brain health

Oprah and Einstein photos offer clues about early dementia

You are looking at a woman’s face; the contours and features seem so familiar.  You see the billowing brown hair, the broad smile, the almond-shaped eyes.  You may even be able to describe things about her:  Famous talk show host, actress in “The Color Purple,” philanthropist. You feel a familiar…

Potential Role of ‘Love Hormone’ Oxytocin in Brain Function Revealed

In a loud, crowded restaurant, having the ability to focus on the people and conversation at your own table is critical. Nerve cells in the brain face similar challenges in separating wanted messages from background chatter. A key element in this process appears to be oxytocin, typically known as the…

Brain’s Response to Sweets May Indicate Risk for Development of Alcoholism

Several human and animal studies have shown a relationship between a preference for highly sweet tastes and alcohol use disorders. Furthermore, the brain mechanisms of sweet-taste responses may share common neural pathways with responses to alcohol and other drugs. A new study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has found…

Exercise Reorganizes the Brain to Be More Resilient to Stress

Physical activity reorganizes the brain so that its response to stress is reduced and anxiety is less likely to interfere with normal brain function, according to a research team based at Princeton University. The researchers report in the Journal of Neuroscience that when mice allowed to exercise regularly experienced a…

Brain’s ‘Dark Side’ as Key to Cocaine Addiction

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found evidence that an emotion-related brain region called the central amygdala — whose activity promotes feelings of malaise and unhappiness — plays a major role in sustaining cocaine addiction. In experiments with rats, the TSRI researchers found signs that cocaine-induced changes in…