Psychology Research News -- ScienceDaily

Neighborhood wellbeing and a sense of community is at the heart of a good home, say researchers
A sense of wellbeing and a thriving community is key to a happy neighborhood according to housing researchers, who looked at the relationship between the experience of the home and well-being.

Getting lost: Why older people might lose their way
Researchers have found a possible explanation for the difficulty in spatial orientation experienced sometimes by elderly people. In the brains of older adults, they detected an unstable activity in an area that is central for spatial navigation.

Cell therapy could improve brain function for Alzheimer's disease
Inhibitory interneurons are particularly important for managing brain rhythms. Researchers have uncovered the therapeutic benefits of genetically improving these interneurons and transplanting them into the brain of a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

Neuroscientists identify brain circuit that integrates head motion with visual signals
Neuroscientists have identified a circuit in the primary visual cortex (V1) of the brain that integrates head- and visual-motion signals. The study elucidates the mechanisms by which visual and vestibular inputs to the brain sum together to enable appropriate behavioral responses.

Brain mechanism involved in language learning
Psychologists found that when we learn the names of unfamiliar objects, brain regions involved in learning actively predict the objects the names correspond to.

The brain puts the memories warehouse in order while we sleep
During the hours of sleep the memory performs a cleaning shift. A study reveals that when we sleep, the neural connections that collect important information are strengthened and those created from irrelevant data are weakened until they get lost.

Underlying cause of brain injury in stroke
New research shows how the drug QNZ-46 can help to lessen the effects of excess release of glutamate in the brain -- the main cause of brain injury in stroke. As stroke is the second leading cause of disability and early death in the UK, this study could offer hope to thousands of people at risk.

Scientists illuminate mechanism at play in learning
The process we call learning is in fact a well-orchestrated symphony of thousands of molecular reactions, but the exact interplay between these reactions remains largely unknown. Now, researchers have modeled the molecular basis of learning in the cerebellum, a part of the brain that receives sensory input and coordinates voluntary movements.

Nightmares are common but underreported in US military personnel
A new study shows that a high percentage of military personnel with sleep disturbances met criteria for nightmare disorder, but few of them reported nightmares as a reason for sleep evaluation. Those with nightmare disorder had an increased risk of other sleep and mental health disorders.

Researchers link defects in a nuclear receptor in the brain to autism spectrum disorders
Scientists are reporting that defects in a portion of the brain's hippocampus, called the dentate gyrus, is regulated by the nuclear receptor LXR? (Liver X receptor Beta). The dentate gyrus, or DG, is responsible for emotion and memory and is known to be involved in autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Making new memories is a balancing act
Salk scientists discover that brain storage capacity is dynamic and varies by region.

ADHD drugs increase brain glutamate, predict positive emotion in healthy people
New findings offer clues about how misused drugs affect healthy brains and hint at an undiscovered link between glutamate and mood.

Thyroid gene variation may increase risk for Alzheimer's disease in African Americans
African Americans with a common genetic variation are at increased risk for developing Alzheimer's disease, while European Americans with the same variation are not, according to a new study.

Men and women have opposite genetic alterations in depression
Men and women with major depressive disorder (MDD) have opposite changes in the expression of the same genes, according to a new postmortem brain study. The findings indicate distinct pathology, and suggest that men and women may need different types of treatment for depression.

Emotional suppression reduces memory of negative events
By peering at the brains of study subjects prompted to suppress negative emotions, scientists have gained new insights into how emotional regulation influences negative feelings and memories. The researchers hope the findings will lead to new methods to combat depression.

How would the brain process alien music?
What might alien music sound like? Would it be structured hierarchically as our music is with verses and a chorus? Would we even be able to appreciate it? Researchers think the answer would be yes, assuming it was predicated on local and non-local dependencies.

Sleep apnea study finds male-female differences in cerebral cortex thickness, symptoms
Researchers examined clinical records and magnetic resonance imaging brain scans of patients who were recently diagnosed with sleep apnea, and discovered several apparent connections between thinning of the brain's cerebral cortex and apnea symptoms.

Brain is less flexible than we thought when learning
Nobody really knows how the activity in your brain reorganizes as you learn new tasks, but new research reveals that the brain has various mechanisms and constraints by which it reorganizes its neural activity when learning over the course of a few hours. The new research finds that, when learning a new task, the brain is less flexible than previously thought.

Worldwide study triples number of known genetic risk factors for stroke
The largest genetic study of stroke to date triples the number of known genetic risk factors for the disease and also should enable researchers to find novel treatments for dementia.

Can pursuing happiness make you unhappy?
Researchers have found that people who pursue happiness often feel like they do not have enough time in the day, and this paradoxically makes them feel unhappy.

Caloric restriction in combination with low-fat diet helps protect aging mouse brains
New research finds that a low-fat diet in combination with limited caloric consumption prevents aging-induced inflammatory activation of immune cells in the mouse brain - and that exercise is significantly less effective than caloric restriction in preventing these age-related changes. This indicates that the fat content of a diet, as well as caloric intake, are important parameters for the detrimental effects of aging on the brain.

Children as young as 3 have brain network devoted to interpreting thoughts of other people
An new study finds the brain network that controls theory of mind has already formed in children as young as 3. The study is the first to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan the brains of children that young as they perform a task requiring the ability to make inferences about someone else's state of mind.

Could living at high altitude increase suicide risk? Evidence suggests possible treatments, reports Harvard Review of Psychiatry
High-altitude areas -- particularly the US intermountain states -- have increased rates of suicide and depression, suggests a review of research evidence in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry. The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

Newfound clock in blood brain barrier of fruit flies regulates daily permeability
Researchers found that the fruit fly blood brain barrier has a molecular clock that makes it more or less penetrable during over 24 hours. Giving mutant flies a drug for treating seizures at night was more effective.

Why the world looks stable while we move
Neuroscientists investigate the interaction of visual perception and head movements with functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Emotional support is key for stroke patients, research suggests
Doctors caring for severe stroke patients need to take account of their psychological needs and help prepare families for the possibility that they may not recover, a study suggests.

Social stress leads to changes in gut bacteria
Exposure to psychological stress in the form of social conflict alters gut bacteria in Syrian hamsters, according to a new study.

How does the brain's spatial map change when we change the shape of the room?
A new study explores the consequences of distorting the shape of the enclosing box on cognitive maps of space. The results detail how our cognitive maps adapt to changed environments and shed light on how distinct types of neurons may connect to form these maps.

Is your stress changing my brain?
Scientists have discovered that stress transmitted from others can change the brain in the same way as a real stress does.

Cueing newly learned information in sleep improves memory, and here's how
Scientists have long known that sleep is important to the formation and retention of new memories. Memory consolidation is associated with sudden bursts of oscillatory brain activity, called sleep spindles, which can be visualized and measured on an electroencephalogram (EEG). Now researchers have found that sleep spindles also play a role in strengthening new memories when newly learned information is played back to a person during sleep.

Scientists discover a key function of ALS-linked protein
The protein FUS, whose mutation or disruption causes many cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), works as a central component of one of the most important regulatory systems in cells, according to a new study.

Exposure to childhood violence linked to psychiatric disorders
Investing in diminishing socioeconomic status inequalities and in preventing violent events during childhood may improve the mental health of youths from low socioeconomic status backgrounds. The results showed that having experienced any traumatic event and low socioeconomic status were associated with an internalizing disorder such as depression and anxiety and an externalizing disorder including attention-deficit hyperactivity.

Surprise finding could lead to new MS treatments
A discovery is providing hope of a new therapeutic target in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients that could one day be used to prevent the symptoms and progression of the disease. By removing a protein called calnexin in mice, researchers found the mice were provided with full protection from the mouse model of MS -- known as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).

Many adolescent and young adult cancer survivors have more social connections than peers
Survivors of adolescent and young adult cancer often have stronger social networks than their non-cancer peers, according to researchers, who hope to translate that support into better lives for the nation's growing population of cancer survivors.

Non-invasive brain stimulation improves gait impairment of Parkinson's disease patients
A new study suggests a novel way of treating the areas of the brain that apparently cause freezing of gait in patients with Parkinson's disease.

Air pollution linked to brain alterations and cognitive impairment in children
A new study performed in the Netherlands has linked exposure to residential air pollution during fetal life with brain abnormalities that may contribute to impaired cognitive function in school-age children. The study reports that the air pollution levels related to brain alterations were below those considered to be safe.

Study draws links between physical characteristics and brain health
In a new study, researchers show the complex web of links between physical and behavioral characteristics -- such as age, body mass index (BMI), and substance use -- and specific patterns of brain structure and function in patients with psychosis. The study is important because many of these characteristics can be targeted clinically to improve brain health in these patients.

Epilepsy: Biologists link protein, seizure suppression
Seizure suppression is the focus of an original research -- and they have the pictures to prove it. Their new work sheds new light on epilepsy, a chronic neurological disorder marked by recurrent, unprovoked seizures.

Birth of new neurons in the human hippocampus ends in childhood
One of the liveliest debates in neuroscience over the past half century surrounds whether the human brain renews itself by producing new neurons throughout life, and whether it may be possible to rejuvenate the brain by boosting its innate regenerative capacity.

High-resolution brain imaging provides clues about memory loss in older adults
As we get older, it's not uncommon to experience 'senior moments,' in which we forget where we parked our car or call our children by the wrong names. And we may wonder: Are these memory lapses a normal part of aging, or do they signal the early stages of a severe disorder such as Alzheimer's disease? Currently, there's no good way to tell.

When sepsis patients face brain impairment, is gut bacteria to blame?
Halting the voyage of gut bacteria to the brain could help prevent harmful brain inflammation after a sepsis infection, a new study shows.

Yes! The brain can be trained to avoid dyslexia, study suggests
The ability of the brain to synchronize with the tone and intonation of speech influences how language is processed. Study results could help design more effective activities to train the brain in order to avoid future disorders such as dyslexia. Over the years, several neuro-scientific studies have shown that the auditory regions of the brain synchronize with external auditory stimuli. That is to say, the brain is able to naturally adjust the frequency of its brain waves with the oscillations or the rhythm of what it listens at each moment.

How the brain tracks objects in motion
Researchers found that people make much more accurate estimates when they have access to information about both the speed of a moving object and the timing of its rhythmic patterns.

Feeling anxious? Blame the size of your waistline!
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders, and it's more likely to affect women, especially middle-aged women. Although anxiety can be caused by many factors, a new study suggests that the amount of abdominal fat a woman has could increase her chances of developing anxiety.

Depression, anxiety high in graduate students, survey shows
Graduate students are more than six times as likely to experience depression and anxiety as compared to the general population, according to a comprehensive survey of 2,279 individuals conducted via social media and direct email.

People with depression have stronger emotional responses to negative memories
People with major depressive disorder (MDD) feel more negative emotion when remembering painful experiences than people without the disorder, according to a new study. The study reports that people with MDD were able to control the negative emotions about as well as people unaffected by MDD, but used somewhat different brain circuits to do so.

Frequent 'I-Talk' may signal proneness to emotional distress
People who talk a lot about themselves are not narcissists as one might expect. Instead, those who say 'I' and 'me' a lot may be prone to depression, anxiety and other negative emotions, researchers found.

How thalidomide is effective against cerebral infarction
Scientists have studied thalidomide's target protein, cereblon (CRBN), and its binding protein, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which plays an important role in maintaining intracellular energy homeostasis in the brain. Through their study, they revealed that thalidomide inhibits the activity of AMPK via CRBN under oxidative stress and suppresses nerve cell death.

Stab injury of zebrafish unveils regenerative processes by neural stem cells in the brain
Researchers recently elucidated the regenerative processes by neural stem cells using a stab injury model in the optic tectum, a less studied area of the brain, of adult zebrafish. This study has brought them a step closer to shedding light on how an injured, human central nervous system (CNS) could be restored.

Enhancement of neurotrophic factor signaling may improve memory functions
Treatments targeted to enhance brain neurotrophic factor signaling could improve memory functions in Alzheimer's disease even though they don't alter brain amyloid burden, according to recent research.