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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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 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...

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 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...

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...

Out-of-Body Experiences

Out-of-Body Experiences


Abstract  Out-of-body experiences are events where an individual feels as if their “spirit” drifts away from their physical body which is simply left idle [1]. Many have characterized this event as “paranormal”. However, it has been discovered that out-of-body experiences can occur due to a misunderstanding between a...

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: 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.    ...

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: 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...

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,...

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...

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...

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 ...

Looking into Criminal Minds: The Neurological Basis of Crime

Looking into Criminal Minds: The Neurological Basis of Crime


Abstract  Extensive research has been conducted that explains the neurological, genetic, and environmental factors that predispose individuals to criminal behavior. There are several critical differences in the brain scans of incarcerated versus non-incarcerated individuals [1]. The low-activity form of the MAO-A gene correlates with increa...

Efficacy of Plant Extracts in Alzheimer's Disease using Transgenic C. elegans

Efficacy of Plant Extracts in Alzheimer's Disease using Transgenic C. elegans


Abstract Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an irreversible progressive neurodegenerative disease that slowly destroys the human memory There is an unfulfilled need to develop new treatments for AD, as the existing treatments only offer symptomatic benefits. In this experiment, the effect of four plant extracts: turmeric, ashwagandha, bitter melo...

The Pharmacology behind Stroke Prevention: A Review of the Effectiveness of Angiotensin-II in the Body

The Pharmacology behind Stroke Prevention: A Review of the Effectiveness of Angiotensin-II in the Body


Introduction Stroke affects around 750, 000 people each year and 144,000 die from it [1]. These alarming statistics make this condition the fifth leading cause of death in the world [2]. One of the most detrimental risk factors of stroke is high blood pressure [3]. Many classes of antihypertensives (AH) have been created in order to lower blood ...

The mTOR Signaling Pathway: An Overview

The mTOR Signaling Pathway: An Overview


Introduction The mammalian target of rapamycin, or mTOR for short, is a protein kinase that helps control many processes that generate or use large amounts of energy and nutrients. This protein is a central component of the mTOR signaling pathway, which senses and integrates a variety of environmental cues to regulate organismal development and ...

Parkinson's Treatment: Where We Are and How We Got There

Parkinson's Treatment: Where We Are and How We Got There


Introduction Parkinson's disease is a very severe and life-threatening neurodegenerative disease that affects nearly one million people in the United States, who are aged usually 60 and above [1]. The basal ganglia, found in the center of the human brain, is an important subcortical region that is responsible for many innate and fixed motion...

Electrical Stimulation: The Cure For Paralysis

Electrical Stimulation: The Cure For Paralysis


Abstract Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) is an emerging technology that sends electrical impulses throughout the body or a specific part to stimulate muscle movement. This technology has improved in recent years, helping to reverse the effects of paralysis. The electronic micro-based processor is the primary component of FES in terms of ...

Finding a New Treatment to Relieve Symptoms of Depression

Finding a New Treatment to Relieve Symptoms of Depression


Abstract Depression, also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, is a mood disorder in which a patient has a persistent feeling of sadness. Depression may lead to numerous problems, both emotional and physical. The following essay includes a general overview of depression, such as its symptoms, causes, and treatments. This arti...

New Horizons in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Research

New Horizons in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Research


Abstract Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health disorder in which those who are affected have recurring, intrusive thoughts, ideas, and sensations known as obsessions, which manifest a sensation of wanting to conduct repetitive behavior, known as a compulsion [1]. It is a relatively common disorder that affects adults as well as ...

Trust Your Gut: How the Gut Microbiome Affects Brain Function

Trust Your Gut: How the Gut Microbiome Affects Brain Function


Abstract The human gut microbiome, which consists of trillions of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract, plays a key role in normal bodily functions [1]. Disruption of the gut microbiome can affect neural pathways in the body through the gut-brain axis [3]. Animal studies involving germ-free mice support the idea that disrupted gut microb...

Fusogens: Glycoproteins That Mitigate Fatal Neurological Conditions

Fusogens: Glycoproteins That Mitigate Fatal Neurological Conditions


Introduction Currently, there are no official treatments for reversing spinal cord damage [1]. There is no cure for the more than 5 million senior citizens who have Alzheimer’s disease [2]. In fact, one of medicine’s greatest adversities is the restoration of function after nerve injury or degeneration [1]. Nevertheless, research is ...

Using Boron Neutron Capture Therapy to Combat High-Grade Gliomas

Using Boron Neutron Capture Therapy to Combat High-Grade Gliomas


Abstract This paper takes a broad lens concerning the development and progress of Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) in the past 50 years. BNCT has proven to be a viable approach to treating high-grade gliomas and other brain and neck tumors in situations where other treatment options have failed. Visibility of BNCT as a treatment has been lim...

Sleep Stages and Brain Hemispheric Dominance Recorded by EEG and MEG

Sleep Stages and Brain Hemispheric Dominance Recorded by EEG and MEG


Introduction Sleep is broken down into stages corresponding with differing hemispheric dominance in the brain, the stages including non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. NREM is considered to be deep sleep, while REM is a sort of paradoxical sleep, imitating the mental state of that of a waking individual [1]. I...

A NOVEL NEURO-CORTICAL COUPLING UNRAVELED IN OLFACTORY-VISUAL SACCADIC PATHWAY

A NOVEL NEURO-CORTICAL COUPLING UNRAVELED IN OLFACTORY-VISUAL SACCADIC PATHWAY


Abstract This confirmatory study aims to unravel the neural structural connectivity of “Olfactory-Saccadic pathways” extending between “Piriform and Entorhinal Cortices to Frontal Eye Field (FEF),” and to correlate its functional importance with possible clinical implications, using “Diffusion Imaging fibre Tractogr...

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 Possibility of Developing Dementia from Long-Term Benzodiazepine Use

The Possibility of Developing Dementia from Long-Term Benzodiazepine Use


Abstract Due to their fast-acting and evident effects, benzodiazepines (BZDs, BDZs, BZs) are widely prescribed and taken for treating conditions like anxiety and insomnia. That being said, benzodiazepines are also known for their high risk of dependence, which can lead to cognitive impairment, affecting one’s memory and personality, as wel...

The Potential of TMS in Alzheimer’s Treatment

The Potential of TMS in Alzheimer’s Treatment


Abstract Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a brain stimulation device that stimulates areas of the brain through magnetic waves, previously showing promising results in the treatment of mental illnesses such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). There is ongoing research on its possible application to treating Alzheimer...

Parkinson’s Disease: Exploring Levodopa’s Effectiveness as a Treatment

Parkinson’s Disease: Exploring Levodopa’s Effectiveness as a Treatment


Abstract Treating Parkinson’s Disease has always been a struggle for clinicians and researchers, as there still is no known cure for the disease. A Parkinson’s diagnosis often implies a lifetime of medications and physical therapy. For many years, chiefly one treatment has been proven as immensely successful in inhibiting some of the...

Parkinson’s Disease – Current Advancements & Medical Reality

Parkinson’s Disease – Current Advancements & Medical Reality


Abstract The most chronic, progressive neurodegenerative disease that has an impact on mobility and muscle control on the body of patients is Parkinson’s disease. It was discovered by Dr. James Parkinson in 1817 as ‘Shaking Palsy’. The disease is characterized by both motor and non-motor features. Also, there are no standard di...

Brain-Computer Interfaces: A Primer and an Example

Brain-Computer Interfaces: A Primer and an Example


Abstract In this paper, we discuss the use of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) and techniques used to build and train them. Specifically, we will focus on the role machine learning has in their training. Near the end, we explore how BCIs can be used in such a way that neural signals are decoded into a measure of driver distraction. This measure i...

Modified B. subtilis Strain to Replace Levodopa Medication for Parkinson’s

Modified B. subtilis Strain to Replace Levodopa Medication for Parkinson’s


Abstract This paper proposes a medication which would safely and effectively replace levodopa (LD) treatment for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), thus eliminating levodopa-induced dyskinesia (LID) in the progression of the disease. At present, the most effective treatment for the motor symptoms of PD uses LD combined with carbidopa ...

Neurological Manifestations of COVID-19

Neurological Manifestations of COVID-19


Abstract The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It typically presents with cough, fever, and difficulty in breathing, but can affect the central and peripheral nervous system.  The neurological manifestations can include minor symptoms such as ...

A Review of Commercially Available EEG Headsets

A Review of Commercially Available EEG Headsets


Abstract The rise of the citizen scientist is being spurred on by new access to research-grade hardware at publically affordable prices. In this article, we specifically discuss various electroencephalography (EEG) hardware systems that are now commercially available and their impact on research within and outside of academic institutions. Altho...

The Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Advancement of Individualized Learning in Children

The Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Advancement of Individualized Learning in Children


Introduction The coincidence of neuroscience and AI has largely been commented on by cognitive neuroscientists as synergistic and mutually beneficial in aid of educational development and enrichment in children. Within the last century, the use of neuroscientific research and AI to meet governmental, educational standards, have been reported in ...

Animal Brains: Neuroscience Sheds Light on the Problem With Comparing Human and Animal Behavior

Animal Brains: Neuroscience Sheds Light on the Problem With Comparing Human and Animal Behavior


Abstract Scientists sometimes use neuroscience to explain animal behavior. Neuroscience shows that humans and animals have similar brain structures and functions, and suggests that humans and animals share similar cognitive functions and behavioral patterns. In addition, neuroscience has also revealed that emotions and behavior are complex despi...

Music as a Viable Therapeutic Treatment Option for Alzheimer's Disease

Music as a Viable Therapeutic Treatment Option for Alzheimer's Disease


Abstract As the sixth leading cause of death in America, Alzheimer’s has taken the livelihood of millions of people, and this number keeps going up [1]. Currently, the scientific community has turned to medication-based treatments in order to decrease the presence of the negative symptoms that Alzheimer’s entails. However, one might ...

Forgetful Fearless Rodents and the Potential of the Retrosplenial Cortex

Forgetful Fearless Rodents and the Potential of the Retrosplenial Cortex


Abstract Previous studies have found that both the hippocampus and retrosplenial cortex work in conjunction to consolidate long-term contextual fear memory. These are memories associated with a specific location that invoke a fear response. However,  research from Dartmouth College provides evidence for a new map of the circuits involved in...

Editing the Nervous System: Applications of CRISPR in Neuroscience

Editing the Nervous System: Applications of CRISPR in Neuroscience


Abstract Gene editing brings about a sense of science-fiction-like possibilities, where it is possible to delete memories or add an extra limb. This promising technology has potential, particularly within the field of neuroscience, be it in enhancing current research methods and study designs or in serving as a treatment for a variety of neurolo...

Bioluminescence in Research: How the Discovery of Green Fluorescent Protein Revolutionized Biology

Bioluminescence in Research: How the Discovery of Green Fluorescent Protein Revolutionized Biology


Abstract Across all major classes of taxa, the ability to bioluminesce has remained largely untraceable throughout evolution as it does not appear to follow any specific phylogenetic path. This fascinating natural phenomenon allows for the emission of light in living creatures through chemical reactions in the body, and for centuries, people hav...

Military Link to the Development of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Military Link to the Development of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis


Introduction Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the famous baseball player, is a progressive disease of the nervous system that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord [1]. The disease causes supportive cells, called astrocytes, to destroy motor neurons, which are the nerve cells th...

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, ...

Hacking Your Brain: Understanding Stress

Hacking Your Brain: Understanding Stress


Introduction The field of neuroscience is ever-growing, with people gaining more interest in how the brain works and why we do the things we do; how the brain influences our conscious and subconscious decisions.  Not much is known about the complexity and variation between  behaviors, thought processes, and individual characteristics. ...

Optogenetics and Epilepsy: A Novel Treatment for Seizures

Optogenetics and Epilepsy: A Novel Treatment for Seizures


Abstract It is estimated that 30% of those affected with epilepsy do not have control over their seizures, which are considered the hallmark of the neurological disorder [1]. A better understanding of the inner neurobiological mechanisms of these seizures may lead us to new treatments for epilepsy altogether. However, the rise of optogenetics, a...