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Tag: brains

To adapt to cities, birds must grow their brains or grow their families

To adapt to cities, birds must grow their brains or grow their families

Science
March 25 (UPI) -- As the planet becomes increasingly urbanized, many species, including birds, are struggling to adapt to human presence. Urbanization can drive some bird species to extinction, but others are capable of thriving in cities. New research -- published this week in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution -- suggests birds have a choice of two strategies for adapting to urban life. They can either grow bigger brains, or they can produce more offspring. Better understanding how different bird species respond to human development can help policymakers craft more effective conservation and protection plans. "Cities are harsh environments for most species and therefore often support much lower biodiversity than natural environments," lead study author Ferran Sayol, postdoc...
Neuroscientists watch brains replay memories in real time

Neuroscientists watch brains replay memories in real time

Science
March 6 (UPI) -- In a new study, scientists successfully observed the neural signatures of recalled memories in real time. For the study, researchers at the National Institutes of Health monitored the neural activity of epilepsy patients while they learned word pairings. Scientists spotted the electrical signature of a forming memory as patients first learned a word pairing. Then, during follow up tests, researchers were able to recognize the same neural patterns just before patients recalled what they had learned earlier. The electrodes and word tests allowed scientists to watch the electrical signal sparked by a replayed memory in a real time. The study, published this week in the journal Science, was part of a broader effort to develop new therapies for patients with drug-resistant ep...
Researchers map brain’s opioid response in mice

Researchers map brain’s opioid response in mice

Health
Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Researchers may be closer to solving some of the mysteries of the brain processes involved in opioid addiction, thanks to a new imaging approach tested in mice. In experiments performed at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, scientists were able to visualize the organization of different opioid islands in the striatum, the inner part of the brain that regulates rewards, motivation, impulses and motor function. They published the so-called spatio-molecular map Tuesday in the journal Cell Reports. "Our map forms the basis for a new understanding of the brain's probably most important network for decision-making," lead author Konstantinos Meletis, associate professor of neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet, said in a statement. "It may contribute to an increased unders...
Scientists seek better understanding of mouse, human brains to improve research

Scientists seek better understanding of mouse, human brains to improve research

Science
Aug. 22 (UPI) -- For decades, scientists have used experimental drugs to cure mice of brain disorders like Alzheimer's disease, glioblastoma and depression. But on human brains, these treatments often don't work. Now, researchers have pinpointed specific differences in the largely similar brain structures of humans and mice, according to a study published Thursday in Nature. The discovery of these differences could open a gateway to understanding why so many treatments that work with mice do not translate to good treatments for humans. "Just as we can use our genes to build our family trees or find long-lost relatives with services like ancestry.com or 23andme, we're letting the genes tell us the story of our brains and their evolution," said Ed Lein, a researcher at the Allen Institute ...
When two animals interact, their brains synchronize

When two animals interact, their brains synchronize

Science
June 21 (UPI) -- New research shows the brains of animal pairs synchronize when they socially interact. The breakthrough promises new insights into the intricacies of social relations among animals. Most of the research into the neural processes underpinning animal behavior have focused on specimens by themselves, but many animals spend most of their waking life interacting with other animals. To better understand how animal brains process social interactions and social hierarchies, scientists attached tiny microscopes to the heads of mice and observed their interactions. The tiny microscopes used calcium imaging to record the activity of hundreds of brain cells. Scientists observed the mice interacting freely on open terrain, as well as inside tubes. Tube interactions reveal social hier...