Health News

Personality and mood affect brain response to personal choice

Personality traits and mental health affect how people value personal control in decision making, according to a new study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. Our brain’s reward and motivation systems show higher activity when we feel personal control in a situation and when we receive rewards that we’ve earned, rather than been given […]

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Cognitive changes in offspring of heavy cannabis-using rats: Cannabis use is common among pregnant women, but effects are rarely tested

Washington State University researchers have seen cognitive changes in the offspring of rats exposed to heavy amounts of cannabis. Their work is one of the rare studies to look at the effects of cannabis during pregnancy. The drug is the most commonly used illicit substance among pregnant women. Ryan McLaughlin, an assistant professor of Integrative […]

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Diabetes medication may protect against a common cause of blindness: Metformin may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration

Researchers from Taiwan have shown that people with type 2 diabetes who took a common diabetes medication, metformin, had a significantly lower rate of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The study suggests that the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects of metformin can protect against AMD while it controls diabetes. The research will be presented today at AAO […]

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Binary bias distorts how we integrate information

When we evaluate and compare a range of data points — whether that data is related to health outcomes, head counts, or menu prices — we tend to neglect the relative strength of the evidence and treat it as simply binary, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological […]

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Stress can impair memory, reduce brain size in middle age

Adults in their 40s and 50s with higher levels of cortisol — a hormone linked to stress — performed worse on memory and other cognitive tasks than peers of the same age with average cortisol levels, research found. Higher cortisol in the blood also was associated with smaller brain volumes, according to the study, published […]

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Breathing through the nose aids memory storage

The way we breathe may affect how well our memories are consolidated (i.e. reinforced and stabilised). If we breathe through the nose rather than the mouth after trying to learn a set of smells, we remember them better, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden report in The Journal of Neuroscience. Research into how breathing affects […]

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Artificial intelligence helps reveal how people process abstract thought: Study of deep neural networks suggests knowledge comes via sensory experience

As artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated, much of the public attention has focused on how successfully these technologies can compete against humans at chess and other strategy games. A philosopher from the University of Houston has taken a different approach, deconstructing the complex neural networks used in machine learning to shed light on how humans […]

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Making the right connections

Researchers at VIB and KU Leuven have uncovered a new molecular interaction that governs the formation of specific functional connections between two types of neurons. It gives an important clue as to how unique interactions give shape to precisely organized neuronal networks in the brain. Pyramidal neurons are named after their cell body, which is […]

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How nature, nurture shape the sleeping brain: Study of teenage twins teases apart influence of genes, environment on brain activity during sleep

Some patterns of electrical activity generated by the brain during sleep are inherited, according to a study of teenage twins published in JNeurosci. Pinpointing the relative contributions of biology and experience to sleep neurophysiology could inform therapies for numerous psychiatric disorders in which alterations in brain activity during sleep can be detected. Leila Tarokh and […]