A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Day or night — your brain is always listening

Credit: Getty Images

New research explores how the brain responds to music and speech during sleep

You're fast asleep. But your brain isn't taking the night off, according to new research funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. Researchers studied activity in the human cerebral cortex in response to music and other sounds. They observed vigorous auditory responses in the sleeping brain, similar in many ways to responses in the wakeful state but differing in a key component. While the waking state is characterized by ongoing feedback signals in the brain as it attends to and interprets incoming sounds, researchers found that those signals are greatly reduced during sleep.

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How sleep builds relational memory

Credit: Gettyimages

Making connections requires brain circuits to be active and interact during sleep

Relational memory is the ability to remember arbitrary or indirect associations between objects, places, people or events -- such as names and faces.

Previous research has established that animal and human memory benefits from quality sleep. In a new U.S. National Science Foundation-supported study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, Maxim Bazhenov and Timothy Tadros of the University of California San Diego

School of Medicine developed a modeling approach that may explain the underlying mechanisms that strengthen or create new relational memories during sleep.

"This new computational research provides insights into the importance of sleep for the consolidation of memory," said NSF program director Jonathan Fritz.

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Triggering original fear memories could treat phobias and PTSD

20220120-074119islander-images-vde6pq8bed4-unsplash_0 By triggering original fear memories, a researcher hopes to weaken them to help treat phobias. Image credit - Islander Images/Unsplash

By triggering original fear memories, a researcher hopes to weaken them to help treat phobias. Image credit - Islander Images/Unsplash  

New approach towards fear treatment

In a lab in Amsterdam, arachnophobes have volunteered to encounter their eight-legged nemeses to help researchers hoping to conjure and obliterate fear memories. These studies, as well as a new understanding of overlooked brain regions, are revealing how fears linked to PTSD or phobias work, and how they may be treated.

In upcoming clinical trials, Professor Merel Kindt at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, plans to expose volunteers to fleet-footed spiders and tarantulas to provoke their fear memory. Afterwards, they will receive an approved drug to try to thwart their spider fears. She believes that her 'recall and erase' strategy can be used to treat all sorts of phobias, but also life-changing clinical conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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SSA Recent Posts

29 January 2023
Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
Credit: Baruch de Spinoza (1632 - 1677), Dutch philosopher. Woodcut engraving, published in 1881.; Getty images Excerpts from Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order (1677) 1. "Hatred is increased by being reciprocated, and can on the other hand be...
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Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
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20 January 2023
Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
Credit: The philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty in his home in Paris 1950; Getty Images Short Bio Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) was a French phenomenologist philosopher and a leading figure in existentialism. He was born in Rochefort-sur-Mer, Franc...
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