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Spiritual retreats change feel-good chemical systems in the brain

More Americans than ever are turning to spiritual, meditative and religious retreats as a way to reset their daily life and enhance well-being. Now, researchers show there are changes in the dopamine and serotonin systems in the brains of retreat parti…

Optical tool monitors brain’s circulatory response to pain

A new report demonstrates that an optical imaging tool used to monitor regional blood flow and tissue oxygenation may be used to track the brain’s response to acute pain in infants, children, and adults.

Brain ‘rewires’ itself to enhance other senses in blind people

The brains of those who are born blind make new connections in the absence of visual information, resulting in enhanced, compensatory abilities such as a heightened sense of hearing, smell and touch, as well as cognitive functions (such as memory and l…

Scientists identify brain circuit that drives pleasure-inducing behavior

Neuroscientists have discovered a brain circuit that responds to rewarding events. Scientists have long believed that the central amygdala, a structure located deep within the brain, is linked with fear and responses to unpleasant events, but the new s…

Appetite-controlling brain circuits in mice may explain stress eating

A new study examines how two opposing neural pathways in the brain’s amygdala are responsible for promoting and suppressing appetite.

Poor sense of smell may hinder women’s social lives

Researchers have found that older women with a loss in sense of smell tend to have less active social lives than those with a good sense of smell.

Scientific discovery may change treatment of Parkinson

When monitoring Parkinson’s disease, SPECT imaging of the brain is used for acquiring information on the dopamine activity. A new study shows that the dopamine activity observed in SPECT imaging does not reflect the number of dopamine neurons in the su…

Alzheimer’s disease linked to the metabolism of unsaturated fats

A new study has found that the metabolism of omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fatty acids in the brain are associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

‘Smell you later!’ Abililty to smell well linked to social life in older women

A new study of older US adults reports that a woman’s social life is associated with how well her sense of smell functions. The study found that older women who do less well on a smell identification task also tend to have fewer social connections.

Deep brain stimulation provides long-term relief from severe depressions

Treatment with deep brain stimulation can provide lasting relief to patients suffering from previously non-treatable, severe forms of depression several years into the therapy or even eliminate…