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How to record 1 million neurons in real time

An innovative new method might allow scientists to translate the information coming from more than 1 million neurons at once, as well as decode the activity as it happens.   The brain produces big data like no other organ, but can we tame it?   Over the past few decades, the amount of data produced in everyday life has exploded.

New study pinpoints individual neurons in the brain that support observational learning

Picture a little boy imitating his father shaving in the mirror or a little girl wobbling proudly in her mother’s high heels. From infancy, we learn by watching other people, then use those memories to help us predict outcomes and make decisions in the future. Now a UCLA-Caltech study has pinpointed the individual neurons in the brain that support observational learning. Published Sept. 6 in Nature Communications, the findings could provide scientists with a better understanding of how the brain goes awry in conditions like learning disorders and social anxiety disorder. In a secondary finding, the research team also discovered that neurons in the same region fire in response to schadenfreude — the pleasure of seeing someone else make a blunder or lose a game. “Observational le...

Diseases that cause skin-related problems can also trigger serious neurological conditions

Diseases such as lupus that cause rashes and other skin problems also can trigger migraine headaches, strokes and other serious neurological conditions, according to an article by Loyola University Medical Center physicians. The article, published in the Handbook of Clinical Neurology, is written by senior author Jose Biller, MD and colleagues. Dr. Biller is chair of the Department of Neurology of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “A variety of neurologic diseases have cutaneous [skin-related] manifestations,” Dr. Biller and colleagues write. “These may precede, coincide with or follow the neurologic findings.”

Arts and craft activities, computer use may stave off memory problems

People who participate in arts and craft activities and who socialize in middle and old age may delay the development in very old age of the thinking and memory problems that often lead to dementia, according to a new study published in the April 8, 2015, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. People age 85 and older make up the fastest growing age group in the United States and worldwide. “As millions of older US adults are reaching the age where they may experience these memory and thinking problem called Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), it is important we look to find lifestyle changes that may stave off the condition,” said study author Rosebud Roberts, MB, ChB, MS, of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. and a member of the America...

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