Now researchers at The Rockefeller University have begun to unravel the mystery of how the brain recognizes familiar faces. Working with rhesus macaque monkeys–primates whose face-processing systems closely resemble our own–Winrich Freiwald, head of the Laboratory of Neural Systems, and Sofia Landi, a graduate student in the lab, discovered two previously unknown areas of the brain involved in face recognition: areas capable of integrating visual perception with different kinds of memory. Their findings were reported today in Science.Don’t I know you?Scientists have long known that the brain contains a network of areas that respond selectively to faces as opposed to other kinds of objects (feet, cars, smartphones). They also knew that humans process familiar and unfamiliar faces very differently. For example, we excel at recognizing pictures of familiar faces even when they are disguised by poor lighting or shot at odd angles. But we struggle to recognize even slightly altered images of the same face when it is unfamiliar to us: two pictures of a stranger we’ve never seen before, for instance, shown from different perspectives or in dim light.
Researchers report klotho, a life extending protein, improved working memory, spatial memory and learning in mice. The researchers also noted a single injection of klotho was sufficient to improve cognitive ability and the effects were long lasting.
There are about 100 billion neurons in an adult human brain. We’ve long known they don’t all look the same. We also know they don’t behave the same. But we’re still trying to find out just how many different types of neurons there are and what they do. To be able to do this at scale, scientists are turning to molecular methods.Now, a team from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of California San Diego has, for the first time, profiled chemical modifications in the DNA of individual neurons, giving the most detailed information yet on what makes one brain cell different from its neighbor.Published in Science, the study analyzed a neuron’s methylome, or pattern of methylated DNA. DNA methylation is chemical addition of methyl groups to the bases in a DNA molecule, which alters how genes are expressed without changing their sequence. These are epigenetic changes, and cataloging them, in a total of about 6,000 cells or 1 trillion DNA bases, enabled the team to sort the neurons into subtypes and create new kinds of brain maps based on a neuron’s gene expression. The study also identifies new subtypes of neurons.
More than 300 years ago, the philosopher René Descartes asked a disturbing question: If our senses can’t always be trusted, how can we separate illusion from reality? We’re able to do so, a new study suggests, because our brain keeps tabs on reality by constantly questioning its own past expectations and beliefs. Hallucinations occur when this internal fact-checking fails, a finding that could point toward better treatments for schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders.The study is “very elegant,” and an important step toward identifying the brain regions that produce hallucinations—and keep them in check, says Georg Northoff, a neuroscientist at the University of Ottawa who was not involved with the work.We don’t always perceive the world as we see—or hear—it. In an experiment devised at Yale University in the 1890s, for example, researchers repeatedly showed volunteers an image paired with a tone. When the scientists stopped playing the tone, participants still “heard” it when the image appeared. A similar auditory hallucination occurs in daily life: when you think you hear your cellphone ring or buzz, only to find it’s turned off. “People come to expect the sound so much that the brain hears it for them,” says Albert Powers, a psychiatrist at Yale University and an author of the new study.
The Thai government has focused on updating the Labor Protection Act (LPA) this year. The LPA was first amended on Jan. 24, 2017. More recently, on June 29, the National Legislative Assembly has approved further amendments that are now pending Royal endorsement. With the goal of encouraging local businesses and foreign investors to protect employees, the amendments address issues that the LPA did not fully cover in its previous form.