Humans have learned to travel through space, eradicate diseases and understand nature at the breathtakingly tiny level of fundamental particles.
Yet we have no idea how consciousness– our ability to experience and learn about the world in this way and report it to others – arises in the brain.
Nutrition has been linked to cognitive performance, but researchers have not pinpointed what underlies the connection. A new study by University of Illinois researchers found that monounsaturated fatty acids – a class of nutrients found in olive oils, nuts and avocados – are linked to general intelligence, and that this relationship is driven by the correlation between MUFAs and the organization of the brain’s attention network. Leer Más
For everyone, there are times when a dark cloud just seems to be following you around. You may not even even know why. While we don’t mean to minimize the value of medication for those who experience this on a daily basis, UCLA neuroscientist Alex Korb, author of The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time, has some insights that might just get you back on the sunny side. It’s all got to do with neuroscience.
Getting Your Brain’s Attention
Your brain has some unhelpful ideas of its own on how to feel good. If you’re experiencing guilt or shame, it may be because your brain’s trying — ineffectively — to activate its reward center. Wait, what?
According to Korb, “Despite their differences, pride, shame, and guilt all activate similar neural circuits, including the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, insula, and the nucleus accumbens. This explains why it can be so appealing to heap guilt and shame on ourselves — they’re activating the brain’s reward center.“
The neuroscience argument that religion shaped the very structure of our brains
Religion and neuroscience are not an obvious pairing. But earlier this week, a study published in Social Neuroscience demonstrated that spiritual feelings activate the neurological reward systems of devout Mormons. The study used fMRI scans to show that the nucleus accumbens—an area associated with reward—is activated when Mormons who have a strong sense of spirituality carry out religious activities. The same area can also be activated by love, sex, drugs, and music. Leer Más
Devoted to solving intricate physiological questions about the brain for almost her entire adult life, Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist at New York University, was proud of her work. But the long hours dedicated to research eventually left her feeling socially isolated and physically weak. Leer Más
The multimillion dollar brain training industry is under attack. In October 2014, a group of over 100 eminent neuroscientists and psychologists wrote an open letter warning that “claims promoting brain games are frequently exaggerated and at times misleading”. Earlier this year, industry giant Lumosity was fined $2m, and ordered to refund thousands of customers who were duped by false claims that the company’s products improve general mental abilities and slow the progression of age-related decline in mental abilities. And a recent review examining studies purporting to show the benefits of such products found “little evidence … that training improves improves everyday cognitive performance”. Leer Más
More than 40 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to increase drastically in the coming years. But no real progress has been made in the fight against the disease since its classification more than 100 years ago. Scientist Samuel Cohen shares a new breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research from his lab as well as a message of hope. “Alzheimer’s is a disease,” Cohen says, “and we can cure it.”
Learn about the latest advances in the war against cancer from Stanford researcher Adam de la Zerda, who’s working on some cutting-edge techniques of his own. Using a remarkable imaging technology that illuminates cancer-seeking gold particles injected into the body, de la Zerda’s lab hopes to light the way for surgeons to remove even the tiniest trace of deadly tumors.