Memory Can Be Boosted By Stimulating Brain

New research from UCLA shows that stimulating key area of the brain can improve the memory. Perhaps we'll soon be free from those annoying afternoons, scrambling about looking for the dog's leash or the car keys. Published in this week's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, the research could produce a new method for boosting memory in patients with early Alzheimer's disease, and senior author Dr. Itzhak Fried, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA said : "The entorhinal cortex is the golden gate to the brain's memory mainframe ... Every visual and sensory experience that we eventually commit to memory funnels through that doorway to the hippocampus. Our brain cells must send signals through this hub in order to form memories that we can later consciously recall." Fried and his team looked at seven epilepsy patients who already had electrodes implanted in their brains to help locate the origin of their seizures. The scientists studied the electrodes to record neuron activity as new memories were being created. They then used a video game featuring a taxi cab, virtual passengers and a cyber-city, to test if deep-brain stimulation of the entorhinal cortex or the hippocampus altered recall. Patients played the role of cab drivers who picked up passengers and traveled across town to deliver them to one of six requested shops. Fried continued that : "When we stimulated the nerve fibers in the patients' entorhinal cortex during learning, they later recognized landmarks and navigated the routes more quickly ... They even learned to take shortcuts, reflecting improved spatial memory ... Critically, it was the stimulation...

Rise In Body Fat Driven By Calories Consumed Rather Than Protein

When eating in excess, it is the number of calories we consume rather than protein that raises total body fat, researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA, reported in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). In a study involving 25 healthy volunteers, they found that those on a low-protein diet gained less weight compared to others who were on a high-protein diet. However, calories alone impacted on the rise in body fat, and not protein. The authors also report that it appears that protein contributes to alterations in energy consumption and lean body mass. As background information on the article, the authors wrote: "Obesity has become a major public health concern with more than 60 percent of adults in the United States categorized as overweight and more than 30 percent as obese." They added that it is still unclear what role diet composition may have on energy dissipation or overeating. George A. Bray, M.D. and team set out to find out whether varying levels of protein in people's diet might affect weight gain, body composition, and energy expenditure. Their randomized controlled study included 25 adult Americans of both sexes, aged between 18 and 35. Their BMIs (body mass indexes) ranged from 19 to 30. The volunteers were admitted to the inpatient metabolic unit between June 2005 and October 2007. They all initially consumed a weight-stabilizing diet for between thirteen and twenty-five days. They were then randomly selected to go on various different diets: Low protein diet - 5% of the energy consumed came from protein Normal protein diet - 15% of the energy consumed came...

Our Brains Make Men And Women See Things Differently

According to a new study, published in BioMed Central's open access journalBiology of Sex Differences, men and women have different ways of using the visual centers of their brains. Experts suggest that while females are better at distinguishing colors, males are more sensitive to fine detail and rapidly moving stimuli. There are high concentrations of the male sex hormone (androgen) receptors throughout the cerebral cortex in the brain, particularly in the visual cortex, which is in charge of processing images. Guys have 25% more neurons in the visual cortex than females because, during embryogenesis, androgens are responsible for controlling the development of those neurons. The vision of men and women was compared by a team of researchers from Brooklyn and Hunter Colleges of the City University of New York. The experts observed people over the age of 16 from both college and high school, including students and faculty. Both sexes needed to have normal color vision and 20/20 sight (with glasses or contacts was considered fine), in order to participate. Scientists learned that the color vision of men was shifted, after they asked the volunteers to describe colors shown to them across the visual spectrum. It also became clear that male subjects needed a slightly longer wavelength to experience the same hue as the female subjects. It was not as easy for men to discriminate between colors as it was for women, meaning that the males had a broader ranger in the center of the spectrum. In order to measure contrast-sensitivity functions (CSF) of vision, the researchers used an image of light and dark bars that were either horizontal...
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