration between the University of Utah School of Medicine, and Chung-Ang University in South Korea.

(Boston)--For the first time, CTE has been confirmed as a unique disease that can be definitively diagnosed by neuropathological examination of brain tissue. A consensus panel of expert neuropathologists concluded that CTE has a pathognomonic signature in the brain, an advance that represents a milestone for CTE research and lays the foundation for future studies defining the clinical symptoms, genetic risk factors and therapeutic strategies for CTE.

The neuropathological criteria defining CTE, or the NINDS CTE criteria, which appear in the journal Acta Neuropathologica, had been announced earlier this year at the Foundation of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) board meeting.

Taste buds vary widely in humans, which is one reason why some kids prefer sweet or salty treats and others do not, but it may also be the reason that some kids need more sugar to get that same sweet taste.  

The amygdala, a small structure at the front end of the brain's temporal lobe, has long been associated with negative behaviors generally, and specifically with fear. But new research shows this collection of nuclei can also influence positive social functions like kindness and what might be called charitable giving in humans. 

  

How are insomniacs able to function well with less sleep than others? It may be a beneficial biological trait.

Adjusting a specific deep-brain circuit's firing frequency immediately and dramatically alters rats' forebrain activity and alertness levels,  which could eventually take deep brain stimulation to a whole new level.

Deep brain stimulation may one day have potential for restoring consciousness in minimally conscious patients and countering other cases of impaired consciousness. The findings also highlight the importance of determining optimal stimulation frequencies for DBS devices used across a wide range of brain disorders and demonstrate a method for making those determinations. 

Playing three-dimensional video games can boost the formation of memories, along with improving hand-eye coordination and reaction time, this finding shows the potential for novel virtual approaches to helping people who lose memory as they age or suffer from dementia. 

For their research, scholars recruited non-gamer college students to play either a video game with a passive, two-dimensional environment ("Angry Birds") or one with an intricate, 3-D setting ("Super Mario 3D World") for 30 minutes per day over two weeks. 

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology
 aren't trying to commit a microaggression when they note it's been well established that men perform better than women on specific spatial tasks.

The issue is how much of that is linked to sex hormones versus cultural conditioning and other factors. To test that factor they administered testosterone to women and tested how they performed in wayfinding tasks in a virtual environment.

Using fMRI, the researchers saw that men in the study took several shortcuts, oriented themselves more using cardinal directions and used a different part of the brain than the women in the study.

Neuroscientists have developed a new tool that lights up active conversations between neurons during a behavior or sensory experience, such as smelling a banana.

The scientists accomplished their feat by focusing on three of the sensory systems in Drosophila melanogaster - fruit flies, a model animal for learning about the brain and its communication channels.  Using fluorescent molecules of different colors to tag neurons in the brain to see which connections were active during a sensory experience that happened hours earlier.

Several studies have demonstrated that the primary active constituent of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol induces transient psychosis-like effects in healthy subjects similar to those observed in schizophrenia. However, the mechanisms underlying these effects are not clear.

A new study reports that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol increases random neural activity, termed neural noise, in the brains of healthy human subjects. The findings suggest that increased neural noise may play a role in the psychosis-like effects of cannabis.