The best neuroscience news this week from around the web: memory-boosting devices, Lewy body dementia, and a gold-standard study on brain training.
November 7, 2015
Nature News – Memory-boosting Devices Tested in Humans [MEDIUM SCIENCE / MEDIUM READ]
WHERE ARE MY KEYS?: By stimulating a memory-storing part of the brain in just the right way, researchers are trying to reignite the short-circuited memories that can be caused by traumatic brain injury. It’s impressive, but one caveat is that in order to reactivate the memory, researchers first have to know which memory the patient wants to recall.
Neuroscience News – Reducing Toxic Proteins in the Fight Against Dementia [COMPLEX SCIENCE / MEDIUM READ]
BODIES OF EVIDENCE: Robin Williams’ widow recently stated that it was dementia, not depression, that led the actor to end his life. Specifically, the autopsy report cites evidence of Lewy body dementia in Williams’ brain. What is Lewy body dementia, and how are researchers tackling the problem?
The Atlantic Monthly – The Invisible Women With Autism [SIMPLE SCIENCE / LONG READ]
ISOLATED AND INVISIBLE: It’s well known that autism is more common in males than females, but why is this? Also, find out how living with undiagnosed autism can lead to a host of other mental health problems.
The Conversation – At last, a gold-standard study on brain training [SIMPLE SCIENCE / MEDIUM READ]
USE IT OR LOSE IT: Are ‘brain training’ exercises really beneficial to cognitive function? In short: yes, according to gold-standard new research. Participants who went into the trial with the lowest performance saw the greatest improvement, suggesting the exercises may help those at risk of mild cognitive impairment (a precursor to dementia). But no evidence suggests that commercially available programs are better than free ones, so you might want to save your money…
Brain Decoder – Perfect Circles: Why We Can Spot Them, but Can’t Draw Them [SIMPLE SCIENCE / MEDIUM READ]
A CIRCULAR ARGUMENT: Most of us have no difficulty discerning a perfect circle from an oval, but it’s a different story when it comes to drawing one. Drawing a circle requires joint motion co-ordination that is surprisingly complex; our brains are challenged to focus on corrections of movement and cognitive tasks concurrently. But if you fancy yourself half-decent, why not have a crack at the World Freehand Circle Drawing Championship?