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Latest Articles

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Social Bonding and the Brain: Oxytocin’s role in a neural circuit for maternal social behavior

Oxytocin is a neuropeptide important for controlling social behaviors such as pair bonding and parenting. It does this in part by increasing the salience of socially relevant sensory input. However, it has not been clear which neurons in the brain respond to oxytocin, or how oxytocin modifies neural circuits to increase the prominence of social information.
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Optogenetics: Harvesting the Power of Light for Neuronal Control

With accolades like “method of the year” and “breakthrough of the decade,” it’s easy to assume that optogenetics—a scientific technique for turning neurons on and off using light—is, indeed, a game-changing technology.
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Anxiety and the ability to predict an outcome

Making decisions is a complex process that is made easier when the outcomes of actions are predictable. Researchers know that people with high anxiety are more likely to interpret unexpected variability as a sign of catastrophe.
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Geomagnetic visual prosthesis helps blind rats find their way

Navigating a complex environment requires an egocentric representation: a neural signature of how you and your body relate to objects in your visual field. Part of the difficulty in exploring space for those without sight is the challenge of understanding how object positions relate to each other (allocentric representation) and to oneself (egocentric representation).
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Novel mechanism behind Alzheimer’s-related circadian rhythm disruptions

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a progressive and highly disruptive neurodegenerative condition, leads to a severe decrease in cognitive capabilities. Though the root cause of AD is unclear, it is known that increased levels of amyloid-β—a cleavage product of the amyloid precursor protein (APP)—are associated with development of the disease.
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Cold-shock protein protects against neurodegeneration

In the adult brain, communication between neurons is constantly remodeled by the elimination of old synapses and the formation of new ones; this turnover of synapses is called structural plasticity. Patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease have fewer synapses compared to normally aging adults, suggesting that their brains have decreased structural plasticity.
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Implanting rewarding memories during sleep

The hippocampus is a neural structure thought to maintain a cognitive map of our surroundings and the activity of some hippocampal neurons reflect when an animal is in a particular location. These ‘place cells’ are thought to represent the cognitive unit which signals the representation of location in space.
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What the science says about Friday the 13th

For some people, Friday the 13th instills fear and dread, while for others it’s just another Friday. But does science support the superstitions behind this apprehension? Should you get out of bed today or tuck yourself back under the covers to stay safe and sound? Over the years, scientists have analyzed the data, dissecting the underlying accident rates of this proposed unlucky day.
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Remediation of addiction with a 1-2 punch of deep brain stimulation & dopamine receptor antagonists

Pathological changes to synaptic transmission underlie part of the etiology of different neurological and psychiatric diseases including Parkinson’s disease and drug addiction. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an effective treatment for tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease.
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The science of synesthesia: How some can hear colors or taste words

For most people, the plain, black letters on this page are rather unremarkable. For less than four percent of the population however, these words are a little more colorful, tactile, or might even ‘taste sweet’ when read.
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