Author Cell Press

Molecular mechanism links stress with predisposition for depression

A new study provides insight into how stress impacts the brain and may help to explain why some individuals are predisposed to depression when they experience chronic stress. The research, published by Cell Press in the January 27 issue of the journal Neuron, reveals complex molecular mechanisms associated with chronic stress and may help to guide new treatment strategies for depression.

Pain gene common to flies, mice and humans

They show that one of those genes in particular has a long evolutionary history, as evidenced by the fact that it plays a role in pain sensing in flies, mice and humans. At least in mice, the newly described gene is also linked to a condition known in humans as synesthesia, in which one sensory experience triggers the perception of another sense.

Electrical brain stimulation improves math skills

By applying electrical current to the brain, researchers reporting online on November 4 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, have shown that they could enhance a person’s mathematical performance for up to 6 months without influencing their other cognitive functions. The findings may lead to treatments for the estimated 20 percent of the population with moderate to severe numerical disabilities (for example, dyscalculia) and for those who lose their skill with numbers as a result of stroke or degenerative disease, according to the researchers.

Competing motivational brain responses predict costly helping

A new study reveals that brain signals elicited by the sight of someone suffering pain differ as a function of whether we identify positively or negatively with that person and that these differential brain signals predict a later decision to help or withdraw from helping.

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