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Brain imaging reveals why we remain optimistic in the face of reality

October 10, 2011

prefrontal cortex

People who are very optimistic about the outcome of events tend to learn only from information that reinforces their rose-tinted view of the world, related to a “faulty” function of their frontal lobes, researchers at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL (University College London) have shown.

This is a problem that has puzzled scientists for decades: why is human optimism is so pervasive,… read more

Brain Imaging Reveals New Language Circuits

December 13, 2004

Researchers using diffusion tensor (DT) MRI have found a third area of the human brain, dubbed “Geschwind’s territory,” that is part of human language circuits along with Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas.

“There are clues that the parallel pathway network we found is important for the acquisition of language in childhood,” said Marco Catani, M.D., from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. “Geschwind’s territory is the last area… read more

Brain imaging reveals how we learn from our competitors

October 14, 2010

Our neural activity tends to be stimulated by our competitor’s errors (as in the example shown here) rather than their successes. (Bristol University)

To reveal how people and animals learn from failure and success, Bristol University researchers scanned the brains of players as they battled against an artificial opponent in a computer game.

In the game, each player took turns with the computer to select one of four boxes whose payouts were simulating the ebb and flow of natural food sources.

Players were able to learn from their own successful selections… read more

Brain imaging ready to detect terrorists, say neuroscientists

September 23, 2005

Brain-imaging techniques that reveal when a person is lying are now reliable enough to identify criminals, with 99% accuracy, claim University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researchers.

When someone lies, their brain inhibits them from telling the truth, and this makes the frontal lobes more active, which can be monitored with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Brain imaging provides window into consciousness

February 25, 2011

Using a sophisticated imaging test to probe for higher-level cognitive functioning in severely brain-injured patients provides a window into consciousness — but the view it presents is one that is blurred in fascinating ways, say researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in the Feb. 25 online edition of the journal Brain.

In a novel study of six patients ranging in their function from minimally conscious state to the locked-in… read more

Brain imaging may improve anxiety treatment

May 9, 2008

University of Wisconsin, Madison and Dartmouth College researchers found that functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) results could predict whether venlafaxine (an antidepressant that also treats anxiety) would be effective in patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

They found that the larger the prefrontal cortex reaction, and the smaller the amygdala reaction, the more likely it was that the patient had a positive response to the venlafaxine.

There are… read more

Brain Imaging Lets Vegetative Patient Communicate

February 4, 2010

UK Medical Research Council

A patient thought to be in a vegetative state was able to correctly answer a series of yes or no questions, with responses interpreted via functional MRI (fMRI) brain imaging, a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed.

Researchers aim to develop simplified, inexpensive alternates to fMRI such as EEG devices, and brain cognitive interfaces that will allow patients to interact with their environment.

Brain Images Reveal the Secret to Higher IQ

March 24, 2009

Myelin (the fatty layer of insulation coating neural wiring in the brain) plays a critical role in determining intelligence, and is largely genetically determined, a team headed by UCLA neuroscientists has found.

Brain Images Predict Suicide Risk

April 22, 2010

Predict Stack

UCLA researchers are using “quantitative EEG” (QEEG) — an algorithm that mathematically analyzes data from EEG electrodes to transform the results into a map of brain activity — to detect markers of antidepressant-induced suicidal thoughts.

Patients on antidepressants who indicated an increase in suicidal thoughts showed a drastic decrease in activity in the midline- and right-frontal (MRF) portion of the brain just 48 hours after starting their meds–six times… read more

Brain ‘hears’ voices when reading direct speech

July 27, 2011

When reading direct quotations, the brain “hears” the voice of the speaker, researchers at the University of Glasgow have found, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

This shows that readers are likely to engage in perceptual simulations, or spontaneous imagery, of the reported speaker’s voice when reading direct speech, the researchers said.

Ref.: Bo Yao, Pascal Belin, and Christoph Scheepers, Silent Reading of Direct… read more

Brain function — a new way to measure the economic impacts of aging

December 21, 2011

Cognitive function is a better indicator of the impacts of aging on an economy than age-distribution, since chronological age imposes less of a social and economic burden if the population is “functionally” younger, according to a study by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

The study finds that one standardized indicator of cognitive ability — memory recall — is better in countries where… read more

Brain frontal lobes not sole center of human intelligence

May 15, 2013


The frontal lobes in humans vs. other species are not — as previously thought — disproportionately enlarged relative to other areas of the brain, according to a study by Durham and Reading universities.

It concludes that the size of our frontal lobes — an area in the brain of mammals located at the front of each cerebral hemisphere — cannot solely account for humans’ superior cognitive… read more

Brain fitness program study reveals visual memory improvement in older adults

July 15, 2010

A commercial brain fitness program from Posit Science Corp. has been shown to improve memory in older adults, at least in the period soon after training. The findings are the first to show that practicing simple visual tasks can improve the accuracy of short-term, or “working” visual memory. The research, led by scientists at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), is… read more

Brain fingerprints under scrutiny

February 18, 2004

“Brain fingerprinting,” a controversial technique using involuntary brainwaves that could reveal guilt or innocence is about to take center stage in a last-chance court appeal against a death-row conviction.

The accuracy of this technology lies in its ability to pick up the electrical signal, known as a p300 wave, before the suspect has time to affect the output. “Brain fingerprinting doesn’t have anything to do with the emotions, whether… read more

Brain Fingerprinting on CBS ’48 Hours’

June 11, 2002

Dr. Lawrence Farwell and Brain Fingerprinting will be featured on CBS “48 Hours” Friday, June 14 at 10 PM ET/PT, 9 PM CT.

The show will highlight the case of Dan and Brad Harris, two Iowa brothers convicted and imprisoned 17 years ago for the murder of a young woman. Dr. Farwell’s Brain Fingerprinting tests showed that the record stored in the
Harris brothers’ brains does not… read more

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