To Flee or Freeze? Neural Circuits of Threat Detection Identified

Suddenly something streaks into your peripheral vision.  Instantly, you jump back and raise your arms defensively.  “What was that!” You exclaim in shock.   Only then do you realize that the blurred streak you just dodged was a wayward basketball zinging like a missile on a collision course for your face.  A rush of adrenaline flushes through your blood setting your heart pounding and muscles twitching, but there is nothing left to do.  Your brain’s rapid response defense system has already detected the threat and avoided it before your conscious mind is even engaged.  How is that possible, scientist, Peng Cao and colleagues of the Chinese Academy of Sciences wondered?

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Posted in Animal Research, Awareness and Attention, by Douglas Fields, Cell Communication, Neuroanatomy, Psychiatric Disorders, Senses and Perception, Stress and Anxiety, Uncategorized
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Caitlyn Jenner on the July 2015 cover of Vanity Fair magazine.

Bruce Jenner and Changing Your Brain’s Sex

The debut of Bruce Jenner’s sex change on the cover of Vanity Fair was stunning, but superficial.  A deeper question than her newfound beauty is:  What about her brain?

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Posted in Brain Development, by Douglas Fields, Chemicals, Diseases & Disorders, Educators, In Society, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Psychiatric Disorders, Uncategorized
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The back of a child's head as he watches tv.

Watching TV Alters Children’s Brain Structure and Lowers IQ

From the black-and-white days of I Love Lucy to the blue-ray lasers of today’s Game of Thrones in dazzling 3D, parents have worried that television might harm their child’s brain development.  Now the answer is plain to see.  Brain imaging (MRI) shows anatomical changes inside children’s brains after prolonged TV viewing that would lower verbal IQ. Continue reading

Posted in Brain Development, by Douglas Fields, Caregivers, Childhood, Childhood Disorders, Educators, In Society, Learning and Memory, Press, Uncategorized
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tvtruck

Heisenberg Uncertainty and the Baltimore Riots

Yesterday I encountered a colleague outside the elevator.  He was profoundly troubled, as are many, anguished by the violence in Baltimore this week.  The looting, burning, and scores of injured from angry youths hurling bricks at police were sparked by the violent death of a black man, Freddie Gray, in police custody.

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Posted in by Douglas Fields, Policymakers, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving, Stress and Anxiety, Uncategorized
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Wenchuan earthquake altered survivor brain structure

The Kathmandu earthquake will alter brain structure of survivors

The disastrous earthquake in Kathmandu has killed hundreds of people and brought grievous tragedy to thousands.  Even among the survivors, the earthquake will leave its mark in the form of altered brain structure, according to neuroimaging research performed on survivors of the Wenchuan earthquake of 2008.

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Posted in Awareness and Attention, by Douglas Fields, Learning and Memory, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Press, Psychiatric Disorders
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