Dana Newsletter: June 2014

Below is the content that appeared in the latest Dana email newsletter. You can sign up to receive this (and other Dana email alerts and/or print publications) by going here.

Here are some stories recently posted on www.dana.org:

One of a Kind: The Neurobiology of Individuality

by Richard J. Davidson, Ph.D.

Mounting evidence suggests that brain circuits involved in our emotional responses change with experience and affect our temperament. It also suggests that psychological interventions can further harness brain plasticity to promote positive behavioral changes. From Cerebrum, our online magazine of ideas.

How Should We Be Thinking About Genetic Studies?

As the behavioral genetics field grows, we must be cautious not to oversimplify the research, warn experts, particularly in studies linking single genes to certain traits. A Dana briefing paper.

Music, Art, and Cognitive Benefit: Separating Fact from Fallacy

Dana grantee Elizabeth Spelke discusses the future direction of arts and cognition research, and puts into perspective the media attention given to her recently published studies on the effects of music classes on math abilities in children. One of our series of Scientist Q&As.

Using Optogenetics and Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs)

Techniques like optogenetics and DREADDs, which control neuronal activity, are revolutionizing our understanding of the central nervous system. Understanding each technique’s advantages and disadvantages, and tailoring their use to best address the specific research question under consideration, is key. One of our series of Reports on Progress.

A Fountain of Youth for the Brain

Scientists have reported promosing rejuvenation experiments on mouse brains — but it isn’t clear that such results can be translated usefully into human therapies.

Uncovering the Mysteries of Myelin

Now that researchers have the technology to test the hypothesis that myelin is a simple, regular axonal insulator, they find it isn’t true. Now the fun begins.

The Neuroprotective Effects of Education

Research published in the past few years suggests that longer years of formal study can strengthen the brain, making it more resistant to the ravages of old age — and perhaps mitigating the damage that occurs after traumatic brain injury.

First Language Learned, Hearing Status Affects Brain Structure

Deaf people who learned American Sign Language first show differences in brain structure compared with deaf people who learned to lip-read English first.

Can Brain Scans Describe Good Leaders?

As the political environment heats up, the leadership qualities of potential candidates are under the public microscope. Guy McKhann, professor of neurology and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, asks, Can advances in our understanding of the brain help assess a candidate’s leadership potential? A Brain in the News column.

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