Neuroscience

Articles and news from the latest research reports.

5,376 notes

Pay attention: How we focus and concentrate
Scientists at Newcastle University have shed new light on how the brain tunes in to relevant information.
Publishing in Neuron, the team reveal the interplay of brain chemicals which help us pay attention in work funded by the Wellcome Trust and BBSRC.
By changing the way neurons respond to external stimuli we improve our perceptual abilities. While these changes can affect the strength of a neuronal response, they can also affect the fidelity of that response.
Lead author Alex Thiele, Professor of Visual Neuroscience explains: “When you communicate with others, you can make yourself better heard by speaking louder or by speaking more clearly. Neurons appear to do similar things when we’re paying attention. They send their message more intensely to their partners, which compares to speaking louder. But more importantly, they also increase the fidelity of their message, which compares to speaking more clearly.
“Our earlier work has shown that attention is able to affect the intensity of responses – in effect the loudness - by means of the brain chemical acetylcholine. Now we have shown that the fidelity of the response is altered by a different brain chemical system.”
In the paper, the team reveal that the quality of the response is altered by means of glutamate coupling to NMDA receptors (a molecular device that mediates communication between neurons). Carried out in a primate model, these studies for the first time isolate different attention mechanisms at the receptor level.
The research builds on the team’s previous studies and has potentially significant implications not only for our understanding of how our brains work but also give an insight into conditions such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and attention deficit disorder, and may aid in the development of treatments for them.

Pay attention: How we focus and concentrate

Scientists at Newcastle University have shed new light on how the brain tunes in to relevant information.

Publishing in Neuron, the team reveal the interplay of brain chemicals which help us pay attention in work funded by the Wellcome Trust and BBSRC.

By changing the way neurons respond to external stimuli we improve our perceptual abilities. While these changes can affect the strength of a neuronal response, they can also affect the fidelity of that response.

Lead author Alex Thiele, Professor of Visual Neuroscience explains: “When you communicate with others, you can make yourself better heard by speaking louder or by speaking more clearly. Neurons appear to do similar things when we’re paying attention. They send their message more intensely to their partners, which compares to speaking louder. But more importantly, they also increase the fidelity of their message, which compares to speaking more clearly.

“Our earlier work has shown that attention is able to affect the intensity of responses – in effect the loudness - by means of the brain chemical acetylcholine. Now we have shown that the fidelity of the response is altered by a different brain chemical system.”

In the paper, the team reveal that the quality of the response is altered by means of glutamate coupling to NMDA receptors (a molecular device that mediates communication between neurons). Carried out in a primate model, these studies for the first time isolate different attention mechanisms at the receptor level.

The research builds on the team’s previous studies and has potentially significant implications not only for our understanding of how our brains work but also give an insight into conditions such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and attention deficit disorder, and may aid in the development of treatments for them.

Filed under acetylcholine NMDA receptors schizophrenia attention attention disorders neuroscience science

  1. t0biandjosh reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  2. brightlightssmallworld reblogged this from fifiezzaty
  3. what-the--deuce reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  4. unbeknownstlove reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  5. sleeping-beauty87 reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  6. hypersugarroxy reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  7. articlestoread reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  8. whowouldathought2011 reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  9. ilikewhatilikesothere reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  10. shelberdingles reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  11. miccawright reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  12. sullibeaw reblogged this from neurosciencestuff and added:
    Maybe. But all I want is focus.
  13. inthenewsindia reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  14. questioning-your-existence reblogged this from neurosciencestuff and added:
    …………………………………………………….
  15. houndsof-anubis reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  16. izzieh reblogged this from vannahboo96
  17. livingmeatloaf reblogged this from neurosciencestuff
  18. neuroscienceappreciation reblogged this from sagansense
  19. recreationalblowjob reblogged this from beserkemotions
  20. lazyducklings reblogged this from secular-science
  21. showtimejay reblogged this from deeply-spaced
  22. twodollarsandadream reblogged this from freshtobloodclaut
  23. freshtobloodclaut reblogged this from k-leyva
  24. reverie-reversal reblogged this from sosungalittleclodofclay
  25. sosungalittleclodofclay reblogged this from listener-blue
  26. listener-blue reblogged this from victusinveritas
  27. victusinveritas reblogged this from sagansense and added:
    Pay attention: How we focus and concentrate Scientists at Newcastle University have shed new light on how the brain...
  28. screaming-for-change reblogged this from cuming-linguist
  29. cuming-linguist reblogged this from quietcoimetromaniac
  30. jon-vo reblogged this from sagansense
free counters