research news

Neurons express 'gloss' using three perceptual parameters

Japanese researchers showed monkeys a number of images representing various glosses and then they measured the responses of 39 neurons by using microelectrodes. They found that a specific population of neurons changed the intensities of the responses linearly according to either the contrast-of-highlight, sharpness-of-highlight, or brightness of the object. This shows that these 3 perceptual parameters are used as parameters when the brain recognizes a variety of glosses. They also found that different parameters are represented by different populations of neurons.

research news

Researchers link gene to increased dendritic spines – a signpost of autism

By deleting the NrCAM gene, scientists have found a potential way to cut back on the neural connections implicated in Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Scientists at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine have discovered that knocking out the gene NrCAM leads to an increase of dendritic spines on excitatory pyramidal cells in the brains of mammals. Other studies have confirmed that the overabundance of dendritic spines on this type of brain cell allows for too many synaptic connections to form between neurons – a phenomenon strongly linked to autism.

clinical updates

Benefits & risks of yoga for bipolar disorder

Newly published results from a survey of people with bipolar disorder who practice yoga have begun to document the reported benefits and risks of the practice. The information, plus a pilot clinical trial currently underway, could help psychologists develop yoga as an adjunctive therapy for the condition.

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