Archive for January, 2012

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Musical Learning

A new study throws some light on how musical aptitude can offset one very specific aspect of the aging process. In research comparing older patients with musical training to those without, older people who’d spent time regularly practicing or teaching music consistently displayed much faster neural reaction times to certain kinds of sounds. The idea […]

Sacred Values

Principles on which we refuse to change our stance are processed via separate neural pathways from those we’re more flexible on, says a new study. Our minds process many decisions in moral “gray areas” by weighing the risks and rewards involved – so if the risk is lessened or the reward increased, we’re sometimes willing […]

Taking Vision Apart

For the first time, scientists have created neuron-by-neuron maps of brain regions corresponding to specific kinds of visual information, and specific parts of the visual field, says a new study. If other labs can confirm these results, this will mean we’re very close to being able to predict exactly which neurons will fire when an […]

It's Official!

The Connectome has two new URLs: the-connectome.com theconnecto.me Much easier to remember, I think. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone – I’ve got some fun stuff coming up for you next week.

The Memory Master

A gene that may underlie the molecular mechanisms of memory has been identified, says a new study. The gene’s called neuronal PAS domain protein 4 (Npas4 to its friends). When a brain has a new experience, Npas4 leaps into action, activating a whole series of other genes that modify the strength of synapses – the connections […]

Saving Faces

A brain area that’s specialized to recognize faces has a unique structure in each of our brains – and mapping that area’s connectivity patterns can tell us how each of our brains use it, says a new study. The fusiform gyrus in the temporal lobe plays a part in our recognition of words, numbers, faces, […]

Catchin' Some Waves

Our capacity for short-term memory depends on the synchronization of two types of brainwaves – rapid cycles of electrical activation – says a new study. When the patterns of theta waves (4-7 Hz) and gamma waves (25-50 Hz) are closely synchronized, pieces of verbal information seem to be “written” into our short-term memory. But it also […]

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