Using a technique called transcranial direct current stimulation, researchers at the Coma Science Group in Liège, have managed to improve the consciousness of some patients emerging from a coma caused by cranial trauma or a heart attack.

Why do we age? Work on the underlying biological process suggests that, without necessarily becoming eternal, we could limit the consequences of aging on memory and cognition.

The taste determines a specific behavior. The goal of systems neuroscience is to understand how neural activity and circuits connecting brain neurons process sensory information and determine behavior.

Research in cognitive sciences is providing insights into the best ways of learning to read, write and count. The huge challenge however for the educational sciences remains bringing the results obtained in the laboratory into the classroom. This requires better coordination with teachers.

If the context of learning is decisive for dissociating knowledge from various subjects, it would be useful to associate the learning time of complex notions with surprising and strong experiences.

A team of researchers in the United States has identified, almost by accident, a new therapeutic avenue against chronic pain. It involves AgRP / NPY neuronal groups, already known to activate when we feel hunger.

Reading someone’s mind will likely require interacting directly with the neurons and thus getting into the heart of our nervous system. Our responsibility as scientists is to inform so that fair ethical choices can be made when the question is raised.

How can such a simple and natural act as breathing affect our psychological state to such an extent? Breathing combines with other motor behaviours such as speaking, laughing, crying or eating without becoming breathless. This activity requires fine control from our brains which use numerous neural circuits to achieve it.

Adults manufacture juvenile neurons, it could be interpreted as adaptation to the environment. Several studies underlines the idea of “on demand” neurogenesis, which would model our brain according to specific needs.

In the fog, a driver wonders whether he should turn left or right. He thinks he sees the house he is looking for, the wood looks familiar, the gate is indeed the one he remembers, and the thought strikes him; he’s sure, he needs to turn right. How did this decision-making process occur? A well-established fact in psychology is the close link between the uncertainty of some information we have (very high uncertainty in the fog), and the time spent making a decision. Psychologists have tested this cognitive process in many forms.

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Photo Bernard Martinez

DR. DOMINIQUE LEGLU

Managing Editor

 

La Recherche, founded in 1970, is a major source of science information in France for science-interested citizens, leading universities and research institutions. The site Researchinfrance.com publishes the English version of a series of articles about the most advanced achievements appearing in our printed French version.

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November 11, 2018

November 11, 2018

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