Predicting people’s ‘brain age’ could help to spot who is at risk of early death

A method for predicting someone’s ‘brain age’ based on MRI scans could help to spot who might be at increased risk of poor health and even dying at a younger age.

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Genetics, environment combine to give everyone a unique sense of smell

Receptors in the noses of mice exposed to certain smells during life are different to genetically similar mice that lived without those smells, new research shows. The study found it is this combination of genetics and experience that gives each individual a unique sense of smell.

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Brain stimulation during training boosts performance

New research shows that working memory training combined with a kind of noninvasive brain stimulation can lead to cognitive improvement under certain conditions. Improving working memory or cognitive strategies could be very valuable for training people faster and more efficiently.

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Scientific discovery game significantly speeds up neuroscience research process

A new scientific discovery game called Mozak is allowing video gamers to significantly speed up reconstructing the intricate architecture of brain cells, a fundamental task in 21st century brain science. These citizen scientists have outperformed computers in tracing the intricate shapes of neurons, a first step in understanding how our brain circuitry works.

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New insight into brain development disorder

Two years ago, the Zika virus drew attention to microcephaly, a developmental disorder in which the brain and skull display inhibited growth. But there are other causes of microcephaly, such as congenital genetic diseases. Much is still unknown about brain development, but researchers have now new shed light on the molecules involved.

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The placebo effect can mend a broken heart too, study shows

Feeling heartbroken from a recent breakup? Just believing you’re doing something to help yourself get over your ex can influence brain regions associated with emotional regulation and lessen the perception of pain. That’s the takeaway from a new study that measured the neurological and behavioral impacts the placebo effect had on a group of recently broken-hearted volunteers.

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Weight expectations: Context and distraction skew what we predict and remember

Context can alter something as basic as our ability to estimate the weights of simple objects. As we learn to manipulate those objects, context can even tease out the interplay of two memory systems and shows how distraction can affect multitasking.

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Is soda bad for your brain? (And is diet soda worse?)

Excess sugar — especially the fructose in sugary drinks — might damage your brain, new research suggests. Researchers found that people who drink sugary beverages frequently are more likely to have poorer memory, smaller overall brain volume, and a significantly smaller hippocampus. A follow-up study found that people who drank diet soda daily were almost three times as likely to develop stroke and dementia when compared to those who did not.

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