Category Archives: Neurosciences, cognitives sciences, neurology and psychiatry

Food quality and recurrent episodes of depression

Depression is a common multifactorial condition in which the appearance of symptoms is often linked to patients’ lifestyle. Of these factors, nutrition appears to play a significant role. Studies performed in a collaborative project between INSERM researchers in Montpellier and at University College London suggest than an improvement in the quality of nutrition is associated with a reduction in the recurrence of episodes of depression, particularly in women.

How does the brain decide when one needs to take a break

Before we start to exert ourselves, our brain decides to assess the situation, evaluating the cost involved and the benefits that can be derived from it. One question has not been properly explored, namely, how does the brain decide when it is time to take a break, during a period when it is involved in strenuous activity?

“Small” and “big” dreamers: what is happening inside our brains?


Dreams are still a field that is far from being understood by researchers. The mystery is particularly deep with respect to knowing whether people who claim to dream a lot are actually dreaming more than others or whether they are simply more able than others to remember their dreams.

What is at risk in the teenage drinker?

Alcohol addiction involves five million French people. It is currently very worrying to discover that more and more of the very young are drinking alcohol, and developing dangerous habits, such as that of binge drinking.

The carrot or the stick?

Should a child be punished, for example, to get him/her to produce good results at school or should the child be offered a reward for success?
Although they did not answer this question directly, the INSERM researchers under Mathias Pessiglione at the Neuroscience Research Centre of the Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital recently showed that very specific regions are activated in the brain when faced with either situation.

The “still, small voice” in the brain has been found!

Joan of Arc is said to have heard voices, it’s a well-known fact. But we ourselves also hear voices, without even being mystics – and especially our own. We are constantly talking to ourselves. Where does this imaginary sound impression come from, this invented sound? Where does it resonate in our heads?

The origin of blindness identified for some types of hearing loss and visual impairment

Researchers from the Institut Pasteur, the Institut de la Vision, Inserm and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie have shed light on the origin of blindness that occurs in Usher I (the most common cause of deafness-blindness in humans). The scientists also demonstrated why the rat, the only animal model available today for this illness, does not suffer from the same blindness observed in humans.

Hereditary neurological disorders: a gene identified in spinocerebellar ataxia

Efforts from four research teams in France (team led by Giovanni Stévanin, Inserm unit 975 “Centre of research into neuroscience at the Pitié-Salpêtrière”), theUS,Taiwanand theNetherlands, have identified the gene responsible for a hereditary neurological disorder affecting the cerebellum: type SCA22 spinocerebellar ataxia.

An atlas of human brain connections !

One of the major challenges of modern neuroscience is to define the complex pattern of neural connections that underlie cognition and behaviour.

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