January 2019

Medical Xpress: Researchers discover synaptic logic for connections between two brain hemispheres

Researchers at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience have developed a new combination of technologies that allows them to identify the functional properties of individual synapses that link the two hemispheres and determine how they are arranged within a neuron’s dendritic field. Each of the 20 billion neurons in the cerebral cortex receives thousands […]

Science Daily: ‘Happiness’ exercises can boost mood in those recovering from substance use disorder

Brief, text-based, self-administered exercises can significantly increase in-the-moment happiness for adults recovering from substance use disorders, report researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Recovery Research Institute. The study, published online in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, is the first of its kind to test whether positive psychology exercises boost happiness in persons recovering […]

U.S. News & World Report: Frailty a risk factor for dementia

Frailty is associated with a higher risk of both Alzheimer’s disease and its crippling symptoms, a new study shows. “By reducing an individual’s physiological reserve, frailty could trigger the clinical expression of dementia when it might remain asymptomatic in someone who is not frail,” said study leader Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, a professor at Dalhousie University […]

Psychology Today: Risky decisions reflect a tug of war in the brain

Even if you don’t go to casinos, you regularly have to make bets: on investments, on job decisions, on whether you will need an umbrella on Tuesday. Three main factors determine how we make such decisions. What are the risks? What are the rewards? (January 18, 2019) Read the full article here

Science Blog: Surprising role of the cerebellum in reward and social behaviors

A new study in rodents has shown that the brain’s cerebellum—known to play a role in motor coordination—also helps control the brain’s reward circuitry. Researchers found a direct neural connection from the cerebellum to the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain, which is an area long known to been involved in reward processing and […]

Science Daily: Brain cells that make pain unpleasant

If you step on a tack, neurons in your brain will register two things: that there’s a piercing physical sensation in your foot, and that it’s not pleasant. Now, a team of scientists has identified a bundle of brain cells in mice responsible for the latter — that is, the negative emotions of pain. (January […]