Brain Regions

Latest news

A study involving older adults has found that diabetes was associated with higher levels of tau protein and greater brain atrophy.

The study involved 816 older adults (average age 74), of whom 397 had mild cognitive impairment, 191 had Alzheimer's disease, and 228 people had no cognitive problems. Fifteen percent (124) had diabetes.

Posted: Fri, 11 September 2015

A study involving 218 participants aged 18-88 has looked at the effects of age on the brain activity of participants viewing an edited version of a 1961 Hitchcock TV episode (given that participants viewed the movie while in a MRI machine, the 25 minute episode was condensed to 8 minutes).

Posted: Tue, 1 September 2015

A meta-analysis of studies reporting brain activity in individuals with a diagnosis of PTSD has revealed differences between the brain activity of individuals with PTSD and that of groups of both trauma-exposed (those who had experienced trauma but didn't have a diagnosis of PTSD) and trauma-naïve (those who hadn't experienced trauma) participants.

Posted: Wed, 19 August 2015

A post-mortem study of five Alzheimer's and five control brains has revealed the presence of iron-containing microglia in the

Posted: Thu, 23 July 2015

Glucose levels linked to cognitive decline in those with

Posted: Wed, 10 December 2014

A pilot study involving 17 older adults with mild cognitive impairment and 18 controls (aged 60-88; average age 78) has found that a 12-week exercise program significantly improved performance on a semantic memory task, and also significantly improved brain efficiency, for both groups.

Posted: Tue, 9 December 2014

A study involving 97 healthy older adults (65-89) has found that those with the “Alzheimer’s gene” (APOe4) who didn’t engage in much physical activity showed a decrease in hippocampal volume (3%) over 18 months.

Posted: Fri, 10 October 2014

11 new genetic susceptibility factors for Alzheimer’s identified

The largest international study ever conducted on Alzheimer's disease (I-GAP) has identified 11 new genetic regions that increase the risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s, plus 13 other genes yet to be validated. Genetic data came from 74,076 patients and controls from 15 countries.

Posted: Thu, 9 October 2014

A new study involving 96 older adults initially free of dementia at the time of enrollment, of whom 12 subsequently developed mild Alzheimer’s, has clarified three fundamental issues about Alzheimer's: where it starts, why it starts there, and how it spreads.

Posted: Tue, 9 September 2014


Posted: Tue, 9 September 2014

Brain scans have revealed that those who regularly practiced yoga had larger brain volume in the

Posted: Tue, 10 June 2014

A new study adds to growing evidence of a link between sleep problems and Alzheimer’s. The interesting thing is that this association – between sleep apnea and Alzheimer’s biomarkers — wasn’t revealed until the data was separated out according to BMI.

Posted: Wed, 5 June 2013

A recent study reveals that when we focus on searching for something, regions across the brain are pulled into the search. The study sheds light on how attention works.

Posted: Mon, 13 May 2013

While it’s well-established that chronic stress has all sorts of harmful effects, including on memory and cognition, the judgment on brief bouts of acute stress has been more equivocal. There is a certain amount of evidence that brief amounts of stress can be stimulating rather than harmful, and perhaps even necessary if we are to reach our full potential.

Posted: Wed, 1 May 2013

A study has found that brain regions responsible for making decisions continue to be active even when the conscious brain is distracted with a different task.

Posted: Mon, 29 April 2013

A new finding points to brain reorganization, rather than brain size, as the driver in primate brain evolution. Data from 17 anthropoid primate species (including humans) across 40 million years has found that around three quarters of differences between the brains of species of monkeys and apes are due to internal reorganization that is independent of size.

Posted: Tue, 16 April 2013

New findings support a mathematical model predicting that the slow, steady firing of neurons in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex that maintains vi

Posted: Thu, 28 March 2013

Recent research has suggested that sleep problems might be a risk factor in developing Alzheimer’s, and in mild cognitive impairment.

Posted: Thu, 28 February 2013

An online study open to anyone, that ended up involving over 100,000 people of all ages from around the world, put participants through 12 cognitive tests, as well as questioning them about their background and lifestyle habits. This, together with a small brain-scan data set, provided an immense data set to investigate the long-running issue: is there such a thing as ‘g’ — i.e.

Posted: Thu, 31 January 2013

Problems with myelin — demyelination (seen most dramatically in MS, but also in other forms of neurodegeneration, including normal aging and depression); failure to develop sufficien

Posted: Sat, 29 December 2012

More evidence that even an 8-week meditation training program can have measurable effects on the brain comes from an imaging study. Moreover, the type of meditation makes a difference to how the brain changes.

Posted: Fri, 21 December 2012

A study using data from the Lothian Birth Cohort (people born in Scotland in 1936) has analyzed brain scans of 638 participants when they were 73 years old.

Posted: Tue, 27 November 2012

Green tea is thought to have wide-ranging health benefits, especially in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, inflammatory diseases, and diabetes. These are all implicated in the development of age-related cognitive impairment, so it’s no surprise that regular drinking of green tea has been suggested as one way to help protect against age-related cognitive decline and dementia.

Posted: Thu, 8 November 2012

Like us, guinea pigs can’t make vitamin C, but must obtain it from their diet. This makes them a good model for examining the effects of vitamin C deficiency.

Posted: Thu, 8 November 2012

A small Swedish brain imaging study adds to the evidence for the cognitive benefits of learning a new language by investigating the brain changes in students undergoing a highly intensive language course.

Posted: Wed, 7 November 2012

Stress is a major cause of workplace accidents, and most of us are only too familiar with the effects of acute stress on our thinking. However, although the cognitive effects are only too clear, research has had little understanding of how stress has this effect. A new rat study sheds some light.

Posted: Wed, 31 October 2012

We know that stress has a complicated relationship with learning, but in general its effect is negative, and part of that is due to stress producing anxious thoughts that clog up

Posted: Sun, 28 October 2012

Memory problems in those with mild cognitive impairment may begin with problems in visual discrimination and vulnerability to interference — a hopeful discovery in that interventions to improve discriminability and reduce interference may have a flow-on effect to cognition.

Posted: Wed, 24 October 2012

What underlies differences in fluid intelligence? How are smart brains different from those that are merely ‘average’?

Posted: Tue, 2 October 2012
Posted: Fri, 28 September 2012

Genetic comparisons have pinpointed a specific protein as crucial for brain size, both between and within species. Another shows how genetic regulation in the frontal

Posted: Thu, 27 September 2012

In the light of a general increase in caesarean sections, it’s somewhat alarming to read about a mouse study that found that vaginal birth triggers the expression of a protein in the brains of newborns that improves brain development, and this protein expression is impaired in the brains of those delivered by C-section.

Posted: Sun, 23 September 2012

Our life-experiences contain a wealth of new and old information. The relative proportions of these change, of course, as we age. But how do we know whether we should be encoding new information or retrieving old information? It’s easy if the information is readily accessible, but what if it’s not?

Posted: Wed, 19 September 2012

I’ve reported before on how London taxi drivers increase the size of their posterior

Posted: Tue, 18 September 2012

We know that emotion affects memory. We know that attention affects perception (see, e.g., Visual perception heightened by meditation training; How mindset can improve vision). Now a new study ties it all together.

Posted: Fri, 14 September 2012

Back when I was young, sleep learning was a popular idea. The idea was that a tape would play while you were asleep, and learning would seep into your brain effortlessly. It was particularly advocated for language learning. Subsequent research, unfortunately, rejected the idea, and gradually it has faded (although not completely). Now a new study may presage a come-back.

Posted: Sat, 4 August 2012

I have reported previously on research suggesting that rapamycin, a bacterial product first isolated from soil on Easter Island and used to help transplant patients prevent organ rejection, might improve learning and memory.

Posted: Tue, 31 July 2012

A study involving those with a strong genetic risk of developing Alzheimer’s has found that the first signs of the disease can be detected 25 years before symptoms are evident. Whether this is also true of those who develop the disease without having such a strong genetic predisposition is not yet known.

Posted: Fri, 27 July 2012

I’ve reported before on the evidence suggesting that carriers of the ‘Alzheimer’s gene’, APOE4, tend to have smaller brain volumes and perform worse on cognitive tests, despite being cognitively ‘normal’. However, the research hasn’t been consistent, and now a new study suggests the reason.

Posted: Mon, 9 July 2012

Interpreting brain activity is a very tricky business. Even the most basic difference can be interpreted in two ways — i.e., what does it mean if a region is more active in one group of people compared to another? A new study not only indicates a new therapeutic approach to amnestic mild cognitive impairment, but also demonstrates the folly of assuming that greater activity is good.

Posted: Sun, 17 June 2012

Now that we’ve pretty much established that sleep is crucial for consolidating memory, the next question is how much sleep we need.

Posted: Thu, 31 May 2012

Data from the very large and long-running Cognitive Function and Ageing Study, a U.K. study involving 13,004 older adults (65+), from which 329 brains are now available for analysis, has found that cognitive lifestyle score (CLS) had no effect on Alzheimer’s pathology.

Posted: Tue, 29 May 2012

Genetic analysis of 9,232 older adults (average age 67; range 56-84) has implicated four genes in how fast your

Posted: Mon, 21 May 2012

A new study explains how marijuana impairs

Posted: Wed, 18 April 2012

Another study adds to the evidence that changes in the brain that may lead eventually to Alzheimer’s begin many years before Alzheimer’s is diagnosed. The findings also add to the evidence that what we regard as “normal” age-related cognitive decline is really one end of a continuum of which the other end is dementia.

Posted: Fri, 30 March 2012

This is another demonstration of stereotype threat, which is also a nice demonstration of the contextual nature of intelligence. The study involved 70 volunteers (average age 25; range 18-49), who were put in groups of 5. Participants were given a baseline IQ test, on which they were given no feedback.

Posted: Wed, 7 March 2012

Quarter of British children performing poorly due to family disadvantage

Posted: Tue, 28 February 2012

A study involving 159 older adults (average age 76) has confirmed that the amount of brain tissue in specific regions is a predictor of Alzheimer’s disease development. Of the 159 people, 19 were classified as at high risk on the basis of the smaller size of nine small regions previously shown to be vulnerable to Alzheimer's), and 24 as low risk.

Posted: Tue, 31 January 2012

The olfactory bulb is in the oldest part of our brain. It connects directly to the

Posted: Sun, 29 January 2012

Why is diabetes associated with cognitive impairment and even dementia in older adults? New research pinpoints two molecules that trigger a cascade of events that end in poor blood flow and brain atrophy.

Posted: Sat, 28 January 2012

The evidence that adult brains could grow new neurons was a game-changer, and has spawned all manner of products to try and stimulate such neurogenesis

Posted: Tue, 17 January 2012

A certain level of mental decline in the senior years is regarded as normal, but some fortunate few don’t suffer from any decline at all. The Northwestern University Super Aging Project has found seniors aged 80+ who match or better the average episodic memory performance of people in their fifties.

Posted: Fri, 9 December 2011

So-called ‘Gulf War syndrome’ is a poorly understood chronic condition associated with exposure to neurotoxic chemicals and nerve gas, and despite its name is associated with three main syndromes: impaired cognition (syndrome 1); confusion-ataxia (syndrome 2); central neuropathic pain (syndrome 3). Those with syndrome 2 are the most severely affected.

Posted: Thu, 8 December 2011

Previous research has found that carriers of the so-called

Posted: Wed, 30 November 2011

The study involved 1,292 children followed from birth, whose cortisol levels were assessed at 7, 15, and 24 months. Three tests related to executive functions were given at age 3.

Posted: Wed, 30 November 2011

Obesity has been linked to cognitive decline, but a new study involving 300 post-menopausal women has found that higher BMI was associated with higher cognitive scores.

Posted: Fri, 25 November 2011

Math-anxiety can greatly lower performance on math problems, but just because you suffer from math-anxiety doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to perform badly. A study involving 28 college students has found that some of the students anxious about math performed better than other math-anxious students, and such performance differences were associated with differences in brain activity.

Posted: Tue, 22 November 2011

Research into the effects of cannabis on cognition has produced inconsistent results. Much may depend on extent of usage, timing, and perhaps (this is speculation) genetic differences.

Posted: Sat, 19 November 2011

When a middle-aged woman loses her memory after sex, it naturally makes the headlines. Many might equate this sort of headline to “Man marries alien”, but this is an example of a rare condition — temporary, you will be relieved to hear — known as transient global amnesia.

Posted: Thu, 17 November 2011

IQ has long been considered to be a fixed attribute, stable across our lifetimes. But in recent years, this assumption has come under fire, with evidence of the positive and negative effects education and experiences can have on people’s performance. Now a new (small) study provides a more direct challenge.

Posted: Tue, 15 November 2011

A ten-year study involving 7,239 older adults (65+) has found that each common health complaint increased dementia risk by an average of about 3%, and that these individual risks compounded. Thus, while a healthy older adult had about an 18% chance of developing dementia after 10 years, those with a dozen of these health complaints had, on average, closer to a 40% chance.

Posted: Tue, 1 November 2011

The very large and long-running Women's Health Initiative study surprised everyone when it produced its finding that hormone therapy generally increased rather than decreased stroke risk as well as other health problems. But one explanation for that finding might be that many of the women only received hormone replacement therapy years after menopause.

Posted: Sun, 30 October 2011

Research has shown that younger adults are better decision makers than older adults — a curious result. A new study tried to capture more ‘real-world’ decision-making, by requiring participants to evaluate each result in order to strategize the next choice.

This time (whew!), the older adults did better.

Posted: Sat, 15 October 2011

In the study, two rhesus monkeys were given a standard human test of

Posted: Tue, 11 October 2011

In the study, 18 children (aged 7-8), 20 adolescents (13-14), and 20 young adults (20-29) were shown pictures and asked to decide whether it was a new picture or one they had seen earlier. Some of the pictures were of known objects and others were fanciful figures (this was in order to measure the effects of novelty in general).

Posted: Sun, 9 October 2011

In the first mouse study, when young and old mice were conjoined, allowing blood to flow between the two, the young mice showed a decrease in neurogenesis

Posted: Sat, 1 October 2011

A three-year study following 1,262 healthy older Canadians (aged 67-84) has found that, among those who exercised little, those who had high-salt diets showed significantly greater cognitive decline. On the bright side, sedentary older adults who had low-salt consumption did not show cognitive decline over the three years.

Posted: Thu, 29 September 2011

In the experiment, rats learned which lever to press to receive water, where the correct lever depended on which lever they had pressed previously (the levers were retractable; there was a variable delay between the first and second presentation of the levers).

Posted: Tue, 27 September 2011

I’ve always felt that better thinking was associated with my brain working ‘in a higher gear’ — literally working at a faster rhythm. So I was particularly intrigued by the findings of a recent mouse study that found that brainwaves associated with learning became stronger as the mice ran faster.

Posted: Mon, 26 September 2011

Trying to learn two different things one after another is challenging. Almost always some of the information from the first topic or task gets lost. Why does this happen? A new study suggests the problem occurs when the two information-sets interact, and demonstrates that disrupting that interaction prevents interference.

Posted: Fri, 16 September 2011

A study comparing activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in young, middle-aged and aged macaque monkeys as they performed a spatial

Posted: Wed, 14 September 2011

I’ve spoken often about the spacing effect — that it’s better to spread out your learning than have it all massed in a block.

Posted: Sat, 10 September 2011

What governs whether or not you’ll retrieve a memory? I’ve talked about the importance of retrieval cues, of the match between the cue and the memory code you’re trying to retrieve, of the strength of the connections leading to the code. But these all have to do with the memory code.

Posted: Fri, 9 September 2011

Binge drinking occurs most frequently among young people, and there has been concern that consequences will be especially severe if the brain is still developing, as it is in adolescence.

Posted: Wed, 31 August 2011

Following on from research showing that long-term meditation is associated with gray matter increases across the brain, an imaging study involving 27 long-term meditators (average age 52) and 27 controls (matched by age and sex) has revealed pronounced differences in white-matter connectivity between their brains.

Posted: Wed, 17 August 2011

It wasn’t so long ago we believed that only young brains could make neurons, that once a brain was fully matured all it could do was increase its connections. Then we found out adult brains could make new neurons too (but only in a couple of regions, albeit critical ones).

Posted: Wed, 10 August 2011

Sleep can boost classroom performance of college students

There’s a lot of evidence that memories are consolidated during sleep, but most of it has involved skill learning. A new study extends the findings to complex declarative information — specifically, information from a lecture on microeconomics.

Posted: Mon, 1 August 2011

190-million-year-old fossil skulls of Morganucodon and Hadrocodium, two of the earliest known mammal species, has revealed that even at this early stage of mammalian evolution, mammals had larger brains than would be expected for their body size.

Posted: Mon, 1 August 2011

Memory begins with perception. We can’t remember what we don’t perceive, and our memory of things is influenced by how we perceive them.

Posted: Sun, 31 July 2011

The brain tends to shrink with age, with different regions being more affected than others. Atrophy of the

Posted: Sun, 24 July 2011

Following animal research indicating that binge drinking damages the

Posted: Wed, 13 July 2011

Following several recent studies pointing to the negative effect of air pollution on children’s cognitive performance (see this April 2010 news report and this May 2011 report), a study of public schools in Mic

Posted: Sun, 10 July 2011

As we get older, when we suffer memory problems, we often laughingly talk about our brain being ‘full up’, with no room for more information. A new study suggests that in some sense (but not the direct one!) that’s true.

Posted: Tue, 21 June 2011

Imaging the brains of 10 young men who were long term users of ecstasy and seven of their healthy peers with no history of ecstasy use has revealed a significantly smaller

Posted: Wed, 8 June 2011

I’ve always been intrigued by neurofeedback training. But when it first raised its head, technology was far less sophisticated. Now a new study has used real-time functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) feedback from the rostrolateral

Posted: Tue, 31 May 2011

We learn from what we read and what people tell us, and we learn from our own experience. Although you would think that personal experience would easily trump other people’s advice, we in fact tend to favor abstract information against our own experience. This is seen in the way we commonly distort what we experience in ways that match what we already believe.

Posted: Sat, 21 May 2011

The study involved 26 experienced Buddhist meditators and 40 control subjects. Scans of their brains while they played the "ultimatum game," in which the first player proposes how to divide a sum of money and the second can accept or reject the proposal, revealed that the two groups engaged different parts of the brain when making these decisions.

Posted: Wed, 18 May 2011

As I’ve discussed on many occasions, a critical part of attention (and

Posted: Wed, 18 May 2011

The mental differences between a novice and an expert are only beginning to be understood, but two factors thought to be of importance are automaticity (the process by which a procedure becomes so practiced that it no longer requires conscious thought) and chunking (the unitizing of related bits of information into one tightly integrated unit — see my recent blog post on

Posted: Sat, 30 April 2011

Following previous research suggesting that the volume of the

Posted: Sat, 30 April 2011

Most memory research has concerned itself with learning over time, but many memories, of course, become fixed in our mind after only one experience. The mechanism by which we acquire knowledge from single events is not well understood, but a new study sheds some light on it.

Posted: Tue, 19 April 2011

Binge drinking is, unfortunately, most common among adolescents (12-20 years). But this is a time when brains are still developing. Does this make them more vulnerable to the detrimental effects of excessive alcohol?

Posted: Sat, 9 April 2011

A two-year study involving 53 older adults (60+) has found that those with a mother who had Alzheimer's disease had significantly more brain atrophy than those with a father or no parent with Alzheimer's disease. More specifically, they had twice as much gray matter shrinkage, and about one and a half times more whole brain shrinkage per year.

Posted: Fri, 1 April 2011

Shrinking of the

Posted: Thu, 31 March 2011

In a study involving 44 young adults given a rigorous memorizing task at noon and another such task at 6pm, those who took a 90-minute nap during the interval improved their ability to learn on the later task, while those who stayed awake found it harder to learn.

Posted: Thu, 24 March 2011

A study involving 171 sedentary, overweight 7- to 11-year-old children has found that those who participated in an exercise program improved both executive function and math achievement.

Posted: Tue, 1 March 2011

Another study has come out proclaiming the cognitive benefits of walking for older adults. Previously sedentary adults aged 55-80 who walked around a track for 40 minutes on three days a week for a year increased the size of their

Posted: Tue, 1 March 2011

Brain images of 16 participants in an 8-week mindfulness meditation program, taken two weeks before and after the program, have found measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress.

Posted: Thu, 17 February 2011

In a study in which 78 healthy elders were given 5 different tests and then tested for cognitive performance 18 months later, two tests combined to correctly predict nearly 80% of those who developed significant cognitive decline.

Posted: Wed, 16 February 2011

We know active learning is better than passive learning, but for the first time a study gives us some idea of how that works. Participants in the imaging study were asked to memorize an array of objects and their exact locations in a grid on a computer screen. Only one object was visible at a time.

Posted: Thu, 20 January 2011

When stroke or brain injury damages a part of the brain controlling movement or sensation or language, other parts of the brain can learn to compensate for this damage. It’s been thought that this is a case of one region taking over the lost function. Two new studies show us the story is not so simple, and help us understand the limits of this plasticity.

Posted: Wed, 12 January 2011

Last month I reported on a finding that toddlers with autism spectrum disorder showed a strong preference for looking at moving shapes rather than active people. This lower interest in people is supported by a new imaging study involving 62 children aged 4-17, of whom 25 were diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder and 20 were siblings of children with ASD.

Posted: Tue, 21 December 2010

If our brains are full of clusters of neurons resolutely only responding to specific features (as suggested in my earlier report), how do we bring it all together, and how do we switch from one point of interest to another?

Posted: Mon, 20 December 2010

Following on from previous studies showing that drinking beet juice can lower blood pressure, a study involving 14 older adults (average age 75) has found that after two days of eating a high-nitrate breakfast, which included 16 ounces of beet juice, blood flow to the

Posted: Thu, 16 December 2010

A rat study using powerful imaging techniques has revealed how an injured brain continues to change long after the original trauma. Widespread decreases in brain functioning over a period of months were seen in specific brain regions, in particular the

Posted: Thu, 16 December 2010

Twice a week for four weeks, female hamsters were subjected to six-hour time shifts equivalent to a New York-to-Paris airplane flight. Cognitive tests taken during the last two weeks of jet lag and a month after recovery from it revealed difficulty learning simple tasks that control hamsters achieved easily.

Posted: Wed, 15 December 2010

Comparison of 17 people with severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with 15 age-matched controls has revealed that those with OSA had reduced gray matter in several brain regions, most particularly in the left

Posted: Wed, 15 December 2010

The role of sleep in consolidating memory is now well-established, but recent research suggests that sleep also reorganizes memories, picking out the emotional details and reconfiguring the memories to help you produce new and creative ideas.

Posted: Wed, 15 December 2010

A study involving young (average age 22) and older adults (average age 77) showed participants pictures of overlapping faces and places (houses and buildings) and asked them to identify the gender of the person.

Posted: Mon, 6 December 2010

Carriers of the so-called ‘Alzheimer’s gene’ (apoE4) comprise 65% of all Alzheimer's cases. A new study helps us understand why that’s true.

Posted: Wed, 1 December 2010

Monitoring of 11 football players at a high school in Indiana, who wore helmets equipped with sensors that recorded impart, has revealed the problem of head injuries is deeper than was thought.

Posted: Tue, 30 November 2010

Following on from earlier studies that found individual neurons were associated with very specific memories (such as a particular person), new research has shown that we can actually regulate the activity of specific neurons, increasing the firing rate of some while decreasing the rate of others.

Posted: Mon, 29 November 2010

Because people with damage to their

Posted: Fri, 26 November 2010

The issue of “mommy brain” is a complex one. Inconsistent research results make it clear that there is no simple answer to the question of whether or not pregnancy and infant care change women’s brains. But a new study adds to the picture.

Posted: Fri, 19 November 2010

Previous research has indicated that obesity in middle-age is linked to higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia in old age.

Posted: Tue, 9 November 2010

A couple of years ago I reported on a finding that walking in the park, and (most surprisingly) simply looking at photos of natural scenes, could improve memory and concentration (see below). Now a new study helps explain why. The study examined brain activity while 12 male participants (average age 22) looked at images of tranquil beach scenes and non-tranquil motorway scenes.

Posted: Fri, 29 October 2010

Over the years I’ve reported on a number of studies investigating the effect of chemotherapy on the brain. A new study uses brain imaging, before and after treatment for breast cancer, to show that there is an anatomic basis for “chemobrain” complaints.

Posted: Thu, 28 October 2010

Metamemory or metacognition — your ability to monitor your own cognitive processes — is central to efficient and effective learning.

Posted: Tue, 26 October 2010

Brain imaging of 49 children aged 9-10 has found that those who were physically fit had a

Posted: Sun, 24 October 2010

Children’s ability to remember past events improves as they get older. This has been thought by many to be due to the slow development of the

Posted: Tue, 28 September 2010

A number of studies in recent years have revealed the amazing ability of the human brain to compensate for damage down to its part. In the latest of these, it’s been found that loss of the

Posted: Mon, 20 September 2010

A small study comparing 18 obese adolescents with type 2 diabetes and equally obese adolescents without diabetes or pre-diabetes has found that those with diabetes had significantly impaired cognitive performance, as well as clear abnormalities in the integrity of their

Posted: Fri, 17 September 2010

Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is the most common cause of learning disabilities, caused by a mutation in a gene that makes a protein called neurofibromin.

Posted: Wed, 1 September 2010

A new study explains why variable practice improves your memory of most skills better than practice focused on a single task. The study compared skill learning between those asked to practice one particular challenging arm movement, and those who practiced the movement with other related tasks in a variable practice structure.

Posted: Sat, 28 August 2010

A three-year study involving 169 people with mild cognitive impairment has found that those who later developed Alzheimer's disease showed 10-30% greater atrophy in two specific locations within the

Posted: Sat, 7 August 2010

Rodent studies have demonstrated the existence of specialized neurons involved in spatial memory. These ‘grid cells’ represent where an animal is located within its environment, firing in patterns that show up as geometrically regular, triangular grids when plotted on a map of a navigated surface. Now for the first time, evidence for these cells has been found in humans.

Posted: Sat, 7 August 2010

It is now well established that memories are consolidated during sleep.

Posted: Sat, 7 August 2010

A rat study reveals that, for rats at least, an understanding of place and a sense of direction appears within two weeks of being born, seemingly independently of any experience of the world. The directional signal, which allows the animal to know which way it is facing, is already at adult levels as soon as it can be measured in newborn rats.

Posted: Mon, 26 July 2010

A rhesus monkey study has revealed which dendritic spines are lost with age, providing a new target for therapies to help prevent age-association cognitive impairment. It appears that it is the thin, dynamic spines in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which are key to learning new things, establishing rules, and planning, that are lost.

Posted: Tue, 20 July 2010

A comprehensive study reveals how the ‘Alzheimer's gene’ (APOE ε4) affects the nature of the disease. It is not simply that those with the gene variant tend to be more impaired (in terms of both memory loss and brain damage) than those without.

Posted: Wed, 14 July 2010

Several reports have come out in recent years on how recent events replay in the

Posted: Thu, 10 June 2010

A rat study shows how Ritalin improves concentration and, it now appears, speed of learning. The study reveals that it does this by increasing the activity of

Posted: Thu, 10 June 2010

Supporting the idea that repeated anaesthesia in children can lead to memory impairment, a rodent study has revealed that repeated anaesthesia wiped out a large portion of the stem cells in the

Posted: Thu, 10 June 2010

An imaging study reveals why older adults are better at remembering positive events.

Posted: Thu, 10 June 2010

Perhaps we should start thinking of language less as some specialized process and more as one approach to thought.

Posted: Wed, 9 June 2010

A study involving five patients with severe amnesia due to damage in the

Posted: Wed, 9 June 2010