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  • News in Brief

    When an older person’s brain waves are in sync, memory is boosted

    Nudging an older person’s brain waves into sync temporarily boosts her recall powers. After about a half hour of precisely calibrated stimulation, people were better able to mentally juggle images seen on a screen, researchers report April 8 in Nature Neuroscience.The results are the latest example of technology that aims to improve thinking by reshaping brain waves, an approach that may...

    04/08/2019 - 11:40 Health, Neuroscience
  • Editor's Note

    The science of CBD lags behind its marketing

    Treatments for pain and other common health problems often fall short, leading to untold misery and frustration. So it’s not hard to understand the lure of a treatment that promises to be benign, natural and good for just about everything that ails you. Enter cannabidiol, or CBD.

    So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved only one drug containing the chemical: a...

    03/27/2019 - 07:15 Science & Society, Neuroscience, Nutrition
  • Feature

    The CBD boom is way ahead of the science

    A few months back, a new storefront appeared in my small Oregon town. Its shelves were packed with tinctures, jars of salve, coffee beans, bath bombs — even beard oil. This motley collection shared a single star ingredient: CBD.

    Produced by the cannabis plant, CBD is the straitlaced cousin of marijuana’s more famous component — the THC that delivers a mind-swirling high. CBD, or...

    03/27/2019 - 06:00 Science & Society, Neuroscience, Mental Health
  • News in Brief

    Epileptic seizures may scramble memories during sleep

    SAN FRANCISCO — Seizures during sleep can scramble memories — a preliminary finding that may help explain why people with epilepsy sometimes have trouble remembering.

    The sleeping brain normally rehashes newly learned material, a nocturnal rehearsal that strengthens those memories. Neuroscientist Jessica Creery and her colleagues forced this rehearsal by playing certain sounds while nine...

    03/26/2019 - 13:47 Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    A single sweaty workout may boost some people’s memory

    SAN FRANCISCO — For some older people, the brain boosts from exercise can be almost immediate. Improvements in their thinking abilities after a single 20-minute bout of pedaling a stationary bike mirrored those produced by three months of regular exercise, according to a preliminary study presented March 24 at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. 

    In addition to...

    03/26/2019 - 06:00 Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    Signs of new nerve cells spotted in adult brains

    A tweaked laboratory protocol has revealed signs of thousands of newborn nerve cells in the brains of adults, including an octogenarian. 

    These immature neurons, described online March 25 in Nature Medicine, mark the latest data points in the decades-old debate over whether people’s brains churn out new nerve cells into adulthood. The process, called neurogenesis, happens in the brains...

    03/25/2019 - 12:00 Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    Women have a new weapon against postpartum depression, but it’s costly

    Approval of the first and only treatment in the United States specifically targeting postpartum depression offers hope for millions of women each year who suffer from the debilitating mental health disorder after giving birth.

    The new drug brexanolone — marketed under the name Zulresso and approved on March 19 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — is expected to become available to...

    03/22/2019 - 14:32 Neuroscience, Mental Health
  • News

    A new ketamine-based antidepressant raises hope — and questions

    With great fanfare, a new antidepressant entered the U.S. market in March, the first fundamentally new medicine for depression in decades. Based on the anesthetic ketamine, the drug — called Spravato — is intended to help people with severe depression quickly, taking effect within hours or days instead of the weeks that typical antidepressants take. But for all the hubbub, big questions have...

    03/21/2019 - 07:00 Health, Neuroscience
  • News

    People can sense Earth’s magnetic field, brain waves suggest

    A new analysis of people’s brain waves when surrounded by different magnetic fields suggests that people have a “sixth sense” for magnetism.

    Birds, fish and some other creatures can sense Earth’s magnetic field and use it for navigation (SN: 6/14/14, p. 10). Scientists have long wondered whether humans, too, boast this kind of magnetoreception. Now, by exposing people to an Earth-...

    03/18/2019 - 13:05 Neuroscience, Biophysics
  • News

    Flickers and buzzes sweep mouse brains of Alzheimer’s plaques

    Fast clicking sounds can boost brainpower in mice with signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Like flickering lights, these external sounds spur a type of brain wave that seemed to sweep disease-related plaques from mice’s brains, researchers report in the March 14 Cell.It’s too early to say whether the same sorts of flickers and clicks could help people with Alzheimer’s. If so, the treatment would...

    03/14/2019 - 11:00 Health, Neuroscience