Brain

A project which is using robots to help children with developmental or cognitive impairments to interact more effectively has just started at the University of Hertfordshire.

A natural compound found in blueberries, tea, grapes, and cocoa enhances memory in mice, according to newly published research. This effect increased further when mice also exercised regularly.

"This finding is an important advance because it identifies a single natural chemical with memory-enhancing effects, suggesting that it may be possible to optimize brain function by combining exercise and dietary supplementation," says Mark Mattson, PhD, at the National Institute on Aging.

All anxiety is not created equal, and a research team at the University of Illinois now has the data to prove it. The team has found compelling evidence that differing patterns of brain activity are associated with each of two types of anxiety: anxious apprehension (verbal rumination, worry) and anxious arousal (intense fear, panic, or both).

A scientific indicator of how easily distracted you are has been designed by a University College London psychologist. It could be used as another assessment tool during the recruitment process and would have particular benefits in fields where employee distraction could lead to fatal errors.

Communication ability among children who are intellectually disabled or have communication limitations (such as autism, down syndrome, or cerebral palsy) may soon be improved thanks to a research group of the University of Granada.

Northwestern University's Charles Bennett, M.D., is a super sleuth of potentially deadly prescription drug reactions. He leads a national SWAT team of doctors called RADAR (Research on Adverse Drug Events and Reports) based out of Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine. They swoop in to investigate early signs of trouble years before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) takes notice.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) researchers have identified a function of neuregulin1 (NRG1), a gene previously linked to schizophrenia but whose role in the disease was unknown. "We found that when this gene or this pathway is impaired," explained CSHL's Bo Li. "It starts a chain reaction negatively impacting synapses in the brain which contribute to the abnormal development of brain circuits and may lead to schizophrenia."

Mice genetically engineered to lack a single enzyme in their brains are more adept at learning than their normal cousins, and are quicker to figure out that their environment has changed, a team led by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center has found.

The results, appearing today in the online edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience, reveal a new mechanism of learning in the brain, which might serve in humans as a target for treating disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s disease or drug addiction, the researchers said.

For the first time anywhere, a researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has succeeded in observing in vivo the generation of neurons in the brain of a mammal.Magnified photo shows division of neuron in vivo. Credit: (Hebrew University of Jerusalem photo)

Smokers who have a say in how they quit are more likely to try kicking the habit and are more successful, according to new research at the University of Rochester.

Rochester researcher Dr. Geoffrey Williams associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, will unveil new findings at a Toronto conference this month that demonstrate patient involvement in a quit plan leads to smokers who are more motivated to quit because they genuinely want to, not because they are being nagged or bullied.