JNeurosci: Highlights from the April 12 issue

April 12, 2017

Check out these newsworthy studies from the April 12, 2017, issue of JNeurosci. Media interested in obtaining the full text of the studies should contact media@sfn.org.

Voluntary Exercise, Enriched Environment Reduces Chronic Pain in Mice

Medications for chronic pain, such as opioids, carry a risk of dependency and abuse. Complementary, non-drug approaches are being explored to reduce the impact of these side effects, but the effectiveness of these techniques is not well established. In a new study, researchers found that mice housed in a three-story cage equipped with a variety of equipment -- including running wheels, tunnels, and a swing -- showed reduced perception of pain and related anxious behaviors as well as improved performance on an object exploration task compared to control mice housed in a single-story cage without such toys. Voluntary exercise and an enriched environment alleviated chronic pain by promoting the generation of new neurons (neurogenesis) in specific regions of the hippocampus involved in the perception and emotional impact of pain and the impairments in learning and memory that often accompany chronic pain. Although an exercise regimen would be unrealistic for patients with debilitating pain, the authors suggest that other therapies that promote neurogenesis in the hippocampus (for example, changes in diet) could be combined with pharmacological treatments to manage chronic pain.

Corresponding author: You Wan, ywan@bjmu.edu.cn

Brain Network Enables Mice to Remember Each Other

The ability to recognize individuals after time apart is a basic and important skill for social animals, but how the brain consolidates information about other animals is unclear. In this study, researchers briefly introduced mice into the same cage and then brought them back together two or 24 hours later to assess the neural mechanisms involved in recognizing individuals. They found that gene expression in four brain regions -- the hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and amygdala -- is required to convert social recognition from short-term to long-term memory. Specifically, they found that the hippocampus acts as a hub connecting and regulating the generation of this social memory. These findings highlight that memory is stored not in a single location but rather in a network of brain regions and that different types of memory may be represented by distinct networks.

Corresponding author: Satoshi Kida, kida@nodai.ac.jp
The Journal of Neuroscience is published by the Society for Neuroscience, an organization of nearly 37,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.

Society for Neuroscience

Related Memory Articles from Brightsurf:

Memory of the Venus flytrap
In a study to be published in Nature Plants, a graduate student Mr.

Memory protein
When UC Santa Barbara materials scientist Omar Saleh and graduate student Ian Morgan sought to understand the mechanical behaviors of disordered proteins in the lab, they expected that after being stretched, one particular model protein would snap back instantaneously, like a rubber band.

Previously claimed memory boosting font 'Sans Forgetica' does not actually boost memory
It was previously claimed that the font Sans Forgetica could enhance people's memory for information, however researchers from the University of Warwick and the University of Waikato, New Zealand, have found after carrying out numerous experiments that the font does not enhance memory.

Memory boost with just one look
HRL Laboratories, LLC, researchers have published results showing that targeted transcranial electrical stimulation during slow-wave sleep can improve metamemories of specific episodes by 20% after only one viewing of the episode, compared to controls.

VR is not suited to visual memory?!
Toyohashi university of technology researcher and a research team at Tokyo Denki University have found that virtual reality (VR) may interfere with visual memory.

The genetic signature of memory
Despite their importance in memory, the human cortex and subcortex display a distinct collection of 'gene signatures.' The work recently published in eNeuro increases our understanding of how the brain creates memories and identifies potential genes for further investigation.

How long does memory last? For shape memory alloys, the longer the better
Scientists captured live action details of the phase transitions of shape memory alloys, giving them a better idea how to improve their properties for applications.

A NEAT discovery about memory
UAB researchers say over expression of NEAT1, an noncoding RNA, appears to diminish the ability of older brains to form memories.

Molecular memory can be used to increase the memory capacity of hard disks
Researchers at the University of Jyväskylä have taken part in an international British-Finnish-Chinese collaboration where the first molecule capable of remembering the direction of a magnetic above liquid nitrogen temperatures has been prepared and characterized.

Memory transferred between snails
Memories can be transferred between organisms by extracting ribonucleic acid (RNA) from a trained animal and injecting it into an untrained animal, as demonstrated in a study of sea snails published in eNeuro.

Read More: Memory News and Memory Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.