Neuroscience

Want to learn a new skill? Take some short breaks

In a study of healthy volunteers, National Institutes of Health researchers found that our brains may solidify the memories of new skills we just practiced a few seconds earlier by taking a short rest. The results highlight ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Brain wave stimulation may improve Alzheimer's symptoms

By exposing mice to a unique combination of light and sound, MIT neuroscientists have shown that they can improve cognitive and memory impairments similar to those seen in Alzheimer's patients.

Health

Why your tourist brain may try to drown you

During the mid-winter break, many vacationers head south to sandy beaches and turquoise waters. But in their efforts to unwind —and warm up —they often put themselves at risk of drowning by committing a simple cognitive ...

Neuroscience

Neuroscientist probes sleep's role in learning and memory

Does "sleeping on it" help us make better decisions? Are sleep disorders just a natural part of aging? How important are naps, anyhow? Rebecca Spencer, Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and director ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Decreased deep sleep linked to early signs of Alzheimer's disease

Poor sleep is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. People with the disease tend to wake up tired, and their nights become even less refreshing as memory loss and other symptoms worsen. But how and why restless nights are linked ...

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Electroencephalography

Electroencephalography (EEG) is the recording of electrical activity along the scalp produced by the firing of neurons within the brain. In clinical contexts, EEG refers to the recording of the brain's spontaneous electrical activity over a short period of time, usually 20–40 minutes, as recorded from multiple electrodes placed on the scalp. In neurology, the main diagnostic application of EEG is in the case of epilepsy, as epileptic activity can create clear abnormalities on a standard EEG study. A secondary clinical use of EEG is in the diagnosis of coma and encephalopathies. EEG used to be a first-line method for the diagnosis of tumors, stroke and other focal brain disorders, but this use has decreased with the advent of anatomical imaging techniques such as MRI and CT.

Derivatives of the EEG technique include evoked potentials (EP), which involves averaging the EEG activity time-locked to the presentation of a stimulus of some sort (visual, somatosensory, or auditory). Event-related potentials refer to averaged EEG responses that are time-locked to more complex processing of stimuli; this technique is used in cognitive science, cognitive psychology, and psychophysiological research.

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