You Suggest That There Are Striking Similarities Between Dogs And Humans In Both The Structure And Function Of A Key Brain Region: The Caudate Nucleus Unpack That Idea For Us
The caudate nucleus is a structure common to all brains, particularly in mammals, which we know to have the richest density of dopamine receptors. Dopamine used to be thought of as a pleasure neurotransmitter but its much more complex than that.
The caudate nucleus is active when an individual is in a state of anticipationsomething happens and they have to decide what to do with that information. Its particularly strong when that information is in positive domains. You see something, you want to approach it, maybe consume it.
When we see this structure active in dogs, we can interpret that they are experiencing something important to them and something they like. This is completely analogous to what happens in human brains under the same conditions.
Obviously dog brains are not the same as humans. One big difference is in the size. A dog brain is about the size of a lemon, at best, if its a big dog. Theres not the same real estate in there, so they cant do some things we can do.
Probably the biggest area of difference is in language. You dont need an MRI to know that dogs cant speak to us, at least not with words. One outstanding question we are currently working on is trying to figure out what they actually understand about our speech.
Dogs Brains Not Hardwired To Respond To Human Faces
Study of brain activity shows no difference when dogs see back or front of a head
Dog owners might love their pets endearing puppy dog eyes and cute furry features, but it turns out the doggy brain is just as excited by the back of our heads as the front.
For despite having evolved facial expressions that tug on the heartstrings of owners, researchers have found that unlike humans, dogs do not have brain regions that respond specifically to faces.
Its amazing dogs do so well when it comes to reading emotions and identify from faces, despite the fact that they seem not to have a brain designed for having a focus on , said Dr Attila Andics, co-author of the study from Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary.
Writing in the Journal of Neuroscience, Andics and colleagues report how they scanned the brains of 20 family dogs, including labradors and border collies, and 30 humans with each shown six sequences of 48 videos of either the front or the back of a human or dog head.
The team found particular regions of the dogs brain showed differing activity depending on the species shown, with a greater response to dog videos. However, there was no difference in any region when dogs were shown a human or dog face compared with the back of its head.
A small subset of these regions also showed a difference between species, in general showing a stronger response to humans.
Dog Intelligence And Emotions
A dog has a brain about the size of a tangerine and intelligence that’s equal to a human child at the age of 2 to 2.5. On average, dogs can learn up to 165 words and can surpass a 3- or 4-year-old child in math. While they experience a wide range of emotions, such as excitement, joy, fear, pain, and anger, they lack the experience of more complex emotions, like guilt. That look on your dog’s face when you catch him eating out of the garbage is more likely related to fear of the consequences he has to face rather than actually feeling guilty.
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Brain Scans Reveal Dogs’ Thoughts
New fMRI images of unsedated dogs represent a first peak into what dogs are thinking and open a door into canine cognition and social cognition in other species
Fido’s expressive face, including those longing puppy-dog eyes, may lead owners to wonder what exactly is going on in that doggy’s head. Scientists decided to find out, using brain scans to explore the minds of our canine friends.
The researchers, who detailed their findings May 2 in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, were interested in understanding the human-dog relationship from the four-legged perspective.
“When we saw those first images, it was unlike anything else,” said lead researcher Gregory Berns in a video interview posted online. “Nobody, as far as I know, had ever captured images of a dog’s brain that wasn’t sedated. This was fully awake, unrestrained dog, here we have a picture for the first time ever of her brain,” added Berns, who is director of the Emory University Center for Neuropolicy.
He added, “Now we can really begin to understand what dogs are thinking. We hope this opens a whole new door into canine cognition, social cognition of other species.”
So he and his colleagues trained two dogs to walk into and stay completely still inside a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner that looks like a tube: Callie, a 2-year-old feist, or southern squirrel-hunting dog and McKenzie, a 3-year-old border collie.
Seven Questions About How Your Dogs Brain Works
You asked your canine cognition curiosities and a neuroscientist answered.
When your human friends arent feeling well, you can ask them whats wrong. But for dog owners, it can be difficult to gauge whats on the minds of our furry friendsone can only glean so much from wagging tails. If dogs could talk, what would they say about us and the way they see the world? Just how do dogs think?
Neuroscientist Gregory Berns, featured in the most recent episode of The Macroscope, is trying to answer those questions in his lab at Emory University. Rather than glimpse into puppy eyes, he taps into their brain activity. In the Dog Project, Berns and his team train volunteer pet dogs to get their brains scanned in an fMRI machine to better understand what they are actually thinkingand what their cognition tells us about ourselves.
I would say dogs are special, and thats not just because Im a dog person, Berns told Science Friday in a recent radio interview. Dogs are the first animals to live with humans and so they represent a key link to our pastwhat makes us humans in terms of how they see us, how do they respond to us. What is it exactly that theyre doing that allows them to live so easily with us as well as other animals?
Do dogs love us or just smart enough to know how to keep getting fed?
Paul Beavers May 3, 2018
How do dogs process and learn our language? Indy can seem to understand a conversation not directed at him.
Dawn F?? May 3, 2018
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Dogs Might Experience Brain Freeze
Its delightful seeing dogs slurping up the last bit of dog-friendly ice cream on a hot summer day, but theres a likelihood that your dog could experience brain freeze. Brain freeze is a temporary headache that occurs when eating cold foods quickly.
Freeze brain is phenopalatine ganglioneuralgia , says Sackman. Since dogs and humans have similar neural structures on the roof of their mouths it is reasonable to expect that they might have similar sensations when eating a cold/icy treat. But we dont know for sure.
While we know to stop eating when we experience brain freeze, dogs may not. To prevent tingling of the nerves, give your pup icy treats in small doses or mix them up with regular treats.
Dog Brain Structure And Function
The brain stem mediates messages between the brain and the rest of the body. It controls the unconscious body functions necessary for life, such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and consciousness. The cerebellum handles motor function and controls voluntary movements, such as balance, posture, coordination, and speech.
If you look at a dog brain diagram, you’ll see that the cerebrum, also known as the cerebral cortex, is the largest part of the brain. It can be divided into the left and right cerebral hemispheres and comprises four lobes: the frontal lobe, occipital lobe, temporal lobe, and parietal lobe.
Both the frontal and temporal lobes have a role in alertness, intelligence, memory, and temperament. The thalamus is located here, and it controls sensory information, such as touch, pain, hearing, and sight. That information is then sent to the occipital and parietal lobes for information processing before being sent to the frontal lobe for planning and action.
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Primary Or Secondary Brain Tumors In Dogs
Though we have all heard the diagnosis at some point, we may not fully understand what this means for our furry friends.
To ensure that you fully understand your dogs diagnosis, lets take a look at the details.
When discussing brain tumors in dogs, you will likely hear the terms primary and secondary.
A primary brain tumor in dogs is a tumor that originates from the tissue of the brain directly, while a secondary brain tumor is one that is a result of metastasis from other parts of the body.
While every brain tumor is just an abnormal growth of cells, they can each vary in terms of their original cause.
What Does A Dogs Brain Look Like
All mammals have similar brain structures, says Dr. JP McCue, a board-certified veterinary neurologist at NYC’s Animal Medical Center. The hemispheres, lobes and parts of the brain have the same names and the same basic functions.
But in dogs, the parts of the brain associated with smell show they have incredibly sensitive noses. More so than other companion animals like cats and ferrets.
They use a much larger portion of their brains for analyzing smells, says Barrack. It is also presumed that dogs associate scent with memories, which is why they can be trained to sniff for bombs and drugs.
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Prognosis Living And Management
The prognosis for dogs with brain tumors varies widely, depending on the tumors size and type . For example, meningiomas have a much better prognosis than invasive brain tumors like glioblastoma or glioma.
Survival times depend on the type of treatment that was chosen as well.
- Medical management alone has a survival time of 2-4 months.
- Surgery alone has a survival time of 6-12 months
- Radiation therapy alone has a survival time of 6-24 months
- Combination of surgery and radiation therapy comes with a life expectancy of 6 months to 3 years.
During and after treatment, routine physical exams are necessary to determine the state of the brain tumor in a dog, and the pet’s neurological status.
Dogs And Mental Health
If dogs have evolved to be mans best friend, is it possible that they also suffer from some of the same mental disorders as people do? Growing evidence suggests the answer is yes, and this is all the more reason to take a closer look at what is going on in dogs heads.
Human mental illness is diagnosed largely by symptoms. According to the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , depression is characterized by depressed mood, diminished pleasure, slowed thinking, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and thoughts of death. The only objectively measurable symptom is weight change. Similarly, generalized anxiety disorder is associated with excessive anxiety and worry, restlessness, fatigue, decreased concentration, irritability, muscle aches, and sleep problems.
Interestingly, dogs with behavioral problems often improve when they are treated with human medications for depression and anxiety. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, like fluoxetine , are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in veterinary behavioral medicine. Others include benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants, beta-blockers, and even lithium. Indeed, the psychopharmacopeia for dogs is nearly the same as for humans. The fact that these medications work in dogs speaks to common biological mechanisms of mood regulation. And unlike humans, dogs are not susceptible to placebo effects
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A Psychological Guide To Your Dogs Dreams Emotions Interests And Tail
Your canine companion slumbers by your side, but is she dreaming of you? Does she feel guilty about stealing your steak off the kitchen counter and eating it for dinner? What is she trying to say with that annoying bark? Does she like watching TV?
After decades of research, neuroscientists have begun to answer such questions, giving us access to the once-secret inner lives of our canine companions and even translating their barks and wags so mere humans can comprehend them.
At the forefront of this effort is Stanley Coren, a behaviorist from the University of British Columbia, who draws on decades of research to explore the psychological motivations behind dogs everyday behaviors, as well as what science says about their barks, thoughts, and dreams.
What It’s Like To Think With A Dog’s Brain
Dogs “smell time” and “see faster,” but don’t hear so well.
But it is beginning to get lighter in there, thanks to modern cognitive science.
Groucho’s quip graces the opening page of “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know,” a new book by cognitive scientist and psychologist Alexandra Horowitz that goes a long way to suggest what it’s like to think with a dog’s brain — to actually be a dog.
Combining new knowledge from hundreds of scientific and animal behavior studies, and mixing it in with a fine style guided by her own loving bemusement of dogs — especially of her own Finnegan, rescued as a sick and needy pup from a shelter — Horowitz gives us a fascinating picture of a dog’s umwelt — German for “their subjective or ‘self-world’.”
“Umwelt captures what life is like as the animal,” she says.
We met Horowitz and Finnegan on a high plateau — a grassy field hidden amid a circle of trees in New York’s Central Park — one day at 8 a.m.
There was one hour to go before leash laws came into effect, so we were surrounded by some two dozen joyous dogs of every size, shape, color and pedigree — or lack thereof — and as many wakening humans.
Racing around, sniffing, forming little groups and making up games, the liberated dogs turned it into a scene much like any elementary school playground, brimming over with the invention of play — but play on steroids.
We more static humans stood in their midst, wrapped for a while in dog time.
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What Is A Brain Tumor
Strictly speaking, the term brain tumor simply means a mass in the brain. However, it is commonly used to describe a cancerous mass inside the cranial cavity . Brain tumors may be primary, arising from the cells of the brain and its lining , or secondary, arising elsewhere and spreading to the brain.
Primary brain tumors seen in dogs and cats include meningioma, glioma, choroid plexus papilloma, pituitary adenoma or adenocarcinoma, and others.
Meningioma This is the most common primary brain tumor in dogs and cats . It arises from the arachnoid mater of the meninges rather than the cells of the brain itself. As such, meningiomas are not strictly brain tumors, but tend to be grouped with them because they arise within the cranial cavity and compress or invade the brain. Figure 3 is a MRI of a meningioma. These tumors occur more commonly in long nosed breeds of dog, such as the Golden retriever. Meningiomas are usually relatively slow growing and amenable to treatment, although more malignant forms do occur.
Secondary brain tumors
What signs do brain tumors cause?
Brain tumors cause signs by compressing or invading the brain. The resulting signs relate directly to the area of the brain affected and are not specific to a tumor: any disease affecting that area of the brain could produce similar signs. As a general rule, brain tumors cause progressive signs in older animals. Signs may start very suddenly or quite insidiously, and they can wax and wane in severity.
The Anatomy Of A Dog Brain
The dog brain structure and function are similar to the human brain, and it experiences the same hormonal changes that affect our emotions. The differences between them exist primarily on a microscopic level, and the notable size differences in certain areas of the brain, particularly the cerebral cortex, impact the brain’s abilities.
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How Are Brain Injuries Treated
Treatment of a brain injury in a dog will depend on what led to the brain injury. The initial goal of treatment is to maximize oxygen levels in the brain tissue. If the blood pressure is too low, then supporting blood pressure improves brain blood flow. If the blood pressure is too high, or if there is high pressure inside the skull for some other reason, then decreasing pressure in the skull is the priority.
“Some dogs with a brain injury do not blink their eyes normally, so lubricating the eyes may be a part of the treatment.”
Any necessary intravenous fluid therapy must be administered carefully to avoid any fluid build-up in the brain, even if there is bleeding that requires fluid replacement. Your veterinarian balances your dogs blood pressure in order to prevent it from going either too low or too high. The head should never be lower than the body in order to prevent increased pressure inside the skull. Some dogs with a brain injury do not blink their eyes normally, so lubricating the eyes may be a part of the treatment. It will also be important to prevent any urine or stool soiling if the dog is unable to position properly for elimination.
How To Prevent Hydrocephalus
Hydrocephalus is not a contagious disease so it is difficult to prevent it. The best thing you can do to prevent a dog from developing this disease or being born with it is to practice selective breeding and purchase puppies from reputable breeders. Dogs with hydrocephalus or those that have a familial history of hydrocephalus should never be used for breeding purposes.
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