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  • News in Brief

    Mice and bats’ brains sync up as they interact with their own kind

    When animals are together, their brain activity aligns. These simpatico signals, described in bats and mice, bring scientists closer to understanding brains as they normally exist — enmeshed in complex social situations.

    Researchers know that neural synchrony emerges in people who are talking, taking a class together and even watching the same movie. But scientists tend to study human...

    06/20/2019 - 11:00 Neuroscience
  • News

    Female rats face sex bias too

    When researchers release a new finding about the brain, it’s often mice or rats who have run the mazes and taken the tests for science. People might wonder: Are rodents good substitutes for humans? Maybe for men, but what about women?

    That’s less likely, because most neuroscience experiments don’t use female rodents — a fact one scientist says comes from outdated ideas that should go...

    06/18/2019 - 08:00 Neuroscience
  • News

    Extra fingers, often seen as useless, can offer major dexterity advantages

    An extra finger can be incredibly handy. Two people born with six fingers per hand can tie their shoes, adroitly manage phones and play a complicated video game — all with a single hand, a study shows.

    These people’s superior dexterity, described June 3 in Nature Communications, suggests that instead of being seen as aberrations that ought to be surgically removed, extra fingers can...

    06/12/2019 - 07:00 Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    A new experiment didn’t find signs of dreaming in brain waves

    In a nighttime experiment called the Dream Catcher, people’s dreams slipped right through the net. Looking at only the brain wave activity of sleeping people, scientists weren’t able to reliably spot a dreaming brain.

    The details of that leaky net, described May 27 at bioRxiv.org, haven’t yet been reviewed by other scientists. And the results are bound to be heavily scrutinized, as they...

    06/04/2019 - 07:00 Neuroscience
  • News

    Being bilingual is great. But it may not boost some brain functions

    Advantages of speaking a second language are obvious: easier logistics when traveling, wider access to great literature and, of course, more people to talk with. Some studies have also pointed to the idea that polyglots have stronger executive functioning skills, brain abilities such as switching between tasks and ignoring distractions.

    But a large study of bilingual children in the U.S...

    05/24/2019 - 07:00 Health, Neuroscience
  • Soapbox

    A cognitive neuroscientist warns that the U.S. justice system harms teen brains

    A teenager’s brain does not magically mature into its reasoned, adult form the night before his or her 18th birthday. Instead, aspects of brain development stretch into a person’s 20s — a protracted fine-tuning with serious implications for young people caught in the U.S. justice system, argues cognitive neuroscientist B.J. Casey of Yale University.

    In the May 22 Neuron, Casey describes...

    05/22/2019 - 11:00 Health, Neuroscience, Science & Society
  • News

    A new AI acquired humanlike ‘number sense’ on its own

    Artificial intelligence can share our natural ability to make numeric snap judgments.

    Researchers observed this knack for numbers in a computer model composed of virtual brain cells, or neurons, called an artificial neural network. After being trained merely to identify objects in images — a common task for AI — the network developed virtual neurons that respond to specific quantities....

    05/13/2019 - 07:00 Artificial Intelligence, Neuroscience
  • News

    An AI used art to control monkeys’ brain cells

    New artwork created by artificial intelligence does weird things to the primate brain.

    When shown to macaques, AI-generated images purposefully caused nerve cells in the monkeys’ brains to fire more than pictures of real-world objects. The AI could also design patterns that activated specific neurons while suppressing others, researchers report in the May 3 Science.

    This...

    05/02/2019 - 14:00 Artificial Intelligence, Neuroscience
  • News

    A mysterious dementia that mimics Alzheimer’s gets named LATE

    A newly described dementia strikes people in their last decades of life. The disease, aptly named LATE, comes with symptoms that resemble Alzheimer’s disease, but is thought to be caused by something completely different.

    An international team of scientists and clinicians describe the disease and officially christen it LATE, which stands for the more technical description, “limbic-...

    04/30/2019 - 12:00 Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    A neural implant can translate brain activity into sentences

    To communicate, people unable to talk often rely on small eye movements to spell out words, a painstakingly slow process. Now, using signals picked up by a brain implant, scientists have pulled entire sentences from the brain.

    Some of these reconstructed words, spoken aloud by a virtual vocal cord, are a little garbled. But overall, the sentences are understandable, researchers from the...

    04/24/2019 - 13:00 Health, Neuroscience