This Week on NeuroScientistNews: 13 April – 17 April
News Apr 17, 2015
Anxiety and outcome prediction; fatty acids and brain development; DBS and Parkinson’s disease, and more.
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. For example, a good student with low or average anxiety may receive a poor mark on an exam, and interpret this as a sign to study more or do better next time, while a good student with high anxiety might see this poor mark as a sign that they’ll fail the entire course. It is thought that anxious individuals have difficulty updating their expectations when outcomes become more variable, and that this difficulty may stem from an impaired ability to use environmental cues to help them learn to avoid a bad outcome.
A new study suggests that an investigational drug for multiple sclerosis (MS) may repair myelin according to a study that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, April 18 to 25, 2015.
While recent reports question whether fish oil supplements support heart health, University of California, Irvine scientists have found that the fatty acids they contain are vitally important to the developing brain.
University of California San Francisco scientists have discovered a possible mechanism for how deep-brain stimulation (DBS), a widely used treatment for movement disorders, exerts its therapeutic effects.
Because the spine is made up of repeating elements that look alike, surgeons can mistakenly operate on the wrong vertebra. To avoid this, Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a software program that works seamlessly with currently available procedures to assist a surgeon's determination of which vertebra is which. Results from its first clinical evaluation show that the LevelCheck software achieves 100 percent accuracy in just 26 seconds.
When infants are playing with objects, their early attempts to pay attention to things are accompanied by bursts of high-frequency activity in their brain. But what happens when parents play together with them? New research shows for the first time that when adults are engaged in joint play together with their infant, their own brains show similar bursts of high-frequency activity.
Many species of mammals have evolved what appear to be paradoxical behaviours towards their young. Like humans, most exhibit nurturing, protective behaviours, and in some circumstances even act as surrogate parents. However, virgin males often engage in infanticide as a strategy to propagate their own genes. How are these conflicting social behaviours controlled?