Heartbeats and memory suppression – the new tools for controlling fear

Image Credit - Flickr/Franck Michel

Most of us feel afraid when faced with a threat or danger, but people with phobias and anxiety feel overwhelming levels of fear in situations that are relatively harmless. Scientists want to moderate this response by using drugs to wipe out scary memories or by harnessing the power of heartbeats to improve therapy. Usually, people … Read more

In a picture: Hunting down guerrilla tumour cells – Prof. Rolf Bjerkvig

Brain tumours contain many different types of cells, here stained different colours, which makes them complex to treat.

Professor Rolf Bjerkvig, a specialist in brain cancer research, tells us why guerrilla cells make the disease so hard to treat. Brain tumours are hard to treat completely with surgery because they leave behind cells that invade the brain. In this video, which covers 72 hours, you can see cells breaking off from a tumour to invade other … Read more

How do we make snap decisions?

Decision-making is part of daily life but in many situations, from deciding whether to hit the snooze button on your alarm or reacting to an intruder, choices are made very quickly. Now we’re getting new insight into how these snap decisions are made. Professor Karin Roelofs, a psychology researcher at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, … Read more

Mini-brains offer hope in search for new drugs for brain disorders

Cerebral organoids allow scientists to test new drugs on human brain tissue in labs.

Miniature brains grown in laboratory dishes could overcome some of the problems testing drugs on animals and help researchers identify new ways to treat very human, and incurable, conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy. Most new drugs are developed and tested using mice as models. However, with brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, the animals never … Read more

Theory of predictive brain as important as evolution – Prof. Lars Muckli

State-of-the-art functional brain imaging techniques allowed Prof. Muckli to investigate the human brain at sub-millimetre resolutions.

Our brains make sense of the world by predicting what we will see and then updating these predictions as the situation demands, according to Lars Muckli, professor of neuroscience at the Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging in Glasgow, Scotland. He says that this predictive processing framework theory is as important to brain science as evolution is … Read more

Map of brain cell activity may help us control when we sleep

Scientists still have much to learn about the underlying circuitry that triggers the onset of sleep.

For many people who struggle to get a good night’s rest, being able to switch on and off the brain circuits that control sleep would be a life-changer. The good news is that’s exactly what scientists hope to do, but first they need to get a better understanding of what’s going on. It’s easy to … Read more