This week Richard Hill looks at:
Also This Week…
Susan H. McDaniel, Ph.D., ABPP is the Dr. Laurie Sands Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, Director of the Institute for the Family in Psychiatry, Associate Chair of Family Medicine, and Director of the Physician Faculty Communication Coaching Program at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. She is known for her publications in the areas of behavioral health and primary care, genetic conditions and family dynamics, and doctor-patient communication. She is a frequent speaker at meetings of both health and mental health professionals.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is developing a high resolution neural measurement and manipulation system consisting of more than 1,000 electrodes embedded in different areas of the brain to record and stimulate neural circuitry. Funding from NIH is part of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative.
The biologically compatible neural system will be the first of its kind to have large-scale network recording capabilities that are designed to continuously record neural activities for months to years.
“This is an incredible opportunity for us to develop a technology that is going to advance neuroscience research for the community,” said Vanessa Tolosa, an engineer at LLNL’s Center for Bioengineering who is a principal investigator on the project. “The brain is a dynamic and complicated system. Though neuroscientists have uncovered a lot about the brain in the last couple of decades, there is a pressing need for new technologies that’ll enable us to study more brain regions over longer periods of time.”
Source: LLNL Press Release
Curiosity Enhances Learning
New research published in the journal Neuron, “States of Curiosity Modulate Hippocampus-Dependent Learning via the Dopaminergic Circuit” by Matthias J. Gruber, Bernard D. Gelman, and Charan Ranganath in Neuron, doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2014.08.060, suggests ways of enhancing learning by understanding how curiosity affects memory. People learn information better if they are curious about the subject and memory for incidental material is also enhanced when associated with something you are curious about.
Summary People find it easier to learn about topics that interest them, but little is known about the mechanisms by which intrinsic motivational states affect learning. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate how curiosity (intrinsic motivation to learn) influences memory. In both immediate and one-day-delayed memory tests, participants showed improved memory for information that they were curious about and for incidental material learned during states of high curiosity. Functional magnetic resonance imaging results revealed that activity in the midbrain and the nucleus accumbens was enhanced during states of high curiosity. Importantly, individual variability in curiosity-driven memory benefits for incidental material was supported by anticipatory activity in the midbrain and hippocampus and by functional connectivity between these regions. These findings suggest a link between the mechanisms supporting extrinsic reward motivation and intrinsic curiosity and highlight the importance of stimulating curiosity to create more effective learning experiences.
Source: CellPress Abstract
Lifting Weights May Improve Your Memory
A new Georgia Institute of Technology study shows that an intense workout of as little as 20 minutes can enhance episodic memory, also known as long-term memory for previous events, by about 10 percent in healthy young adults.
Source: Georgia Tech News Center