Brain Signature of Loneliness

Neural “signature” may reflect how we respond to feelings of social isolation This holiday season will be a lonely one for many people as social distancing due to COVID-19 continues, and it is important to understand how isolation affects our health. A new...

Tracing the Brain-To-Gut Connection

Using rabies virus injected into the stomach of rats, researchers trace the nerves back to the brain and find distinct ‘fight or flight’ and ‘rest and digest’ circuits. These results explain how mental states can affect the gut, and present new ways to treat gastrointestinal problems.

Molecular switch plays crucial role in learning from negative experiences

Neurobiologists at KU Leuven have discovered how the signalling molecule Neuromedin U plays a crucial role in our learning process. The protein allows the brain to recall negative memories and, as such, learn from the past. The findings of their study on roundworms have been published in the journal Nature Communications.

How the heart affects our perception

Brain and heart constantly communicate. For example, signals from the brain make sure that the heart beats faster when we encounter a dangerous situation. The heart slows down when we relax. Interestingly, vice versa – even though the underlying mechanisms are unclear, the heartbeat also affects the brain. It has now been identified by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) in Leipzig and Berlin School of Mind & Brain that two mechanisms underpinning how the heart influences our perception, the brain, and how these mechanisms differ between individuals.