Molecular And Cellular Neuroscience
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Basic questions addressed in molecular neuroscience include the mechanisms by which neurons express and respond to molecular signals and how axons form complex connectivity patterns. At this level, tools from molecular biology and genetics are used to understand how neurons develop and how genetic changes affect biological functions. The morphology, molecular identity, and physiological characteristics of neurons and how they relate to different types of behavior are also of considerable interest.
Questions addressed in cellular neuroscience include the mechanisms of how neurons process signals physiologically and electrochemically. These questions include how signals are processed by neurites and somas and how neurotransmitters and electrical signals are used to process information in a neuron. Neurites are thin extensions from a neuronal cell body, consisting of dendrites and axons . Somas are the cell bodies of the neurons and contain the nucleus.
Another major area of cellular neuroscience is the investigation of the development of the nervous system. Questions include the patterning and regionalization of the nervous system, neural stem cells, differentiation of neurons and glia , neuronal migration, axonal and dendritic development, trophic interactions, and synapse formation.
The Neuroscience Of Effective Studying
Dr. Todd Handy is a UBC professor in the Department of Psychology who specializes in cognitive neuroscience. Hes also the kind of prof youd like to have a coffee with.
We discussed how the “savvy student,” as he put it, can use neuroscience research to optimize their academic performance.
According to Dr. Handy, Bringing neuroscience into learning has really expanded our understanding of study strategies and what the smart, effective student can do to bring their A-game to the academic experience.
Read on for 4 strategiesbased in neuroscience researchthat can help you study smarter, not harder.
Public Education And Outreach
In addition to conducting traditional research in laboratory settings, neuroscientists have also been involved in the promotion of awareness and knowledge about the nervous system among the general public and government officials. Such promotions have been done by both individual neuroscientists and large organizations. For example, individual neuroscientists have promoted neuroscience education among young students by organizing the International Brain Bee, which is an academic competition for high school or secondary school students worldwide. In the United States, large organizations such as the Society for Neuroscience have promoted neuroscience education by developing a primer called Brain Facts, collaborating with public school teachers to develop Neuroscience Core Concepts for K-12 teachers and students, and cosponsoring a campaign with the Dana Foundation called Brain Awareness Week to increase public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. In Canada, the CIHR Canadian National Brain Bee is held annually at McMaster University.
Neuroscience educators formed Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience in 1992 to share best practices and provide travel awards for undergraduates presenting at Society for Neuroscience meetings.
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How Has Functional Neuroimaging Advanced Brain Research
Modern neuroimaging is increasingly used as a brain research technique, especially in the improvement of researchers understanding of disorders. Positron Emission Tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging are two advanced imaging techniques. They are both used to understand molecular processes in the brain. fMRI is also used to estimate cognitive activities. Magnetoencephalography and electroencephalography are two other types of functional neuroimaging techniques used to map brain activity. Some neuroimaging researchers combine data from more than one neuroimaging technique to create a more complete analysis of the patients brain. Examples include combining MEG and EEG to get one brain map.
Does Emotiv Offer Solutions For Brain Research
EMOTIV offers multiple solutions for the imagery, which assists brain research. Brain research techniques through EEG or electroencephalography is cost-effective with EMOTIVs Brainwear. A research team can access a broad array of data-gathering and imaging equipment on a budget-friendly scale. EMOTIVs solutions have been proven in studies and clinical literature for neuroscience, workplace wellness and safety, cognitive performance, neuroimaging, and brain-controlled technology applications.
The EMOTIV EPOC X headset provides professional-grade brain data for brain research in academic and commercial use. The EMOTIV Insight headset boasts minimal set-up time and electronics optimized to produce clean signals from anywhere, making it ideal for performance and wellness tracking. The EMOTIV EPOC FLEX cap offers high density coverage and moveable electroencephalogram sensors optimal for research professionals. EmotivPRO is an integrated research software solution for neuroscience research and education, built for EPOC X, EPOC Flex and Insight headsets.
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Ventricles And Cerebrospinal Fluid
Deep in the brain are four open areas with passageways between them. They also open into the central spinal canal and the area beneath arachnoid layer of the meninges.
The ventricles manufacture cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF, a watery fluid that circulates in and around the ventricles and the spinal cord, and between the meninges. CSF surrounds and cushions the spinal cord and brain, washes out waste and impurities, and delivers nutrients.
Selecting The Best Animal Model
A fundamental principle of biological research is that to answer a biological question, one must pick the best animal model, as in the case of the squid for transmission of nerve impulses. Our goal is to pick an animal model that is appropriate for the study of the human brain and its disorders. Considering some examples illustrates the range of models used and how the answers they provide depend on the fit to the questions asked.
Fruit flies have provided key links between genetics and human disease beginning with Thomas Hunt Morgans discovery that genes are carried on chromosomes. It was subsequently realized that over half the genes responsible for human disease are conserved across many species. A clinically specific example is Friedreichs ataxia, an inherited disease that confines patients to wheelchairs and usually leads to early death. The disease results from a defective gene and since this gene is conserved across species, basic research can be performed in fruit flies, which carry the gene and are easy to use. Ways to correct the genetic deficit can be found in fruit flies, then tested in humans.
Monkeys have the major advantage of brains whose organization and function most closely matches the brains of humans. The advantage of such similarities between monkeys and humans is dramatically illustrated by one of the triumphs of science: the conquest of polio, a now almost-forgotten disorder.
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Strategy #: The Great Triad: Eat Sleep And Exercise
You may not think about these things as affecting your ability to retain information, but they absolutely do:
This is where thinking about the brain more holistically is really vital. How do you optimize, not just the material you’re learning, but how do you optimize the brain itself? How do you bring the brain’s A-game to the table?”
The answer: take care of your brain just as you would any other muscle, tissue, or organ.
The more you can actually exercise on a regular basis, the better you can eat, and the more you’re paying attention to sleepthese are all vitally important for your brain to be working at its optimum.
Specifically, physical activity can help super-charge your studying:
It can be really helpful to get up and walk around for 5 minutes and come back. Even if it’s part of a study session, just moving helps. It doesn’t have to be drastic, but the more you can do can really help.
The real savvy student will do some studying immediately after exercising:
Studies have also shown that people can learn better right after physical activity. So if you’re somebody who likes to work out, it can be really effective to study right afterbecause the exercise actually pumps the brain full of brain growth hormones.
Cognitive And Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive neuroscience addresses the questions of how psychological functions are produced by neural circuitry. The emergence of powerful new measurement techniques such as neuroimaging , EEG, MEG, electrophysiology, optogenetics and human genetic analysis combined with sophisticated experimental techniques from cognitive psychology allows neuroscientists and psychologists to address abstract questions such as how cognition and emotion are mapped to specific neural substrates. Although many studies still hold a reductionist stance looking for the neurobiological basis of cognitive phenomena, recent research shows that there is an interesting interplay between neuroscientific findings and conceptual research, soliciting and integrating both perspectives. For example, neuroscience research on empathy solicited an interesting interdisciplinary debate involving philosophy, psychology and psychopathology. Moreover, the neuroscientific identification of multiple memory systems related to different brain areas has challenged the idea of memory as a literal reproduction of the past, supporting a view of memory as a generative, constructive and dynamic process.
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The Impact Of Studying Brain Plasticity
- Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, University Pablo de Olavide, Seville, Spain
Neural plasticity, also known as neuroplasticity or brain plasticity, can be defined as the ability of the nervous system to change its activity in response to intrinsic or extrinsic stimuli by reorganizing its structure, functions, or connections. A fundamental property of neurons is their ability to modify the strength and efficacy of synaptic transmission through a diverse number of activity-dependent mechanisms, typically referred as synaptic plasticity. Research in the past century has showed that neural plasticity is a fundamental property of nervous systems in species from insects to humans. Indeed, studies into synaptic plasticity have not only been an important driving force in neuroscience research but they are also contributing to the well-being of our societies as this phenomenon is involved in learning and memory, brain development and homeostasis, sensorial training, and recovery from brain lesions. However, despite intense research into the mechanisms governing synaptic plasticity, it is still not clear exactly how plasticity shapes brain morphology and physiology. Thus, studying synaptic plasticity is clearly still important if we wish to fully understand how the brain works.
Brain Research And Education
Current brain research in education combines findings from research-best practices to help teachers understand students needs for an ideal learning environment. Neuroimaging and brain-mapping research provide insights, which educators can use to understand brain activity and the learning environment which provides ideal outcomes for students. Several national foundations promote brain-based research in education to assist educators with their understanding of psychology.
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To Your Brain Me Is We
A 2013 study from University of Virginia researchers supports a finding thats been gaining science-fueled momentum in recent years: the human brain is wired to connect with others so strongly that it experiences what they experience as if its happening to us.
The researchers had participants undergo fMRI brain scans while threatening to give them electrical shocks, or to give shocks to a stranger or a friend. Results showed that regions of the brain responsible for threat response the anterior insula, putamen and supramarginal gyrus became active under threat of shock to the self that much was expected.
When researchers threatened to shock a stranger, those same brain regions showed virtually no activity. But when they threatened to shock a friend, the brain regions showed activity nearly identical to that displayed when the participant was threatened.
“The correlation between self and friend was remarkably similar,” said James Coan, a psychology professor in U.Va.’s College of Arts & Sciences who co-authored the study. “The finding shows the brain’s remarkable capacity to model self to others that people close to us become a part of ourselves, and that is not just metaphor or poetry, it’s very real.”
The study was published in the journal, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.
The Top Ten Brain Science And Psychology Studies Of 2013
fMRI scanner at a neuroscience lab
Putting it mildly, 2013 was an eventful year for brain science. This Top 10 list isnt meant to be exhaustive , but its a sturdy sampling of incredible work being conducted around the world, moving us closer to solving some extremely vexing puzzles about brains and behavior.
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The Intersection Of Faith And Neuroscience
Some of our resources are specific to faith traditions, such as the dozens of course syllabi from Christian seminaries that examine the brain and mind, created as part of the Science for Seminaries project. Through the Engaging Scientists in the Science and Religion Dialogue project, we have videos from our 2017 Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting roundtable, Engaging Neuroscientists in the Dialogue with Religious Communities, which featured scholars who bridge Buddhism and neuroscience. We also have a recording of and an article about our 2019 AAAS Annual Meeting symposium, The Biology of Resilience: How Science and Faith Communities Can Work Together, which featured a psychiatrist who works with Islamic communities. More resources for people of faith include those from Sinai and Synapses, BioLogos, and The Clergy Letter Project.
We also have several resources tailored for scientists and science communicators, who should always be mindful of religious audiences when giving scientific presentations. These include our Scientists in Civic Life: Facilitating Dialogue-Based Communication booklet and our new Profiles in Science Engagement with Faith Communities, which contain interviews with neuroscientist Gillian Hue and psychologist Nancy Adleman.
Strategy : Spacing The Activation Of Neurons
At this point, you are probably asking yourself how to space out learning in your day-to-day life. The good news is that there are a number of ways to do it and it can be easily adapted to different skills, such as solving mathematical problems or memorizing definitions. The most obvious change you can make to your study schedule is to break up sessions into smaller sessions. You could also ask your teacher to set daily or weekly review quizzes and other assignments. Finally, spacing can be done by doing interleaved practice. This consists of a set of problems arranged so that consecutive problems cannot be solved by the same strategy. For example, you could mix your math problems so that geometry questions, algebra, or inequality problems are randomly sequenced. The added benefit of interleaving is that you engage in different activities in-between two sessions, making good use of your time. In brief, one thing to keep in mind is that information that was previously learned will require less effort to re-learn because the spacing gives your brain time to consolidatemeaning your brain produces the building blocks required for the connections between your neurons.
Challenges And Perspectives In Plasticity Research
On a different note, plasticity is also a phenomenon that aids brain recovery after the damage produced by events like stroke or traumatic injury. Indeed, the ability to manipulate specific neuronal pathways and synapses has important implications for therapeutic and clinical interventions that will improve our health. Promising therapies like deep brain stimulation, non-invasive brain stimulation, neuropharmacology, exercise, cognitive training, or feedback using real-time functional magnetic resonance , are all based on our current understanding of brain plasticity and they are the subject of intense research for different pathologies. A better understanding of the mechanisms governing neuroplasticity after brain damage or nerve lesion would help improve patient’s quality of life, eventually saving costs to National Health Systems worldwide. Therefore, the study of synaptic plasticity has clear consequences that reach beyond the research environment. Increasing our understanding of how learning and memory processes are modified during development, and of how the brain modifies its activity and recovers after damage, should be considered in some depth by policy makers. In the light of the above, such efforts are likely to provide social benefits in the spheres of Healthcare and Education, thereby aiding long-term socio-economic planning.
Psychology And The Brain
Psychology is commonly defined as the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. It has existed since the late 19th century, with 1879 often being given as a starting date because that was when the first psychological research lab was founded. Many schools of thought within the field have come and gone since then some, like behaviorism, have persisted and evolved if they stood up to scientific study others, like phrenology, have faded as they have lost credibility.
One approach has only begun to gain ground over the 20th and 21st centuries as scientific research and technology have improved: the study of the brain. Neuroscience is a relatively new field, but the more research that is done, the more it appears that much of human behavior and mental processesthe key interests for psychological studyare intimately intertwined with activity in the brain. Understanding the brain is important no matter what type of psychology you will be involved with, because its effects permeate all human behavior.
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How Does The Brain Work
The brain sends and receives chemical and electrical signals throughout the body. Different signals control different processes, and your brain interprets each. Some make you feel tired, for example, while others make you feel pain.
Some messages are kept within the brain, while others are relayed through the spine and across the bodys vast network of nerves to distant extremities. To do this, the central nervous system relies on billions of neurons .
Understanding Depends On Animal Models
There are many questions about human biology that researchers hope to answer, from how our bowels work to how our brains work. Experience shows that it is always most profitable to study a biological system in an animal in which the system is well developed and in which it is relatively easy to study. For example, for many years the study of transmission of nerve impulses along the axon of a neuron was studied in the squid, a marine invertebrate. The axon connects one neuron to another neuron or to a muscle. The squid was studied because it has a giant axon that quickly activates a muscle that expels water to rapidly push the squid away from a predator. Because the axon is large, it was possible to do recordings from inside as well as outside the axon. This convenience made it the animal of choice for studying axon transmission and led to a Nobel Prize for Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley in 1963. The invasive experiments that were essential for understanding could be performed in these animals, but would not have been ethically possible in humans, even if they had a giant axon . Animals used to study a particular system are referred to as animal models of that system. Advances in most areas of medicine depend on research on animal models.
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