A study combining family- and population-based approaches has uncovered a single-letter change in the genetic code that is associated with autism. The finding implicates a neuronal gene not previously tied to the disorder and more broadly, underscores a role for common DNA variation. In addition, the new research highlights two other regions of the genome, which are likely to contain rare genetic differences that may also influence autism risk.
You open your dictionary to figure out what your friend meant by 'nasute,' only to find that the definition is "A wittol, or jemadar; bannocked in an emunctory fashion." What good is this dictionary, you wonder, if it only refers me to other words I don't know? And worse still, the definitions of some of these words refer back to ‘nasute,’ the word you didn’t know in the first place! Even if your attempt to learn what 'nasute’ means is not infected by circularity, you face a quick explosion of words to look up: the words in the definition, the words in each of these definitions, and so on. The dictionary appears, then, to be a terribly messy tangled web.
Patterns of brain activity allow researchers to know what number a person has just seen or how many dots a person has been presented with, according to a report published in Current Biology.
The findings confirm the notion that numbers are encoded in the brain via detailed and specific activity patterns and open the door to more sophisticated exploration of humans' high-level numerical abilities. Although "number-tuned" neurons have been found in monkeys, scientists hadn't managed to get any farther than particular brain regions before now in humans.
A new gene called AP2gamma has been discovered to be crucial for the neural development of the visual cortex in a discovery that can have implications for the therapeutics of neural regeneration as well as provide new clues about how the brain evolved into higher sophistication in mammals. The article will come out in the journal Nature Neuroscience1 on the 14th of September.
May not sound like news, but for the last 70 years, we've been making assumptions about human neurons based on measurements from squid neurons. That's not quite as ludicrous as it sounds--squid axons are enormous, and so for a long time, they were the only tractable system for learning much of anything about neurobiology.
However, technology has since advanced to the point that someone could finally make the same measurements on our near and dear mammalian cousin, the long-suffering lab rat, and found--surprise!--different results
Once again neuroscientists and physicists have teamed up to take brain imaging to a new level -- Supraresolution imaging. This has the making of a great SciFi movie -- A team of researchers at Harvard University, led by Dr Bernardo Sabatini, combine laser imaging techniques, two-photon laser scanning microscopy (2PLSM) and continuous wave stimulated emission depletion (STED), to go where no human has gone before, peering deep into living brain slices to see nanoscale features of functioning neurons.
The magic of brain imaging has allowed researchers to correlate a thicker cortex in Tetris players with increased brain efficiency due to ... playing Tetris. The researchers from Mind Research Network in Albuquerque writing in BMC Research Notes used brain imaging and Tetris to investigate whether practice makes the brain efficient because it increases gray matter.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a technique widely used tdoay in studying the human brain but its actual value in correlation is unclear. No one knows exactly how fMRI signals are generated at brain cell level but it is crucially important to interpreting these imaging signals.
Scientists from the Academy of Finland's Neuroscience Research Programme (NEURO) say they have discovered that astrocytes
, support cells in brain tissue, play a key role in the generation of fMRI signals.
You may recall the “China Brain” thought experiment about consciousness, which goes something like this: if each person in China were to mimic the activity of a neuron using cell phones to communicate with one another, would this China-sized brain like Chinese food? I may be missing some of the philosophical nuances in the question, but as a one-time philosopher, I know enough about consciousness to know I have nothing remotely worthwhile to say about it.
One of the cool things about neuroscience is that its validating some theories of psychology and even psychoanalysis.
When I wrote The Chemistry of Connection
in 2007 and 2008, I made some leaps, tying together psychology and sociology, which are based on observation, with animal studies showing that mothering helps determine the distribution and sensitivity of oxytocin receptors in the brain. For one thing, I tied the oxytocin response -- the release of oxytocin in the brain in response to positive social interactions -- to attachment styles.
A new study from Baylor College of Medicine validates this link.