Researchers Reverse Signs of Aging

Researchers have developed a new technique that is able to rejuvenate organs in animals and extend their lifespan. New technique rejuvenated organs and helped animals live longer. Graying hair, crow’s feet, an injury that’s taking longer to heal than when we were 20—faced with the unmistakable signs of aging, most of us have had a least one fantasy of turning back time. Now, scientists at the Salk Institute have found that intermittent expression of genes normally associated with an embryonic state can reverse the hallmarks of old age. This approach, which not only prompted human skin cells in a dish to look and behave young again, also resulted in the rejuvenation of mice with a premature aging disease, countering signs of aging and increasing the animals’ lifespan by 30 percent. The early-stage work provides insight both into the cellular drivers of aging and possible therapeutic approaches for improving human health and longevity.

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Read also: Scientists Say the Clock of Aging May Be Reversible

Aging Is Reversible—at Least in Human Cells and Live Mice

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Mapping the Brain’s Aging Connections

Researchers report the brain connections that are key to cognition and complex thinking skills are most effected as we age. Impact of ageing on brain connections mapped in major scan study. Brain connections that play a key role in complex thinking skills show the poorest health with advancing age, new research suggests. Connections supporting functions such as movement and hearing are relatively well preserved in later life, the findings show. Scientists carrying out the most comprehensive study to date on ageing and the brain’s connections charted subtle ways in which the brain’s connections weaken with age. Knowing how and where connections between brain cells – so-called white matter – decline as we age is important in understanding why some people’s brains and thinking skills age better than others.

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Neuroscience vs Art: Let’s talk across the divide

Can the messy richness of art be reduced to neuroscience? It’s not clear, but the various parties can at least agree on common ground. How art operates on brains is interesting but does not get us far in terms of the specificity of the art.

There are clearly exciting developments in the neuroscience of art.  We are learning more and more about where and how different aspects of visual art are processed in the brain. It might be demonstrating the obvious to show that a Rothko operates differently on the brain from a Rembrandt self-portrait, though it is of undoubted interest to track the processes involved. But while revealing the basic mechanisms is interesting and potentially important, it does not get us far in terms of the specificity of the art, given our individual perspectives as viewers and the particular contexts in play when we were studying.

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Read also: Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the two cultures

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How the Power of Interest Drives Learning

In recent years researchers have begun to build a science of interest, investigating what interest is, how interest develops, what makes things interesting, and how we can cultivate interest in ourselves and others. They are finding that interest can help us think more clearly, understand more deeply, and remember more accurately. Interest has the power to transform struggling performers and to lift high achievers to a new plane. So what is interest? Interest is a psychological state of engagement, experienced in the moment, and also a predisposition to engage repeatedly with particular ideas, events, or objects over time. Why do we have it? Paul Silvia of the University of North Carolina speculates that interest acts as an “approach urge” that pushes back against the “avoid urges” that would keep us in the realm of the safe and familiar. Interest pulls us toward the new, the edgy, the exotic. As Silvia puts it, interest “diversifies experience.” But interest also focuses experience. In a world too full of information, interests usefully narrow our choices: they lead us to pay attention to this and not to that.

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Read also: Students’ Own Interests Will Drive the School Day of the Future

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Brain blocks formation of new Memories to safeguard consolidating existing Memories

According to a new study, the brain blocks the ability for creating new memories shortly after waking in order to prevent the disruption of the stabilization of memory consolidation that occurs during sleep. Bar-Ilan University scientists show that a protein synthesis dependent process blocks new learning just after waking, thereby preventing the disruption of memory stabilization which occurs during sleep. Throughout our waking lives we are exposed to a continuous stream of stimuli and experiences. Some of these experiences trigger the strengthening of connections between neurons in the brain, and begin the process of forming memories. However, these initial memory traces are fragile and only a small number will become long-term memories with the potential to last a lifetime. For this transition to occur, the brain must stabilize the memory traces through a process called consolidation.

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Rhythm of Breathing Affects Memory and Fear

A new study reports the rhythm of your breathing can influence neural activity that enhances memory recall and emotional judgment. Breathing is not just for oxygen; it’s now linked to brain function and behavior. Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered for the first time that the rhythm of breathing creates electrical activity in the human brain that enhances emotional judgments and memory recall. These effects on behavior depend critically on whether you inhale or exhale and whether you breathe through the nose or mouth. In the study, individuals were able to identify a fearful face more quickly if they encountered the face when breathing in compared to breathing out. Individuals also were more likely to remember an object if they encountered it on the inhaled breath than the exhaled one. The effect disappeared if breathing was through the mouth.

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Musical training creates new Brain connections in Children

Taking music lessons increases brain fiber connections in children and may be useful in treating autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study. “It’s been known that musical instruction benefits children with these disorders,” said Pilar Dies-Suarez, MD, chief radiologist at the Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez in Mexico City, “but this study has given us a better understanding of exactly how the brain changes and where these new fiber connections are occurring.” The researchers studied 23 healthy children between the ages of five and six years old. All of the children were right-handed and had no history of sensory, perception or neurological disorders. None of the children had been trained in any artistic discipline in the past.

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How Sleep deprivation affects Children’s Brains

Sleep deprivation affects children’s brains differently than adults’, according to a new study. Any parent can tell you about the consequences of their child not getting enough sleep. But there is far less known about the details of how sleep deprivation affects children’s brains and what this means for early brain development. “The process of sleep may be involved in brain ‘wiring’ in childhood and thus affect brain maturation,” explains Salome Kurth, first author of the study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, and a researcher at the University Hospital of Zurich. “This research shows an increase in sleep need in posterior brain regions in children.” This contrasts with what researchers know about the effects of sleep deprivation in adults, where the effect is typically concentrated in the frontal regions of the brain.

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Our Brains have a Basic Algorithm that enables our Intelligence

Our brains have a basic algorithm that enables us to not just recognize a traditional Thanksgiving meal, but the intelligence to ponder the broader implications of a bountiful harvest as well as good family and friends. “A relatively simple mathematical logic underlies our complex brain computations,” said Dr. Joe Z. Tsien, neuroscientist at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Tsien is talking about his Theory of Connectivity, a fundamental principle for how our billions of neurons assemble and align not just to acquire knowledge, but to generalize and draw conclusions from it. “Intelligence is really about dealing with uncertainty and infinite possibilities,” Tsien said. It appears to be enabled when a group of similar neurons form a variety of cliques to handle each basic like recognizing food, shelter, friends and foes. Groups of cliques then cluster into functional connectivity motifs, or FCMs, to handle every possibility in each of these basics like extrapolating that rice is part of an important food group that might be a good side dish at your meaningful Thanksgiving gathering. The more complex the thought, the more cliques join in.

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Read also: Theory of Connectivity

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Companionship May Help Chimps Chill Out

No chimp is an island, chimpanzees exhibit fewer signs of stress when they are surrounded by “bond partners”—individuals with whom they share a strong social relationship—even when facing dangerous or otherwise stressful scenarios. “We believe humans are very special because they can have these interesting relationships between each other that last over the years,” study coauthor Roman Wittig, a primatologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Leipzig, Germany, told The Christian Science Monitor. “The feeling of good friendship, of strong bonds is something that chimpanzees can feel, too.” While experts still debate whether non-human animals can display true empathy, seemingly altruistic behavior is well-documented in chimpanzees. One prior study even found that chimpanzees are capable of comforting their bond partners, and displaying as much apparent empathy as human children.

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Read also: Social support reduces stress hormone levels in wild chimpanzees across stressful events and everyday affiliations

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