Everyone has had fleeting concerns that others might be against them at some point in their lives. Sometimes these concerns can escalate into paranoia and become debilitating. Paranoia is a common symptom in serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia. It can cause extreme distress and is linked with an increased risk of violence towards oneself or others. Understanding what happens in the brains of people experiencing paranoia might lead to better ways to treat or manage it.
The older we are, the less likely we are to share memories of our past experiences, suggests a new study. Additionally, when we do share memories, we don’t describe them in as much detail as younger people do. The results of the study, conducted by researchers at the University of Arizona, echo previous findings from lab-based research suggesting that memory sharing declines with age. The UA study came to the conclusion in a new way: by “eavesdropping” on older adults' conversations “in the wild.
Although there are many physiological and psychological gender differences in humans, memory, in general, is fairly stable across the sexes. By studying the specific instances in which males and females demonstrate differences in memory, we are able to further understand the brain structures and functions associated with memory. It is within specific experimental trials that differences appear, such as methods of recalling past events, explicit facial emotion recognition tasks, and neuroimaging studies regarding size and activation of different brain regions.
Thousands of words, big and small, are crammed inside our memory banks just waiting to be swiftly withdrawn and strung into sentences. In a recent study of epilepsy patients and healthy volunteers, National Institutes of Health researchers found that our brains may withdraw some common words, like “pig,” “tank,” and “door,” much more often than others, including “cat,” “street,” and “stair.” By combining memory tests, brain wave recordings, and surveys of billions of words published in books, news articles and internet encyclopedia pages, the researchers not only showed how our brains may recall words but also memories of our past experiences.
Hearing loss is the most common loss of sensation. Most cases of hearing loss are due to the death of specialized hair cells found deep inside the ear. These hair cells convert sounds into nerve impulses which can be understood by the brain. Hair cells naturally degrade as part of aging and can be damaged by other factors including loud noises, and otherwise therapeutic drugs, such as those used in chemotherapy for cancer.
A diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants may prevent or even reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, research from The University of Western Australia indicates. The study found that taking a combination of antioxidants at increasing doses was more beneficial at preventing the debilitating disease than any other treatment currently available. Chronic degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s are attributed to more than 70 percent of deaths globally and oxidative stress, chronic metabolic acidosis and free radicals in the body play a key role in the aging process.
Neurons that regularly remodel are more prone to Alzheimer’s disease and die when that remodeling goes awry, a new study suggests. The work is the first to track the progression of Alzheimer’s at the genetic and molecular levels within neurons vulnerable to the disease. “Identifying the molecular characteristics of neurons that are especially vulnerable to neurodegeneration is important both for the basic understanding of Alzheimer’s and for future development of better diagnostic and treatment options," says study co-author Olga Troyanskaya, deputy director for genomics at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Biology in New York City and a professor at Princeton University.
Problems in how the brain recognizes and processes novel information lie at the root of psychosis, researchers from the University of Cambridge and King’s College London have found. The discovery that defective brain signals in patients with psychosis could be altered with medication paves the way for new treatments for the disease. The results describe how a chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine ‘tunes’ the brain to the level of novelty in a situation, and helps us to respond appropriately — by either updating our model of reality or discarding the information as unimportant.