This Week on NeuroScientistNews: 15 June – 19 June
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Decision making; links between the brain and lymphatic system; cat videos and positive emotion, and more.
When making a decision, individuals have their own preferences and thresholds for what constitutes a ‘risky’ or ‘safe’ choice. These thresholds, however, can change when people are in social situations and know what choices others have made. While the impact of this knowledge on decision making is known, the neural mechanism for how people integrate and use the decisions of others to modify their choices of safe or risky options is not established.
In a study published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine, researchers working at the Wihuri Research Institute and the University of Helsinki report a surprising finding that challenges current anatomy and histology textbook knowledge: Lymphatic vessels are found in the central nervous system where they were not known to exist. Aleksanteri Aspelund and colleagues discovered the meningeal linings of brain have a lymphatic vessel network that has direct connections to the systemic lymphatic network elsewhere in the body.
Driving a car at 40 mph, you see a child dart into the street. You hit the brakes. Disaster averted. But how did your eyes detect that movement? It’s a question that has confounded scientists. Now, studying mice, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have an answer: A neural circuit in the retina at the back of the eye carries signals that enable the eye to detect movement. The finding could help in efforts to build artificial retinas for people who have suffered vision loss.
If you get a warm, fuzzy feeling after watching cute cat videos online, the effect may be more profound than you think. The Internet phenomenon of watching cat videos, from Lil Bub to Grumpy Cat, does more than simply entertain; it boosts viewers' energy and positive emotions and decreases negative feelings, according to a new study by an Indiana University Media School researcher.
Human stem cells can be differentiated to produce other cell types, such as organ cells, skin cells, or brain cells. While organ cells, for example, can function in isolation, brain cells require synapses, or connectors, between cells and between regions of the brain. In a new study published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, researchers report successfully growing multiple brain structures and forming connections between them in vitro, in a single culture vessel, for the first time.