Distinctive brain pattern helps habits form

Want to work out more? Eat more healthily? Quit smoking? These neurons control the fate of your habits.

Multidendritic sensory neurons. Photo: balapagos via Flickr.

Study identifies neurons that fire at the beginning and end of a behavior as it becomes a habit.

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Scientists have discovered where anxiety comes from

Anxiety disorders are common. Yet, many find current treatments methods only partially effective.

A neuron firing. Credit: MIT.

Anxiety disorders are common and may be growing more so. 40 million US adults suffer from one in some form, about 18% of the population. Worldwide, 260 million live with an anxiety disorder, according to the WHO. Economist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz reported in 2016 that anxiety disorders have doubled in the US since 2008. There are a number of different kinds. There’s general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety, and of course, a near countless number of phobias.

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Engineers design artificial synapse for “brain-on-a-chip” hardware

A significant hangup on the way to portable artificial intelligence has been the neural synapse, which has been particularly tricky to reproduce in hardware. Until now. 

An actual human brain displayed inside a glass box, as part of an interactive exhbition 'Brain: a world inside your head', in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo: MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images)
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Self-portrait of artist Angela Palmer's brain unveiled (Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

Neuroscientists discover networks of neurons that stretch or compress their activity to control timing

Anne Trafton | MIT News Office

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Hey Bill Nye! Does Consciousness Transcend the Brain?

If you cloned yourself perfectly, would the clone have the same mind? At the heart of this question is an investigation into what – and where – consciousness is.

Consciousness is one of the big questions humanity longs to have answered. What makes us human? What is the experience of consciousness that we all feel exists intuitively, but that we have no evidence-based theory to explain — and also where is it? There are many schools of thought on the topic. Philosopher Alva Noë says consciousness isn’t in the brain, and that looking for it there is like "trying to find the dancing in the musculature of the dancer or trying to find the value of money in the chemical composition of the dollar bill." Then there are philosophers and neuroscientists who believe that consciousness is caused by neuronal oscillations, and that it’s contained in the brain. For some, it originates there but it could also be an emergent energy or vibration that goes beyond our bodies. There is no proof either way, and until there is, Bill Nye personally takes the molecular view. Do you agree that our physical, chemical brains are the beginning and end of consciousness?

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