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Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category: Page 396

Dec 29, 2016

Novel Insights Into Neuronal Activity-Dependent Gene Expression

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Summary: A new study explores how neural activity influences CREB dynamics.

Source: Osaka University.

Neuronal activity mediates the formation of neuronal circuits in the cerebral cortex. These processes are regulated by the transcription factor CREB, which regulates gene expression in neuronal activity-dependent processes. Neuronal activity enhances CREB-mediated transcription but the mechanisms remain unclear. CREB binds to a cAMP response element (CRE) in the promoter region of its target genes. Assembly and disassembly of CREB-CRE interactions control spatiotemporal gene expression in the nucleus. However, how CREB interacts with CRE in activity-dependent mechanisms is not known.

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Dec 27, 2016

Harvard May Have Pinpointed the Source of Human Consciousness

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

In Brief

  • A study of 36 patients with brainstem lesions revealed that the majority of those in comas had damage in a specific area of the brainstem, while most conscious patients did not.
  • The identification of the areas of the brain responsible for consciousness could lead to new treatment options for patients in comas or vegetative states.

Human consciousness has been defined as awareness, sentience, a person’s ability to experience and feel, but despite the important role it plays in our lives and making us who we are, we actually know very little about how consciousness works.

Scientists currently believe that consciousness is composed of two components: arousal and awareness. The first is regulated by the brainstem, but the physical origins of the latter were always a mystery. Now, a team of researchers at Harvard think they may have discovered the regions of the brain that work with the brainstem to maintain consciousness.

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Dec 26, 2016

Scientists say your “mind” isn’t confined to your brain, or even your body

Posted by in category: neuroscience

You might wonder, at some point today, what’s going on in another person’s mind. You may compliment someone’s great mind, or say they are out of their mind. You may even try to expand or free your own mind.

But what is a mind? Defining the concept is a surprisingly slippery task. The mind is the seat of consciousness, the essence of your being. Without a mind, you cannot be considered meaningfully alive. So what exactly, and where precisely, is it?

Traditionally, scientists have tried to define the mind as the product of brain activity: The brain is the physical substance, and the mind is the conscious product of those firing neurons, according to the classic argument. But growing evidence shows that the mind goes far beyond the physical workings of your brain.

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Dec 26, 2016

New Mechanism of How Brain Networks Form Identified

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience, robotics/AI

Excellent read on the brain’s inhibitory circuits v. excitatory circuits when involving the processing of smells.


Summary: Inhibitory neurons form neural networks that become broader as they mature, a new study reports.

Source: Baylor College of Medicine.

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Dec 26, 2016

Biology’s ‘breadboard’

Posted by in categories: biological, computing, food, neuroscience

Nice; using gene regulatory protein from yeast as a method for reducing the work required for making cell-specific perturbations.


The human brain, the most complex object in the universe, has 86 billion neurons with trillions of yet-unmapped connections. Understanding how it generates behavior is a problem that has beguiled humankind for millennia, and is critical for developing effective therapies for the psychiatric disorders that incur heavy costs on individuals and on society. The roundworm C elegans, measuring a mere 1 millimeter, is a powerful model system for understanding how nervous systems produce behaviors. Unlike the human brain, it has only 302 neurons, and has completely mapped neural wiring of 6,000 connections, making it the closest thing to a computer circuit board in biology. Despite its relative simplicity, the roundworm exhibits behaviors ranging from simple reflexes to the more complex, such as searching for food when hungry, learning to avoid food that previously made it ill, and social behavior.

Understanding how this dramatically simpler nervous system works will give insights into how our vastly more complex brains function and is the subject of a paper published on December 26, 2016, in Nature Methods.

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Dec 26, 2016

Beyond Artificial Intelligence

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, robotics/AI

Krish Gopalakrishnan, N. Dayasindhu — It is great, but AI cannot replicate human intelligence or improve quality of human life as computational neuroscience can„ magazine 26 December 2016, 35 years anniversary special, artificial intelligence, technology, information technology.

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Dec 25, 2016

We’ll have an Alzheimer’s drug by 2025, experts say

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

But experts across the field say hope is not lost. They believe we will have some form of drug against the disease by 2025, albeit most likely a pilot version that will need to be upgraded.

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Dec 25, 2016

Russia offers technology to keep hackers at bay

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, encryption, finance, government, neuroscience, quantum physics

Russian Quantum Center (RQC) said that it is ready to collaborate with India and offer its quantum technology that will prevent hackers from breaking into bank accounts. RQC plans to offer ‘quantum cryptography’ that could propel India to the forefront of hack proof communication in sectors such as banking and national and homeland security.

“We are ready to work with Indian colleagues. It (the technology) can’t be bought from the United States as it deals with the government and security,” said Ruslan Yunusov, chief executive at RQC, in an interview.

Established by Russia’s largest global technology hub, Skolkovo in 2010, RQC conducts scientific research that could lead to a new class of technologies. These include developing ‘unbreakable cryptography’ for the banks and the government organisations. It also involves research in areas such as materials with superior properties and new systems for ultrasensitive imaging of the brain. The research is mostly funded by the government money.

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Dec 24, 2016

A Man Pays a Painful Price for Reliving His Happiest Memories in Scifi Short Again™

Posted by in category: neuroscience

The premise of Mitch Glass’ short Again™ is almost an anti–Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. A heartbroken young man becomes obsessed with reliving his happiest memories with his ex-girlfriend, vividly conjured via a new brain-meddling technology. Is there a catch? Of course there is—and a twist, too.

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Dec 22, 2016

Modular Brain Network Organization Predicts Response to Cognitive Training in Older Adults

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, neuroscience

Cognitive training interventions are a promising approach to mitigate cognitive deficits common in aging and, ultimately, to improve functioning in older adults. Baseline neural factors, such as properties of brain networks, may predict training outcomes and can be used to improve the effectiveness of interventions. Here, we investigated the relationship between baseline brain network modularity, a measure of the segregation of brain sub-networks, and training-related gains in cognition in older adults. We found that older adults with more segregated brain sub-networks (i.e., more modular networks) at baseline exhibited greater training improvements in the ability to synthesize complex information. Further, the relationship between modularity and training-related gains was more pronounced in sub-networks mediating “associative” functions compared with those involved in sensory-motor processing. These results suggest that assessments of brain networks can be used as a biomarker to guide the implementation of cognitive interventions and improve outcomes across individuals. More broadly, these findings also suggest that properties of brain networks may capture individual differences in learning and neuroplasticity.

Trail Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT#00977418

Citation: Gallen CL, Baniqued PL, Chapman SB, Aslan S, Keebler M, Didehbani N, et al. (2016) Modular Brain Network Organization Predicts Response to Cognitive Training in Older Adults. PLoS ONE 11(12): e0169015. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0169015

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