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CAN-ACN news

Sick Kids Researchers May Have Finally Figured Out Why We Can Remember Multiple Memories at Once

Have you ever noticed when you remember something from your past, you may also recall other moments from that time. It seems to be even more pronounced when remembering a moving event, such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the demise of the space shuttle Challenger, and more recently, the tragic events of 9/11.
While many of us experience these multiple memories, the mechanism behind their formation has been a biological enigma. For over a century researchers have tried to figure out how these combinations – or co-allocations – of memories occur. Yet successes have been few and far between.

Want To Retain Memories? McGill Researchers Suggest More REM Sleep May Do The Trick

Improving memory is a quest that never seems to end. For centuries, humans have attempted to find the right combination of social actions to better retain what we’ve learned. Over the years, some options have shown promise such as fasting  and strenuous exercise. While effective, they are not particularly popular. Then there’s the odd concept of intranasal injection of insulin. It goes to show that an idea with promise might not be the best idea.

McGill Researchers Have Found A Critical Component To Learning A Language

Acquiring a language is a difficult process. One of the best ways to learn involves the use of a tutor. This one-on-one interaction allows for direct learning as well as interaction without distraction. Usually, the teacher is an expert in that specific language. But when it comes to learning a first language, the most useful tutor happens to be an infant’s parent.

Neuroscience news

Middle-age memory decline a matter of changing focus

Natasha Rajah

Natasha Rajah

Research sheds new light on what constitutes healthy aging of the brain

The inability to remember details, such as the location of objects, begins in early midlife (the 40s) and may be the result of a change in what information the brain focuses on during memory formation and retrieval, rather than a decline in brain function, according to a study by McGill University researchers.

“Big Data” study discovers earliest sign of Alzheimer’s

Alan Evans

Alan Evans

Research underlines importance of computational power in future neurological breakthrough.
Scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital have used a powerful tool to better understand the progression of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD), identifying its first physiological signs.
Led by Dr. Alan Evans, a professor of neurology, neurosurgery and biomedical engineering at the Neuro, the researchers analyzed more than 7,700 brain images from 1,171 people in various stages of Alzheimer’s progression using a variety of techniques including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). Blood and cerebrospinal fluid were also analyzed, as well as the subjects’ level of cognition.

Hummingbird vision wired to avoid high-speed collisions

Douglas Altshuler

Douglas Altshuler

Hummingbirds are among nature’s most agile fliers. They can travel faster than 50 kilometres per hour and stop on a dime to navigate through dense vegetation.

Now researchers have discovered that the tiny birds process visual information differently from other animals, perhaps to handle the demands of their extreme aerial acrobatics.

“Birds fly faster than insects and it’s more dangerous if they collide with things,” said Roslyn Dakin, a postdoctoral fellow in the UBC’s department of zoology who led the study. “We wanted to know how they avoid collisions and we found that hummingbirds use their environment differently than insects to steer a precise course.”

Understanding how chemical changes in the brain affect Alzheimer’s disease

Marco Prado

Marco Prado

A new study from Western University is helping to explain why the long-term use of common anticholinergic drugs used to treat conditions like allergies and overactive bladder lead to an increased risk of developing dementia later in life. The findings show that long-term suppression of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine – a target for anticholinergic drugs – results in dementia-like changes in the brain.

Parkinson’s disease may be a key to solving the glioblastoma puzzle: SickKids-led study

Peter Dirks

Peter Dirks

As the most common and aggressive cancerous brain tumour in adults, a glioblastoma diagnosis remains a death sentence due to its  resistance to all currently-available treatments. Research in this area has been slow and steady to date. Now, with promising new findings, a Canadian team of scientists is ushering brain cancer research into a new realm: the field of neurodegenerative medicine and neurochemical signalling.

SickKids scientists show how memories are linked in the brain

Dr. Sheena Josselyn

Dr. Sheena Josselyn

Some memories just seem to go together. Think about an important experience in your life. You may also closely remember another experience that happened around that time too, like exchanging vows at your wedding, and then your friend’s epic dance moves later that same night. Somehow these two memories seem to be linked in your mind.

A new study led by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), looks at this connection between memories and illustrates how certain memories become linked in the brain. The study is published in the July 22 online edition of Science.