Threat Memory From Close-up Fears May Last Longer

How your brain handles the fear of a close-up threat may make it more likely that you will have some long-term stress from the experience, according to new research from Duke University. “Clinically, people who develop PTSD are more likely to have experienced threats that invaded their personal space, assaults, or rapes, or witnessing a crime at a close distance. They’re the people that tend to develop this long-lasting threat memory.

People With Delusions Understand Metaphor Differently

Figurative language, by which the speaker intends to communicate something other than what is actually said by the words used, is commonplace in human communication. Some claim that metaphorical expressions such as “My home has become a prison” or “My daughter is a monster” are used on average six times during every minute of conversation. People with a diagnosis of schizophrenia will have been, just like anyone else, exposed to non-literal language from childhood.

Covid-19 Affects Human Neurons, Mini-Brains Show

The virus that causes COVID-19 can infect organoids made from human brain cells, known as mini-brains, researchers say. Early reports have suggested that more than a third of COVID-19 patients show neurological symptoms, but until now it was not clear whether the virus infects human brain cells. Through their use of tiny tissue cultures that simulate whole organs, the researchers have now demonstrated that certain human neurons express a receptor, ACE2, that the SARS-CoV-2 virus uses for entering the lungs — and possibly the brain.

Auditory Hallucinations Rooted In Abnormal Brain Connectivity

Auditory hallucinations, a phenomenon in which people hear voices or other sounds in the absence of external stimuli, are a feature of schizophrenia and some other neuropsychiatric disorders. How they arise in the brain has been unclear, but new research indicates that altered brain connectivity between sensory and cognitive processing areas may be responsible. “Our results demonstrate aberrant development of the thalamic nuclei involved in sensory processing and [an] immature pattern of thalamo-cortical connectivity to the brain’s auditory regions," said lead author Valentina Mancini, MD.

Does Teenage Anxiety Have Its Roots In Infancy?

The fact that teenagers worry isn’t necessarily a concern – it’s when the adolescent brain amplifies and distorts a simple worry that mental health problems can arise. As scientists aim to unlock why teenagers get anxious, and how infancy and upbringing are implicated, early intervention strategies are being refined to redirect harmful thoughts and teach adolescents to read the emotions of others – a crucial way to keep their own distressing feelings in check.

Paranoia Hinders Learning And Problem Solving

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.

Older Adults Share Fewer Memories As They Age

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[1], 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.

Gender Differences In Memory

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.