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People often use the phrase "mind over matter" to describe situations where aches and pains in the body are overridden using the mind. A gardener comes in from gardening and is surprised to discover a nasty cut on her hand, something she wasn't aware of while focused on her plants. Or a soldier in Afghanistan is wounded by a bullet but feels little pain until he is safe in the infirmary. If pain was directly and entirely linked to bodily injury, these examples would be impossible. A cut would always lead to mild pain, whereas a gunshot wound would immediately cause severe pain. But this is not always the case.
The brain is a ravenous organ. A three-pound adult human brain consumes about a fifth of the body's energy, yet it cannot store energy on its own and requires constant nourishment from the cardiovascular system. The organ's energy needs fluctuate greatly depending on neural activity, and sufficient blood must be delivered to the right place at precisely the right time to ensure healthy brain function.
Stress response is the body's normal physiological reaction to a situation that it perceives as threatening. However, stress can also impact important aspects of thinking, including problem solving. Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders have discovered a potential indicator of how stress affects the brain and alters its ability to problem solve. These findings could ultimately understand and optimize treatment for patients suffering from stress-related illnesses.
The laboratories of Drs. Peyman Golshani at the University of California in Los Angeles, Tristan Shuman at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, and Panayiota Poirazi at the Institute of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology (IMBB) at the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH),collaborated in order to uncover how epilepsy affects spatial navigation in epileptic mice.
Migraine mechanisms are still far from being fully understood. Escalating data from animal models are "fact-checking" the neurophysiological and behavioral correlates of the migraine experience in humans. A series of studies published in the journal Cephalalgia, the official journal of the International Headache Society, have described the underlying mechanisms and molecules related to migraine, and how they may be affected by current anti-migraine drugs or might translate into new therapies.
Studies regarding the brain damage caused by the Zika virus have revealed the virus' predilection for a certain neural cell: the astrocyte. However, few studies have sought to identify the infection effects on these cells, as well as their association with developmental alterations, including brain malformations and microcephaly. Recently published in Scientific Reports, a new article explores the virus' reactions on laboratory-created astrocytes, comparing them to the same cells present in the brain tissue of animals and fetuses infected with Zika.
RIKEN neuroscientists have succeeded in getting marmosets to move their forelimbs when they shine laser light on the motor cortex—the brain region responsible for planning, conducting and controlling voluntary movements. This will help researchers discover what different circuits in the motor cortex of marmosets do, with a view to gaining valuable insights into equivalent circuits in the human brain.
Gravity is the unseen force that dominates our entire lives. It's what makes walking uphill so difficult and what makes parts of our body eventually point downhill. It is unyielding, everywhere, and a force that we battle with every time we make a move. But exactly how do people account for this invisible influence while moving through the world?

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