Psychology Research News -- ScienceDaily

Brain's anterior cingulate cortex and its tie to human learning
After four years of lab testing and complex neuro-decoding, a research team has struck a major breakthrough that could open the floodgates for research into the anterior cingulate cortex, or ACC, and how human brains learn.

Creating brain cells to detect Tourette's
Scientists have used a genetic engineering technique for the first time to create brain cells from the blood cells of individuals in a three-generation family with Tourette syndrome to help determine what causes the disease.

After 15 years in a vegetative state, nerve stimulation restores consciousness
A 35-year-old man who had been in a vegetative state for 15 years after a car accident has shown signs of consciousness after neurosurgeons implanted a vagus nerve stimulator into his chest. The findings show that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) -- a treatment already in use for epilepsy and depression--can help to restore consciousness even after many years in a vegetative state.

Child abuse affects brain wiring
For the first time, researchers have been able to see changes in the neural structures in specific areas of the brains of people who suffered severe abuse as children. The researchers believe that these changes may contribute to the emergence of depressive disorders and suicidal behavior.

The rat race is over: New livestock model for stroke could speed discovery
Researchers have developed the first US pig model for stroke treatments.

Maternal diet could affect kids' brain reward circuitry
Researchers have found that rats who ate junk food during pregnancy had heavier pups that strongly preferred fat straight after weaning. However, a balanced diet in childhood seemed to reduce the pups' desire for fat. The pups also showed altered brain reward circuitry into adulthood. The findings could have implications for childhood nutrition and obesity in Western countries.

Brain guides body much sooner than previously believed
The brain plays an active role much earlier than previously thought. Long before movement or other behaviors occur, the nascent brain of an embryonic frog instructs normal muscle and nerve patterning and protects the embryo from agents that cause developmental defects. In addition to identifying these essential functions for the first time, researchers successfully rescued defects caused by lack of a brain by using widely available, human-approved drugs.

A brain-system that builds confidence in what we see, hear and touch
A series of experiments provide conclusive evidence that the brain uses a single mechanism (supramodality) to estimate confidence in different senses such as audition, touch, or vision.

Stimuli fading away en route to consciousness
Whether or not we consciously perceive the stimuli projected onto our retina is decided in our brain. A recent study shows how some signals dissipate along the processing path to conscious perception. This process begins at rather late stages of signal processing. By contrast, in earlier stages there is hardly any difference in the reaction of neurons to conscious and unconscious stimuli.

New hope for people with fibromyalgia
A novel psychological therapy that encourages addressing emotional experiences related to trauma, conflict and relationship problems has been found helpful for people with the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia.

Your neurons register familiar faces, whether you notice them or not
When people see an image of a person they recognize particular cells light up in the brain. Now, researchers have found that those cells light up even when a person sees a familiar face or object but fails to notice it. The only difference is that the neural activity is weaker and delayed in comparison to what happens when an observer consciously registers and can recall having seen a particular image.

Brain inflammation linked to suicidal thinking in depression
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) have increased brain levels of a marker of microglial activation, a sign of inflammation, according to a new study. Scientists have found that the increase in the inflammatory marker was present specifically in patients with MDD who were experiencing suicidal thoughts, pinning the role of inflammation to suicidality rather than a diagnosis of MDD itself.

Immune cells may heal bleeding brain after strokes
By studying rodents, researchers showed that instead of attacking germs, some neutrophils may help heal the brain after an intracerebral hemorrhage, a form of stroke caused by ruptured blood vessels. The study suggests that two neutrophil-related proteins may play critical roles in protecting the brain from stroke-induced damage and could be used as treatments for intracerebral hemorrhage.

Faulty cell signaling derails cerebral cortex development, could it lead to autism?
As the embryonic brain develops, a complex cascade of cellular events occur, starting with progenitors -- the originating cells that generate neurons and spur proper cortex development. If this cascade malfunctions then the brain can develop abnormally. New research has shown how the deletion of the protein APC in progenitor leads to massive disruption of brain development and the Wnt protein pathway, which previously was linked to genes associated with autism.

Oxytocin turns up the volume of your social environment
A new study shows that the so-called 'love hormone' oxytocin can intensify negative as well as positive experiences.

Newly ID'd role of major Alzheimer's gene suggests possible therapeutic target
A new role has been identified for the major Alzheimer's risk factor ApoE4, suggesting that targeting the protein may help treat the disease. Researchers show that ApoE4 exacerbates the brain damage caused by toxic tangles of a different Alzheimer's-associated protein: tau. In the absence of ApoE, tau tangles did very little harm to brain cells.

New light shed on how the brain operates like GPS
New insights have been gained into how the brain is organized to help a person navigate through life.

You can 'pick up' a good or bad mood from your friends, study suggests
Both good and bad moods can be ‘picked up’ from friends, but depression can’t, suggests new research.

Mathematical simulations shed new light on epilepsy surgery
Results from an unexpected quarter is could help neurologists to identify which brain region to remove to eliminate an epilepsy patient’s symptoms. Mathematicians have shown that it is sensible to examine the interconnections between different brain regions closely, instead of searching for abnormal regions only.

Infection in pregnant pigs leads to antisocial piglets
When a pregnant woman gets a bad case of the flu, her immune system may react in a way that affects her baby’s developing brain, which could lead to behavioral disorders like autism in the child or schizophrenia in the young adult. The link is well established in humans, which is one reason it’s standard practice to get a flu shot during pregnancy. But until now, the majority of studies testing the underlying causes have been done with rodents, including two that were released just last week.  

New tool to assess individual's level of wisdom
Researchers have developed a new tool called the San Diego Wisdom Scale (SD-WISE) to assess an individual's level of wisdom, based upon a conceptualization of wisdom as a trait with a neurobiological as well as psychosocial basis.

Cell model of brain provides new knowledge of developmental disease
By reprogramming skin cells into nerve cells, researchers are creating cell models of the human brain. The researchers describe how cells from patients with the severe developmental disease lissencephaly differ from healthy cells. The method can provide vital new knowledge on difficult-to-study congenital diseases.

Playing American football before age 12 could have long-term health effects
Playing American football before the age of 12 may have long-term consequences for players' mood and behavior, according to a study involving 214 professional and amateur football players.

An interconnection between the nervous and immune system
Researchers have shown that the increased incidence of infections seen in spinal cord injury patients is directly linked to a disruption of the normal central nervous system.

Local epileptic seizure shows long distance interaction
An epileptic seizure may be highly local, but it also influences brain activity at a distance of over ten centimeters from the core. This, in turn, affects the active area, scientists report.

Overcoming the brain's fortress-like barrier
Scientists have helped provide a way to better understand how to enable drugs to enter the brain and how cancer cells make it past the blood brain barrier.

The brain at work: Spotting half-hidden objects
The human and non-human primate brain is remarkable in recognizing partially hidden objects. A study, conducted during a shape recognition task, shows as more of the shape is hidden, a brain area involved in cognition starts to sends signals to the visual cortex. The findings make the scientists wonder if this communication between different brain areas might be impaired in people with autism or Alzheimer's. Both conditions can cause confusion in cluttered surroundings and problems recognizing objects.

Owners of seriously ill pets at risk of stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms
Owners of seriously or terminally ill pets are more likely to suffer with stress and symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as poorer quality of life, compared with owners of healthy animals, finds a study.

Sex, aggression controlled separately in female animal brains, but overlap in male brains
Brain structures that control sexual and aggressive behavior in mice are wired differently in females than in males, new research shows.

Why bad sleep doesn't always lead to depression
Poor sleep is both a risk factor, and a common symptom, of depression. But not everyone who tosses and turns at night becomes depressed. Individuals whose brains are more attuned to rewards may be protected from the negative mental health effects of poor sleep, says a new study.

Magnetic fields to alleviate anxiety
It is possible to unlearn fears. And this works even better when a specific region of the brain has previously been stimulated magnetically.

Differences in aggression among people with dementia
Physical aggression among people with dementia is not unusual. A study showed that one-third of patients with the diagnosis Alzheimer’s disease or frontotemporal dementia were physically aggressive towards healthcare staff, other patients, relatives, animals and complete strangers. This manifestation of disease must be both understood and addressed in the right way.

Memory decline after head injury may be prevented by slowing brain cell growth
Scientists say a new study indicates that the excessive burst of new brain cells after a traumatic head injury that researchers have traditionally believed helped in recovery could instead lead to epileptic seizures and long-term cognitive decline.

Immune system linked to alcohol drinking behavior
Researchers have found a new link between the brain's immune system and the desire to drink alcohol in the evening.

Decreased glucose metabolism in medial prefrontal areas is associated with nutritional status in patients with prodromal and early Alzheimer's disease
A new study shows that hypometabolism in the medial prefrontal areas is specifically associated with Alzheimer's disease-related nutritional problems, and decrease in fat mass may have a key role.

Brain halves increase communication to compensate for aging, study finds
Increased communication between distant brain regions helps older adults compensate for the negative aspects of aging, reports a new study.

New study on the placebo effect and antidepressants in children and adolescents
Although the clinical efficacy of antidepressants in children and adolescents is proven, it is frequently accompanied by side effects. In addition, the influence of the placebo effect on the efficacy of antidepressants is unclear. A meta-analysis of data from over 6,500 patients has now shown that, although antidepressants are more effective than placebos, the difference is minor and varies according to the type of mental disorder.

45 percent of parents experience depression, anxiety and stress when newborns leave NICU
Almost half of parents whose children were admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit experienced postpartum depressive symptoms, anxiety and stress when their newborns were discharged from the hospital.

Scientific explanation for why spurned males abandon courtship attempts
Unsuccessful courtship attempts by males create aversive memories that can reduce their level of enthusiasm for subsequent courtship attempts. Scientists have attempted to understand this behavior at the molecular level.

SIDS research confirms changes in babies' brain chemistry
Researchers have confirmed that abnormalities in a common brain chemical are linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Young binge drinkers show altered brain activity
Researchers have studied the brain activity of young binge-drinking college students in Spain, and found distinctive changes in brain activity, which may indicate delayed brain development and be an early sign of brain damage. The results suggest that bingeing has tangible effects on the young brain, comparable with some of those seen in chronic alcoholics.

Synaptic receptor mobility: Discovery of a new mechanism for controlling memory
A new mechanism has been discovered for storing information in synapses and a means of controlling the storage process. The breakthrough moves science closer to unveiling the mystery of the molecular mechanisms of memory and learning processes.

The bilingual brain calculates differently depending on the language used
How do multilingual people solve arithmetical tasks presented to them in different languages? The question will gain in importance in the future, as an increasingly globalized job market and accelerated migration will mean that ever more people seek work and study outside of the linguistic area of their home countries.

Antidepressants associated with significantly elevated risk of death, researchers find
Antidepressant medications, most commonly prescribed to reduce depression and anxiety, increase the risk of death, according to new research findings.

For worriers, expressive writing cools brain on stressful tasks
Chronic worriers, take note: Simply writing about your feelings may help you perform an upcoming stressful task more efficiently, finds a new study that measured participants' brain activity.

Brain rewiring in Parkinson's disease may contribute to abnormal movement
A new study suggests that the brain's own compensatory mechanisms contribute to the debilitating motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Studies help explain link between autism, severe infection during pregnancy
Two new studies shed light on why mothers who experience an infection severe enough to require hospitalization during pregnancy are at higher risk of having a child with autism.

Popular bottle-breaking trick is giving insight to brain injuries
As many YouTube videos show, striking the top of a liquid-filled bottle can shatter the bottom. Researchers are hoping to use new knowledge of that party trick to help fill a gap in something much more serious: brain research.

Modified blood thinner reduces the impact of traumatic brain injury in mice
A chemically modified version of the common blood thinner heparin may be the first promising method of preventing the harmful cascade of destruction to brain tissue that commonly follows traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to new research findings.

Teens' ability to consider the intentions of others linked to structural changes in the brain
When it comes to the concept of fairness, teenagers' ability to consider the intentions of others appears to be linked to structural changes underway in the brain, according to a study. The study is the first to provide evidence linking structural changes with behavioral changes within this context. Understanding the intentions of others is fundamental to human cooperation and how we exist as social beings.