Neuroscience

Unraveling the brain's reward circuits

To some, a chocolate cake may spark a shot of pleasure typically associated with illicit drugs. A new study by Penn biologists offers some insights into that link, revealing new information about how the brain responds to ...

Parkinson's & Movement disorders

A new drug target for chemically induced Parkinson's disease

More than three decades ago, scientists discovered that a chemical found in a synthetic opioid, MPTP, induced the onset of a form of Parkinson's disease. In a new study led by scientists from the School of Veterinary Medicine, ...

Neuroscience

Unexplored neural circuit modulates memory strength

Learning to avoid negative experiences requires an interplay of two distinct brain circuits, one to interpret "Yikes!" and drive learning, and the other, unexpectedly, to dial in the strength of that memory, a new fruit fly ...

Neuroscience

Altered brain activity patterns of Parkinson's captured in mice

The tell-tale tremors of Parkinson's disease emerge from abnormal activity in a brain region crucial for voluntary movement. Using a mouse model of the disease, researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology ...

Genetics

New data suggests nicotine while pregnant alters genes

The Akay Lab biomedical research team at the University of Houston is reporting in the journal Nature Scientific Reports that a possible cure for addiction may be found by following the pathways of significantly altered dopamine ...

Neuroscience

Monkey gaze study shows dopamine's role in response inhibition

University of Tsukuba researchers report the importance of the brain's dopaminergic system for inhibiting already-planned actions. They trained monkeys to redirect their gaze toward targets presented on a screen, apart from ...

Neuroscience

Dopamine primes the brain for enhanced vigilance

Imagine a herd of deer grazing in the forest. Suddenly, a twig snaps nearby, and they look up from the grass. The thought of food is forgotten, and the animals are primed to respond to any threat that might appear.

Neuroscience

Is foraging behaviour regulated the same way in humans and worms?

How does our nervous system motivate us to get off the sofa and walk to the fridge, or even to the supermarket, to get food? A research team led by Alexander Gottschalk from Goethe University investigated this using the threadworm ...

Neuroscience

Dopamine drives early addiction to heroin

Scientists have made a major advance in untangling the brain circuits that lead to the powerful addictive effects of heroin, a study in the open-access journal eLife reports.

Neuroscience

Researchers uncover new target of alcohol in the brain

When alcohol enters the brain, it causes neurons in a specialized region called the ventral tegmental area, or VTA—also known as the "pleasure center"—to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that produces those feel-good ...

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