Controlling our internal world

Olympic skaters can launch, perform multiple aerial turns, and land gracefully, anticipating imperfections and reacting quickly to correct course. To make such elegant movements, the brain must have an internal model of the body to control, predict, and make almost instantaneous adjustments to motor commands. So-called “internal models” are a fundamental concept in engineering and … Read more Controlling our internal world

Yale researchers develop way to help brain organoids thrive

Brain organoids created from human embryonic stem cells offer scientists a powerful way to study the developing brain in three dimensions. However, organoids need nutrients and oxygen carried in blood to thrive, just as a developing fetal brain does. Now Yale researchers have developed a method to induce growth of blood vessels in organoids and … Read more Yale researchers develop way to help brain organoids thrive

Gene regulators work together for oversized impact on schizophrenia risk

Researchers have discovered that gene expression regulators work together to raise an individual’s risk of developing schizophrenia. Schizophrenia-like gene expression changes modeled in human neurons matched changes found in patients’ brains. The researchers, led by Kristen Brennand, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City, report on their findings in Nature Genetics. … Read more Gene regulators work together for oversized impact on schizophrenia risk

Watching music move through the brain

Scientists have observed how the human brain represents a familiar piece of music, according to research published in JNeurosci. Their results suggest that listening to and remembering music involve different cognitive processes. Previous research has pinpointed areas of the brain – primarily on the right side – that are activated by music. However, less is known … Read more Watching music move through the brain

How brain rhythms organize our visual perception

Imagine that you are watching a crowded hang-gliding competition, keeping track of a red and orange glider’s skillful movements. Our brain uses separate circuits to achieve such outstanding tracking ability, one specialized to process color information and the other specialized for processing directions of motion. This allows for optimal perceptual performance, but how do we … Read more How brain rhythms organize our visual perception

How humans have shaped dogs’ brains

Dog brain structure varies across breeds and is correlated with specific behaviors, according to new research published in JNeurosci. These findings show how, by selectively breeding for certain behaviors, humans have shaped the brains of their best friends. Over several hundred years, humans have selectively bred dogs to express specific physical and behavioral characteristics. Erin Hecht … Read more How humans have shaped dogs’ brains

Map of broken brain networks shows why people lose speech in language-based dementia

For the first time, Northwestern Medicine scientists have pinpointed the location of dysfunctional brain networks that lead to impaired sentence production and word finding in primary progressive aphasia (PPA), a form of dementia in which patients often lose their language rather than their memory or thought process. With this discovery, the scientists have drawn a … Read more Map of broken brain networks shows why people lose speech in language-based dementia

Brain stem cells have a good memory

The cerebral cortex acts as the control centre of our cognitive processes. During embryogenesis, dozens of types of neurons with distinct functions come together to form the circuits that drive our thoughts and actions. These neurons are generated by progenitor cells, which produce them one after the other in a very precise order. While neuroscience … Read more Brain stem cells have a good memory

Brain finds order amidst chaos

Neurons communicate with each other by sending out rapid pulses of electrical signals called spikes. At first glance, the generation of these spikes can be very reliable: when an isolated neuron is repeatedly given exactly the same electrical input, we find the same pattern of spikes. Why, then, does the activity of cortical neurons in … Read more Brain finds order amidst chaos

Highest-resolution human brain ‘parts list’ to date lays road map to better treatments

A new study from the Allen Institute for Brain Science has written the most detailed “parts list” of the human brain to date. This categorization of our brain cell types lays the groundwork to improve our understanding of our own brains and to dramatically change how we treat human brain diseases and disorders. The study, … Read more Highest-resolution human brain ‘parts list’ to date lays road map to better treatments