Archive for August, 2011

A Brief Intermission

I’m heading off in the wee hours of the morning for my one true vacation of the summer. For five days, I’ll be in the desert, far from phone reception (let alone high-speed internet). I’ll be back in about a week, with posts on instinctual fear reactions, drug use, and all kinds of other awesome […]

Babies, Brains, and Bilingualism

If you’d like to learn a new language, pay attention to the background noise, a new study suggests. See, each person’s brain responds a little differently to different types of sounds. Yours is most sensitive to slight variations in your native tongue (which you think of as accents), and less sensitive to variations in other languages. […]

Trip Effects

There’s a reason the trip home from a vacation often seems shorter than the trip out, a new study shows. The explanation is expectation – our intuitions tend to tell us that the outbound journey will be shorter than it actually is. Then, once we’ve experienced for ourselves how much longer the flight or drive actually […]

Diff'rent Vesicles

A new discovery shows that the rules of synaptic transmission are very different from what we’d thought. In each neuron, tiny sacs called vesicles store neurotransmitter chemicals, and help transport them to other neurons. For decades, scientists had thought all the vesicles of a particular neurotransmitter were more or less identical – but now, they’ve […]

Working Off Worry

Want to get rid of gloomy thoughts? Try working some physical activity into your daily routine, says a new study. For people who struggle with depression and anxiety, the research shows, exercise can be just as effective as antidepressant medication. It often prevents symptoms from getting worse – and in some cases, it even helps cure the problem. […]

Depression Protection

If you’re starting to feel depressed, try looking around you, a new study suggests. People who tend to ponder their internal feelings are often prone to depression relapses, the research found; while people who focus on what they see can sometimes resist a spiral of negativity.1 As the journal Biological Psychiatry reports, a team led by ACLAB’s Dr. Norman […]

Saving the Moment

Want to remember an image forever? Don’t focus on remembering it, but on experiencing it, says a new study. Working to recall a mental image – or to save one in memory – activates your parahippocampal cortex (PHC), a brain area that’s crucial for the formation of memories of visual scenes. If the PHC is already […]

Pain on the Brain

Men and women experience pain in different ways, a new study shows. The behavior of opioids – chemicals that suppress pain – differs between men’s and women’s bodies. This is because the three main types of opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord interact very differently, depending on whether their owner is a man or […]

Neuron Holograms

A new technique will allow us to watch hundreds of neurons in 3D, in real time, at a resolution that’s 50 times greater than before. The technology, known as digital holographic microscopy (DHM), was imported into neuroscience from materials science. It measures differences in the wavelengths of harmless lasers as they travel through a certain region of the […]

Language Paths

Speaking and understanding speech both use the same parts of the brain, a new study has found. There’s just one exception: the brain areas that control mouth movements aren’t used in understanding speech – not even when we mentally repeat to ourselves what others are saying. This all might sound pretty obvious, but it’s actually a major […]

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