Monday, June 6, 2016

Neuroscience In The News On June 6

These are articles that I found of interest relating to news about Neuroscience.  In this issue, I have highlighted articles about how does memory work, untangling ambiguity in the brain, psychosocial factors in children and adolescents with conversion disorder.

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 June 6, 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 30, 2016

How Does Memory Work?

We tend to think our memory works like a filing cabinet. We experience an event, generate a memory and then file it away for later use. However, according to medical research, the basic mechanisms behind memory are much more dynamic. In fact, making memories is similar to plugging your laptop into an Ethernet cable -- the strength of the network determines how the event is translated within your brain.

Neurons (nerve cells in the brain) communicate through synaptic connections (structures that pass a signal from neuron-to-neuron) that "talk" to each other when certain neurotransmitters (chemicals that allow the transmission of these signals) are present.

Article Link:

Untangling Ambiguity In The Brain

Every day humans and animals face ambiguous circumstances. If we become sick after eating, we blame the food; however, if we then fall ill without having eaten that food, the causal link becomes ambiguous. New findings from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan and New York University reveal where and how such ambiguous associations are processed in the brains of rats.

Learning how to predict dangerous relationships in the environment -- such as between odors and food, lightning and thunder, or sounds and predators -- is essential for survival. While we know much about how experiences become linked with unpleasant outcomes when the associations are clear, how these links are updated in the brain when the relationships are ambiguous was unknown.

Article Link:

Psychosocial Factors In Conversion Disorder

Introduction: In view of the limited studies on the psychosocial environment of children presenting with conversion disorders, the present study was carried out to study the psychosocial factors in children with conversion disorders. Method: 40 patients of Conversion Disorder, who presented with "pseudo seizures" and were diagnosed according to DSM IV criteria, comprised the sample. They underwent detailed psychiatric assessment. The psychosocial events and factors and were elicited by administering the PSLES and by interviewing the parent and child by a semi-structured interview, which covered details of school history, family environment, psychosexual and other behavior: The intellectual level of the patients was assessed by a battery of psychological instruments. Relevant investigations, hormonal assays, radiological, EEG etc. were done wherever necessary. Results: Majority of the patients were educated up to 5th class, had rural domicile and belonged to poor and lower middle SES. They were about equally represented in the two sexes. Borderline Intellectual functioning, improper schooling, family stress and current past/physical illness were present in 37.5-40 % (N=15-16) of the cases. Incidental radiological and EEG findings and unusual status of the child; only son, only child or the youngest child; were present in 33% (N=13) of the cases. Conversion/epilepsy in family/neighbour/friend and improper parenting was encountered in 22.5-20.5% (N=8-9) of the cases. Lastly, recent loss of loved one and sibling rivalry were seen to be significant in 7.5 to 12.5% (N=3-5) of the cases. 80 % of the patients had 2-3 contributory factors; the remaining had either 4 or 5 contributory factors. Conclusion: Stress was apparent in the areas of school, family and body.

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