17.7: Brain - Biology

17.7: Brain - Biology

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The brain is the part of the central nervous system that is contained in the cranial cavity of the skull. There are three different ways that a brain can be sectioned in order to view internal structures: a sagittal section cuts the brain left to right, as shown in Figure 1b, a coronal section cuts the brain front to back, as shown in Figure 1a, and a horizontal section cuts the brain top to bottom.

Cerebral Cortex

The outermost part of the brain is a thick piece of nervous system tissue called the cerebral cortex, which is folded into hills called gyri (singular: gyrus) and valleys called sulci (singular: sulcus). The cortex is made up of two hemispheres—right and left—which are separated by a large sulcus. A thick fiber bundle called the corpus callosum (Latin: “tough body”) connects the two hemispheres and allows information to be passed from one side to the other. Although there are some brain functions that are localized more to one hemisphere than the other, the functions of the two hemispheres are largely redundant. In fact, sometimes (very rarely) an entire hemisphere is removed to treat severe epilepsy. While patients do suffer some deficits following the surgery, they can have surprisingly few problems, especially when the surgery is performed on children who have very immature nervous systems.

In other surgeries to treat severe epilepsy, the corpus callosum is cut instead of removing an entire hemisphere. This causes a condition called split-brain, which gives insights into unique functions of the two hemispheres. For example, when an object is presented to patients’ left visual field, they may be unable to verbally name the object (and may claim to not have seen an object at all). This is because the visual input from the left visual field crosses and enters the right hemisphere and cannot then signal to the speech center, which generally is found in the left side of the brain. Remarkably, if a split-brain patient is asked to pick up a specific object out of a group of objects with the left hand, the patient will be able to do so but will still be unable to vocally identify it.

See this website to learn more about split-brain patients and to play a game where you can model the split-brain experiments yourself.

Each cortical hemisphere contains regions called lobes that are involved in different functions. Scientists use various techniques to determine what brain areas are involved in different functions: they examine patients who have had injuries or diseases that affect specific areas and see how those areas are related to functional deficits. They also conduct animal studies where they stimulate brain areas and see if there are any behavioral changes. They use a technique called transmagnetic stimulation (TMS) to temporarily deactivate specific parts of the cortex using strong magnets placed outside the head; and they use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to look at changes in oxygenated blood flow in particular brain regions that correlate with specific behavioral tasks. These techniques, and others, have given great insight into the functions of different brain regions but have also showed that any given brain area can be involved in more than one behavior or process, and any given behavior or process generally involves neurons in multiple brain areas. That being said, each hemisphere of the mammalian cerebral cortex can be broken down into four functionally and spatially defined lobes: frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital. Figure 2 illustrates these four lobes of the human cerebral cortex.

The frontal lobe is located at the front of the brain, over the eyes. This lobe contains the olfactory bulb, which processes smells. The frontal lobe also contains the motor cortex, which is important for planning and implementing movement. Areas within the motor cortex map to different muscle groups, and there is some organization to this map, as shown in Figure 3. For example, the neurons that control movement of the fingers are next to the neurons that control movement of the hand. Neurons in the frontal lobe also control cognitive functions like maintaining attention, speech, and decision-making. Studies of humans who have damaged their frontal lobes show that parts of this area are involved in personality, socialization, and assessing risk.

The parietal lobe is located at the top of the brain. Neurons in the parietal lobe are involved in speech and also reading. Two of the parietal lobe’s main functions are processing somatosensation—touch sensations like pressure, pain, heat, cold—and processing proprioception—the sense of how parts of the body are oriented in space. The parietal lobe contains a somatosensory map of the body similar to the motor cortex.

The occipital lobe is located at the back of the brain. It is primarily involved in vision—seeing, recognizing, and identifying the visual world.

The temporal lobe is located at the base of the brain by your ears and is primarily involved in processing and interpreting sounds. It also contains the hippocampus (Greek for “seahorse”)—a structure that processes memory formation. The hippocampus is illustrated in Figure 5. The role of the hippocampus in memory was partially determined by studying one famous epileptic patient, HM, who had both sides of his hippocampus removed in an attempt to cure his epilepsy. His seizures went away, but he could no longer form new memories (although he could remember some facts from before his surgery and could learn new motor tasks).

Try It

Compared to other vertebrates, mammals have exceptionally large brains for their body size. An entire alligator’s brain, for example, would fill about one and a half teaspoons. This increase in brain to body size ratio is especially pronounced in apes, whales, and dolphins. While this increase in overall brain size doubtlessly played a role in the evolution of complex behaviors unique to mammals, it does not tell the whole story. Scientists have found a relationship between the relatively high surface area of the cortex and the intelligence and complex social behaviors exhibited by some mammals. This increased surface area is due, in part, to increased folding of the cortical sheet (more sulci and gyri). For example, a rat cortex is very smooth with very few sulci and gyri. Cat and sheep cortices have more sulci and gyri. Chimps, humans, and dolphins have even more.

Basal Ganglia

Interconnected brain areas called the basal ganglia (or basal nuclei), shown in Figure 1b, play important roles in movement control and posture. Damage to the basal ganglia, as in Parkinson’s disease, leads to motor impairments like a shuffling gait when walking. The basal ganglia also regulate motivation. For example, when a wasp sting led to bilateral basal ganglia damage in a 25-year-old businessman, he began to spend all his days in bed and showed no interest in anything or anybody. But when he was externally stimulated—as when someone asked to play a card game with him—he was able to function normally. Interestingly, he and other similar patients do not report feeling bored or frustrated by their state.


The thalamus (Greek for “inner chamber”), illustrated in Figure 5, acts as a gateway to and from the cortex. It receives sensory and motor inputs from the body and also receives feedback from the cortex. This feedback mechanism can modulate conscious awareness of sensory and motor inputs depending on the attention and arousal state of the animal. The thalamus helps regulate consciousness, arousal, and sleep states. A rare genetic disorder called fatal familial insomnia causes the degeneration of thalamic neurons and glia. This disorder prevents affected patients from being able to sleep, among other symptoms, and is eventually fatal.


Below the thalamus is the hypothalamus, shown in Figure 5. The hypothalamus controls the endocrine system by sending signals to the pituitary gland, a pea-sized endocrine gland that releases several different hormones that affect other glands as well as other cells. This relationship means that the hypothalamus regulates important behaviors that are controlled by these hormones. The hypothalamus is the body’s thermostat—it makes sure key functions like food and water intake, energy expenditure, and body temperature are kept at appropriate levels. Neurons within the hypothalamus also regulate circadian rhythms, sometimes called sleep cycles.

Limbic System

The limbic system is a connected set of structures that regulates emotion, as well as behaviors related to fear and motivation. It plays a role in memory formation and includes parts of the thalamus and hypothalamus as well as the hippocampus. One important structure within the limbic system is a temporal lobe structure called the amygdala (Greek for “almond”), illustrated in Figure 5. The two amygdala are important both for the sensation of fear and for recognizing fearful faces. The cingulate gyrus helps regulate emotions and pain.


The cerebellum (Latin for “little brain”), shown in Figure 2, sits at the base of the brain on top of the brainstem. The cerebellum controls balance and aids in coordinating movement and learning new motor tasks.


The brainstem, illustrated in Figure 2, connects the rest of the brain with the spinal cord. It consists of the midbrain, medulla oblongata, and the pons. Motor and sensory neurons extend through the brainstem allowing for the relay of signals between the brain and spinal cord. Ascending neural pathways cross in this section of the brain allowing the left hemisphere of the cerebrum to control the right side of the body and vice versa. The brainstem coordinates motor control signals sent from the brain to the body. The brainstem controls several important functions of the body including alertness, arousal, breathing, blood pressure, digestion, heart rate, swallowing, walking, and sensory and motor information integration.

BMRI Neurovascular Biology and Stroke

The main interest of our laboratory is to elucidate the peripheral immune response after cerebral ischemia and to identify deleterious and protective pathways that are associated with this response.

Lab Members
Dr. Lidia Garcia-Bonilla (Instructor)
Dr. David Brea Lopez (Post-Doc)
Dr. Carrie Poon (Post-Doc)

Research Technicians:
Gianfranco Racchumi
Michelle Murphy

PhD Students:
Xinran Jiang


Cerebral immune cell infiltration after stroke

Inflammation is a central aspect in the pathophysiology of stroke, a leading-cause of death and serious disability worldwide. Although numerous experimental studies based on immune modulatory therapies have shown promise, attempts to use such strategies in the clinic have not been successful. One of the main reasons is our poor understanding of the post-ischemic inflammation process. While the inflammatory response originates in the ischemic territory, immune cells of primary and secondary lymphoid organs are activated by inflammatory mediators released from the ischemic territory and by neurohumoral signals generated by the ischemic brain. This immune response – a hallmark of experimental and clinical stroke – has deleterious and beneficial components. My laboratory aims to identify molecular and cellular circuits that govern the peripheral immune response to stroke. Specifically, we are interested in:

  • The role of monocytes as triggers of endogenous neuroprotection.
  • The function of monocyte-derived macrophages in repair and remodeling processes during subacute and chronic phases of cerebral ischemia.
  • The role of the gastrointestinal microbiome in shaping the immune response to stroke.

Inflammatory cascades involved in preconditioning


  • Identification of posttranslational modifications that regulate the activity of nuclear NF-κB complexes.
  • Our laboratory has identified the NOX2 (gp91phox) subunit as a target for NF-κB regulation linking pro-inflammatory signals to reactive oxygen species (ROS) production.
  • We have identified monocyte subsets that are able to induce cerebral ischemic tolerance.
  • We have identified a microbiota-gut-brain axis that has a fundamental impact on the immune response after ischemic brain injury and on stroke outcome.

Recent Publications

1. Benakis C, Brea D, Caballero S, Faraco G, Moore J, Murphy M, Sita G, Racchumi G, Ling L, Pamer EG, Iadecola C, Anrather J. Commensal microbiota affects ischemic stroke outcome by regulating intestinal γδ T cells. Nat. Med. 2016 May22(5):516–23. PMCID: PMC4860105

2. Hochrainer K, Pejanovic N, Olaseun VA, Zhang S, Iadecola C, Anrather J. The ubiquitin ligase HERC3 attenuates NF-κB-dependent transcription independently of its enzymatic activity by delivering the RelA subunit for degradation. Nucleic Acids Res. 2015 Nov 1643(20):9889–904. PMCID: PMC4787756

3. Garcia-Bonilla L, Racchumi G, Murphy M, Anrather J, Iadecola C. Endothelial CD36 Contributes to Postischemic Brain Injury by Promoting Neutrophil Activation via CSF3. J. Neurosci. 2015 Nov 435(44):14783–93. PMCID: PMC4635129

4. Fu Y, Liu Q, Anrather J, Shi F-D. Immune interventions in stroke. Nat Rev Neurol. 2015 Sep11(9):524–35. PMCID: PMC4851339

5. Garcia-Bonilla L, Moore JM, Racchumi G, Zhou P, Butler JM, Iadecola C, Anrather J. Inducible nitric oxide synthase in neutrophils and endothelium contributes to ischemic brain injury in mice. The Journal of Immunology. 2014 Sep 1193(5):2531–7. PMCID: PMC4147670

6. Benakis C, Garcia-Bonilla L, Iadecola C, Anrather J. The role of microglia and myeloid immune cells in acute cerebral ischemia. Front Cell Neurosci. 20148:461. PMCID: PMC4294142

7. Garcia-Bonilla L, Benakis C, Moore J, Iadecola C, Anrather J. Immune mechanisms in cerebral ischemic tolerance. Front Neurosci. 20148:44. PMCID: PMC3940969

8. Shimamura M, Zhou P, Casolla B, Qian L, Capone C, Kurinami H, Iadecola C, Anrather J. Prostaglandin E2 type 1 receptors contribute to neuronal apoptosis after transient forebrain ischemia. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism. 2013 Aug33(8):1207–14. PMCID: PMC3734771

9. Hochrainer K, Racchumi G, Anrather J. Site-specific phosphorylation of the p65 protein subunit mediates selective gene expression by differential NF-κB and RNA polymerase II promoter recruitment. J. Biol. Chem. 2013 Jan 4288(1):285–93. PMCID: PMC3537023

10. Iadecola C, Anrather J. The immunology of stroke: from mechanisms to translation. Nat. Med. 2011 Jul17(7):796–808. PMCID: PMC3137275


Robert Darnell (Rockefeller)
Karin Hochrainer (BMRI)
Costantino Iadecola (BMRI)
Chris Schaffer (Cornell Ithaca)
Miguel Soares (Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Oeiras, Portugal)
Timothy Vartanian (BMRI)


The Human Brain Project (HBP) is a European flagship project with a 10-year horizon aiming to understand the human brain and to translate neuroscience knowledge into medicine and technology. To achieve such aims, the HBP explores the multilevel complexity of the brain in space and time transfers the acquired knowledge to brain-derived applications in health, computing, and technology and provides shared and open computing tools and data through the HBP European brain research infrastructure. We discuss how the HBP creates a transdisciplinary community of researchers united by the quest to understand the brain, with fascinating perspectives on societal benefits.

Citation: Amunts K, Knoll AC, Lippert T, Pennartz CMA, Ryvlin P, Destexhe A, et al. (2019) The Human Brain Project—Synergy between neuroscience, computing, informatics, and brain-inspired technologies. PLoS Biol 17(7): e3000344.

Published: July 1, 2019

Copyright: © 2019 Amunts et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 7202070 (HBP SGA1) and No. 785907 (HBP SGA2). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Abbreviations: ADNI, Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative AI, artificial intelligence Brain/MINDS, Brain Mapping by Integrated Neurotechnologies for Disease Studies CLSM, confocal laser scanning microscopy EEG, electroencephalography FAIR, Findable Accessible Interoperable Re-usable FENIX, Federated Exascale Network for data Integration and eXchange GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation HBP, Human Brain Project HLST, High-Level Support Team IBI, International Brain Initiative ICT, information and communication technology MIP, Medical Informatics Platform MNI, Montreal Neurological Institute PLI, polarized light imaging TEM, transmission electron microscopy TPFM, two-photon fluorescence microscopy

Provenance: Not commissioned externally peer reviewed

Volume 2

Allopregnanolone and HPA axis activity in pregnancy

In pregnancy, increased allopregnanolone levels suppress HPA axis responses to stress ( Figure 44.6 ). Studies have shown that blocking allopregnanolone production in pregnant rats with administration of finasteride (a 5α-reductase inhibitor that reduces brain allopregnanolone content by up to 90%) 29 substantially restores HPA axis responses to IL-1β 21 whilst allopregnanolone administration attenuates HPA axis stress responses in nonpregnant female rats 21 and in males. 529 Any stimulatory actions of elevated estrogen levels in pregnancy on HPA axis stress responses to stress, like those reported in nonpregnant rats, 530 are presumably outweighed by the suppressive actions of allopregnanolone.

As mentioned before, progesterone is ineffective in suppressing HPA axis responses to IL-1β in nonpregnant rats. Notably, the other allopregnanolone precursor, DHP, is also ineffective, 21 which highlights the importance of upregulation of both of the allopregnanolone synthesizing enzymes in the brain in late pregnancy.

Paul H. Patterson

Paul H. Patterson, the Anne P. and Benjamin F. Biaggini Professor of Biological Sciences, Emeritus, at Caltech, and a neuroscientist and developmental biologist who created novel behavioral models of schizophrenia and autism in mice, died on June 25, 2014. He was 70 years old.

Paul H. Patterson's early career was very much a product of one the first golden ages of modern neuroscience. Having completed his Ph.D. with William Lennarz at Johns Hopkins in 1970 (working on prokaryotic membrane biology), Paul fatefully decided to head to Harvard Medical School as a postdoctoral fellow, eventually becoming a faculty member, in the first Department of Neurobiology established in the U.S. In this unique environment, Paul pioneered the primary culture of peripheral neurons and used this system to discover that developing sympathetic neurons could switch their neurotransmitter phenotype from noradrenergic to cholinergic, in response to environmental factors. This was a fundamental discovery in Neuroscience, as it violated the "one neuron, one transmitter" concept, and demonstrated that neurotransmitter identity is not genetically determined and immutable. Paul's quest to purify and molecularly characterize the factor that controls this switch culminated in 1989, five years after his move to Caltech, with the purification and microsequencing of the "cholinergic differentiation factor." The sequence of this factor revealed, astonishingly, that it was identical to Leukemia Inhibitory Factor ("LIF"), a cytokine previously identified based on its immunological function. This discovery, along with his early adoption of monoclonal antibodies as a tool to query the nervous system, marked the beginning of Paul's transformation into a "neuroimmunologist."

Paul continued his work on the effects of cytokines on the developing and diseased nervous system, deploying antibodies both as tools and therapeutic candidates. In the early 2000's, these lines of research led Paul to become increasingly interested in the interplay between the biology of inflammation and its impact on the developing brain and behavior. Emboldened by his unique perspective, Paul expanded on the link between the immune system and behavior by establishing a mouse model of autism and schizophrenia based on studies showing infection during pregnancy increased disease risk. He showed that stimulation of the immune system in pregnant animals results in offspring with altered behaviors, and characterized the immune pathways that promoted these outcomes. This discovery served to increase awareness for environmental influences on neurodevelopmental conditions. In one of his most recent studies, Paul demonstrated that the gut microbiome, the diverse collection of intestinal bacteria, regulates behaviors in a mouse model of autism, and that probiotic treatment leads to improvements in behavioral deficits. These studies provide the hope that perhaps neurodevelopmental disorders with strong environmental influences may be ameliorated with microbial therapies. Paul's groundbreaking discoveries have advanced novel paradigms in Neuroscience and Immunology, and introduced concepts that will continue to be developed by researchers worldwide, including many of his trainees.

Additional Links

Bauman, M.D., Iosif, A.M., Smith, S.E., Bregere, C., Amaral, D.G., Patterson, P.H. (2013) Activation of the maternal immune system during pregnancy alters behavioral development of Rhesus monkey offspring. Bio. Psychiatry Sep 4. pii: S0006-3223(13)00673-2. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.06.025. [Epub ahead of print]

Garay, Paula A. and Hsiao, Elaine Y. and Patterson, Paul H. and McAllister, A. K. (2013) Maternal immune activation causes age- and region-specific changes in brain cytokines in offspring throughout development. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 31 . pp. 54-68. ISSN 1090-2139. Download

Khoshnan, Ali and Ou, Susan and Ko, Jan and Patterson, Paul H. (2013) Antibodies and intrabodies against Huntingtin: Production and screening of monoclonals and single-chain recombinant forms. In: Trinucleotide Repeat Protocols. Methods in Molecular Biology. No.1010. Springer , New York, pp. 231-251. ISBN 9781627034104 Download

McAllister, A. Kimberley and Patterson, Paul H. (2012) Introduction to special issue on neuroimmunology in brain development and disease. Developmental Neurobiology, 72 (10). pp. 1269-1271. ISSN 1932-8451. Download

Hsiao, Elaine Y. and Patterson, Paul H. (2012) Placental regulation of maternal-fetal interactions and brain development. Developmental Neurobiology, 72 (10). pp. 1317-1326. ISSN 1932-8451. Download

Bugg, Charles W. and Isas, J. Mario and Fischer, Torsten and Patterson, Paul H. and Langen, Ralf (2012) Structural features and domain organization of Huntingtin fibrils. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 287 (38). pp. 31739-31746. ISSN 0021-9258. Download

Hsiao, Elaine Y. and McBride, Sara W. and Chow, Janet and Mazmanian, Sarkis K. and Patterson, Paul H. (2012) Modeling an autism risk factor in mice leads to permanent immune dysregulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109 (31). pp. 12776-12781. ISSN 0027-8424. Download

Khoshnan, Ali and Patterson, Paul H. (2012) Elevated IKKα accelerates the differentiation of human neuronal progenitor cells and induces MeCP2-dependent BDNF expression. PLoS ONE, 7 (7). e41794. ISSN 1932-6203. Download

Malkova, Natalia V. and Yu, Collin Z. and Hsiao, Elaine Y. and Moore, Marlyn J. and Patterson, Paul H. (2012) Maternal immune activation yields offspring displaying mouse versions of the three core symptoms of autism. Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 26 (4). pp. 607-616. ISSN 0889-1591 . Download

Garbett, K. A. and Hsiao, E. Y. and Kálmán, S. and Patterson, P. H. and Mirnics, K. (2012) Effects of maternal immune activation on gene expression patterns in the fetal brain. Translational Psychiatry, 2 . Art. No. e98. ISSN 2158-3188 . Download

Deverman, Benjamin E. and Patterson, Paul H. (2012) Exogenous leukemia inhibitory factor stimulates oligodendrocyte progenitor cell proliferation and enhances hippocampal remyelination. Journal of Neuroscience, 32 (6). pp. 2100-2109. ISSN 0270-6474. Download

Carlisle, Holly J. and Luong, Tinh N. and Medina-Merino, Andrew and Schenker, Leslie and Khorosheva, Eugenia and Indersmitten, Tim and Gunapala, Keith M. and Steele, Andrew D. and O'Dell, Thomas J. and Patterson, Paul H. and Kennedy, Mary B. (2011) Deletion of densin-180 results in abnormal behaviors associated with mental illness and reduces mGluR5 and DISC1 in the postsynaptic density fraction. Journal of Neuroscience, 31 (45). pp. 16194-16207. ISSN 0270-6474. Download

Khoshnan, Ali and Patterson, Paul H. (2011) The role of IkB kinase complex in the neurobiology of Huntington's disease. Neurobiology of Disease, 43 (2). pp. 305-311. ISSN 0969-9961. Download

Patterson, Paul H. (2011) Maternal infection and immune involvement in autism. Trends in Molecular Medicine, 17 (7). pp. 389-394. ISSN 1471-4914 . Download

Hsiao, Elaine Y. and Patterson, Paul H. (2011) Activation of the maternal immune system induces endocrine changes in the placenta via IL-6. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 25 (4). pp. 604-615. ISSN 0889-1591 . Download

Patterson, Paul H. (2011) Modeling autistic features in animals. Pediatric Research, 69 (5). 34R-40R. ISSN 0031-3998. Download

Southwell, Amber L. and Patterson, Paul H. (2011) Gene therapy in mouse models of Huntington disease. Neuroscientist , 17 (2). pp. 153-162. ISSN 1073-8584 . Download

Brown, Alan S. and Patterson, Paul H. (2011) Maternal infection and schizophrenia: Implications for prevention. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 37 (2). pp. 284-290. ISSN 0586-7614 . Download

Southwell, Amber L. and Bugg, Charles W. and Kaltenbach, Linda S. and Dunn, Denise and Butland, Stefanie and Weiss, Andreas and Paganetti, Paolo and Lo, Donald C. and Patterson, Paul H. (2011) Perturbation with intrabodies reveals that calpain cleavage Is required for degradation of Huntingtin Exon 1. PLoS ONE, 6 (1). Art. No. e16676. ISSN 1932-6203. Download

Scientists entered people’s dreams and got them ‘talking’

In the movie Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio enters into other people’s dreams to interact with them and steal secrets from their subconscious. Now, it seems this science fiction plot is one baby step closer to reality. For the first time, researchers have had “conversations” involving novel questions and math problems with lucid dreamers—people who are aware that they are dreaming. The findings, from four labs and 36 participants, suggest people can receive and process complex external information while sleeping.

“This work challenges the foundational definitions of sleep,” says cognitive neuroscientist Benjamin Baird of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who studies sleep and dreams but was not part of the study. Traditionally, he says, sleep has been defined as a state in which the brain is disconnected and unaware of the outside world.

Lucid dreaming got one of its first mentions in the writings of Greek philosopher Aristotle in the fourth century B.C.E., and scientists have observed it since the 1970s in experiments about the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep, when most dreaming occurs. One in every two people has had at least one lucid dream, about 10% of people experience them once a month or more. Although rare, this ability to recognize you are in a dream—and even control some aspects of it—can be enhanced with training. A few studies have tried to communicate with lucid dreamers using stimuli such as lights, shocks, and sounds to “enter” people’s dreams. But these recorded only minimal responses from the sleepers and did not involve complex transmission of information.

Four independent teams in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States tried to go further and establish complex two-way communication during dreams, using speech and asking questions the sleepers had never heard in their training. They recruited 36 volunteers, including some experienced lucid dreamers and others who had never experienced a lucid dream before but remembered at least one dream a week.

The researchers first trained participants to recognize when they were dreaming, by explaining how lucid dreaming works and demonstrating cues—sounds, lights, or finger tapping—that they would present while dreamers slept. The idea was those cues would signal to participants that they were dreaming.

Nap sessions were schedueled at different times: some at night, when people would regularly go to bed, and others early in the morning. Each lab used a different way to communicate with the sleeper, from spoken questions to flashing lights. Sleepers were told to signal they had entered a lucid dream and answer questions by moving their eyes and face in particular ways—by, for example, moving their eyes three times to the left.

As the participants fell asleep, the scientists monitored their brain activity, eye movement, and facial muscle contractions—common indicators of REM sleep—with electroencephalogram helmets outfitted with electrodes. Out of a total of 57 sleeping sessions, six individuals signaled they were lucid dreaming in 15 of them. In those tests, researchers asked the dreamers simple yes or no questions or math problems, like eight minus six. To answer, dreamers used the signals they had been taught before falling asleep, which included smiling or frowning, moving their eyes multiple times to indicate a sum, or, in the German lab, moving their eyes in patterns that matched Morse code.

The researchers asked 158 questions of the lucid dreamers, who responded correctly 18.6% of the time, the researchers report today in Current Biology . The dreamers gave the wrong answer to only 3.2% of the questions 17.7% of their answers were not clear and 60.8% of the questions got no response. The researchers say these numbers show the communication, even if difficult, is possible. “It is proof of concept,” Baird says. “And the fact that different labs used all these different ways to prove it is possible to have this kind of two-way communication … makes it stronger.”

After several questions, the dreamers were woken up and asked to describe their dreams. Some remembered the questions as part of a dream: One dreamer reported math problems coming out of a car radio. Another was at a party when he heard the researcher interrupting his dream, like a narrator in a movie, to ask him whether he spoke Spanish.

The experiment provides a better way to study dreams, says lead author Karen Konkoly, a cognitive neuroscientist at Northwestern University. “Almost everything that’s known about dreams has relied on retrospective reports given when the person is awake and these can be distorted.” Konkoly hopes this technique could be used in the future therapeutically to influence people’s dreams so they can better deal with trauma, anxiety, and depression.

Sleeping “conversations” might also help the dreamer solve problems, learn new skills, or even come up with creative ideas, Baird says. “The dream is a highly associative state that may have advantages when it comes to creativity.”

University of Rochester cognitive neuroscientist Michelle Carr, who was not involved in the study, says she is excited about such future applications. But she stresses that retrospective dream reports can’t be replaced. “When you are in a dream, your reporting abilities are quite limited,” she says.

Changing people’s thoughts during dreams is still science fiction, stresses co-author and cognitive neuroscientist Ken Paller, also at Northwestern. Nevertheless, he thinks the experiment is an important first step in communicating with dreamers he likens it to the first conversation using a telephone or talking to an astronaut on another planet. Dreamers live in a “world entirely fabricated of memories stored in the brain,” he says. Now, researchers appear to have found a way to communicate with people in that world.

A new study on the “gut-brain axis” found that lower levels of loneliness and higher levels of wisdom and compassion were associated with greater diversity of the gut microbiome. The relationship between loneliness and microbial diversity was particularly strong in older adults.

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How does one diversify their gut microbiome? Eclectic diet? Mix things up in the probiotics section?

Eating fermented foods and lots of fiber seem to be the most effective ways

What you seek is the spice melange

Eat a diverse, varied diet. Instead of eating only starches and meat protein, we should eat 20 or more different species of vegetables, nuts, fruits, and meats (if not vegetarian/vegan).

So-called "Mediterranean" or "Okinawan" diets are supposed to be very diverse. Diverse foods means diverse nutrients for diverse species of bacteria.

I once went through a period of eating only Dominos most days for a year. Had a microbiome panel, found out it was not that diverse relative to the average person's gut. This correlated with my poor mood and health. It really put things in perspective so now I try to cook for myself most days.

Btw you do not have to eat a so-called "Mediterranean" or "Okinawan" diet to eat healthily. These are largely fad diets with weak (if any) evidence for their efficacy. A healthy, varied diet can be achieved in all sorts of ways. Eat what you like but try to eat mostly vegetables and "lean" proteins (chicken, fish, legumes). Avoid processed foods and red meat.

Treatment for disruptive behavior disorders

Starting treatment early is important. Treatment is most effective if it fits the needs of the specific child and family. The first step to treatment is to talk with a healthcare provider. A comprehensive evaluation by a mental health professional may be needed to get the right diagnosis. Some of the signs of behavior problems, such as not following rules in school, could be related to learning problems which may need additional intervention. For younger children, the treatment with the strongest evidence is behavior therapy training for parents, where a therapist helps the parent learn effective ways to strengthen the parent-child relationship and respond to the child&rsquos behavior. For school-age children and teens, an often-used effective treatment is a combination of training and therapy that includes the child, the family, and the school.

Get help finding treatment

Here are tools to find a healthcare provider familiar with treatment options:

  • Psychologist Locator external icon , a service of the American Psychological Association (APA) Practice Organization.
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Finder external icon , a research tool by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP).
  • Find a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist external icon , a search tool by the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.
  • If you need help finding treatment facilities, visit external icon .

Annual Review of Physiology

2020 Release of Journal Citation Reports

The 2020 Edition of the Journal Citation Reports® (JCR) published by Clarivate Analytics provides a combination of impact and influence metrics from 2019 Web of Science source data. This measure provides a ratio of citations to a journal in a given year to the citable items in the prior two years.

Download Annual Reviews 2020 Edition JCR Rankings in Excel format.

Annual Review of: Rank Category Name Ranked Journals in Category Impact Factor Cited Half-Life Immediacy Index
Analytical Chemistry 6 Chemistry, Analytical 86 7.023 7.1 2.042
Analytical Chemistry3Spectroscopy427.0237.12.042
Animal Biosciences2Zoology1686.0914.13.125
Animal Biosciences17Biotechnology and Applied Microbiology1566.0914.13.125
Animal Biosciences1Agriculture, Dairy, and Animal Sciences636.0914.13.125
Animal Biosciences2Veterinary Science1426.0914.13.125
Astronomy and Astrophysics1Astronomy and Astrophysics6832.96310.85.133
Biochemistry3Biochemistry and Molecular Biology29725.78712.34.933
Biomedical Engineering2Biomedical Engineering8715.5419.01.524
Cancer Biology53Oncology2445.4132.02.826
Cell and Developmental Biology13Cell Biology19514.66710.50.552
Cell and Developmental Biology1Developmental Biology4114.66710.50.552
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering1Chemistry, Applied719.5615.60.941
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering5Engineering, Chemical1439.5615.60.941
Clinical Psychology1Psychology, Clinical (Social Sciences)13113.6927.93.304
Clinical Psychology4Psychology (Science)7713.6927.93.304
Condensed Matter Physics6Physics, Condensed Matter6914.8334.97.273
Criminology1Criminology & Penology696.3481.40.955
Earth and Planetary Sciences4Geosciences, Multidisciplinary2009.08914.22.727
Earth and Planetary Sciences5Astronomy and Astrophysics689.08914.22.727
Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics2Evolutionary Biology5014.04117.40.440
Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics2Ecology16814.04117.40.440
Environment and Resources5Environmental Studies (Social Science)1238.0659.60.563
Environment and Resources14Environmental Sciences (Science)2658.0659.60.563
Financial Economics36Business, Finance1082.0577.00.167
Financial Economics107Economics3712.0577.00.167
Fluid Mechanics1Physics, Fluids and Plasmas3416.30615.49.190
Fluid Mechanics1Mechanics13616.30615.49.190
Food Science and Technology3Food Science & Technology1398.9605.22.615
Genetics5Genetics & Heredity17711.14610.80.500
Genomics and Human Genetics15Genetics & Heredity1777.2439.10.955
Law and Social Science18Law1542.5887.70.233
Law and Social Science20Sociology1502.5887.70.233
Marine Science2Geochemistry & Geophysics8516.3596.67.050
Marine Science1Marine & Freshwater Biology10616.3596.67.050
Marine Science1Oceanography6616.3596.67.050
Materials Research19Materials Science, Multidisciplinary31412.53110.62.267
Medicine6Medicine, Research & Experimental1389.7168.63.829
Nuclear and Particle Science2Physics, Nuclear198.7789.81.000
Nuclear and Particle Science3Physics, Particles and Fields298.7789.81.000
Nutrition2Nutrition & Dietetics8910.89714.20.714
Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior2Psychology, Applied8410.9234.41.222
Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior2Management22610.9234.41.222
Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease1Pathology7816.7507.26.500
Pharmacology and Toxicology1Toxicology9211.25011.45.793
Pharmacology and Toxicology5Pharmacology & Pharmacy27011.25011.45.793
Physical Chemistry19Chemistry, Physical15910.63812.13.667
Phytopathology4Plant Sciences23412.62312.70.478
Plant Biology1Plant Sciences23419.54013.04.586
Political Science8Political Science1804.00011.30.750
Psychology2Psychology (Science)7718.15612.36.367
Psychology3Psychology, Multidisciplinary (Social Science)13818.15612.36.367
Public Health2Public, Environmental & Occup. Health (Social Science)17016.4639.53.880
Public Health3Public, Environmental & Occup. Health (Science)19316.4639.53.880
Resource Economics70Economics3712.7455.80.167
Resource Economics48Environmental Studies (Social Science)1162.7455.80.167
Resource Economics4Agricultural Economics and Policy (Science)212.7455.80.167
Sociology 1Sociology1506.40017.70.767
Statistics and Its Application4Mathematics, Interdisciplinary Applications1065.0953.21.350
Statistics and Its Application2Statistics and Probability1245.0953.21.350
Vision Science34Neurosciences2715.8973.40.391
Vision Science5Ophthalmology605.8973.40.391

AIMS AND SCOPE OF JOURNAL: The Annual Review of Physiology, in publication since 1939, covers the significant developments in the field of animal physiology, including cardiovascular physiology cell physiology ecological, evolutionary, and comparative physiology endocrinology gastrointestinal physiology neurophysiology renal and electrolyte physiology respiratory physiology and special topics.

In the classroom and beyond

Fortunately, learning does not stop in the classroom. As adults, we keep on learning, consuming new information, expanding our knowledge, evolving our thinking. While some of this happens in our spare time, a lot of the learning we do happens in the workplace. And many of the current applications of neuroeducation in the classroom are transferable to the workplace.

About $80 billion is spent every year on corporate training in the United States only and an average training budget for large companies of $17.7 million in 2019, the training industry is massive. On average, 44% of the training budget is spent on online learning tools and systems. With so much money being spent, are we even sure these training interventions are effective?

Neuroeducation could provide an answer, ensuring only science-based training interventions are being implemented, and that employees get to understand the fundamentals of how the brain works. Having a basic understanding of the biological processes underlying the way we think, learn, and make decisions should be considered mandatory. And because very few schools currently teach these neuroeducation principles, employers could step in.

Of course, neuroeducation is in its infancy and it is far from being the answer to everything. In particular, scientists still struggle to integrate findings from the laboratory, which are the result of controlled experiments, onto real-life, messy settings, where many complex factors impact the learning experience.

It’s all about having realistic expectations. A first step would be to use neuroeducation to dispel harmful neuromyths which have a negative impact on the way people learn. A second step would be to teach well-researched neuroscience findings in the area of learning and memory to students and employees. Many people are not familiar with these basic findings. Finally, a third and more challenging step would be to figure out a way to teach these neuroeducation principles at scales, while ensuring people actually understand how to make the most of them in a messy, real-life context.

There’s a long road ahead but the impact of neuroeducation on people’s performance and overall mental health could be massive.

Watch the video: Explaining Humans Brain - Full Documentary HD #Advexon (December 2022).