Talking fast linked to better brain health in old age

Photo by Connor Olson from Unsplash TORONTO, Ontario — It turns out that talking slowly and clearly may not be so great after all. Researchers from the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care and the University of Toronto have found that talking speed can serve as an important indicator of brain health – even more so than having a difficulty finding certain words in old age.

Study authors add this is one of the first studies to assess both the differences in natural speech and brain health among a group of healthy adults.

“Our results indicate that changes in general talking speed may reflect changes in the brain,” says Dr. Jed Meltzer, Baycrest’s Canada Research Chair in Interventional Cognitive Neuroscience and the lead author on this study, in a media release . “This suggests that talking speed should be tested as part of standard cognitive assessments to help clinicians detect cognitive decline faster and help older adults support their brain health as they age.”

This project included 125 healthy volunteers (ages 18-90). Participants filled out three distinct assessments. The first test was a picture-naming game, in which they had to answer questions about pictures while ignoring distracting words heard through headphones. For instance, while looking at an image of a mop, participants might have to answer: “Does it end in ‘p’?” – all while simultaneously hearing the word “broom” as a distraction. This approach allowed researchers to test peoples’ capacity to recognize an image and recall the name.

Then, researchers recorded participants as they described two complex images. Each picture was on display for a total of 60 seconds. Next, language performances underwent an analysis using AI-based software, provided by Winterlight Labs. Study authors analyzed how fast each participant spoke and how much they paused.

Finally, the last test entailed participants completing standard tests aimed at assessing mental abilities known to decline with age and show a link to dementia risk. More specifically, executive function, which refers to the ability to manage conflicting information, stay focused, and avoid distractions . Researchers have found that talking speed can serve as an important indicator of brain health (credit: University of Texas at Austin) As researchers predicted, many cognitive skills showed a clear decline with age, such as word-finding speed. Surprisingly, however, while the ability to recognize a picture and recall its name both tended to deteriorate with age, this development did not show an association with a decline in other mental abilities. In other words, the amount and length of pauses participants needed to find the right words showed no link to brain health .

Instead, how fast participants could name pictures predicted how fast they spoke in general, and both of those factors showed a link to executive function . So, the results suggest it isn’t pausing to find words that shows the strongest link to brain health, but the speed of speech surrounding pauses.

Although plenty of older people understandably grow concerned about their need to pause to search for words, these findings suggest such issues are nothing more than a normal part of growing old. The slowing down of normal speech, though, independent of pausing, may be a much more important indicator of brain health changes.

Moving forward, researchers would like to conduct the same tests with a group of participants over several years in order to analyze if speed speech is truly predictive of brain health for individuals as they age. The results of such studies could serve as vital support for the development of tools for detecting cognitive decline as early as possible. This would help clinicians and doctors prescribe interventions to help older patients maintain or even improve their brain health and cognition.

The study is published in the journal Aging Neuropsychology and Cognition.

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New brain stimulation technique shows promise for treating brain disorders

New brain stimulation technique shows promise for treating brain disorders

This figure summarizes the outcomes following ultrasound stimulation. Low-intensity brainwave-like pattern ultrasound stimulation sequentially stimulates TRPA1 in astrocytes, leading to BEST1-dependent neurotransmitter secretion. This, in turn, stimulates adjacent neurons, inducing neural plasticity in the neurons. This process briefly describes how changes in cognitive functions associated with pattern-dependent memory and learning, as well as changes in behavioral aspects, become evident. Credit: Institute for Basic Science The human brain’s adaptability to internal and external changes, known as neural plasticity, forms the foundation for understanding cognitive functions like memory and learning, as well as various neurological disorders.

New research conducted by a team led by Dr. Park Joo Min of the Center for Cognition and Sociality within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) unveils a novel technique that could transform the treatment landscape for brain disorders. The work has been published in Science Advances .

The team developed a non-invasive brain stimulation method called Patterned Low-Intensity Low-Frequency Ultrasound (LILFUS), which holds tremendous potential for inducing long-lasting changes in brain function.

Traditionally, magnetic and electrical brain stimulation methods have been used to modulate brain function. However, these methods come with inherent limitations that restrict their spatial resolution and penetration depth, making it challenging to precisely stimulate specific brain regions with optimal efficacy.

More invasive methods, such as those that require surgical procedures, exhibit superior control and therapeutic effects for specific deep brain stimulation, but they come with risks such as tissue damage, inflammation, and infection. These limitations have fueled the search for alternative approaches that can overcome these constraints and provide more efficient and precise modulation of brain function.

In the latest study unveiled by the IBS, researchers used ultrasound to enable precise stimulation of specific brain areas. Unlike electromagnetic waves , ultrasound has the advantage of being able to penetrate deep into the brain tissues.

The researchers discovered that ultrasound stimulation can modulate neural plasticity—the brain’s ability to rewire itself—through the activation of key molecular pathways. Specifically, the study pinpointed the ultrasound’s effect on mechanosensitive calcium channels in astrocytes, which controls the cells’ ability to uptake calcium and release neurotransmitters. In this experiment, ultrasound protocols comprising two distinct stimulation patterns by combining Low-Intensity Low-Frequency (LILF) 30Hz and 5Hz ultrasound were used. The first pattern, known as intermittent TBUS, featured intermittent stimulation with 2 seconds of stimulation followed by 8 seconds of rest. The second pattern, termed continuous TBUS, involved 40 seconds of uninterrupted stimulation. Throughout the stimulation, brainwaves were monitored by analyzing the phase-amplitude coupling between theta and gamma waves, which are two primary types of brainwaves. The accompanying graph illustrates these observed changes. Credit: Institute for Basic Science LILFUS was designed based on specific ultrasound parameters that mimic the brainwave patterns of theta (5 Hz) and gamma (30 Hz) oscillations observed during learning and memory processes. The new tool allowed the researchers to either activate or deactivate specific brain regions at will—intermittent delivery of the ultrasound was found to induce long-term potentiation effects, while continuous patterns resulted in long-term depression effects.

One of the most promising aspects of this new technology is its ability to facilitate the acquisition of new motor skills. When the researchers delivered ultrasound stimulation to the cerebral motor cortex in mice, they observed significant improvements in motor skill learning and the ability to retrieve food.

Interestingly, researchers were even able to change the forelimb preference of the mice. This suggests potential applications in rehabilitation therapies for stroke survivors and individuals with motor impairments.

The implications of this research extend far beyond motor function. It may be used to treat conditions such as depression, where altered brain excitability and plasticity are prominent features. With further exploration, LILFUS could be adapted for various brain stimulation protocols, offering hope for various conditions ranging from sensory impairments to cognitive disorders.

Dr. Park said, “This study has not only developed a new and safe neural regulation technology with long-lasting effects but has also uncovered the molecular mechanism changes involved in brainwave-patterned ultrasound neural regulation.”

He added, “We plan to continue follow-up studies to apply this technology for the treatment of brain disorders related to abnormal brain excitation and inhibition and for the enhancement of cognitive functions.”

Provided by Institute for Basic Science

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Draft law in France proposes exorbitant fine, jail time for OPPONENTS of COVID-19 injections

Draft law in France proposes exorbitant fine, jail time for OPPONENTS of COVID-19 injections

A draft law in France has put forward an exorbitant fine of €45,000 ($48,627) and three years’ jail time for individuals who speak out against the dangerous Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) injection.

Professor Michel Chossudovsky, the founder and director of the Center for Research on Globalization (CRG), expounded on this draft law in a Feb. 18 piece. He mentioned that on Feb. 14, the French National Assembly adopted a controversial draft law to fight what it called “sectarian drift.”

The French Interministerial Mission of Vigilance and Combat against Sectarian Drifts (MIVILUDES) defined the concept as “a diversion of freedom of thought, opinion or religion that violates public order.” In other words, sectarian drift pertains to ideas, opinions or actions that go against the dictates of a totalitarian government.

According to Chossudovsky, Article Four of the draft law seeks to extend the concept of sectarian drift to health and medicine by creating a new crime of “provocation to abstention from medical care.” Under this edict, “provocation” on a sick person to “abandon or refrain from following medical treatment” if this abandonment is presented as beneficial when it could lead to dangerous consequences is now punishable under the French Criminal Code. It also acknowledged that this sectarian draft increased dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic and “the use of social networks.”

The CRG founder added that Article Four “aims to fight against ‘charlatans’ and ‘gurus 2.0,'” who allegedly promote on the internet methods presented as “miracle solutions” to cure serious diseases such as cancers. Often without scientific training and in defiance of science, they can drift toward behaviors of sectarian influence, the French government claimed.

Chossudovsky pointed out that French citizens engaging in these “provocations” could face “three years of imprisonment and a fine of €45,000 ($48,627).” But looking at it closely, Article Four of the draft law codifies punishment for opposition to medical tyranny and the COVID-19 vaccine – even though the document does not mention it explicitly. (Related: Opposition to mRNA injections now considered a CRIME in France, violators face 45,000 euro fine and 3 years in prison for questioning “the science.” ) France’s draft law criminalizes health freedom

The CRG founder and director further explained that sectarian drift “points to non-conformity in response to an official government narrative.” He continued: “[While] the draft law does not explicitly refer to the COVID-19 vaccine … it constitutes an abominable threat [as] it criminalizes the protest movement against the COVID-19 vaccine.”

French lawyer David Guyon also pointed out the absurdity of the draft law. “In reality, it is clear that anyone who has criticized vaccination against COVID-19 could be considered of having committed and offense,” he said. “This is why it must be fought.”

According to Chossudovsky, the draft law is the brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron. It will be presented to the French Senate by Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin in the name of former Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.

“What this decision … implies is that the lie has become the truth. You can be arrested for informing friends and neighbors that the COVID-19 vaccine is a toxic substance,” he remarked. “What we are witnessing is the outright ‘criminalization of the state apparatus’ – whereby politicians, members of parliament [and] senior government officials are routinely bribed, co-opted or threatened to abide by a diabolical project, which is literally destroying people’s lives worldwide.”

“The French government, the National Assembly and the Senate must be challenged by a mass movement across France and the European Union,” Chossudovsky concluded, calling on the French upper legislature to “dismiss the National Assembly’s adoption of the draft law.”

Head over to MedicalTyranny.com for more stories about laws criminalizing opposition to the COVID-19 injection.

Watch this video that discusses France’s new draft law that criminalizes opposition to COVID-19 vaccines.

This video is from the chriswillard777 channel on Brighteon.com . More related stories:

Vaccine pioneer France is now skeptical of coronavirus vaccines.

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OBEY OR ELSE: French government wants all adults aged 24-59 to be forcibly vaccinated for covid.

Vaccine passport now MANDATORY in France, following more than a year of corporate media propagandists claiming the idea was a “conspiracy theory.”

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GlobalResearch.ca

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How to boost neuron growth in the brain, aka neurogenesis

Improve neurogenesis
Dr Daniel Berg of the University of Aberdeen discusses neurons and what effects neurogenesis

For a long time, neuroscientists believed that the neurons you are born with are the neurons you have for the rest of your life, and any neuron lost will not be replaced. Recent research has shown that specific brain regions contain neural stem cells that can generate new neurons. In this talk, Dr Daniel Berg of the University of Aberdeen will discuss what we know about these stem cells and what we can do to activate them to generate more neurons.

CDC’s expansion of vaccination schedule for Americans sparks controversy

CDC’s expansion of vaccination schedule for Americans sparks controversy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ‘s (CDC) decision to expand the vaccination schedule for Americans has sparked controversy.

According to a report by Natural Health 365 , “in recent years, the childhood injection schedule has expanded beyond addressing the diseases most commonly affecting children – such as measles, mumps and rubella.” True enough, the CDC has proposed further additions to the vaccination schedule. It released the updated schedule in September, which is months earlier than usual, to speed up insurance payments for the newly-recommended vaccines.

The updated schedule now includes several new diseases – monkeypox, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) hepatitis, human papillomavirus (HPV), flu and pneumococcal disease.

“The escalation in the number of shots administered at closely spaced intervals during childhood has raised significant concerns,” Natural Health 365 pointed out. “Some childhood advocacy groups are now questioning the CDC’s motives and the safety measures involved in recommending these alterations to the [vaccine] schedule.” (Related: RSV introduced into population by polio vaccines; now Pfizer’s RSV vaccines risk harming, killing people .)

Moreover, some critics have dubbed the escalating number of injections as “a risky medical experiment.” For example, children aged zero to 18 may now require up to 80 injections, representing a significant increase from the 1983 recommendation of just 11 shots.

They also argue that the CDC hasn’t subjected the entire childhood immunization schedule to thorough safety or efficacy testing. The public health agency is also in hot water for its prioritization of shots over broader public health concerns and its susceptibility to pharmaceutical influence. Several experts voice out opposition to CDC’s vaccine push

Several medical experts voiced out their opposition to the CDC’s expansion of the immunization schedule to include recent diseases.

“This amounts to nothing more than a very dangerous medical experiment foisted on America’s infants and children,” said Brian Hooker of Children’s Health Defense. He also noted that the CDC has never tested the efficacy or the safety of the entire childhood vaccination schedule.

“The CDC continues to function as a powerful promoter of vaccines, not as a protector of public health,” said integrative physician Dr. Mary Kelly Sutton. She added that there is little evidence of vaccines’ effectiveness and a lack of officially accepted research on their adverse effects.

“The CDC could give wise guidance on vaccines but has so far accepted ACIP [Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices] approvals without studies,” remarked Sutton, who who lost her license in three states for writing eight COVID-19 vaccine exemptions in California. “Universally, vaccines lack true placebo controls, and recently, lack human trials of any kind. The sad truth is pharma money rules the CDC, and the American people … are deceived and placed at risk.”

“It’s an outrage,” said pediatrician Dr. Michelle Perro. “It’s not necessary and they’re hurting our children.”

Head over to CDC.news to find more stories about the public health agency’s promotion of COVID-19 vaccines and other deadly injections.

Watch Dr. Janette Nesheiwat explain to Tucker Carlson why the COVID-19 vaccine shouldn’t be included in the CDC’s childhood immunization schedule .

This video is from the Chinese taking down EVIL CCP channel on Brighteon.com . More related stories:

VACCINES COST LIVES: Child mortality is HIGHER in developed nations that require more vaccines – new study.

Study: COVID-19 vaccines linked to increased risk of brain clots and stroke when combined with flu vaccines.

SMOKING GUN: CDC altered definition of “breakthrough” COVID infections following emails about “vaccine failure.”

CDC knowingly labeled accurate news stories about the dangers of COVID-19 vaccines “misinformation,” internal messages show.

SUPPRESSED: CDC scrapped draft alert warning of link between COVID-19 vaccines and myocarditis, deliberately keeping Americans in the dark about vaccine dangers.

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Scientists uncover brain mechanisms for social memory recall in mice

Scientists uncover brain mechanisms for social memory recall in mice

The human brain has the extraordinary ability to rapidly discern a stranger from someone familiar, even as it can simultaneously remember details about someone across decades of encounters. Now, in mouse studies, scientists at Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute have revealed how the brain elegantly performs both tasks.

“These findings are the first evidence that a single population of neurons can use different codes to represent novel and familiar individuals,” said co-corresponding author Stefano Fusi, PhD, professor of neuroscience at Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, a principal investigator at Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute and a member of Columbia’s Center for Theoretical Neuroscience.

In a paper published today in Neuron , Columbia scientists explored social memory, the ability to remember encounters with others. This form of memory consists of two distinct mental processes-;distinguishing novel and familiar individuals, and recalling details about those who are recognized. We can readily determine whether someone is familiar but may have difficulty in recollecting the details of where and how we know that individual, especially when encountered out of context.” Steven A. Siegelbaum, PhD, co-corresponding author, Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons Prior work found it difficult to pinpoint how the brain performs both tasks, given their conflicting demands. The ability to detect whether somebody is familiar or not has to apply across many different locations and events, while recollection involves remembering many specific experiences regarding a given individual.

In the new study, the scientists investigated a brain area called CA2, part of the hippocampus, a pair of seahorse-shaped brain structures essential for memory. Dr. Siegelbaum previously made the groundbreaking discovery that CA2 neurons are specifically important for social memory.

The researchers analyzed the brains of mice using calcium imaging, a technique that relies on genetically altered cells-;in this case, in CA2-;that rapidly change color when active. Calcium imaging enabled Lara Boyle, a former MD-PhD student in the Siegelbaum lab and co-first author of the study, to precisely know which neurons they were examining.

“This helped clear up uncertainty from previous research when it came to distinguishing the mouse brain’s responses to novel and familiar individuals,” said Dr. Siegelbaum, the Gerald D. Fischbach, MD, Professor of Neuroscience and of Pharmacology, and a principal investigator at the Zuckerman Institute.

The scientists first recorded how the rodents’ CA2 cells reacted when they were exposed either to a pair of strangers or a pair of familiar littermates. They next used computational methods, led by Dr. Fusi’s team, to analyze the pattern of activity in roughly 400 to 600 neurons in CA2.

The scientists found the same population of neurons encoded memories of both familiar and unfamiliar individuals. Unexpectedly, the neurons used different patterns of activity depending on a mouse’s level of familiarity with another rodent.

When mice were exposed to other mice that were unknown to them, the resulting activity in CA2 was relatively simple or, in the scientists’ parlance, “low-dimensional.” It’s as if several members of an orchestra played the exact same notes, explained Dr. Fusi. In contrast, exposure to familiar littermates led to more complex, high-dimensional CA2 activity, as if the musicians all played different melodies.

The calculations and the simulations of the researchers suggest that the more complex, or higher-dimensional, neural activity can help the brain encode the detailed memories of past encounters with familiar individuals. In contrast, the simpler, or lower-dimensional activity can help the brain reliably identify novel individuals across different contexts.

“When you encounter someone new, you may use abstract categories to describe them in your head-;for instance, that’s a child, with brown hair, red backpack,” said postdoctoral research associate Lorenzo Posani, PhD, a co-first author on the study who led the computational analysis. “Then, as you get to know them, they become a specific person and personality.”

This fundamental discovery regarding the way in which details about others are encoded may shed light on disorders affecting memory.

“When we look at different mouse models of human diseases like schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s that are known to affect memory, we now can ask more precisely how the neural activity supporting familiarity detection and recollection might be altered,” Dr. Siegelbaum said. “Our hope is that what we have learned may lead to a better understanding of the types of interventions that can rescue memory deficits in those disorders.”

The paper, “Tuned geometries of hippocampal representations meet the computational demands of social memory,” was published online in Neuron on TK, 2024.

The full list of authors includes Lara M. Boyle, Lorenzo Posani, Sarah Irfan, Steven A. Siegelbaum and Stefano Fusi.

Source:

Columbia University

Journal reference:

Boyle, L. M., et al. (2024) Tuned geometries of hippocampal representations meet the computational demands of social memory. Neuron. doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2024.01.021 .

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Bio-inspired neuroprosthetics: Sending signals the brain can understand

Bio-inspired neuroprosthetics: Sending signals the brain can understand

Neuroscience-driven development of a biomimetic neuroprosthetic device. The successful development of a somatosensory neuroprosthesis is based on three main pillars: (1) In-silico models of the biological sensory processing have to be exploited for emulating the natural neural activation of the nervous system to external tactile stimuli (blue segment); (2) animal proof of concept allows for experimental validation of the mechanisms behind the use of specific neurostimulation strategies defined with the use of modeling (orange segment); (3) A rigorous clinical validation of the biomimetic technology with implanted humans has to be performed in order to assess the functional outcomes in real-life scenarios (green segment). Credit: Nature Communications (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-45190-6 A few years ago, a team of researchers working under Professor Stanisa Raspopovic at the ETH Zurich Neuroengineering Lab gained worldwide attention when they announced that their prosthetic legs had enabled amputees to feel sensations from this artificial body part for the first time.

Unlike commercial leg prostheses, which simply provide amputees with stability and support, the ETH researchers’ prosthetic device was connected to the sciatic nerve in the test subjects’ thigh via implanted electrodes.

This electrical connection enabled the neuroprosthesis to communicate with the patient’s brain, for example relaying information on the constant changes in pressure detected on the sole of the prosthetic foot when walking. This gave the test subjects greater confidence in their prosthesis—and it enabled them to walk considerably faster on challenging terrains.

“Our experimental leg prosthesis succeeded in evoking natural sensations. That’s something current neuroprostheses are mainly unable to do; instead, they mostly evoke artificial, unpleasant sensations,” Raspopovic says.

This is probably because today’s neuroprosthetics are using time-constant electrical pulses to stimulate the nervous system. “That’s not only unnatural, but also inefficient,” Raspopovic says.

In a recently published paper in Nature Communications , he and his team used the example of their leg prostheses to highlight the benefits of using naturally inspired, biomimetic stimulation to develop the next generation of neuroprosthetics. Model simulates activation of nerves in the sole

To generate these biomimetic signals, Natalija Katic—a doctoral student in Raspopovic’s research group—developed a computer model called FootSim. It is based on data collected by collaborators in Canada, who recorded the activity of natural receptors, named mechanoreceptors, in the sole of the foot while touching different points on the feet of volunteers with a vibrating rod.

The model simulates the dynamic behavior of large numbers of mechanoreceptors in the sole of the foot and generates the neural signals that shoot up the nerves in the leg towards the brain—from the moment the heel strikes the ground and the weight of the body starts to shift forward to the outside of the foot until the toes push off the ground ready for the next step.

“Thanks to this model, we can see how sensory receptors from the sole, and the connected nerves, behave during walking or running, which is experimentally impossible to measure,” Katic says. Information overload in the spinal cord

To assess how closely the biomimetic signals calculated by the model correspond to the signals emitted by real neurons, Giacomo Valle—a postdoc in Raspopovic’s research group—worked with colleagues in Germany, Serbia and Russia on experiments with cats, whose nervous system processes movement in a similar way to that of humans. The experiments took place in 2019 at the Pavlov Institute of Physiology in St. Petersburg and were carried out in accordance with the relevant European Union guidelines.

The researchers implanted electrodes, connecting some to the nerve in the leg and some to the spinal cord to discover how the signals are transmitted through the nervous system. When the researchers applied pressure to the bottom of the cat’s paw, thereby evoking the natural neural response that occurs when a cat takes a step, the peculiar pattern of activity recorded in the spinal cord did indeed resemble the patterns that were elicited in the spinal cord when the researchers stimulated the leg nerve with biomimetic signals.

By contrast, the conventional approach of time-constant stimulation of the sciatic nerve in the cat’s thigh elicited a markedly different pattern of activation in the spinal cord. “This clearly shows that the commonly used stimulation methods cause the neural networks in the spine to be flooded with information,” Valle says. “This information overload could be the reason for the unpleasant sensations or paraesthesia reported by some users of neuroprosthetics,” Raspopovic adds. Learning the language of the nervous system

In their clinical trial with leg amputees, the researchers were able to show that biomimetic stimulation is superior to time-constant stimulation. Their work clearly demonstrated how the signals that mimicked nature produced better results: not only were the test subjects able to climb steps faster, they also made fewer mistakes in a task that required them to climb the same steps while spelling words backwards.

“Biomimetic neurostimulation allows subjects to concentrate on other things while walking,” Raspopovic says, “so we concluded that this type of stimulation is more naturally processed and less taxing on the brain.”

Raspopovic, whose lab forms part of the ETH Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems, believes that these new findings are not only relevant to the limb prostheses he and his team have been working on for over half a decade. He argues that the need to move away from unnatural, time-constant stimulation towards biomimetic signals also applies to a whole series of other aids and devices, including spinal implants and electrodes for brain stimulation.

“We need to learn the language of the nervous system,” Raspopovic says. “Then we’ll be able to communicate with the brain in ways it really understands.”

More information: Giacomo Valle et al, Biomimetic computer-to-brain communication enhancing naturalistic touch sensations via peripheral nerve stimulation, Nature Communications (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-45190-6

Provided by ETH Zurich

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Study suggests how brain waves are part of memory

Study suggests how brain waves are part of memory

Representative image. Image Credit: ANI Spatial navigation and memory are essential components of our daily lives. Without these talents, we would struggle to navigate our surroundings and remember previous experiences. However, the neural foundation of spatial memory remains poorly known. A study group directed by Prof. Lukas Kunz, who just joined the University Hospital Bonn (UKB), has discovered fresh information on this knowledge gap. He discovered, along with scientists from New York and Freiburg, that different types of nerve cells become active simultaneously during spatial memory and are coordinated by brain waves (“ripples”). The findings have now been published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Associative memory allows different pieces of information are linked together. “In the context of spatial memory, associative memory enables us to remember the locations of certain objects in the spatial environment,” explains Prof. Kunz, research group leader for Cognitive and Translational Neuroscience at the Department of Epileptology at the UKB. He is also a member of the Transdisciplinary Research Area (TRA) “Life & Health” at the University of Bonn. “For example, we can remember where in the house we put our keys”. At older age or in certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, however, this ability is limited. “It is therefore important to investigate the neuronal basis of different forms of human memory,” said Prof. Kunz. In the long term, this could help develop new therapies for memory impairments.

Nerve cells are active while information is retrieved from memory. To further investigate this phenomenon, the researchers recorded the activity of individual nerve cells in epilepsy patients performing a memory task. “In a virtual world, the participants were asked to remember the locations of different objects,” explains Prof. Kunz. The recordings showed that different types of nerve cells became active during this memory task. Some nerve cells responded to certain objects, while other nerve cells activated in response to certain locations. The scientists observed that interactions between the different types of nerve cells became stronger over time when participants remembered the right object in the right place.

In addition to place and object neurons, the researchers observed hippocampal brain waves (“ripples”) that also occurred during the memory task, presumably playing a crucial role in the formation and retrieval of associative memories. “Ripples could be important for the connection of different types of nerve cells and the formation of complex memories. It will be exciting to further investigate this idea in future studies,” explains Prof. Kunz. It will also be interesting to study how memory performance is modulated when ripples are suppressed or triggered, providing insights into the causal relevance of ripples. Prof. Kunz intends to continue the findings that he gained with his colleagues at Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science in New York and the University of Freiburg at the University Hospital Bonn.

“The department of epileptology at the UKB is well-known for its excellent brain research. The department has the unique opportunity to record the activity of individual nerve cells in the human brain in the video EEG monitoring unit, which is the heart of every epilepsy center. This provides exciting insights into the functioning of the human brain, which is only possible at a few research centers worldwide,” describes Prof. Kunz. In his interdisciplinary research, he builds on the close exchange with other researchers and medical doctors, which is essential for the development of new research ideas. (ANI)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Neuroscientist Shares Five Supplements To Improve Memory And Reduce Risk Of Alzheimer’s

Neuroscientist Shares Five Supplements To Improve Memory And Reduce Risk Of Alzheimer’s

In the quest for cognitive well-being, understanding the supplements that can genuinely make a difference is paramount. Neuroscientist Robert W.B. Love took to Instagram to shed light on five supplements that hold the potential to enhance memory and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Let’s delve into the nuanced details of these scientifically-backed options, providing a robust foundation for fortifying brain health. Supplements To Improve Memory And Reduce Risk Of Alzheimer’s

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Robert W.B. Love (@robertwblove) Magnesium Threonate: A Potential Cognitive Booster

Magnesium L-threonate emerges as a promising cognitive booster, supported by studies demonstrating its ability to shield against brain cell death. Preliminary research conducted on zebrafish and mouse models underscores its efficacy in preserving cognitive function. Magnesium threonate not only shows promise in memory improvement but also in addressing nerve pain. This supplement offers a sneak peek into the evolving landscape of brain health supplements, hinting at potential breakthroughs in cognitive enhancement.

Also Read: 7 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts To Be Aware Of On World Alzheimer’s Day 2023 Ceylon Cinnamon: Cognitive Function and Alzheimer’s Risk Reduction

Beyond its culinary allure, Ceylon Cinnamon, also known as True Cinnamon, unfolds as a multifaceted ally in cognitive well-being. Recent research illuminates its impact on cognitive function, unveiling neuroprotective qualities. The spice’s properties extend to combating inflammation, fortifying the immune response, and reducing cancer risk through its antioxidant prowess. From disrupting oxidative stress to inhibiting tau protein accumulation, Ceylon Cinnamon emerges as a natural asset in the endeavour to reduce Alzheimer’s risk and preserve memory. Fish Oil: Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Brain Health

Derived from fatty fish, fish oil takes centre stage with its rich content of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, renowned for cardiovascular benefits. Expanding beyond its recognized role in heart health, fish oil showcases profound impacts on brain function, particularly in addressing mild memory loss and depression. Exploring its potential to enhance brain function in conditions like mild cognitive impairment opens a promising avenue for advancing cognitive well-being. In the realm of brain health supplements, fish oil emerges as a beacon of hope, offering potential life-changing discoveries for those grappling with cognitive challenges. Zinc: A Crucial Trace Element for Memory Formation

Zinc, a trace element, assumes a pivotal role in the creation of new neurons in the brain’s hippocampus, a cornerstone for memory formation. Adequate zinc levels play a protective role, supporting the synthesis of memories, emotions, and sensations. Disruptions in this intricate process can be mitigated with sufficient zinc levels, offering a safeguard against memory-related challenges and cognitive impairment. Beyond memory formation, zinc contributes to effective communication among brain cells, acting as a defender against the nebulous realm of cognitive challenges.

Also Read: Alzheimer’s Disease: Here’s How You Can Embrace Lifestyle Changes For Optimal Brain Health Lion’s Mane: A Nootropic for Cognitive Health

Lion’s Mane, categorized as a nootropic, unveils a trove of compounds that contribute to improved brain health and function. Notably, its impact on nerve growth factor levels positions it as a potential shield against disorders like Alzheimer’s. Scientific trials indicate its effectiveness in alleviating symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, presenting Lion’s Mane as a natural remedy for cognitive enhancement. As the understanding of cognitive health evolves, Lion’s Mane stands out as a fascinating avenue for those seeking a natural and research-backed approach to fortify cognitive resilience. Bottomline

In the ever-evolving landscape of neuroscience, these supplements offer a spartan yet compelling approach to memory improvement and Alzheimer’s risk reduction. Exploring these supplements, firmly grounded in scientific research, becomes a journey toward fortifying cognitive resilience and embracing a future where cognitive well-being takes centre stage.

Read more at www.onlymyhealth.com

Neuroscientist Shares Five Supplements To Improve Memory And Reduce Risk Of Alzheimer’s

Neuroscientist Shares Five Supplements To Improve Memory And Reduce Risk Of Alzheimer’s

In the quest for cognitive well-being, understanding the supplements that can genuinely make a difference is paramount. Neuroscientist Robert W.B. Love took to Instagram to shed light on five supplements that hold the potential to enhance memory and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Let’s delve into the nuanced details of these scientifically-backed options, providing a robust foundation for fortifying brain health. Supplements To Improve Memory And Reduce Risk Of Alzheimer’s

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Robert W.B. Love (@robertwblove) Magnesium Threonate: A Potential Cognitive Booster

Magnesium L-threonate emerges as a promising cognitive booster, supported by studies demonstrating its ability to shield against brain cell death. Preliminary research conducted on zebrafish and mouse models underscores its efficacy in preserving cognitive function. Magnesium threonate not only shows promise in memory improvement but also in addressing nerve pain. This supplement offers a sneak peek into the evolving landscape of brain health supplements, hinting at potential breakthroughs in cognitive enhancement.

Also Read: 7 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts To Be Aware Of On World Alzheimer’s Day 2023 Ceylon Cinnamon: Cognitive Function and Alzheimer’s Risk Reduction

Beyond its culinary allure, Ceylon Cinnamon, also known as True Cinnamon, unfolds as a multifaceted ally in cognitive well-being. Recent research illuminates its impact on cognitive function, unveiling neuroprotective qualities. The spice’s properties extend to combating inflammation, fortifying the immune response, and reducing cancer risk through its antioxidant prowess. From disrupting oxidative stress to inhibiting tau protein accumulation, Ceylon Cinnamon emerges as a natural asset in the endeavour to reduce Alzheimer’s risk and preserve memory. Fish Oil: Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Brain Health

Derived from fatty fish, fish oil takes centre stage with its rich content of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, renowned for cardiovascular benefits. Expanding beyond its recognized role in heart health, fish oil showcases profound impacts on brain function, particularly in addressing mild memory loss and depression. Exploring its potential to enhance brain function in conditions like mild cognitive impairment opens a promising avenue for advancing cognitive well-being. In the realm of brain health supplements, fish oil emerges as a beacon of hope, offering potential life-changing discoveries for those grappling with cognitive challenges. Zinc: A Crucial Trace Element for Memory Formation

Zinc, a trace element, assumes a pivotal role in the creation of new neurons in the brain’s hippocampus, a cornerstone for memory formation. Adequate zinc levels play a protective role, supporting the synthesis of memories, emotions, and sensations. Disruptions in this intricate process can be mitigated with sufficient zinc levels, offering a safeguard against memory-related challenges and cognitive impairment. Beyond memory formation, zinc contributes to effective communication among brain cells, acting as a defender against the nebulous realm of cognitive challenges.

Also Read: Alzheimer’s Disease: Here’s How You Can Embrace Lifestyle Changes For Optimal Brain Health Lion’s Mane: A Nootropic for Cognitive Health

Lion’s Mane, categorized as a nootropic, unveils a trove of compounds that contribute to improved brain health and function. Notably, its impact on nerve growth factor levels positions it as a potential shield against disorders like Alzheimer’s. Scientific trials indicate its effectiveness in alleviating symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, presenting Lion’s Mane as a natural remedy for cognitive enhancement. As the understanding of cognitive health evolves, Lion’s Mane stands out as a fascinating avenue for those seeking a natural and research-backed approach to fortify cognitive resilience. Bottomline

In the ever-evolving landscape of neuroscience, these supplements offer a spartan yet compelling approach to memory improvement and Alzheimer’s risk reduction. Exploring these supplements, firmly grounded in scientific research, becomes a journey toward fortifying cognitive resilience and embracing a future where cognitive well-being takes centre stage.

Read more at www.onlymyhealth.com

The One Psychological Brain Tool That Can Create A More Positive Mindset, According To A Psychologist

The One Psychological Brain Tool That Can Create A More Positive Mindset, According To A Psychologist

The One Psychological Brain Trick That Can Create A More Positive Mindset, According To A Psychologist Our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes shape our perception of the world and influence our experiences. While this may cause some to have an inherently negative perception of life, there’s an effective psychological brain tool that can help you perceive the world through a more positive lens. A brain training specialist took to TikTok to share one psychological brain trick that transformed her life.

Emilie Leyes , a hypnosis practitioner and podcast host of “How To Like Your Life,” posted a video on TikTok to share the one brain tool she incorporated into her life that helped her “stop [her] brain from thinking so negatively all the time” and adopt a more positive mindset.

Leyes explained how the human brain struggles with negativity bias , meaning we tend to focus more heavily on the impact of negative experiences rather than positive ones.

RELATED: 3 Neurological Tricks To Get The Exact Life You Want

“That used to support us back in early human evolution, but it just doesn’t anymore. It keeps us from enjoying the good things that do actually happen to us,” Leyes said.

Developed by Rick Hanson, Ph.D ., a neuropsychologist and best-selling author, we can rewire our minds to perceive the world with more optimism using a tool called installation, a mindfulness practice that encourages awareness and gratitude for all the positive things in our lives.

“It’s all about noticing the positive experiences that we actually have in our lives that normally pass us by because of this negativity bias, but then deliberately keeping your attention on it, and growing and amplifying the emotional experiences that you’re having within that good thing so that it can actually change your brain and have an impact on you,” Leyes expressed. Leyes explained there are three steps to learning how to appreciate the good in your life:

1. Notice the positive experiences throughout your day

Pay attention to the little joys that surround you in your day. Not every day will be a great one, but there is always something to be grateful for. These positive experiences could be noticing a dog riding in a car with his head out the window, hearing a funny story from a co-worker, discovering a new song that you love, or simply going for a walk outside.

RELATED: 10 Tiny Habits That Will Make You More Positive Than 98% Of People 2. Stay with the experience

Similarly to how we tend to let negative experiences affect our days, absorb the positive experiences instead! Allow yourself to sit with this positive encounter to intensify its impact.

“Turn up the volume on the good feelings that you’re experiencing,” Leyes suggested.

According to a webinar session with Dr. Hanson and Ruth Buczynski, Ph.D., “It takes around 30 seconds for an experience to really register in the brain, body, and mind, enough to have a lasting impact.” 3. Set an intention to allow this experience to make your day

After practicing the mindfulness of the first two steps, let yourself feel grateful for the positive experiences that left a mark on you. Let these experiences change you and lift your spirits.

Remember the smile you made seeing the joy of a furry friend having the time of his life on a car ride, hold on to the laughter you exchanged with your colleague, and let the powerful notes and lyrics of that great new song replay in your mind.

Life is hard enough on us— we don’t need to add to our stress by ignoring the daily positive experiences of our lives because the negative ones seem to hold more weight.

RELATED: How To Trick Your Brain Into Releasing Chemicals That Make You Happy There are other ways to reverse negativity bias and live a life rich in gratitude.

Katerina Barrata , a licensed associate counselor, shared some good news on TikTok about the reality of negativity bias . In her video, Barrata explained how research developed by Laura Carstensen , a professor of psychology at Stanford University, shows that negativity bias actually “declines, and even reverses, in old age.”

Additionally, you can train your mind to convert your inherently negative perspective to a positive one by simply “[contemplating] your own mortality.”

This method, also known as maranasati meditation in Buddhism , essentially conveys the impermanence of our lives and enforces the virtue of being present.

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Buddhists have practiced this meditation technique for thousands of years to “deepen their appreciation and gratitude for their precious human life.”

By recognizing the transience of our lives, we can learn to cultivate gratitude for every day we’re alive and get to experience the little joys and pleasures that are indubitably not so little. You decide how much power your daily experiences hold over you. The truth is, the obstacles and challenges that frequently cross our paths are inevitable, but we get to choose how these experiences affect us . Life is too short to spend worrying about all the problems we face throughout our lives.It’s important to understand this perspective doesn’t suggest avoiding or ignoring our problems, rather it offers useful tools to help us rise above our challenges and focus our attention on what truly matters — love, gratitude, and hope. RELATED: 7 Psychological Tricks To Help You Get Stuff Done — Even On Days You Don’t Feel Like It Francesca Duarte is a writer on YourTango’s news and entertainment team based in Orlando, FL. She covers lifestyle, human-interest, and spirituality topics.

Read more at www.yourtango.com

Are stressed-out brain cells the root cause of neurodegenerative disease?

Many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, are characterized by the accumulation of protein clumps, or aggregates, in the brain, which has led scientists to assume that the protein tangles kill brain cells. The search for treatments that break up and remove these tangled proteins has had little success, however.

But a new discovery by University of California, Berkeley, researchers suggests that the accumulation of aggregated proteins isn’t what kills brain cells. Rather, it’s the body’s failure to turn off these cells’ stress response.

In a study published online Jan. 31 in the journal Nature , the researchers reported that delivering a drug that forces the stress response to shut down saves cells that mimic a type of neurodegenerative disease known as early-onset dementia.

According to lead researcher Michael Rapé, the finding could offer clinicians another option for treatment for some neurodegenerative diseases, at least for those caused by mutations in the protein that switches off the cellular stress response. These include inherited diseases that lead to ataxia, or loss of muscle control, and early-onset dementia.

In addition, Rapé noted that other neurodegenerative diseases, including Mohr-Tranebjærg syndrome, childhood ataxia and Leigh syndrome, are also characterized by stress responses in overdrive and have symptoms similar to those of the early onset dementia mimicked in the new study.

“We always thought that protein clumps directly kill neurons, for example by puncturing membrane structures within these cells. Yet, we now found that aggregates prevent silencing of a stress response that cells originally mount to cope with bad proteins. The stress response is always on, and that’s what kills the cells,” said Rapé, head of the new division of molecular therapeutics in UC Berkeley’s Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “We think that the same mechanisms may underlie more common pathologies that also show widespread aggregation, such as Alzheimer’s disease or frontotemporal dementia, but more work is needed to investigate the role of stress signaling in these diseases.”

Key to the discoveries by Rapé’s lab was the researchers’ finding that stress responses need to be turned off once a brain cell has successfully addressed a difficult situation. Rapé explained this finding to his son in simple terms: You not only need to clean up your room, but also turn out the light before going to bed. If you don’t turn off the light, you can’t fall asleep, but if you turn it off before you cleaned up your room, you would stumble if you had to get up in the dark.

Similarly, a cell has to clean up protein aggregates before turning off the stress response. If it doesn’t turn off the stress response, the cell will ultimately die.

“Aggregates don’t kill cells directly. They kill cells because they keep the light on,” he said. “But that means that you can treat these diseases, or at least the dozen or so neurodegenerative diseases that we found have kept their stress responses on. You treat them with an inhibitor that turns off the light. You don’t have to worry about completely getting rid of large aggregates, which changes how we think about treating neurodegenerative diseases. And most importantly, it makes this really doable.”

In their paper, Rapé and his colleagues describe a very large protein complex they discovered and called SIFI (SIlencing Factor of the Integrated stress response). This machine serves two purposes: It cleans up aggregates and, afterward, turns off the stress response triggered by the aggregated proteins. The stress response controlled by SIFI is switched on to deal with specific intracellular problems — the abnormal accumulation of proteins that end up at the wrong location in the cell. If components of SIFI are mutated, the cell will accumulate protein clumps and experience an active stress response. But it is the stress response signaling that kills the cells.

“The SIFI complex would normally clear out the aggregating proteins. When there are aggregates around, SIFI is diverted from the stress response, and the signaling continues. When aggregates have been cleared — the room has been cleaned up before bedtime — then the SIFI is not diverted away anymore, and it can turn off the stress response,” he said. “Aggregates kind of hijack that natural stress response-silencing mechanism, interfere with it, stall it. And so that’s why silencing never happens when you have aggregates, and that’s why cells die.”

A future treatment, Rapé said, would likely involve administration of a drug to turn off the stress response and a drug to keep SIFI turned on to clean up the aggregate mess.

Ubiquitin

Rapé, who is also the Dr. K. Peter Hirth Chair of Cancer Biology, studies the role of ubiquitin — a ubiquitous protein in the body that targets proteins for degradation — in regulating normal and disease processes in humans. In 2017, he discovered that a protein called UBR4 assembles a specific ubiquitin signal that was required for the elimination of proteins that tend to aggregate inside cells.

Only later did other researchers find that mutations in UBR4 are found in some inherited types of neurodegeneration. This discovery led Rapé to team up with colleagues at Stanford University to find out how UBR4 causes these diseases.

“This was a unique opportunity: We had an enzyme that makes an anti-aggregation signal, and when it’s mutated, it causes aggregation disease,” he said. “You put these two things together and you can say, ‘If you figure out how this UBR4 allows sustained cell survival, that probably tells you how aggregates kill cells.'”

They found that UBR4 is actually part of a much larger protein complex, which Rapé dubbed SIFI, and they found that this SIFI machinery was needed when a cell couldn’t sort proteins into its mitochondria. Such proteins that end up at the wrong location in cells tend to clump and, in turn, cause neurodegeneration.

“Surprisingly, though, we found that the core substrates of the SIFI complex were two proteins, one of which senses when proteins don’t make it into mitochondria. That protein detects that something is wrong, and it then activates […]

Read more at www.sciencedaily.com

LOCKDOWNS KILL: Study reveals social isolation can increase inflammation in the body

LOCKDOWNS KILL: Study reveals social isolation can increase inflammation in the body

According to a study, spending too much time on your own can increase inflammation in the body . Details of the study were published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

The research team warned that being excessively solitary may impact both your mental health and your physical health. This highlights the often-forgotten importance of balancing your digital connections and the need for genuine human interaction.

The researchers conducting the study focused on “the impact of social isolation during early adulthood and midlife .” The results showed that there was a strong correlation between loneliness and inflammation markers.

The research team also said it was worth noting how childhood isolation was closely linked to higher soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) levels, a marker of chronic inflammation.

They added that this association persisted into adulthood, highlighting the long-lasting effect of early-life social experiences on inflammatory responses.

The research used diverse data sources to support their findings, such as data from the TRIAGE Danish study, a longitudinal study conducted in New Zealand and a comprehensive British twin analysis. The combined findings consistently stressed the crucial role of social isolation in influencing inflammation levels, as specifically evidenced by suPAR.

Overall, the study shows the negative consequences of social isolation , especially when living alone, because it contributes to elevated suPAR levels, signaling chronic inflammation.

This link also proved robust across various demographic groups, suggesting that social experiences may have a lasting influence on the body’s inflammatory responses over time. (Related: Thai black ginger found to delay arthritis progression and suppress inflammation .) Avoid social isolation by fostering healthy relationships and caring for your overall well-being

You may find yourself spending a lot of time on your devices and social media in today’s modern world.

If you are worried about your physical and mental health, follow these tips to improve your social connections and create a sense of community.

They can also help prevent social isolation linked to inflammation:

Join group activities

If you have different hobbies but no one to share them with, look for group activities or classes in your neighborhood.

Joining these groups will help you share your love for your interests, like a book club or gym class.

Volunteer in your community

Volunteering doesn’t just help you feel like part of your community, it also gives you a chance to contribute to a greater cause as you connect with others who share your passion for making a positive impact.

Volunteering at the local animal shelter or soup kitchen is a fulfilling way to build a sense of community.

Attend local events

Instead of mindlessly scrolling social media while you’re in bed, go outside and explore different events in your local community.

In your free time, attend gatherings, workshops, or cultural events to meet new people and expand your social circle.

Stay connected with loved ones

Don’t spend all day at work or binge-watching TV.

Regularly reach out to your family and friends. If they’re too far away to visit, call them on the phone, video chat, or send a handwritten letter to help maintain strong connections.

Use digital platforms mindfully

Leverage social media to stay connected with friends and family.

Just make sure you’re always mindful of screen time. It’s also better to prioritize in-person or meaningful virtual interactions to strengthen your relationships. Practice active listening Talking to family and friends won’t do you any good if you have poor active listening skills.When engaging in conversations, practice active listening. You can do this by showing genuine interest in a friend’s stories and experiences. Adopt a pet Pets can help improve your physical and mental health, especially since they provide companionship and love.If you are physically able to care for a pet, adopt a dog . They’re great companions because many dog breeds are active and require regular physical activity, which is also good for you if you’re feeling low.You can also meet new people by walking your dog to the nearest park.Keep in mind that fighting social isolation is an ongoing process that requires your continued efforts to nurture connections and create a supportive social environment. Maintain healthy habits and care for both your physical and mental health to prevent inflammation linked to many health issues.Visit Mental.news for more stories about how loneliness and social isolation can affect your mental health and overall well-beingWatch the video below to learn how turmeric can help with inflammation .This video is from the All About Herbs channel on Brighteon.com . More related stories: Chinese medicinal herb astragalus found to reduce inflammation and improve immunity in heart attack patients. Loneliness increases risk of PREMATURE DEATH by nearly 30%, declared an EPIDEMIC by surgeon general. Study shows EXTRA VIRGIN COCONUT OIL can promote weight loss, reduce body fat and improve liver health. Anti-inflammatory superfoods: Fight inflammation with this creamy broccoli soup recipe. Sources include: NaturalHealth365.com ScienceDirect.com HealthDirect.gov.au Brighteon.com

Read more at www.naturalnews.com

Breakthrough AI Uses Brain Scans to Predict Antidepressant Effectiveness in Just One Week

Breakthrough AI Uses Brain Scans to Predict Antidepressant Effectiveness in Just One Week

Researchers from Amsterdam UMC and Radboudumc have developed an AI algorithm capable of predicting the effectiveness of antidepressants within just a week of treatment initiation. This promising technique employs brain scans coupled with clinical information to rapidly determine whether sertraline—one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants—will alleviate symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD), a condition that affects approximately 280 million people globally.

Traditionally, the efficacy of an antidepressant can take anywhere from six to eight weeks to assess, a lengthy period fraught with patient anxiety and the potential exacerbation of symptoms. The current methodology not only delays relief for those suffering but also bears significant economic and social costs due to reduced patient productivity and increased healthcare expenses.

The study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, involved analyzing MRI brain scans and clinical data from 229 patients who participated in a prior study conducted by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and affiliated institutions. The Amsterdam team’s AI algorithm was then applied to this dataset to predict individual responses to sertraline treatment after just one week.

“The algorithm suggested that those who had a lot of blood flow in the anterior cingulate cortex, the area of brain involved in emotion regulation, would be helped by the drug. And at the second measurement, a week after the start, this turned out to be the severity of their symptoms,” articulated Eric Ruhé, psychiatrist at Radboudumc, elucidating the biological markers the AI used to predict treatment success.

This could revolutionize the approach to prescribing antidepressants. Notably, the algorithm correctly identified one-third of patients as likely responders to the drug, potentially avoiding two-thirds of ineffective sertraline prescriptions. By doing so, it mitigates the patient’s burden of unnecessary side effects and reduces the societal costs linked with prolonged depressive episodes.

“For patients, it means better quality of care,” emphasized Professor Liesbeth Reneman from Amsterdam UMC. By enabling earlier intervention with the correct medication, this AI-driven method holds the potential to drastically improve the quality of life for individuals with MDD by promptly restoring well-being and reducing the risk of comorbidities associated with prolonged depression.

The researchers are committed to further refining the algorithm by adding more data, which could enhance its predictive accuracy and clinical applicability. This commitment signals a shift towards more personalized and precise mental health treatment—ushering in an era where AI augments clinical decisions to deliver faster, more effective care to those battling depression.

Relevant articles:
– Artificial intelligence helps predict whether antidepressants will work in patients. By inputting a brain scan and an individual’s clinical information into an AI algorithm, researchers from Amsterdam UMC and Radboudumc could see up to 8 weeks faster whether or not the medication would work
– AI in Precision Medicine: Predicting Antidepressant Outcomes , Psychology Today, Fri, 09 Feb 2024 02:13:53 GMT
– AI Predicts Antidepressant Success in a Week , Neuroscience News, Wed, 07 Feb 2024 14:39:11 GMT
– Breakthrough in depression treatment: AI predicts antidepressant response within a week , Open Access Government, Wed, 07 Feb 2024 13:08:01 GMT

Read more at trendydigests.com

As Biden’s memory issues draw attention, neurologists weigh in

As Biden’s memory issues draw attention, neurologists weigh in

Win McNamee Since a report released on Thursday by special counsel Robert Hur described President Joe Biden as an “elderly man with a poor memory,” there have been significant misperceptions about the cognitive changes associated with aging, neurologists say.

The report on Biden’s handling of classified documents noted that the president hadn’t remembered the exact time frame that he served as vice president and was struggling to recall the period when his late son, Beau Biden, had passed away. Biden defiantly rejected the changes in a press conference late Thursday , saying “my memory’s fine.”

There’s also been scrutiny of other recent events when the 81-year-old president mixed up names of foreign leaders .

However, neurologists say blanking on the names of acquaintances or having difficulty remembering dates from the past, especially when under stress, can simply be part of normal aging.

“If you asked me when my mother passed away, I couldn’t necessarily tell you the exact year because it was many years ago,” Dr. Paul Newhouse, clinical core leader for the Vanderbilt Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, said.

Almost every older patient has trouble remembering people’s names, Newhouse said.

“I think it’s by far the most universal complaint of every person as they age,” Newhouse said.

In Newhouse’s experience, this type of forgetfulness doesn’t actually predict who ends up having memory disorders. Only a person’s doctor or neurologist can make that diagnosis, not outside observers, brain experts say.

Dr. Dennis Selkoe, co-director of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, agreed that forgetting names doesn’t actually provide much insight into potential memory problems. In fact, stress and a lack of sleep, can interfere with memory, no matter how old someone is.

“Naming proper nouns is not an adequate basis to make a conclusion about whether an individual has a more consistent and more concerning substantive progressive memory disorder,” Selkoe said. What are normal memory changes?

It’s normal for older brains to have more difficulty retaining new information and then retrieving the information, but mental processes like decision-making and judgment can actually improve with age, said Dr. Thomas Wisniewski, director of NYU Langone Health’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and its Center for Cognitive Neurology.

“Although the raw power of memory has some degree of decline, perhaps wisdom can increase because the individual has a greater backlog of experiences and different situations as to what is the best thing to do,” Wisniewski said.

The problem isn’t having trouble remembering names or calling someone by the wrong name, but when someone’s memory is fuzzy about recent or past experiences, said Newhouse. Issues with episodic memory — memory for events in time or if a person doesn’t remember going shopping, for example — can be a sign of a progressive disorder, but not always.

Wisniewski said he becomes concerned when people don’t even recognize that they are forgetting things.

“They forgot that they went shopping and they’re unaware that they’ve forgotten,” he said.

Overall, neurologists tend to worry less about a patient’s ability to remember remote memories from many years ago and more troubled by an inability to recall more recent events. That’s because dementia first affects the part of the brain that’s responsible for short-term memories, as opposed to long-term memories, said Newhouse.

“What I’m more concerned about is, can you remember what happened yesterday? Or an hour ago?” Newhouse said.

While the conversation surrounding aging is often framed around a person’s diminishing memory or executive functioning, there are cognitive benefits that come with growing older, Selkoe said.

“There is a type of emotional intelligence and ability to handle many different kinds of experiences in life that come with greater longevity,” he said. “People can make decisions more carefully and more rationally.”

Read more at www.aol.com

As Biden’s memory issues draw attention, neurologists weigh in

As Biden’s memory issues draw attention, neurologists weigh in

Since a report released on Thursday by special counsel Robert Hur described President Joe Biden as an “elderly man with a poor memory,” there have been significant misperceptions about the cognitive changes associated with aging, neurologists say.

The report on Biden’s handling of classified documents noted that the president hadn’t remembered the exact time frame that he served as vice president and was struggling to recall the period when his late son, Beau Biden, had passed away. Biden defiantly rejected the changes in a press conference late Thursday , saying “my memory’s fine.”

There’s also been scrutiny of other recent events when the 81-year-old president mixed up names of foreign leaders .

However, neurologists say blanking on the names of acquaintances or having difficulty remembering dates from the past, especially when under stress, can simply be part of normal aging.

“If you asked me when my mother passed away, I couldn’t necessarily tell you the exact year because it was many years ago,” Dr. Paul Newhouse, clinical core leader for the Vanderbilt Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, said.

Almost every older patient has trouble remembering people’s names, Newhouse said.

“I think it’s by far the most universal complaint of every person as they age,” Newhouse said.

In Newhouse’s experience, this type of forgetfulness doesn’t actually predict who ends up having memory disorders. Only a person’s doctor or neurologist can make that diagnosis, not outside observers, brain experts say.

Dr. Dennis Selkoe, co-director of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, agreed that forgetting names doesn’t actually provide much insight into potential memory problems. In fact, stress and a lack of sleep, can interfere with memory, no matter how old someone is.

“Naming proper nouns is not an adequate basis to make a conclusion about whether an individual has a more consistent and more concerning substantive progressive memory disorder,” Selkoe said. What are normal memory changes?

It’s normal for older brains to have more difficulty retaining new information and then retrieving the information, but mental processes like decision-making and judgment can actually improve with age, said Dr. Thomas Wisniewski, director of NYU Langone Health’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and its Center for Cognitive Neurology.

“Although the raw power of memory has some degree of decline, perhaps wisdom can increase because the individual has a greater backlog of experiences and different situations as to what is the best thing to do,” Wisniewski said.

The problem isn’t having trouble remembering names or calling someone by the wrong name, but when someone’s memory is fuzzy about recent or past experiences, said Newhouse. Issues with episodic memory — memory for events in time or if a person doesn’t remember going shopping, for example — can be a sign of a progressive disorder, but not always.

Wisniewski said he becomes concerned when people don’t even recognize that they are forgetting things.

“They forgot that they went shopping and they’re unaware that they’ve forgotten,” he said.

Overall, neurologists tend to worry less about a patient’s ability to remember remote memories from many years ago and more troubled by an inability to recall more recent events. That’s because dementia first affects the part of the brain that’s responsible for short-term memories, as opposed to long-term memories, said Newhouse.

“What I’m more concerned about is, can you remember what happened yesterday? Or an hour ago?” Newhouse said.

While the conversation surrounding aging is often framed around a person’s diminishing memory or executive functioning, there are cognitive benefits that come with growing older, Selkoe said.

“There is a type of emotional intelligence and ability to handle many different kinds of experiences in life that come with greater longevity,” he said. “People can make decisions more carefully and more rationally.”

Akshay Syal, M.D.

Akshay Syal, M.D., is a medical fellow with the NBC News Health and Medical Unit.

Ghael Fobes

Ghael Fobes is an Associate White House Producer with the NBC News White House Unit in Washington, D.C.

Read more at www.nbcnews.com

5 Ways Mindfulness Rewires Your Brain and Improves Your Life

5 Ways Mindfulness Rewires Your Brain and Improves Your Life

David Gyung/Shutterstock Life is busy. Parenting , work, hobbies, friends, problems, and pressure fill each day with more items on our to-do list than we can accomplish. Who has time for mindfulness meditation ? But as these pressures erode sleep, increase anxiety , turn into depression , and lead to inflammation, we might want to reconsider the benefits of a simple mindfulness practice. Why We Get Stuck

Being on autopilot and letting the default mode network of our brain dominate our thinking are two fundamental challenges that interfere with how we handle the pressures of life.

When we are on autopilot, we don’t pay attention to what we are thinking and how our thinking connects to our emotions and behavior. Instead, we react to life events and go from calm to irritated or anxious in just moments. When we are away from the pressures of our lives, the brain’s default mode network triggers rumination and constructs unhelpful thoughts about the past and the future.

Mindfulness helps us increase our awareness of our thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and behaviors, but it also helps us have more control over how we respond to life pressures. Mindfulness changes the resting state of the brain to be less judgmental, fearful, and anxious, reducing the impact of the default mode network and creating a sense of well-being.

Here are five ways mindfulness helps rewire the brain, giving us better control over how we respond to stress, handle difficult emotions, manage pain, and adapt to change. 1. Mindfulness improves our brain chemistry.

Research suggests that regular mindfulness practices help the brain increase levels of GABA, which helps us stay calm; dopamine , the pleasure and reward neurotransmitter; and serotonin, which helps us experience positive emotions. 2. Mindfulness changes our fear and stress response.

When we take in sensory information about a possible threat, the amygdala is the first brain structure to process that information. The amygdala evaluates images and sounds; if it detects a threat, it passes on the information to the hippocampus, which activates the body to prepare for a threat. With regular mindfulness practice, the size of the amygdala shrinks . A smaller amygdala is correlated with a reduced fear response, increased calmness, better management of anxiety, and a feeling of well-being. 3. Mindfulness helps us stay connected to the present moment.

Falling and staying asleep is often a challenge when we experience stressful periods of life. Our mind races back and forth between our regrets about the past and worries about the future, keeping us awake. During the day, our busy minds distract us from being present with the people we love and the work we need to accomplish. Because of changes in the insula and cingulate cortex , mindfulness practices help harness our ability to shift and focus our attention on our bodily sensations and regulate the emotional responses associated with those physical sensations. 4. Mindfulness facilitates learning and memory.

The gray matter of the memory areas of the brain generally decreases with age, impacting memory processes, emotional regulation , and perspective-taking . As a result, our memory suffers as we get older, we become less flexible with change, and we find it difficult to appreciate the perspective of others. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to increase the size of the hippocampus , which leads to improved learning, memory, and stress management. 5. Mindfulness helps with brain healing and pain management.

Mindfulness practices greatly enhance neuroplasticity . Recovery from brain injury requires healing damaged areas of the brain and using other areas to recover lost functioning. Mindfulness can improve emotional regulation and mental fatigue and help regulate pain . ( Click here to learn more about how mindfulness helps pain management.) How To Get Started

If you are ready to try mindfulness, there are many learning options. Some will find it easier to follow along listening to instructions that guide your attention. If that is you, consider following a short, guided meditation using the body scan exercise .

For those who want to sit quietly and learn to increase their awareness through focused concentration , follow these steps with the “clouds in the sky” exercise: Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and direct your attention to your breath.

Notice the gentle movement of your stomach as you breathe.

As you breathe quietly, thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations will come and go like clouds passing in an open blue sky.

Be open and curious about what comes and goes from your awareness.

Try to suspend judgment and evaluation of what you experience.

Accept what you experience without wishing things to be different or trying to make them different.

Hold your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations with compassion and kindness.

You will notice that even with much effort, your mind will still be busy. Have compassion for yourself as you notice where your mind wanders. Gently bring it back and focus your attention once again. In no time, you will soon see that your thoughts and emotions will come and go, just like the breaths you take from moment to moment. Start practicing five minutes twice a day and increase the length of your practice sessions week by week—it won’t be long before you look forward to each practice and notice the changes in how you handle the pressures of life.

Read more at www.psychologytoday.com

Study links micro- and nanoplastics to Parkinson’s and dementia

Study links micro- and nanoplastics to Parkinson’s and dementia

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A study has found that microplastics and nanoplastics affect a specific protein found in the brain, causing changes associated with Parkinson’s disease and some types of dementia. Microplastics and nanoplastics

Microplastics and nanoplastics are two types of plastic waste that have become a major concern for environmental and human health.

Produced from the degradation of larger plastic items (such as bags, bottles, covers, car tires, fishing nets, packaging material and others), microplastic particles are larger than one micrometer but smaller than five millimeters in size. On the other hand, nanoplastics are very tiny particles that range from one to 100 nanometers in size.

Bits of microplastic and nanoplastics accumulate in organisms and contaminate soil and water – causing harm to ecosystems, humans and wildlife. These plastic wastes also act as carriers of chemical pollutants that pose health risks to both animals and humans when ingested or inhaled.

Primary microplastics are intentionally manufactured to be as small as possible (e.g., microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products), or as microfibers in textiles (e.g., polyamide, polyester and polypropylene).

Because of their extremely small size, nanoparticles eventually end up inside the body, penetrating cells and tissues and causing more harm to humans and animals compared to bigger-sized microplastics. (Related: MICROPLASTIC INVASION: Researchers find microplastics in human heart tissue .) Nanoplastics linked to Parkinson’s and some types of dementia

According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, nearly a million people in the U.S. are living with Parkinson’s disease, one of the most devastating neurological disorders characterized by the death of a specialist population of nerve cells that control movement.

“Parkinson’s disease has been called the fastest-growing neurological disorder in the world. Numerous studies suggested that environmental factors play a prominent role in increasing the risk of developing the disease but such factors have, for the most part, not been specifically identified,” said Dr. Andrew West, who directs the Duke Center for Neurodegeneration and Neurotherapeutic Research.

As per the Parkinson’s Foundation, almost one million Americans are afflicted with the disease and around 90,000 new cases are being diagnosed each year. Globally, more than 10 million people are suffering from it.

Researchers from the Duke University School of Medicine initially used different types of nanoplastic particles to facilitate biomarker assays for the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and dementia. (Related: Study: Microplastics accumulate in the brain and cause behavioral changes associated with dementia .)

Using three models – cultured neurons, a mouse model (genetically engineered to be predisposed to a condition similar to Parkinson’s) and test tube solutions – West and his team found that polystyrene nanoplastics interact with alpha-synuclein , a brain protein that plays an important role in nerve cell communication. Normally, alpha-synuclein is recycled within the nerve cells.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances , reported that the presence of polystyrene nanoplastics attracted unusually large clumps of alpha-synuclein. Of particular interest to the scientists were the tight chemical bonds formed between them.

The researchers also discovered that when the proteins clumped together and formed alpha-synuclein fibrils (aberrant forms of alpha-synuclein), the machinery in the nerve cells that handles waste disposal could not keep up with the waste. This finding suggests that nanoplastics affect the levels of alpha-synuclein in the brain by interfering with the natural cleaning process of neurons.

West and his team emphasized that these were early findings and no tests had been done in humans yet.

“While microplastic and nanoplastic contaminants are being closely evaluated for their potential impact in cancer and autoimmune diseases, the striking nature of the interactions we could observe in our models suggest a need for evaluating [the impact of] increasing nanoplastic contaminants on Parkinson’s disease and dementia risk and progression,” said West. Plastic pollution a new risk factor for dementia

The authors suggested that increasing micro- and nanoplastic pollution could represent a new risk factor for developing Parkinson’s and dementia. However, more research is needed to better understand how these plastics interact with the human brain and whether different types of plastics have different effects.

The authors also highlighted the importance of monitoring contamination levels with nanoplastics and limiting human exposure.

“If we knew the specific molecular nature of particularly bad nanoplastic actors, we could develop policies and technologies to make sure they don’t end up in our food and water,” said West.

“We also need to have a better idea of what lifetime exposures to different types of nanoplastics look like so that our models in the lab are more informative,” he added.

Watch the following video to learn about invisible plastic and Parkinson’s disease – the surprising link . This video is from the Daily Videos channel on Brighteon.com . More related stories:

Report reveals recycling plastic releases toxic “chemical cocktail into the environment .

Study: Plastic pollution in some lakes is WORSE than the most contaminated parts of the oceans .

Microplastics are everywhere, including New Zealand’s rainfall .

Sources include:

TheEpochTimes.com ThisVsThat.io Parkinson.org LetsTalkScience.ca Science.org MedicalNewsToday.com Brighteon.com

Read more at www.naturalnews.com

Steve Kirsch: CDC FORGOT to warn the public that COVID-19 vaccines cause DEMENTIA

Steve Kirsch: CDC FORGOT to warn the public that COVID-19 vaccines cause DEMENTIA

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Vaccine Safety Research Foundation founder Steve Kirsch recently found that the number of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine recipients having dementia had increased 1,000 times. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is currently the seventh leading cause of death and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people globally.

The data is all out in the open but may have been covered up or agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may have failed to inform the public. But Kirsch took the liberty to check and it took him just a few seconds to uncover the truth. From the graph on the National Vaccine Information Center website, he found 998 cases where the brain condition was symptomatic as against the types of vaccines from the Dec. 29, 2023 release of Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) data. He further explained that the calculation is relative to the average vaccine and not against all vaccines in history combined. It would be important to note that many of these vaccines have far more doses than the coronavirus vaccine and if that is considered, the difference would be more extreme, Kirsch added.

“The results are self-explanatory: the COVID-19 vaccines cause dementia ,” Kirsch concluded in his Substack newsletter dated Jan. 30. “Anyone who tells you that ‘correlation isn’t causation’ should explain the actual cause of this if it wasn’t the COVID-19 vaccine.” He also said that no one would even want to go on a debate with him on this because nobody would want to talk about the truth. Worse, the mainstream media would not even cover and report this.

The independent investigator further reminded that people who want to get an immigration visa to the U.S. would be required to take the COVID-19 vaccine. “So you can get dementia too!” he added. And unlike other shots, no medical conditions would allow an individual to opt out of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. What is more stunning, he said, is that the said jabs are recommended especially to pregnant women. And this is despite nurse Michelle Gershman’s bombshell revelation that it can increase the rate of fetal demise by 50 times or more. Finally, he still recommended religious exemption to those who wished not to take the jabs. But almost no one gets approved as per observers.

Back in August last year, Kirsch also released a report that COVID-19 vaccines are linked to a 2,500 percent increased risk of early onset dementia . He spoke to a charge nurse at a rehabilitation and long-term elderly care facility who told him what she is now seeing in terms of the sheer number of new dementia cases cropping up all around her. Before the pandemic, the healthcare professional would rarely see anyone suddenly exhibit dementia-like behaviors including sudden onset hallucinations for no apparent reason. Just a year or two after the roll-out of vaccines, the nurse has seen early onset dementia symptoms appear nearly 50 times, which represents a 25-fold increase in the illness rate. (Related: COVID jabs linked to 2,500% increased risk of early onset dementia .) Drug manufacturers craft cures to injuries that their COVID-19 vaccines brought

At one point in the testimonials during the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic hearing earlier in January, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) raised a concern apart from the given and proven fact that the “shots” contained foreign spike proteins that harm the body systems and create blood clots. Controversial doctors Peter McCullough, Ryan Cole and Kirk Milhoan have cited several studies proving these are true but lamented how President Joe Biden’s government agencies ignored them. Another point is that the Big Pharma companies seem to have manufactured medications and vaccines that would “cure” the adverse reactions brought about by the COVID-19 shots.

Green even quoted Big Pharma: “‘Sell the disease and then sell the cure. And their friends in Congress, in turn, force Americans to pay for it. This is how Washington works in many cases.’ Is it fair to say then that these vaccine manufacturers created these vaccines with synthetic mRNA that has created heart disease, strokes, neurological problems and everything that you’ve talked about, do these same manufacturers sell the cures for the diseases that they’re creating?”

Cole, a board-certified anatomic and clinical pathologist, did not answer directly but said he finds it ironic that major drug manufacturer Pfizer just spent $40 billion on a cancer treatment company. According to reports, since the commencement of COVID-19 vaccines, there has been an unprecedented rise in the deaths of young people between 2021 and 2022 from rapidly metastasizing and terminal cancers , according to data from the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics. Also, Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine was found to be contaminated with cancer-causing DNA fragments.

Internist and cardiologist McCullough chimed in stating that following the roll-out of the mRNA vaccines, he has never prescribed so many blood thinners in his career. “This is extraordinary. All day long, I’m confronted with blood clots of different scenarios,” he said. The early treatment proponent for coronavirus also revealed how the prices are skyrocketing for medical procedures. Recently, he has been ordering more and more cardiac magnetic resonance images (MRIs) and electrocardiograms (ECG or EKG) and seeing recurrent visits to the emergency room, especially in those who are military servicemen.

Watch the full unedited coverage of the Congressional hearing on the injuries caused by COVID-19 vaccines below. VaccineInjuryNews.com has more stories on the adverse events of the coronavirus injections.

Sources for this article include:

WHO.int

KirschSubstack.com 1

KirschSubstack.com 2

Expose-News.com

Read more at www.naturalnews.com

How the “Little Brain” Fuels Motivation and Addiction

How the "Little Brain" Fuels Motivation and Addiction

Key points

First-of-its-kind research shows how the cerebellum modulates dopamine release within the basal ganglia.

Motivation and addiction are both fueled by dopamine activation in the basal ganglia’s substantia nigra.

Too little dopamine causes Parkinson’s disease. Stimulating the cerebellum may be a new treatment option.

The cerebellum (“little brain”) is tucked underneath the basal ganglia; it sits in the back of the skull below the cerebrum. Source: CLIPAREA l Custom media/Shutterstock

Neuroscientists have unearthed a previously unknown dopamine -driven neural pathway between the cerebellum (Latin for “little brain”) and reward centers in the basal ganglia that appears to fuel both the vigor of motivation and the intensity of addiction . These findings ( Washburn et al., 2024 ) were published on January 25 in Nature Neuroscience . The Cerebellum and Basal Ganglia: Separate but Interconnected

We’ve known for decades that the cerebellum helps to control and coordinate voluntary movements. Fluidity and grace when playing sports or doing everyday things like driving a car rely on the cerebellum’s coordination capacities. Damage to the cerebellum can impair fluid movements and well-timed motor control, often resulting in noticeable discombobulation and jerkiness, as seen in people with cerebellar ataxia. The basal ganglia is a subcortical structure in the midbrain located above the cerebellum and below the cerebral cortex. Source: CLIPAREA l Custom media/Shutterstock

As a completely separate subcortical brain structure, the basal ganglia’s substantia nigra region has traditionally been viewed as the brain’s go-no-go reward center that’s turned “on” by dopamine and turned “off” by a lack thereof. When the substantia nigra is flooded with dopamine, it turbocharges reward-seeking behaviors that often drive addiction and cue-induced relapse . Notably, a lack of dopamine in the substantia nigra is a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.

Until now, the cerebellum’s muscle-coordinating powers and the basal ganglia’s reward-seeking influence were viewed as separate entities that weren’t directly interconnected or intertwined.

The recent discovery of a direct dopaminergic pathway between these two subcortical brain structures is the first direct evidence that the cerebellum modulates dopamine levels in the basal ganglia, influencing reward processing, movement initiation, and motivational vigorousness. New Discovery: The Cerebellum Controls Dopamine Release

The latest (2024) research by Farzan Nadim and colleagues suggests, for the first time, that the cerebellum modulates the release of dopamine into the basal ganglia’s substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc), a reward processing center involved in habit formation , addiction, motivation, and neurodegenerative diseases that affect voluntary movement, such as Parkinson’s disease.

“We are exploring a direct communication between two major components of our brain’s movement system, which is absent from neuroscience textbooks. These systems are traditionally thought to function independently,” Nadim said in a news release . “This pathway is physiologically functional and potentially affects our behaviors every day.”

This study in mice used state-of-the-art optogenetic activation techniques to hack into monosynaptic bilateral projections from the cerebellum to the substantia nigra that the researchers identified as modulating the release of dopamine in ways that drive reward-seeking behaviors. Stimulating or Suppressing the Cerebellum Affects Motivation and Movement

When the scientists shut down this cerebellum>SNc pathway and blocked dopamine signaling from the cerebellum to the basal ganglia’s substantia nigra using optogenetics, motivation to perform voluntary movements necessary to obtain a reward evaporated.

Conversely, when this dopamine-producing pathway was stimulated, it increased the vigor of mice’s motivation to seek rewards. The cerebellum also seemed to attach a higher value to the reward in real-time, which led to mice intensely pursuing a potentially addictive substance and giving them the dopamine-fueled motivation to do so.

More research is needed. But someday, in humans, shutting down this cerebellum-rooted pathway with targeted medications might mitigate addiction. In terms of daily physical activity, finding drug-free, holistic ways to activate the cerebellum’s dopamine-producing pathway could increase people’s motivation to seek exercise, not avoid it.

Theoretically, stimulating the cerebellum with transcranial magnetic stimulation or other therapeutic techniques could jumpstart dopamine production in the substantia nigra in ways that might help people with Parkinson’s disease. Next Steps: Focus on Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Options

“This pathway seems very important to our vigor of movement and speed of cognitive processes,” Nadim says. “Parkinson’s patients not only suffer from suppression of movement but apathy in some cases. The cerebellum’s location at the back of the brain makes it a much easier target for novel therapeutic techniques.”

After establishing that the cerebellum can directly excite the substantia nigra’s dopamine neurons, the researchers’ next step is to explore how stimulating this pathway and jumpstarting dopamine activity in the basal ganglia might relieve Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

References

Samantha Washburn, Maritza Oñate, Junichi Yoshida, Jorge Vera, Ramakrishnan Bhuvanasundaram, Leila Khatami, Farzan Nadim & Kamran Khodakhah. “The Cerebellum Directly Modulates the Substantia Nigra Dopaminergic Activity.” Nature Neuroscience (First published: January 25, 2024) DOI: 10.1038/s41593-023-01560-9

Read more at www.psychologytoday.com

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