Threatening cues have a larger effect on perception than neutral cues

Panayiota Siskos ’23 The theory of predictive coding states that the brain continuously creates a mental model of the surrounding environment using prior knowledge from memory. This mental model is then used to predict sensory input, such as anticipating a smell, a sound, or a touch.  A group of researchers from Stony Brook University and Columbia University studied the effect of threatening cues on sensory … Continue reading Threatening cues have a larger effect on perception than neutral cues

Breeding can Change Dogs’ Brains

Ayesha Azeem ‘23 For centuries, humans have been breeding domestic dogs with the intention of producing specific skill sets needed to improve humans’ lives. For example, purpose-bred dogs can be used for hunting or as service dogs that guide people with disabilities. Dog breeding has been highly controversial lately, since dogs are now seen more as companions rather than workers. In a new study conducted … Continue reading Breeding can Change Dogs’ Brains

Genetics and the Brain

Ayesha Azeem ‘23 Our society currently witnesses an underrepresentation of females in most ‘heavy’ science and mathematics fields, including technology and engineering. Though some may argue that the unfair proportions are due to biological differences, little evidence supports this claim. Scientists study biological differences in the brain, and the brains of males and females are more similar than not. Though behavioral studies often find no … Continue reading Genetics and the Brain

Disturbances in Circadian Clock Linked to Increased Susceptibility of Brain Tumors

Simran Kaur ‘20 All living organisms have circadian rhythms, an approximately twenty-four cycle that ensures the appropriate timing of important physiological functions such as digestion and sleep. Glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) that are involved in the formation of aggressive brain tumors are stimulated by altered circadian clocks. Clock genes are responsible for the oscillation of gene expression within the day and can behave as both … Continue reading Disturbances in Circadian Clock Linked to Increased Susceptibility of Brain Tumors

The Relationship Between Inflammation and Mental Sluggishness

Ellie Teng ‘21 Mental sluggishness or ‘brain fog’ is often comorbid with inflammation, the body’s response to  an illness. Previous research has shown the negative impact of inflammation on the brain’s alert state. Although it is still unclear as to how inflammation impacts specific processes of the brain, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Birmingham evaluated the impact of mild acute inflammation … Continue reading The Relationship Between Inflammation and Mental Sluggishness

New Chemical Compound to Reduce the Adverse Side Effects of Neural Implants

Jorge Pincay ’20 Over the years research in neuroscience has led to the development of brain implants, called microelectrodes that can help restore essential motor and sensory functions. This technology has become beneficial for those that suffer from head injury and neurodegenerative disease. The limitations of this technology lie within the immunological response that comes about shortly after implantation. This immune response, which is governed … Continue reading New Chemical Compound to Reduce the Adverse Side Effects of Neural Implants

Neurons that Help Us Forget

Nicole Zhao ’20 Imagine having the ability to never forget. This would come in handy if one needed to memorize a textbook or lecture slides for an exam. However, being able to remember every single moment of your life in snapshots does have its drawbacks. This is exactly what happened to a man known as subject S. who was known for his unforgettable memory in … Continue reading Neurons that Help Us Forget

The Use of Focused Ultrasound for Enhanced Delivery of Gene Therapy Across the Blood-Brain-Barrier

Jorge Pincay ‘20 Huntington’s disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease that results in the degradation of nerve cells in the brain over time. This disease is the result of a DNA mutation — a cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) trinucleotide repeat expansion– that occurs in the gene that encodes for the huntingtin (Htt) protein. This repeat expansion causes a highly toxic form of the Htt protein … Continue reading The Use of Focused Ultrasound for Enhanced Delivery of Gene Therapy Across the Blood-Brain-Barrier

The Relationship Between the Brain’s Energy and Weight Gain in Children

Mariam Malik ‘22 Around 32% of adolescents and children are overweight or obese in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Health, and childhood obesity has become a major problem in the U.S. Co-authors Christopher Kuwaza of Northwestern University and Clancy Blair of New York University School of Medicine hypothesized that there is an inverse relationship between brain development and fat disposition in terms … Continue reading The Relationship Between the Brain’s Energy and Weight Gain in Children

Effects of Dopamine in Value-Based Learning

Allan Mai ‘20 Dopamine is a neurotransmitter with implicated functions involving value-based learning. Researchers have discovered that dopamine signals reward prediction and incentive motivation when the brain is actively utilizing its decision making and value-based learning functions. Additionally, dopamine receptors in the brain can be divided into two groups, D1 and D2, which have opposite functions in terms of reward related and aversion related behaviors. … Continue reading Effects of Dopamine in Value-Based Learning