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.

Now we understand vision better because of mapped neural circuits found in the eye

The function of a special group of nerve cells which are found in the eye and which sense visual movement have been discovered by researchers from Aarhus University. A completely new understanding of how conscious sensory impressions occur in the brain has been acquired through the study. The development of targeted and specific forms of treatment in the future for diseases which impact the nervous system and its sensory apparatus, such as dementia and schizophrenia, needs this kind of insight.

Aha! + Aaaah: Neural Reward Signal Is Triggered By Creative Insight

Creativity is one of humanity’s most distinctive abilities and enduring mysteries. Innovative ideas and solutions have enabled our species to survive existential threats and thrive. Yet, creativity cannot be necessary for survival because many species that do not possess it have managed to flourish far longer than humans. So what drove the evolutionary development of creativity?

Dementia is not necessarily kept at bay by an aspirin a day

Taking a low-dose aspirin once a day does not reduce the risk of thinking and memory problems caused by mild cognitive impairment or probable Alzheimer’s disease, nor does it slow the rate of cognitive decline, according to a large study published in the online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.