Monday, March 21, 2016

Neuroscience In The News On March 21

These are articles that I found of interest relating to news about Neuroscience.  In this issue, I have highlighted articles about the violent behavior in the brain, theta rhythm and neural activity, and neuroscientists studying how our brain controls our hands .

Please check out the article links below and feel free to comment with other information related to these subjects.  I enjoy learning as much as I can about the brain and passing this information on to everyone else that shares these passions.

This is for the week beginning March 21, 2016.

Please come back each week and hopefully I will have some more highlights.  Feel free to share with me ones that you have found and I may highlight those as well.

Feel free to check out the highlighted articles from March 14, 2016



Violent Behavior In The Brain

The warning signs of premeditated violence turn up in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that also regulates temperature, hunger and sleep. Specifically, the ventrolateral part of the ventromedial hypothalamus, or VMHvl, is the area responsible for our ill will.

The latest study continues a thread of research probing the neurological roots of aggression. Last month, the same scientists identified what they described as the origin of rage in the male animal brain. Damage to the lateral septum, a part of the brain linked to control of anxiety and fear, triggers a domino effect in the brain that leads to "septal rage," or outbursts of unprovoked violence.

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Theta Rhythm And Neural Activity

For the brain to function correctly, the activities of multiple regions must be coordinated. This coordination is thought to be carried out by waves of electrical activity in the brain. One of the most prominent signals within these waves is called the theta rhythm.

The theta rhythm is thought to help coordinate neural activity between the regions of the brain that are involved in learning and memory. However, theta rhythms also appear when subjects encounter emotional stimuli, which suggests that they might have a role in social cognition.

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How Brains Control Our Hands

Diedrichsen needs as much imaging technology as he can get, given the magnitude of the mystery around what he’s studying. For example, his research has found that electrical stimulation to the brain can help motor training—in a double-blinded study published in 2014, subjects who were zapped with weak currents performed 20 percent better than those who were not, and the effect lasted for a month—but the reasons why still aren’t clear.

Scientists have already built bionic limbs that patients can control with their minds. But they still aren’t very good. “Our body is a complete engineering nightmare. Our muscles fatigue. Our tendons are sloppy and hard to control. We have good sensors in our fingertips, but they’re not reliable,” Diedrichsen said. “The brain makes really amazing things out of a quite poorly engineered physical plan.” 

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