Research

Research

Interested in reading about new, cutting edge research? The research column is perfect for you! Our authors write about both research methods, and about cutting edge studies, in a way that everyone can understand.

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The Blood-Brain Barrier and How to Cross It

The Blood-Brain Barrier and How to Cross It


Introduction     A series of thick, tight membranes separating blood vessels from the brain is responsible for singlehandedly ensuring the safety of the body’s most vital organ. This so-called blood-brain barrier (BBB) is critically important in the study of disease and treatment. Our susceptibility to a vast variety of...

Famous Case Studies of History

Famous Case Studies of History


    Though in the modern era, neuroscience is becoming increasingly reliant on digital means to obtain data (as described in the new technology section of the journal), case studies have a lasting legacy in neuroscience. From ancient times to the present, case studies have given neuroscientists new means to understand the brain. Up to the...

The Nuances of Neuropsychology

The Nuances of Neuropsychology


Introduction     Neuropsychology is a relatively new subset of the disciplines of neuroscience and psychology. Some may deem it as a fad, but the aim of this article is to illuminate the relevance of this new, exciting field to a wider audience and to explain how the subject matter came to be discussed in the first place. Neuropsycholo...

Research Summary: Amyloid-β peptide protects against microbial infection in mouse and worm models of Alzheimer’s disease

Research Summary: Amyloid-β peptide protects against microbial infection in mouse and worm models of Alzheimer’s disease


    As discussed in the disease section of the YNCA Journal, the peptide Amyloid Beta (Aβ) is highly linked to the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease. Plaques form when Aβ clumps together in the synapses of neurons, blocking cell-to-cell communication. Though always viewed in a rather unfavorable light, the study featu...

Research Methods: Model Organisms in Neuroscience

Research Methods: Model Organisms in Neuroscience


     In the previous issue of the YNCA Journal, we discussed how neuroscientists have studied human patients to learn about the brain. Despite the progress that can be made in human studies, such studies are very limited in scope due to the moral issues involved in human experimentation.  Due to these ethical barriers, scientifi...

Research Methods: Human Experimentation

Research Methods: Human Experimentation


Introduction When conducted in accordance with ethical guidelines designed to safeguard the health and well-being of participants, human experimentation can provide valuable insights into the inner workings of the human brain. In both basic research and clinical trials, human experiments have offered valuable information to allow researchers to ...

Research Methods: EEG

Research Methods: EEG


History     Electroencephalography, more commonly known by its abbreviation EEG, is a widely used technique to study the brain. Some of the earliest work on the electrical properties of neurons goes back to Galvani, who experimented on frog tissue to determine that electrical stimulation allowed communication within the nervous sy...

The Power of Play: The Effects of Portal 2 and Lumosity on Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills

The Power of Play: The Effects of Portal 2 and Lumosity on Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills


    A recent study conducted at Florida State University investigated the efficacy of Portal 2 (a video game) and Lumosity (a brain-training program). This study analyzed problem solving, spatial skills, and persistence in participants of the study who spent eight hours either playing Portal 2 or Lumosity. The researchers found that ...

Aplysia Californica: Little Sea Slug - Big Breakthroughs in Learning and Memory

Aplysia Californica: Little Sea Slug - Big Breakthroughs in Learning and Memory


Introduction     Aplysia Californica, a sea slug, has played a major role in the advancement of neuroscientific knowledge over the past several decades. Due to its unique biological properties,  this model organism has been incredibly valuable to researchers investigating the molecular basis of learning and memory.    ...

A Thermal Window for Yawning in Humans: Yawning as a Brain Cooling Mechanism

A Thermal Window for Yawning in Humans: Yawning as a Brain Cooling Mechanism


    Yawning: whether after a long movie or a late night, it happens to all of us.  When people think of yawning, the first thing that comes to mind is sleepiness. But why, from an evolutionary standpoint, would yawning when sleepy help us? One widely believed explanation for yawning is that it serves as a means to bring in more ...

Research Methods: ERP Technique

Research Methods: ERP Technique


Introduction Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) are electrical signals generated by the processing of EEG data. Since their first use in research in 1935-6 by Pauline and Hallowell Davis [1], ERPs have become a powerful tool used by cognitive psychologists to investigate the overall activity of the brain. In language research, ERP analysis can prov...

Study Summary: A Molecular Link between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology

Study Summary: A Molecular Link between the Active Component of Marijuana and Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology


Background     Alzheimer’s disease is one of the leading causes of death among the elderly, and the affected population is ever increasing. This growing number of patients has resulted in a rising demand for improved treatments and innovative research. Alzheimer’s is thought to result primarily from the aggregation of amylo...

The Effects of Video Games On Our Brain

The Effects of Video Games On Our Brain


Introduction Video gaming has become a popular activity these days.  According to the 2017 report by the ESA (Entertainment software association), 67 percent of American households own a device used to play video games [6]. Recent research shows that video games may have some positive effects on our brain. S Kühn, T Gleich, R C Lorenz,...

Perks of Being a Naked Mole-Rat

Perks of Being a Naked Mole-Rat


Introduction The naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber) is a burrowing rodent native to East Africa, famous for its large, protruding teeth, wrinkled naked skin, and many other peculiar physical characteristics. Moreover, naked mole-rats are eusocial mammals and, live in underground colonies. Thanks to natural selection, these animals have adapt...

Oxytocin and Social Cognitive Deficits

Oxytocin and Social Cognitive Deficits


Abstract The factors that contribute to an individual’s ability to engage in a social environment are subtle, complex, and remain largely unknown to the field of neuroscience.While this may currently be the case, it may not be so for long, as new research has begun to reveal at least one correlating factor: the presence and varying levels ...

Gender Dysphoria

Gender Dysphoria


Abstract Gender dysphoria, which sometimes manifests itself as transgenderism, is a feeling of disconnect between the gender one identifies as and the natal (assigned) sex. Scientists have attempted since the 1990s to understand how or if the brain changes in transgender people and what differences exist between transgender (trans) and cisgender...

Our Brain Just Got a Whole Lot More Complicated

Our Brain Just Got a Whole Lot More Complicated


    While the brain looks like a messy gray mass of folded clay, it is actually partitioned into numerous specialized regions.  Some regions are excited by a familiar face, others by touching a hot stove, and others by feeling the brisk wind on a winter day.  These functional zones were originally codified by the German anatomis...

Neural Structural Connectivity in Olfactory Spatial Attention

Neural Structural Connectivity in Olfactory Spatial Attention


Abstract Different aspects of spatial neglect, the disability to locate the position of the source of an external stimulus, have been studied frequently especially in regard to lack of response to visual stimuli. Many papers fail to elaborate on the lack of response to auditory stimuli and even less research has been conducted on the extraction ...

An Overview on Peppermint Attenuating Amyloid β Level in Alzheimer's Disease

An Overview on Peppermint Attenuating Amyloid β Level in Alzheimer's Disease


Introduction Dementia is a general term for disorders affecting mental processes with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) being the most common type. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that impairs memory and other essential functions vital for cognition. There is no current way to prevent AD. No pharmacon, vitamin, ...