Monday, July 4, 2016

Neuroscience In The News On July 4

These are articles that I found of interest relating to news about Neuroscience.  In this issue, I have highlighted articles about star-shaped brain cells, songbirds and neuroscience, and a biased imbalanced in neuroscience research.

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 July 4, 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 June 27, 2016

Star-Shaped Brain Cells

A molecule that enables strong communication between our brain and muscles appears to also aid essential communication between our neurons, scientists report.

On the surface of our numerous star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes, they have found the molecule LRP4 is important in ensuring healthy levels of a brain chemical that enables learning and memory

The brain chemical, or neurotransmitter, is glutamate, the most important excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, which essentially means it is passed between neurons to help one activate the next. It was known that astrocytes could regulate or modulate brain cell communication by adjusting levels of glutamate. [read more]

Article Link:

Songbirds And Neuroscience

Certain songbirds have a pretty human-sounding way of learning their special tunes: They listen to their fathers.

Scientists have known that zebra finches — one of the most oft-studied songbirds — learn their songs by listening to their dads, but a new study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications takes that a step further. Researchers are hunting for the neural pathways that allow the young finches to figure out how to sing.

This may seem like pretty esoteric work, but research into song learning in birds could teach us about our own neurological development.

Check out the video from this study [read more]

Article Link:

Biased Imbalance In Neuroscience?

Lately, when I look at the current research trends in neuroscience, a question has been lurking at the back of my mind. Clicking on and reading abstracts after abstracts of journal articles, I found myself asking if there could be a motivation bias behind the remarkable endeavours of researchers.

More specifically, has there been a considerable amount of attention paid to the appealing cerebral cortical regions rather than those which maintain and regulate fundamental survival and autonomic functions, thereby striking a subtle imbalance of focus? There seems to be much expert concentration on our high-level mental capacities of cognition, reasoning, memory, decision-making, executive control and emotion. They make up the main chapters of behavioural neuroscience textbooks and probably shine the spotlight away from those which we cannot do without such as involuntary physiological processes: breathing, heart rate and swallowing, which are mostly taken care of by the hindbrain region of the brainstem. [read more]

Article Link:

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