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96 news posts in Neuroscience


Featured news

20 Jun 2023

Machine learning helps researchers identify hit songs with 97% accuracy

By Deborah Pirchner, Frontiers science writer Image: Predicting hit songs is notoriously difficult. Researchers have now applied machine learning (ML) to high-frequency neurophysiologic data to improve hit song prediction accuracy. They showed that if ML was applied to neural data collected while people listened to new music, hit songs could be predicted with close-to-perfect accuracy. This can open doors to providing consumers with the entertainment they are looking for, rather than flooding them with options. Every day, tens of thousands of songs are released. This constant stream of options makes it difficult for streaming services and radio stations to choose which songs to add to playlists. To find the ones that will resonate with a large audience, these services have used human listeners and artificial intelligence. This approach, however, lingering at a 50% accuracy rate, does not reliably predict if songs will become hits. Now, researchers in the US have used a comprehensive machine learning technique applied to brain responses and were able to predict hit songs with 97% accuracy. “By applying machine learning to neurophysiologic data, we could almost perfectly identify hit songs,” said Paul Zak, a professor at Claremont Graduate University and senior author of the study […]

Featured news

17 Feb 2023

Humans don’t hibernate, but we still need more winter sleep

by Angharad Brewer Gillham, Frontiers science writer Image/ Society and technology impose sleep and wake schedules on people, especially in urban environments with lots of light pollution. Although seasonality in animal sleep is well known, for the past 25 years we’ve assumed humans are different. But a study of patients being monitored for sleep-related difficulties shows underestimated variation in sleep architecture over the course of a year. Whether we’re night owls or morning larks, our body clocks are set by the sun. Theoretically, changing day length and light exposure over the course of the year could affect the duration and quality of our sleep. But figuring out how this applies in practice is difficult. Although studies where people assess their own sleep have suggested an increase in sleep duration during winter, objective measures are needed to determine how exactly the seasons affect sleep. Scientists studying sleep difficulties have now published data in Frontiers in Neuroscience that shows that, even in an urban population experiencing disrupted sleep, humans experience longer REM sleep in winter than summer and less deep sleep in autumn. “Possibly one of the most precious achievements in human evolution is an almost invisibility of seasonality on the behavioral […]

Featured news

15 Dec 2022

Five articles you need to check out on the future of neurology research

By Colm Gorey, Frontiers Science Communications Manager Image: In an ever-changing field of research such as neurology, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest breakthroughs. Now at Frontiers, we highlight just three of the latest research articles to shed more light on how the mind works. The human brain is an organ that has fascinated our species for centuries, with vast amounts of research so far yielding a wealth of discoveries. However, so much of how the brain works remains a mystery waiting to be solved. In 2022, Frontiers published one of the biggest neurological research breakthroughs of the year with the discovery that life may indeed flash before our eyes as we die. However, this was just one paper of thousands published by Frontiers this year that helped set the groundwork for new neurological discoveries, ranging from multiple sclerosis to deep brain stimulation. Five such articles are essential reading to anyone looking to learn more about neurology were published as part of the research topic ‘Horizons in Neurology’. The Neuroimmunology of Multiple Sclerosis: Fictions and Facts There have been tremendous advances in the neuroimmunology of multiple sclerosis (MS) over the past five decades, which have […]

Featured news

27 Sep 2022

4 articles you need to check out on the future of behavioral neuroscience

By Angharad Brewer Gillham, Frontiers science writer Image: How mice and rats help study depression Mice and rats are key model animals that help us understand how depression works and how to treat it. A huge number of people around the world live with this devastating disorder, but its causes and symptoms are so varied that it is hard to test new treatments and to reproduce experiments to prove those treatments work. Scientists writing in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience reviewed the evidence for rodent models of depression and found that models imitating social stress or a disrupted early life have had some success. Meanwhile, models with behavioral stressors designed to induce helplessness are easily compared to other labs’ work but aren’t complex enough to model depression. A key element of depression is anhedonia, struggling to enjoy life, but this is extremely difficult to model in nonhuman animals. The most popular options available test preference for sweet tastes. The team concluded that the best option is to provide mice with a more naturalistic setting to live in, with more space to socialize and to follow their own inclinations. This helps avoid experimenter influence and allows spontaneous behavior from the mice […]

Featured news

25 Feb 2022

Children may instinctively know how to do division even before hitting the books, study finds

By Peter Rejcek, science writer Image: Fizkes/ Beginning at an early age, children can perform simple mathematical calculations using an intuitive ability to compare and estimate sets of objects. A new study published to Frontiers suggests this approximate number system extends to division. We often think of multiplication and division as calculations that need to be taught in school. But a large body of research suggests that, even before children begin formal education, they possess intuitive arithmetic abilities. A new study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience argues that this ability to do approximate calculations even extends to that most dreaded basic math problem – true division – with implications for how students are taught mathematical concepts in the future. The foundation for the study is the approximate number system (ANS), a well-established theory that says people (and even nonhuman primates) from an early age have an intuitive ability to compare and estimate large sets of objects without relying upon language or symbols. For instance, under this non-symbolic system, a child can recognize that a group of 20 dots is bigger than a group of four dots, even when the four dots take up more space on a page. The […]


24 Feb 2022

3 articles you need to check out on the future of neural circuit research

By Colm Gorey, Science Communications Manager Image: Andrii Vodolazhskyi/ In an ever-changing field of research such as neural circuits, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest breakthroughs. Now at Frontiers, we highlight just three of the latest research articles to shed more light on how the mind works. The human brain continues to fascinate us, but still hides many mysteries that scientists aim to solve. Among the most studied aspects of the brain is its vast array of neural circuits which carry out a variety of crucial everyday functions in the body, and has inspired computer scientists to build powerful AI systems using artificial neural circuits. Here are just three recent articles published to Frontiers from some of the top researchers in their field as part of the Research Topic ‘Horizons in Neural Circuits’. Endocannabinoid-Mediated Control of Neural Circuit Excitability and Epileptic Seizures Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders, with an incidence of 50.4 per 100,000 people per year. Although many drugs and surgical treatments are available for the treatment of epilepsy, approximately 30% of patients continue to have uncontrolled seizures despite treatment. One of the most important discoveries in the field of cannabinoid […]

Featured news

22 Feb 2022

A replay of life: What happens in our brain when we die?

By Maryam Clark, science writer Image: Okrasiuk/ Neuroscientists have recorded the activity of a dying human brain and discovered rhythmic brain wave patterns around the time of death that are similar to those occurring during dreaming, memory recall, and meditation. Now, a study published to Frontiers brings new insight into a possible organizational role of the brain during death and suggests an explanation for vivid life recall in near-death experiences. Imagine reliving your entire life in the space of seconds. Like a flash of lightning, you are outside of your body, watching memorable moments you lived through. This process, known as ‘life recall’, can be similar to what it’s like to have a near-death experience. What happens inside your brain during these experiences and after death are questions that have puzzled neuroscientists for centuries. However, a new study published to Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience suggests that your brain may remain active and coordinated during and even after the transition to death, and be programmed to orchestrate the whole ordeal. When an 87-year-old patient developed epilepsy, Dr Raul Vicente of the University of Tartu, Estonia and colleagues used continuous electroencephalography (EEG) to detect the seizures and treat the patient. During these […]

Featured news

05 Nov 2021

Infographic: How grid cells in the brain help us navigate the world

Image: Corona Borealis Studio/ Have you ever asked yourself what is it in our brains that actually helps us navigate in the world? Helping us answer that question, Prof May-Britt Moser won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2014 for the discovery of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain. When you think about navigation, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it the well-known GPS system in your cellphone? An underwater journey of a submarine to its destination? Or perhaps a team assignment in the scouts, to find your way back to the camp at night? Would you be surprised to know that our brains have a built-in navigation system responsible for representing our location in the environment and for orienting us so that we can successfully get from one place to another? This mental representation of the environment is often called a cognitive map and was the focus on a Nobel prize-winning paper published by Prof May-Britt Moser. ► Read and download (pdf) of original article While navigation in the environment appears seamless and automatic, the brain’s navigation system is actually quite complex, composed of several brain regions and various cells types. […]

<p>1986 &#8211; Berkeley, California, United States: Marian Diamond professor of anatomy and an expert on the brain, taking a close look at a rat brain. Marian Cleeves Diamond, Ph.D. (born November 11, 1926) is a professor of anatomy at the University of California, Berkeley who has published research into the neuroanatomy of the forebrain, notably the discovery of the impact of the environment on brain development, the differences between the cerebral cortex of male and female rats, and the likely link between positive thinking and immune health. (Eric Luse/San Francisco Chronicle/Polaris) ///</p>

Young Minds

11 Aug 2021

Dr. Marian Diamond – My Love Affair with the Brain

We invite you to read the compelling story of one of the founders of modern neuroscience: Marian Diamond.

Featured news

29 Mar 2021

From ghosts to evil genies: How the world experiences terrifying sleep paralysis very differently

By Colm Gorey, Frontiers science writer/Dr Baland Jalal, Harvard University and University of Cambridge Dr Baland Jalal. Image: Dr Bamo Jalal Dr Baland Jalal has spent years exploring the terrifying phenomenon known as sleep paralysis to find that the sinister entity you see at the end of your bed varies from culture to culture. Writing with Frontiers, Jalal says this has major implications for how it is experienced. Sleep paralysis is something no one will want to experience. After falling into a deep sleep, you suddenly wake up unable to move a muscle or even scream for help. To make things worse, you feel as if there is someone – or something – either sitting on top of you or looking at you from the end of the bed. While the experience will only last a short while, it can potentially have long-term implications as it might trigger a fear of falling asleep. Little is known about what exactly triggers sleep paralysis, but researchers across the world have spent much of their careers trying to better understand – and potentially manage – the phenomenon. One such researcher is Dr Baland Jalal of the Department of Psychology at Harvard University and a […]

Featured news

26 Mar 2021

What did the brains of the first land vertebrates look like?

By Mischa Dijkstra, Frontiers science writer / Dr Alice M Clement, Flinders University Dr Alice Clement. Image: Flinders University What did the brain of the early tetrapodomorphs, the first fish to develop limbs and walk on land, look like? Preserved brains are very rare in fossils, and even when preserved they were typically shrunken and deformed before becoming fossilized. For this reason, researchers mostly rely on casts of the cranial vault of fossils to study the early evolution of the brain. The closest living relatives of tetrapodomorphs, coelacanths, are known to have brains that are tiny compared to the braincase (1% of volume), so for them endocasts don’t give much information about brain morphology. But are coelacanths representative of extinct tetrapodomorphs in that regard? In a new study in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Clement et al. show that this is likely not the case: among living amphibia – together with lungfish, the next closest living relatives of tetrapodomorphs – 4 basal species of frogs and caecilians have brains with a volume of 49-78% of the braincase. Their brains are somewhat larger relative to the braincase than those of lungfish, newts, and salamanders (38-47%), and the authors suggest that the […]