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Relationship value and economic value are evaluated by the same part of the brain — ScienceDaily

Wishing a friend happy birthday or spending a long period of time listening to their problems signifies commitment to the friendship. In other words, these actions serve as commitment signals (*1) and it is known that people value their relationships more with others who behave this way towards them.

Researchers from several Japanese universities have revealed that the orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for calculating economic value, is also responsible for judging the value of relationships with friends based on the received commitment signals.

The research group consisted of Professor OHTSUBO Yohsuke (Graduate School of Humanities, Kobe University), Professor OHIRA Hideki (Graduate School of Informatics, Nagoya University), Aichi Medical University’s Lecturer MATSUNAGA Masahiro (and the Department of Health and Psychosocial Medicine research team), and Lecturer HIMICHI Toshiyuki (Kochi University of Technology).

These findings were published in the online edition of ‘Social Neuroscience’ on September 25.

Main Points

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Teen brain differences linked to increased waist circumference — ScienceDaily

Differences in the microstructure of the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), a region in the brain that plays an important role in processing food and other reward stimuli, predict increases in indicators of obesity in children, according to a study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and nine other institutes, all part of the National Institutes of Health. The paper, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is based on data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study. The ABCD Study will follow nearly 12,000 children through early adulthood to assess factors that influence individual brain development and other health outcomes.

Findings from this study provide the first evidence of microstructural brain differences that are linked to waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) in children. These microstructural differences in cell density could be indicative of inflammatory processes triggered by a diet

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A conduit for prenatal inflammation? These tiny fronds of tissue protect the developing brain — but may also pass on inflammation from the mother — ScienceDaily

Floating in fluid deep in the brain are small, little understood fronds of tissue. Two new studies reveal that these miniature organs are a hotbed of immune system activity. This activity may protect the developing brain from infections and other insults — but may also contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders like autism.

“There is a correlation between maternal illness during pregnancy and autism, and we wanted to investigate how this is happening,” says Maria Lehtinen, PhD, a neurobiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital who led both studies. “It’s a very challenging process to study in the lab.”

The Lehtinen laboratory, part of Boston Children’s Department of Pathology, is one of the few in the world to study the choroid plexus. Anchored in each of four channels in the brain called ventricles, the choroid plexus produces the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that bathes the brain and spinal cord. Lehtinen has shown that the choroid

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Study Finds Preserved Brain Material In Vesuvius Victim

Brain cells have been found in exceptionally preserved form in the remains of a young man killed in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius almost 2,000 years ago, an Italian study has revealed.

The preserved neuronal structures in vitrified or frozen form were discovered at the archaeological site of Herculaneum, an ancient Roman city engulfed under a hail of volcanic ash after nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in the year 79.

Intact brain cells discovered in skull of man killed in Vesuvius eruption Intact brain cells discovered in skull of man killed in Vesuvius eruption Photo: Pier Paolo Petrone

“The study of vitrified tissue as the one we found at Herculaneum… may save lives in future,” study lead author Pier Paolo Petrone, forensic anthropologist at Naples’ University Federico II, told AFP in English.

“The experimentation continues on several research fields, and the data and information we are obtaining will allow us to clarify other and newer aspects of what happened 2000 years ago during

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Finding a better route to treating social anxiety disorder may lie in another part of the brain, researchers suggest — ScienceDaily

Studies have long suggested that oxytocin — a hormone that can also act as a neurotransmitter — regulates prosocial behavior such as empathy, trust and bonding, which led to its popular labeling as the “love hormone.” Mysteriously, oxytocin has also been shown to play a role in antisocial behaviors and emotions, including reduced cooperation, envy and anxiety. How oxytocin could exert such opposite roles had largely remained a mystery, but a new UC Davis study sheds light on how this may work.

Working with California mice, UC Davis researches showed that the “love hormone” oxytocin can sometimes have antisocial effects depending on where in the brain it is made. (Mark Chappell/UC Riverside)

While most oxytocin is produced in an area of the brain known as the hypothalamus, some oxytocin is produced in another brain area known as the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, or BNST. The BNST is known

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Millimeter-precision drug delivery to the brain — ScienceDaily

Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a method for concentrating and releasing drugs in the brain with pinpoint accuracy. This could make it possible in the future to deliver psychiatric and cancer drugs and other medications only to those regions of the brain where this is medically desirable.

Today, this is practically impossible — drugs travelling through the bloodstream reach the entire brain and body, which in some cases causes side effects. The new method is non-invasive, with precise drug delivery in the brain controlled from outside the head using ultrasound. Mehmet Fatih Yanik, Professor of Neurotechnology, and his team of scientists have published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

In order to prevent a drug from acting on the entire brain and body, the new method involves special drug carriers that wrap the drugs in spherical lipid vesicles attached to gas-containing ultrasound-?sensitive microbubbles. These are injected into

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