UV-sensing protein in the brain of a marine annelid zooplankton

Larvae of a marine ragworm Platynereis dumerilii have been studied as a zooplankton model, and possess photoreceptor cells in the brain to regulate circadian swimming behavior. This study revealed that a photoreceptive protein in the brain photoreceptor cells is UV (ultra-violet) sensitive. Since avoidance of UV irradiation is a major cause of a large-scale daily movement of zooplankton, the UV sensor in the brain would be important for physiology and ecology of the zooplankton model.

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Select memories can be erased, leaving others intact

Different types of memories stored in the same neuron of the marine snail Aplysia can be selectively erased, according to a new study.

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Video games can change your brain

Scientists have collected and summarized studies looking at how video games can shape our brains and behavior. Research to date suggests that playing video games can change the brain regions responsible for attention and visuospatial skills and make them more efficient. The researchers also looked at studies exploring brain regions associated with the reward system, and how these are related to video game addiction.

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Alzheimer’s disease study links brain health, physical activity

People at risk for Alzheimer’s disease who do more moderate-intensity physical activity, but not light-intensity physical activity, are more likely to have healthy patterns of glucose metabolism in their brain, according to a new study.

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Frequent sexual activity can boost brain power in older adults

More frequent sexual activity has been linked to improved brain function in older adults, according to a new study.

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New technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

Some basic processes underlying memory consolidation have been discovered by researchers. The work identifies some of the electrical events responsible for specific neuronal activity in the hippocampus: a region of the brain with fundamental roles in episodic memory.

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Serotonin improves sociability in mouse model of autism

Scientists have linked early serotonin deficiency to several symptoms that occur in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study examined serotonin levels, brain circuitry, and behavior in a mouse model of ASD. Experiments showed that increasing serotonergic activity in the brain during early development led to more balanced brain activity and improved the abnormal sociability of these mice.

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Neurons that regenerate, neurons that die

Investigators report on a transcription factor that they have found that can help certain neurons regenerate, while simultaneously killing others.

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