Tag Archives: human brain

UCLA psychologists report new insights on human brain, consciousness

UCLA psychologists have used brain-imaging techniques to study what happens to the human brain when it slips into unconsciousness. Their research, published Oct. 17 in the online journal PLOS Computational Biology, is an initial step toward developing a scientific definition of consciousness.

“In terms of brain function, the difference between being conscious and unconscious is a bit like the difference between driving from Los Angeles to New York in a straight line versus having to cover the same route hopping on and off several buses that force you to take a ‘zig-zag’ route and stop in several places,” said lead study author Martin Monti, an assistant professor of psychology and neurosurgery at UCLA. (more…)

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Songbirds’ Brains Coordinate Singing with Intricate Timing, Study Shows

Research may help explain how human brain governs speech

In an article in the current issue of Nature, neuroscientist Daniel Margoliash and colleagues show, for the first time, how the brain is organized to govern skilled performance—a finding that may lead to new ways of understanding human speech production. (more…)

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Genome-wide Atlas of Gene Enhancers in the Brain On-line

Collaboration Led by Berkeley Lab Researchers Creates High-Resolution Map of Gene Regulatory Elements in the Brain

Future research into the underlying causes of neurological disorders such as autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia, should greatly benefit from a first-of-its-kind atlas of gene-enhancers in the cerebrum (telencephalon). This new atlas, developed by a team led by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is a publicly accessible Web-based collection of data that identifies and locates thousands of gene-regulating elements in a region of the brain that is of critical importance for cognition, motor functions and emotion.

“Understanding how the brain develops and functions, and how it malfunctions in neurological disorders, remains one of the most daunting challenges in contemporary science,” says Axel Visel, a geneticist with Berkeley Lab’s Genomics Division. “We’ve created a genome-wide digital atlas of gene enhancers in the human brain – the switches that tell genes when and where they need to be switched on or off. This enhancer atlas will enable other scientists to study in more detail how individual genes are regulated during development of the brain, and how genetic mutations may impact human neurological disorders.” (more…)

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U of T Researchers Uncover Major Source of Evolutionary Differences among Species

TORONTO, ON – University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine researchers have uncovered a genetic basis for fundamental differences between humans and other vertebrates that could also help explain why humans are susceptible to diseases not found in other species.

Scientists have wondered why vertebrate species, which look and behave very differently from one another, nevertheless share very similar repertoires of genes. For example, despite obvious physical differences, humans and chimpanzees share a nearly identical set of genes. (more…)

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IBM Announces Student Winners of Watson Case Competition from Cornell University

Faculty award winners from Nine Universities Also Announced; Professors to Receive $10,000 Grants for Watson Curriculums

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – 23 Oct 2012: Cornell University and IBM today announced the winners of the second Watson Academic Case Competition. The contest helps students build skills in analytics, big data and cognitive computing by identifying new ideas for applying IBM Watson to solve societal and business challenges.

With a 48 hour timeframe, 55 Cornell business and computer science students worked as part of mock IBM Watson commercialization teams, each charged with selecting an industry and developing an application that could best use the IBM Watson system in a real-life business environment. (more…)

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More Sophisticated Wiring, Not Just a Bigger Brain, Helped Humans Evolve Beyond Chimps

Human and chimp brains look anatomically similar because both evolved from the same ancestor millions of years ago. But where does the chimp brain end and the human brain begin?

A new UCLA study pinpoints uniquely human patterns of gene activity in the brain that could shed light on how we evolved differently than our closest relative. The identification of these genes could improve understanding of human brain diseases like autism and schizophrenia, as well as learning disorders and addictions.

The research appears Aug. 22 in the advance online edition of the journal Neuron. (more…)

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Evolution’s Gift May Also be at The Root of a Form of Autism

A recently evolved pattern of gene activity in the language and decision-making centers of the human brain is missing in a disorder associated with autism and learning disabilities, a new study by Yale University researchers shows.

“This is the cost of being human,” said Nenad Sestan, associate professor of neurobiology, researcher at Yale’s Kavli Institute for Neuroscience, and senior author of the paper. “The same evolutionary mechanisms that may have gifted our species with amazing cognitive abilities have also made us more susceptible to psychiatric disorders such as autism.” (more…)

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