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Brain Activity

SCIENCE
February 4, 2014 | By Geoffrey Mohan, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
Memory can be altered by new experience, and isn't nearly as accurate as courtroom testimony might have us believe, a new study suggests. The results suggest a cheeky answer to the question posed by comedian Richard Pryor: "Who you gonna believe: me, or your lyin' eyes?" Turns out, Pryor was onto something. The brain behind our eyes can distort reality or verify it, based on subsequent experience. And somewhat paradoxically, the same area of the brain appears to be strongly involved in both activities, according to a study published online Tuesday in the Journal of Neuroscience.
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SPORTS
July 16, 2011 | By Lance Pugmire
A prestigious neurology clinic has launched an unprecedented brain study of professional fighters with the goal of advancing research to improve various treatments for brain damage. "We know what permanent brain damage looks like in its final stages, but we know so little about what causes it and what happens during cumulative trauma," said Maureen Peckman of the Cleveland Clinic. Peckman is coordinating the new study between the clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas and officials with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
SCIENCE
September 14, 2012 | By Jon Bardin, Los Angeles Times
A group of scientists created a novel brain implant that improves cognitive performance and decision-making in a monkey. The device, developed in part by researchers at USC, manipulates ongoing brain activity to guide the animal away from mistakes and toward a correct decision. The study, published this week in the Journal of Neural Engineering, marks an important step toward implantable devices that could one day help people with brain injuries better perform basic tasks. The field of "brain prosthetics" has been dominated by efforts to restore physical abilities, like devices that use brain activity to move a robotic arm or a cursor across a screen.
SCIENCE
November 9, 2010 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Fear is a complicated emotion, and scientists have recruited a scary laboratory aide ? the Brazilian salmon pink tarantula ? to help map out how the feeling is processed in the brain. Using video of the 8.7-inch-long arachnid, British researchers showed that the human brain engages several different systems when evaluating threats. For instance, the part of the brain that engages when a threat is approaching is different from the part that is activated when a threat is receding, they reported Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
NEWS
April 19, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
In some ways, parties seem like the worst possible places to socialize.  A cacophony of voices -- not to mention a blaring stereo system -- make for a noisy environment in which to hear what a friend is saying. Hence the term "the cocktail-party effect," which refers to people's ability to focus on one speaker and tune out another. Now Nima Mesgarani and Edward F. Chang of UC San Francisco have figured out how the brain accomplishes this feat of selective hearing: The auditory cortex, which processes sounds, favors the voice that it needs or wants to hear.
SCIENCE
November 5, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
Researchers have moved one step closer to understanding how anesthesia drugs work by identifying a component of brain activity that could explain why we lose consciousness under the influence of the drugs, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Though "going under" is an extremely common part of many medical procedures, the mechanism by which it works remains a mystery. This fact has practical ramifications: Some studies have shown that anesthesia can lead to loss of memory and other side effects, something researchers might be able to alleviate if they understand exactly what the drugs do in the body.
SCIENCE
June 22, 2012 | By Jon Bardin, Los Angeles Times
Does depth perception develop in humans as a result of nature or nurture? It's a question scientists have wondered about. And a new study comes to a surprising conclusion: Babies acquire binocular vision as a result of viewing the world around them, not merely thanks to genetic programming. "My guess was that it was going to be something in between nature and nurture," said study leader Ilona Kovacs, a psychologist at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary.
SCIENCE
November 15, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
In an unlikely pairing, two professional rappers have teamed up with researchers from the National Institutes of Health to study what happens in the brain during freestyle rapping. The results, published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports , suggest that the process is similar to that of other spontaneous creative acts, including jazz improvisation. The study was initiated by the Los Angeles-based rappers Daniel Rizik-Baer and Michael Eagle and carried out by Allen Braun and Siyuan Liu of the NIH's National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
NEWS
December 30, 2010 | By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
Anesthesia doesn't put patients to "sleep," as they're often told. Rather, anesthesia puts the brain into a state of unconsciousness that's more like being in a reversible coma than being asleep, a new study says. The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday looked at how the brain behaves while asleep, in a coma and under general anesthesia. The brain activity of an anesthetized patient, for example, was more like a deeply unconscious coma patient than someone sleeping.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 7, 1991
A UC Irvine scientist has won a $165,000 grant to help develop a revolutionary technique for mapping brain activity, university officials announced. Ron Frostig, an assistant professor of psychobiology at UCI, received the award recently from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. He plans to use the funds to continue research into the way various parts of the brain reflect light.
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