Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. The scope of neuroscience has broadened to include different approaches used to study the molecular, cellular, developmental, structural, functional, evolutionary, computational, and medical aspects of the nervous system.
The techniques used by neuroscientists have also expanded enormously, from molecular and cellular studies of individual nerve cells to imaging of sensory and motor tasks in the brain. Recent theoretical advances in neuroscience have also been aided by the study of neural networks.
Let us look at some of the neuroscience facts that will show you how far we have reached.
1. The Neuroscience of Immortality
Some neuroscientists believe it may be possible, within a century or so, for our minds to continue to function after death — in a computer or some other kind of simulation. Others say it’s theoretically impossible, or impossibly far off in the future. Nevertheless, the possible ways this can be achieved can range from : preserving the brain which involves soaking the brain both in osmium, scanning the synapses using electron microscope after the brain has been sliced down to a cubic mm size pieces, tracing the connections by transforming the mountains of scans into models of brain wiring, to simulating and few hundred neurons here and there are widely used in neuroscience to test theories against reality already. The million dollar phrase though, is, “we are not there yet”.
2. Neuroscience’s New Consciousness Theory Is Spiritual
It appears that we are approaching a unique time in the history of man and science where empirical measures and deductive reasoning can actually inform us spiritually. Integrated Information Theory (IIT)—put forth by neuroscientists Giulio Tononi and Christof Koch—is a new framework that describes a way to experimentally measure the extent to which a system is conscious.
Furthermore, the theory posits that any system that processes and integrates information, be it organic or inorganic, experiences the world subjectively to some degree. Plants, smartphones, the Internet—even protons—are all examples of such systems. The result is a cosmos composed of a sentient fabric.
3. The Neuroscience of Being a Selfish Jerk
A team of Hungarian researchers from the University of Pécs has scanned the brains of high scorers on Machiavellianism while they played a simple game of trust. Reporting their results in the journal Brain and Cognition, the researchers said they found that Machiavellians’ brains went into overdrive when they encountered a partner who exhibited signs of being fair and cooperative. Why? Tamas Bereczkei and his team say it’s because the Machiavellians are immediately figuring out how to exploit the situation for their own gain.
There is a minority of people out there who don’t play by these rules. These selfish individuals consider other people as mere tools to be leveraged in the pursuit of their aims. They think nothing of betrayal or backstabbing, and they basically believe everyone else is in it for themselves too.
4. A neuroscience researcher reveals 4 rituals that will make you happier
a. The most important question to ask when you feel down is this: What am I grateful for ? but does it really affect your brain at the biological level? Yup. You know what the antidepressant Wellbutrin does? Boosts the neurotransmitter dopamine. So does gratitude. But what happens when bad feelings completely overtake you? When you’re really in the dumps and don’t even know how to deal with it? There’s an easy answer…Point out the things that upset you.
b. Label Negative feelings. give that awfulness a name. Sad? Anxious? Angry? In one fMRI study, appropriately titled “Putting Feelings into Words” participants viewed pictures of people with emotional facial expressions. Predictably, each participant’s amygdala activated to the emotions in the picture. But when they were asked to name the emotion, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activated and reduced the emotional amygdala reactivity. In other words, consciously recognizing the emotions reduced their impact.
c. Make that decision. Ever make a decision and then your brain finally feels at rest? That’s no random occurrence. Brain science shows that making decisions reduces worry and anxiety — as well as helping you solve problems. Making decisions includes creating intentions and setting goals — all three are part of the same neural circuitry and engage the prefrontal cortex in a positive way, reducing worry and anxiety. Making decisions also helps overcome striatum activity, which usually pulls you toward negative impulses and routines.
d. Touch people. Relationships are important to your brain’s feeling of happiness. One of the primary ways to release oxytocin is through touching. Obviously, it’s not always appropriate to touch most people, but small touches like handshakes and pats on the back are usually okay. For people you’re close with, make more of an effort to touch more often.
5. Researchers Discover the Secrets of Drumming & The Human Brain
“Drummers,” writes Jordan Taylor Sloan at Mic, “can actually be smarter than their less rhythmically-focused bandmates.” This according to the findings of a Swedish study (Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm) which shows “a link between intelligence, good timing and the part of the brain used for problem-solving.” As Gary Cleland puts it in The Telegraph, drummers “might actually be natural intellectuals.” Their ability to keep time gives them an intuitive understanding of the rhythmic patterns they perceive all around them.
That difference can be annoying—like the pain of having perfect pitch in a perpetually off-key world. But drumming ultimately has therapeutic value, providing the emotional and physical benefits collectively known as “drummer’s high,” an endorphin rush that can only be stimulated by playing music, not simply listening to it.
6. Scientists have built artificial neurons that fully mimic human brain cells
Researchers have built the world’s first artificial neuron that’s capable of mimicking the function of an organic brain cell – including the ability to translate chemical signals into electrical impulses, and communicate with other human cells.
These artificial neurons are the size of a fingertip and contain no ‘living’ parts, but the team is working on shrinking them down so they can be implanted into humans. This could allow us to effectively replace damaged nerve cells and develop new treatments for neurological disorders, such as spinal cord injuries and Parkinson’s disease.
7. Melbourne school uses neuroscience to boost grades and improve wellbeing of students
This is in a school with children who were methadone babies, whose parents are unemployed, where social services are involved with a number of families. The focus was to relieve stress so that students have free minds, open to learning. The school day starts with a breakfast club for children who may not otherwise eat until lunchtime. For the kids who don’t have food at home, this is a really important part of their day.
Nutrition is a really important part of brain function – the neuroscience is quite clear on that. And then kids visit the emotion wall. They post their photograph on a noticeboard next to a picture of the emotion they’re feeling. It helped teachers keep track of kids who need extra help, who may be struggling at home.