Tuesday January 21, 2020

Japanese Scientists find New technique that can manipulate Brain Activity to boost Self-confidence

The new technique called 'Decoded Neurofeedback' identifies brain activity linked to confidence and then amplifies it to a high confidence state

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A researcher holds a human brain. VOA

Tokyo, Dec 17, 2016: Japanese scientists have in a breakthrough developed a new technique that can manipulate people’s brain activity to boosts their self-confidence, a finding that opens the potential treatments for conditions such as post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD) and phobias.

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The new technique called ‘Decoded Neurofeedback’ identifies brain activity linked to confidence and then amplifies it to a high confidence state.

For patients with PTSD and Alzheimer’s disease self confidence is an important aspect, which is often complicated by patients thinking negatively of their own capacities.

In the study, using this technique, participants’ brains were scanned to monitor and detect the occurrence of specific complex patterns of activity corresponding to high confidence states, while they performed a simple perceptual task.

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Whenever the pattern of high confidence was detected, participants received a small monetary reward.

This experiment allowed researchers to directly boost one’s own confidence unconsciously, i.e. participants were unaware that such manipulation took place.

Importantly, the effect could be reversed, as confidence could also be decreased.

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“By continuously pairing the occurrence of the highly confident state with a reward – a small amount of money – in real-time, we were able to do just that: when participants had to rate their confidence in the perceptual task at the end of the training, their were consistently more confident,” Aurelio Cortese from the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International in Kyoto, Japan.

The study was published in the journal Nature Human Behavior. (IANS)

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One Sleepless Night Could Contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease: Research

Losing just one night's sleep linked to Alzheimer's disease

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Alzheimer's disease
Losing just one night of sleep fuels brain proteins linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease. Pixabay

Losing just one night of sleep fuels brain proteins linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, a new research warns.

The study, published in the journal Neurology, found that when young, healthy men were deprived of just one night of sleep, they had higher levels of tau, a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease, in their blood than when they had a full, uninterrupted night of rest.

Tau is a protein found in neurons that can form into tangles. These accumulate in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. It can start to develop in the brain decades before symptoms of the disease appear.

Alzheimer's
The study, published in the journal Neurology, found that when young, healthy men were deprived of just one night of sleep, they had higher levels of tau, a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease. Pixabay

Previous studies of older adults have suggested that sleep deprivation can increase the level of tau in the cerebral spinal fluid.

“Our exploratory study shows that even in young, healthy individuals, missing one night of sleep increases the level of tau in blood suggesting that over time, such sleep deprivation could possibly have detrimental effects,” said study author Jonathan Cedernaes, from Uppsala University in Sweden.

The study involved 15 healthy, normal-weight men with an average age of 22. They all reported regularly getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night.

There were two phases to the study. For each phase, the men were observed under a strict meal and activity schedule in a sleep clinic for two days and nights. Blood samples were taken in the evening and again in the morning.

For one phase, participants were allowed to get a good night of sleep both nights.

Alzheimer's disease
Researchers also looked at four other biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s but there were no changes in levels between a good night of sleep and one night of no sleep. Pixabay

For the other phase, participants were allowed to get a good night of sleep the first night followed by a second night of sleep deprivation.

During sleep deprivation, lights were kept on while participants sat up in bed playing games, watching movies or talking.

Researchers found that the men had an average 17 per cent increase in tau levels in their blood after a night of sleep deprivation compared to an average two per cent increase in tau levels after a good night of sleep.

Researchers also looked at four other biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s but there were no changes in levels between a good night of sleep and one night of no sleep.

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“It’s important to note that while higher levels of tau in the brain are not good, in the context of sleep loss we do not know what higher levels of tau in blood represent,” said Cedernaes.

According to the researchers, when neurons are active, production of tau in the brain is increased. Higher levels in the blood may reflect that these tau proteins are being cleared from the brain or they may reflect elevated tau levels in the brain. (IANS)