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neurosciencestuff:

Physically fit kids have beefier brain white matter than their less-fit peers

A new study of 9- and 10-year-olds finds that those who are more aerobically fit have more fibrous and compact white-matter tracts in the brain than their peers who are less fit. “White matter” describes the bundles of axons that carry nerve signals from one brain region to another. More compact white matter is associated with faster and more efficient nerve activity.

The team reports its findings in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

“Previous studies suggest that children with higher levels of aerobic fitness show greater brain volumes in gray-matter brain regions important for memory and learning,” said University of Illinois postdoctoral researcher Laura Chaddock-Heyman, who conducted the study with kinesiology and community health professor Charles Hillman and psychology professor and Beckman Institute director Arthur Kramer. “Now for the first time we explored how aerobic fitness relates to white matter in children’s brains.”

The team used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI, also called diffusion MRI) to look at five white-matter tracts in the brains of the 24 participants. This method analyzes water diffusion into tissues. For white matter, less water diffusion means the tissue is more fibrous and compact, both desirable traits.

The researchers controlled for several variables – such as social and economic status, the timing of puberty, IQ, or a diagnosis of ADHD or other learning disabilities – that might have contributed to the reported fitness differences in the brain.

The analysis revealed significant fitness-related differences in the integrity of several white-matter tracts in the brain: the corpus callosum, which connects the brain’s left and right hemispheres; the superior longitudinal fasciculus, a pair of structures that connect the frontal and parietal lobes; and the superior corona radiata, which connect the cerebral cortex to the brain stem.
“All of these tracts have been found to play a role in attention and memory,” Chaddock-Heyman said.

The team did not test for cognitive differences in the children in this study, but previous work has demonstrated a link between improved aerobic fitness and gains in cognitive function on specific tasks and in academic settings.

“Previous studies in our lab have reported a relationship between fitness and white-matter integrity in older adults,” Kramer said. “Therefore, it appears that fitness may have beneficial effects on white matter throughout the lifespan.”

To take the findings further, the team is now two years into a five-year randomized, controlled trial to determine whether white-matter tract integrity improves in children who begin a new physical fitness routine and maintain it over time. The researchers are looking for changes in aerobic fitness, brain structure and function, and genetic regulation.

“Prior work from our laboratories has demonstrated both short- and long-term differences in the relation of aerobic fitness to brain health and cognition,” Hillman said. “However, our current randomized, controlled trial should provide the most comprehensive assessment of this relationship to date.”

The new findings add to the evidence that aerobic exercise changes the brain in ways that improve cognitive function, Chaddock-Heyman said.

“This study extends our previous work and suggests that white-matter structure may be one additional mechanism by which higher-fit children outperform their lower-fit peers on cognitive tasks and in the classroom,” she said.

Hm… I wonder why. Is it purely due to physical/motor activity or to things that happen while being active.

Music to your ears?

neurosciencestuff:

Many people listen to loud music without realizing that this can affect their hearing. This could lead to difficulties in understanding speech during age-related hearing loss which affects up to half of people over the age of 65.

image

New research led by the University of Leicester has examined…

Our genes determine the traces that stress leaves behind on our brains

neurosciencestuff:

Our individual genetic make-up determines the effect that stress has on our emotional centres. These are the findings of a group of researchers from the MedUni Vienna. Not every individual reacts in the same way to life events that produce the same degree of stress. Some grow as a result of the…

asylum-art:

Bryan Christie Design

Bryan Christie. I had seen this name over and over again in the fine print every time I saw a beautiful medical visual in a magazine. From Scientific American to Newsweek it seemed like Bryan Christie’s crisp, clear, and aesthetically pleasing visuals dominated medical editorial illustration. Problem was I had never heard of him in the rather small sphere of medical illustrators.

(via staceythinx)

neurosciencenews:

Bypass Commands From the Brain to Legs Through a Computer

Read the full article Bypass Commands From the Brain to Legs Through a Computer at NeuroscienceNews.com.

Gait disturbance in individuals with spinal cord injury is attributed to the interruption of neural pathways from brain to the spinal locomotor center, whereas neural circuits locate below and above the lesion maintain most of their functions. An artificial connection that bridges the lost pathway and connects brain to spinal circuits has potential to ameliorate the functional loss. A Japanese research group, led by Shusaku Sasada and Yukio Nishimura, has successfully made an artificial connection from the brain to the locomotion center in the spinal cord by bypassing with a computer interface. This allowed subjects to stimulate the spinal locomotion center using volitionally-controlled muscle activity and to control walking in legs.

The research is in Journal of Neuroscience. (full access paywall)

Research: “Volitional Walking via Upper Limb Muscle-Controlled Stimulation of the Lumbar Locomotor Center in Man” by Syusaku Sasada, Kenji Kato, Suguru Kadowaki, Stefan J. Groiss, Yoshikazu Ugawa, Tomoyoshi Komiyama, and Yukio Nishimura in Journal of Neuroscience. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4674-13.2014

Image: When turning off the computer-aided spinal cord bypass, the lower extremities which were in a relaxed state did not move even if the subject was swinging his/her arms. With the bypass turned on, when the subject swung his/her arms by his/her own will and a walking motion of the lower extremities began in rhythm to the motion of the arms. Credit Yukio Nishimura.

This image shows an artificial connection that connects brain to spinal circuits. Credit Yukio Nishimura.

Stuck in neutral: brain defect traps schizophrenics in twilight zone

neurosciencestuff:

People with schizophrenia struggle to turn goals into actions because brain structures governing desire and emotion are less active and fail to pass goal-directed messages to cortical regions affecting human decision-making, new research reveals.

Published in Biological Psychiatry, the finding…

Passengers who survived terrifying Air Transat flight in 2001, help psychologists uncover new clues about post-traumatic stress vulnerability

neurosciencestuff:

An extraordinary opportunity to study memory and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a group of Air Transat passengers who experienced 30 minutes of unimaginable terror over the Atlantic Ocean in 2001 has resulted in the discovery of a potential risk factor that may help predict who is most…

fuckyeahfluiddynamics:

Superhydrophobic surfaces repel water. Both naturally occurring and manmade materials with this property share a common feature: micro- or nanoscale structures on their surface. Lotus and lily leaves are coated with tiny hairs, and synthetic coatings or micro-manufactured surfaces like the one in the video above can be made in the lab. This nanoscale roughness traps air between the surface and the water, preventing adhesion to the surface and enabling the water-repelling behavior we observe at the human scale. Although effective, these nanoscale structures are also extremely delicate, which makes widespread application of superhydrophobic coatings and textures difficult. (Video credit: G. Azimi et al.)

(via scinerds)

"No special susceptibility is required to experience this pressure. Research has found but one prerequisite: the person must care about the performance in question. That’s what makes the prospect of confirming the negative stereotype upsetting enough to interfere with that performance."

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Chapter 5

Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us by Claude M. Steele

goes54667752:

地球ボタン

Earth Button

黒シャツ限定。暗黒の宇宙に浮かぶ青く美しい地球をイメージしました。

The “earth button” is used exclusively on black shirts. It is inspired by an image of the earth, blue and beautiful, floating in the darkness of the universe.

(via lyrexz)