Nerve cells have a special ion channel that has a key role in starting the electrical impulse that signals pain and is sent to the brain. New research finds that people who inherited the Neanderthal variant of this ion channel experience more pain. As several Neanderthal genomes of high quality are now available, researchers can identify genetic changes that were present in many or all Neanderthals, investigate their physiological effects and look into their consequences when they occur in people today.
A growing body of evidence suggests that processing of language and processing of music make use of similar cognitive abilities. One audacious hypothesis argues that, outside of their basic building blocks, language and music are, in fact, the same phenomenon. This idea could help explain why it can be difficult for some people to focus on reading or carrying on a conversation while music is playing (or vice versa). According to this theory, it would be as if one was listening to two conversations (or two pieces of music) at the same time.
What if we were able to modify the negative effect of a returning memory that elicits fear? A research group from the University of Bologna succeeded was able to do this and has developed a new non-invasive experimental protocol. The result of this study, published in the journal Current Biology, is an innovative method that combines fear conditioning - a stimulus associated with something unpleasant, that induces a negative memory - and the neurostimulation of a specific site of the prefrontal cortex.
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in their children during adolescence and adulthood by 70%, finds a new study by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). The systematic review was recently published in JAMA Network Open. It is the first study to examine the effects of maternal depression on children age 12 and older. “There are a lot of studies that look at how perinatal depression affects a child’s growth or emotional well-being, but we wanted to look at how it affects offspring later in life,” said Vaishali Tirumalaraju, MBBS, a resident with the Louis A.
A world-first new treatment that reverses the effects of memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease has been discovered by Macquarie University researchers in a study of mice with advanced dementia. The research, co-led by two brothers, Dr. Arne Ittner and Professor Lars Ittner, from Macquarie University Dementia Research Center, builds on their work begun in 2016 involving a ground-breaking gene therapy which uses an enzyme that is naturally present in the brain, known as p38gamma.
One fact that has long baffled doctors is that cancer in the small intestine is quite rare, whereas colorectal cancer, taking place in the neighboring though much smaller organ, is one of the leading causes of cancer death for men and women. What is it about the colon that seems to attract cancer? To answer this question, Professor Yinon Ben-Neriah at Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)’s Lautenberg Center for Immunology and Cancer Research and his team led by Dr.
With its 100 million neurons, the gut has earned a reputation as the body’s “second brain” — corresponding with the real brain to manage things like intestinal muscle activity and enzyme secretions. A growing community of scientists are now seeking to understand how gut neurons interact with their brain counterparts, and how failures in this process may lead to disease. Now, new research shows that gut bacteria play a direct role in these neuronal communications, determining the pace of intestinal motility.
The morphing structure of the brain’s “cartilage cells” may regulate how memories change while you snooze, according to new research. Sleep lets the body rest, but not the brain. During sleep, the brain accounts for a day of learning by making strong memories stronger and weak memories weaker, a process known as memory consolidation. But changing memories requires changing synapses, the connections between neurons. Sleep-induced changes need to overcome perineuronal nets, cartilage-like sheaths that not only surround and protect neurons, but also prevent changes in synapses.