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  • News in Brief

    Parents’ presence promotes a child’s pluck

    BOSTON — The bond between parent and child is powerful enough to override fear. New research shows that if a parent sits with a young child during a potentially scary situation, the child isn’t as afraid of it later.

    The study is in line with research suggesting that during particular stages of development, a strong connection with a caregiver tamps down activity in the amygdala, the...

    03/27/2018 - 18:30 Neuroscience
  • News

    When tickling the brain to stimulate memory, location matters

    BOSTON — Conflicting results on whether brain stimulation helps or hinders memory may be explained by the electrodes’ precise location: whether they’re tickling white matter or gray matter.

    New research on epilepsy patients suggests that stimulating a particular stretch of the brain’s white matter — tissue that transfers nerve signals around the brain — improves performance on memory...

    03/26/2018 - 18:03 Neuroscience
  • News

    Brain waves may focus attention and keep information flowing

    We can’t see it, but brains hum with electrical activity. Brain waves created by the coordinated firing of huge collections of nerve cells pinball around the brain. The waves can ricochet from the front of the brain to the back, or from deep structures all the way to the scalp and then back again.

    Called neuronal oscillations, these signals are known to accompany certain mental states....

    03/13/2018 - 13:00 Neuroscience
  • Reviews & Previews

    How biology breaks the ‘cerebral mystique’

    The Biological MindAlan JasanoffBasic Books, $30

    At a small eatery in Seville, Spain, Alan Jasanoff had his first experience with brains — wrapped in eggs and served with potatoes. At the time, he was more interested in finding a good, affordable meal than contemplating the sheer awesomeness of the organ he was eating. Years later, Jasanoff began studying the brain as part of his...

    03/12/2018 - 07:00 Neuroscience, History of Science, Psychology
  • Feature

    Depression among new mothers is finally getting some attention

    On the hormonal roller coaster of life, the ups and downs of childbirth are the Tower of Power. For nine long months, a woman’s body and brain absorb a slow upwelling of hormones, notably progesterone and estrogen. The ovaries and placenta produce these two chemicals in a gradual but relentless rise to support the developing fetus.

    With the birth of a baby, and the immediate expulsion of...

    03/11/2018 - 05:00 Neuroscience, Mental Health
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers muse about memory, magnetic monopoles and more

    Memory lane

    Inspired by flatworm memory experiments from the 1950s, researchers are on the hunt for the elusive engram — the physical mark that a memory leaves on the brain — Laura Sanders reported in “Somewhere in the brain is a storage device for memories” (SN: 2/3/18, p. 22).

    Readers flooded Science News with their thoughts and questions on the topic.

    Elizabeth Elliott...

    03/09/2018 - 10:20 Neuroscience, Animals, Particle Physics
  • News in Brief

    The debate over how long our brains keep making new nerve cells heats up

    Adult mice and other rodents sprout new nerve cells in memory-related parts of their brains. People, not so much. That’s the surprising conclusion of a series of experiments on human brains of various ages first described at a meeting in November (SN: 12/9/17, p. 10). A more complete description of the finding, published online March 7 in Nature, gives heft to the controversial result, as well...

    03/08/2018 - 17:14 Neuroscience
  • News

    Some flu strains can make mice forgetful

    With fevers, chills and aches, the flu can pound the body. Some influenza viruses may hammer the brain, too. Months after being infected with influenza, mice had signs of brain damage and memory trouble, researchers report online February 26 in the Journal of Neuroscience.

    It’s unclear if people’s memories are affected in the same way as those of mice. But the new research adds to...

    02/26/2018 - 13:00 Neuroscience
  • News in Brief

    Babies can recover language skills after a left-side stroke

    AUSTIN, Texas — Babies’ stroke-damaged brains can pull a mirror trick to recover.

    A stroke on the left side of the brain often damages important language-processing areas. But people who have this stroke just before or after birth recover their language abilities in the mirror image spot on the right side, a study of teens and young adults shows. Those patients all had normal language...

    02/18/2018 - 15:45 Neuroscience
  • News

    To hear the beat, your brain may think about moving to it

    If you’ve ever felt the urge to tap along to music, this research may strike a chord.

    Recognizing rhythms doesn’t involve just parts of the brain that process sound — it also relies on a brain region involved with movement, researchers report online January 18 in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. When an area of the brain that plans movement was disabled temporarily, people...

    02/16/2018 - 10:49 Neuroscience, Clinical Trials