cognition

08/28/2014 - 11:00

Until the last few decades, the frontal lobes of the brain were shrouded in mystery and erroneously thought of as nonessential for normal function—hence the frequent use of lobotomies in the early 20th century to treat psychiatric disorders. Now a review publishing August 28 in the Cell Press journal Neuron highlights groundbreaking studies of patients with brain damage that reveal how distinct areas of the frontal lobes are critical for a person’s ability to learn, multitask, control their emotions, socialize, and make real-life decisions. The findings have helped experts rehabilitate patients experiencing damage to this region of the brain.

 

07/28/2014 - 10:42

A psychology researcher at North Carolina State University is proposing a new theory to explain why older adults show declining cognitive ability with age, but don’t necessarily show declines in the workplace or daily life. One key appears to be how motivated older adults are to maintain focus on cognitive tasks.

 

05/08/2014 - 11:06

A variant of the gene KLOTHO is known for its anti-aging effects in people fortunate enough to carry one copy. Now researchers find that it also has benefits when it comes to brain function. The variant appears to lend beneficial cognitive effects by increasing overall levels of klotho in the bloodstream and brain.

 

04/25/2014 - 10:48

A study on rats exposed to proton irradiation, simulating that experienced by astronauts on two-year planetary missions, indicates that some astronauts may be at risk of cognitive impairment. A substantial sub-group of the radiation-exposed rats displayed decreased accuracy, increased premature responding, increased attention lapses and slower reaction times in a rodent version of the human psychomotor vigilance test (PVT). This appears to be due to changes in the dopamine transporter system. The study, from researchers in Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is published in the current issue of the journal Radiation Research.

 

04/23/2014 - 10:42

A new study from a large multi-national group of scientists suggests that absolute brain size is key in evolution of cognition and self-control. The study, published in early edition in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined 36 animal species in two problem-solving tasks measuring self-control. It found that absolute (not body size- relative) brain size and dietary breadth were the major predictors of species differences in self-control.

03/27/2014 - 09:03

The problems people with autism have with memory formation, higher-level thinking and social interactions may be partially attributable to the activity of receptors inside brain cells, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have learned.