Researchers find neural compensation in people with Alzheimer’s-related protein

September 16th, 2014

The human brain is capable of a neural workaround that compensates for the buildup of beta-amyloid, a destructive protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study led by UC Berkeley researchers.

The findings, published Sept. 14 in the journal Nature Neuroscience, could help explain how some older adults with beta-amyloid deposits in their brain retain normal cognitive function while others develop dementia.

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Breaking down the Data Barriers in Neuroscience

September 10th, 2014

Most researchers broadly support the idea behind open data—that public access to raw data would accelerate science by putting it in the hands (and minds) of many. Yet most are still reluctant to post their research results online. They cite lack of time, money and universally agreed upon standards, as well as technical barriers, as the main reasons they hold data back. Of course, there are psychological and cultural reasons, too: a sense of ownership over such a hard-won resource and a fear of scrutiny and of being “scooped.”

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Study links honesty to prefrontal region of the brain

September 9th, 2014

Are humans programmed to tell the truth? Not when lying is advantageous, says a new study led by Assistant Professor Ming Hsu at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. The report ties honesty to a region of the brain that exerts control over automatic impulses.

Hsu, who heads the Neuroeconomics Laboratory at the Haas School of Business and holds a joint appointment with the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, said the results, just published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, indicate that willpower is necessary for honesty when it is personally advantageous to lie.

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Shining light on brain circuits to study learning, memory

September 5th, 2014

UC Berkeley neuroscientists plan to use light to tweak the transmission of signals in the brain to learn more about how the mouse brain and presumably the human brain process information.

Last month, the research project was awarded one of 36 new $300,000, two-year grants from the National Science Foundation in support of President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative, a multi-agency research effort that seeks to accelerate the development of new neuro-technologies that promise to help researchers answer fundamental questions about how the brain works.

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How Your Chilli Addiction Could Be Helping You Live Longer

August 11th, 2014

From the flicker of heat in pepperoncini to the incendiary burn of the Carolina Reaper, the chilli has conquered the world. These pungent pods are now the most widely grown spice crop of all. But, in recent years, the medical profession has become increasingly interested in the chemical ingredient of its trademark heat, with one recent study even suggesting the spice may also offer a way to help conquer the ravages of old age.

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Research Institutions Announce Collaboration Toward Sharing Neuroscience Data

August 5th, 2014

The Allen Institute for Brain Science, California Institute of Technology, New York University School of Medicine, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) are collaborating on a project aimed at making databases about the brain more useable and accessible for neuroscientists – a step seen as critical to accelerating the pace of discoveries about the brain in health and disease. With funding from GE, The Kavli Foundation, the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the HHMI, and the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF), the year-long project will focus on standardizing a subset of neuroscience data, making this research simpler for scientists to share.

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