Link between music and speech rhythm in brain could provide language insight

When a piece of music is played at the wrong tempo it is difficult to recognise because our brain uses rhythm to help make sense of sounds. Image credit - flickr/ Brian Richardson, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Neuroscientist Dr Domenica Bueti often plays an altered version of the classic aria La donna è mobile when she gives talks about the importance of time perception. Her friend’s piano rendition of Giuseppe Verdi’s composition uses the same notes but is played at different speeds. Rarely does anyone ever identify the tune. ‘When I play it with … Read more

Extended napping could cause cognitive decline in older people

Image credit: Silver Santé Study

Regular naps may be one of the privileges of retirement but research is pointing to napping as a contributor to cognitive decline. Scientists are now testing the idea that older people should instead meditate or learn a language to preserve brainpower and wellbeing. Sleep serves a crucial function in brain health and maintenance, but regular, … 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

‘Island of the brain’ explains how physical states affect anxiety

Anxiety disorders might be better explained by understanding the brain's way of regulating emotions.

A fold of tissue hidden deep inside the human brain which collects inputs from both inside and outside the body could explain how our physical states influence our emotions and may be the key to understanding anxiety disorders, according to Dr Nadine Gogolla, a neuroscientist at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Munich, Germany. … 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