Research Papers

8 cutting-edge research on brain riddles

2021-12-13 03:21

The human brain is the biggest challenge in the scientific community. The main component is water, and most of the rest is composed of lipids. But this little less than 1.4 kilograms shape our thoughts, memories, and emotions. The brain determines how we interact with the world and moves our bodies. Scientists are trying to figure out how the complex brain works. Understanding how the 86 billion neurons in the human brain connect to generate ideas, emotions, communicative competences and responses is evolving. In this article, I will briefly introduce the importance of each of the cutting-edge brain research in the form of a sightseeing tour.

How do thoughts and actions arise from a collection of cells?


Cognitive and behavioral neuroscientists are studying how proteins, genes, and brain structures create behavioral and psychological processes. How does the brain learn and remember things? How do you decide things? How do you process information from the environment and how do you react?


Elucidation of memory mechanisms may be useful for treating Alzheimer's disease, understanding of reward-seeking behavior may be useful for treating addiction, and emotional findings may be new clues for depression prevention.

Cutting edge:

Sheena Josselyn, a senior researcher at the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, focuses on where and how memory is stored in the brain. Clarifying the neural circuits responsible for the accumulation of specific memories (a group of interconnected neurons) will greatly contribute to the treatment of memory disorders. Administering drugs that affect the entire brain is not the best treatment.

"You shouldn't treat your brain like a soup in a bowl. If you add a little oregano, everything will be delicious," says Senior Researcher Joslyn. "You need to know exactly where your target is." To develop more precise targeted therapies, he hopes to gain a better understanding of the neurons and neural circuits involved in "memory formation, storage, and recall."

A team of senior researchers Joslyn recently identified a previously unknown circuit that plays an important role in recalling old memories. This circuit connects the hippocampus, the brain region that controls learning and memory, to the thalamus, which is the relay point for sensory information. In animal studies, mice that had this circuit blocked could remember the previous day's experience, but not last month's.

Professor Kay Tye, a neuroscientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, believes that studies of neural circuits involved in emotions such as learning and loneliness provide new suggestions for substance abuse and anxiety. Her research team identified neural circuits involved in behavioral orientation when simultaneously presented stimuli had both positive and negative components.

Next Frontier:

Accumulation of knowledge about memory, anxiety, and fear-related brain regions, neural circuits, and neurotransmitters, and elucidation of how to manipulate them, will enable us to develop more precise methods for treating diseases.

Genetic factors


In the field of neurogenetics, he is working on research into the effects of genes on the structure and function of the nervous system.


If the role of genes can be identified, not only can brain disorders be diagnosed more accurately, but gene therapy may even stop the progression of the condition.

Cutting edge:

Stephen McCarroll is the Chief Researcher of the Department of Genomic Neurobiology at the Stanley Psychiatric Research Center at the Broad Institute. His specialty is the genetics of schizophrenia. Together with collaborators, we identified genetic mutations associated with schizophrenia. This mutation produces more proteins than usual that are involved in labeling synapses (connections between neurons) to be removed.

When McCarroll and colleagues increased the expression of this gene in mice, the number of synapses in mice decreased. Furthermore, working memory was impaired and social behavior changed. The researchers believe that these genetic variations may be involved in the reduced synaptic numbers and behavioral changes seen in patients with schizophrenia.

Professor In Hui Fu, a professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, has identified three genetic mutations that cause a decrease in sleep time.

One of these had the ability to prevent memory impairment due to lack of sleep.

Some researchers are exploring what genes are found in people who have a genetic risk factor for juvenile Alzheimer's disease but who live relatively healthy.

Next Frontier:

Elucidating the relationship between genes and diseases leads to the development of therapeutic methods. Drugs that inhibit the action of proteins produced by the causative gene of the disease, or drugs that mimic the action of gene products that suppress the onset of the disease are conceivable. Research is also underway on gene therapy to stop the expression of harmful genes. One of these treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a type of neurological disorder, has been approved for clinical trials in the United States. A clinical trial of gene therapy for Huntington's disease is also underway.

Brain engineering


Neural engineers are looking for ways to connect machines to the nervous system, including the brain. Experimental devices have already been created that translate neural activity into text and use neural activity to move artificial limbs. In addition, some convert information from artificial sensors into nerve stimuli that the brain can process.


Technology can contribute to the ability of paralyzed patients and those who have experienced amputations to regain communication skills and sensations and move again. Brain-stimulating implants may also bring new light to the treatment of diseases such as epilepsy, chronic pain and visual impairment.

Cutting edge:

Neural engineers at Stanford University are aiming to recover the function of paralyzed patients using brain activity records. The research team recently, with the help of a male patient with paralysis below the neck, implanted two microelectrodes in the area of 뗢땤he brain that controls hand movements. Imagine a man writing a letter, and the team used machine learning to translate brain activity into text on the screen. Using this system, men succeeded in writing 90 characters per minute, more than doubling the traditional record of typing using brain activity.

On the other hand, some neural engineers are working on the development of artificial limbs that can convey sensory information to users. Studying Neural Engineering at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory ...

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