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

Effects of GVS Signals on Cognitive Functions

Allan Mai ‘20 The hippocampus and striatal circuits play essential roles in spatial navigation. This task is completed by integrating information from the environment as well as intrinsic input from the vestibular system which is responsible for balance. Scientists are trying to modify the interaction of the hippocampus and striatal circuits by using the galvanic vestibular system (GVS), and researchers from the German Center for … Continue reading Effects of GVS Signals on Cognitive Functions

Social Interactions Possibly Linked to Cerebellum

By Mariam Malik ‘22 The cerebellum, a five-centimeter wide part of the hindbrain, was initially thought of as having one major function: coordinating motor functions and balance. But new research on mice from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City shows that the remarkable cerebellar cortex may play a part in our social interactions as well. Kamran Khodakhah and colleagues were aware … Continue reading Social Interactions Possibly Linked to Cerebellum

The Unlikely Relation Between Gut and Brain

By Allan Mai ‘20 With the high selectivity of the blood-brain barrier, it appears unlikely that microorganisms in the stomach could ever be able to reach the brain. However, past studies that have suggested major correlation between depression and specific gut bacteria and even correlation between social behavior and the activities of certain gut bacteria have sparked intense research regarding the “gut-brain” axis. Among these … Continue reading The Unlikely Relation Between Gut and Brain

Neural Communication Patterns Found in the Brains of Children with Autism

By Annamaria Cavaleri ‘22 A team of researchers at San Diego State University studying MRI scans of school-age children’s brains recently discovered a unique communication pattern involving the amygdala in the brains of children with autism. This pattern involved unexpected detours and exits within the travel of information from one region of the brain to the other. It was shown that in children with autism, … Continue reading Neural Communication Patterns Found in the Brains of Children with Autism

Weight Loss Linked to Self-Control Brain Regions

By Annamaria Cavaleri ‘22 According to a recent study published in Cell Metabolism, weight loss success is linked to an active self-control region in the human brain. The hormones leptin and ghrelin play a role in signaling hunger cues during weight-loss. When weight is lost, the levels of these hormones in the body changes. Alain Dagher and her team at the Montreal Neurological Institute and … Continue reading Weight Loss Linked to Self-Control Brain Regions

Stress Linked to Memory Impairment and Reduced Brain Size

By Annamaria Cavaleri ‘22 Given the increased amount of stress present in modern life, cognitive aging is an issue that is attracting more attention. Recent studies conducted in the neurology department of UT Health San Antonio suggest that stress is directly related to memory impairment and reduced brain size in your middle age. Cortisol is a hormone linked to stress and this study demonstrated that … Continue reading Stress Linked to Memory Impairment and Reduced Brain Size

Attention Network May Play Role in Vision Restoration Resulting from Brain Damage

By Annamaria Cavaleri ‘22 Hemianopia is defined as a decreased vision or blindness in half of the visual field because of trauma or stroke. Although research on in this field is limited, neuroimaging evidence suggests that a person’s attention may play a role in restoring vision. Recent studies have shown that vision training has the ability to partially restore vision by improving the deficiency of … Continue reading Attention Network May Play Role in Vision Restoration Resulting from Brain Damage

Sleep Deprivation and Performance

By Raymond Cheung ‘22 Sleep is a necessity that many do not get enough of on a daily basis. Sleep deprivation can significantly impair cognitive function, which can prove dangerous and costly for intensive jobs. While the adverse effects of sleep deprivation on performance are not new, a recent study by Michelle E. Stepan and researchers from Michigan State University employed a large controlled sample … Continue reading Sleep Deprivation and Performance

Cell Phone Use May Have Negative Consequences

Samara Khan ‘19 According to a recent study by the PEW Research Center, 78 percent of Americans aged 12 to 17 have cell phones. The majority of these individuals spend about 4 to 6 hours on their phones each day. This increased time on cell phones means more exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, or RT-EMF. Although there have been several studies that have aimed to … Continue reading Cell Phone Use May Have Negative Consequences