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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Brain Research: We think better on our feet ♦ Switching on one-shot learning ♦ Brain-injured patients need therapies based on cognitive neuroscience

We think better on our feet, literally A new study finds students with standing desks are more attentive than their seated counterparts. Preliminary results show 12 percent greater on-task engagement in classrooms with standing desks
Switching on one-shot learning in the brain Most of the time, we learn only gradually, incrementally building connections between actions or events and outcomes. But there are exceptions--every once in a while, something happens and we immediately learn to associate that stimulus with a result. Scientists have discovered that uncertainty in terms of the causal relationship -- whether an outcome is actually caused by a particular stimulus -- is the main factor in determining whether or not rapid learning occurs.
Brain-injured patients need therapies based on cognitive neuroscience Patients with traumatic brain injuries are not benefiting from recent advances in cognitive neuroscience research -- and they should be, scientists report. Now, cognitive neuroscientists have identified dozens of brain networks, each of which engages a specific set of brain structures to perform particular tasks. This information should factor into the therapies that these patients receive.
Brain tumor patients should be screened for depression Because depression in brain cancer patients is a common but often overlooked condition, oncologists should regularly screen tumor patients for depression. The authors also propose that more studies be completed to explore the efficacy of antidepressant treatments, as well as the value of depression biomarkers for future brain tumor research.

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