Monday, May 23, 2016

Neuroscience In The News On May 23

These are articles that I found of interest relating to news about Neuroscience.  In this issue, I have highlighted articles about Neuroscience and pattern completion in the brain, how the brain remembers bad experiences and one activity that may engage your brain more than any other.

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 May 23, 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 May 16, 2016



Neuroscience and Pattern Completion

Recently, scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) discovered a new learning rule for a specific type of excitatory synaptic connection in the hippocampus. These synapses are located in the so-called CA3 region of the hippocampus, which plays a critical role for storage and recall of spatial information in the brain. One of its hallmark properties is that memory recall can even be triggered by incomplete cues. This enables the network to complete neuronal activity patterns, a phenomenon termed pattern completion.

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Remembering Bad Experiences

Bad experiences can cause people to strongly remember the negative content itself but only weakly remember the surrounding context, and a new UCL study funded by the Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust has revealed how this happens in the brain. The study, published in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, has important implications for understanding conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

"When we presented people with negative content alongside neutral content, the brain areas involved in storing the negative content were more active while those involved in storing the surrounding context were less active," explains lead author Dr James Bisby (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience). "When we experience a new event, we not only store the contents of the event in memory, such as the people we met, but we also form associations with the context in which the event took place.

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Brain Activated Most By This Activity

Your brain fires for every reason imaginable — walking, talking, remembering what you went into that room for, even doing nothing at all.

But neuroscientists think one activity might activate your brain more than any other, and you do it every day: eating!

Dr. Gordon Shepherd, a neuroscientist at Yale, coined the term "neurogastronomy" in 2006 to describe how the brain creates flavors that make eating food pleasurable.

"Flavor engages more of the brain in relation to how it determines what we eat than almost any other behavior. "But in the case of flavor ... you're engaging not only all of the sensory systems in the brain (vision, taste, smell, and even hearing) ... [but also] emotion, memory, language in describing to ourselves and to others the flavor, the motivations to eat. It's virtually the entire brain."

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