Physical Differences Found in Brains of People Who Respond Either Emotionally or Rationally


People empathise differently; while some connect in a deeply emotional manner (i.e. they cry when watching a sad movie, as they almost experience the pain of the characters), others empathise in a more cognitive way (they approach the distress in others in a more rational way, offering helpful strategies, such as counselling).

Do these different empathising styles correlate with exisitng differences in people’s brains? The results of a voxel-based-morphometry study from the Monash in which researchers were able to predict the empathising style of participants, based on the gray matter density of two brain regions- the insula and the midcingulate cortex, suggest that this is the case.

Read the research report in NeuroscienceNews here

Adult Neurogenesis- Adult-born neurons grow larger than and are morphologically different from their infancy-born counterparts


Picture from: Adult Neurogenesis, Mental Health, and Mental Illness: Hope or Hype?
Amelia J. Eisch, Heather A. Cameron, Juan M. Encinas, Leslie A. Meltzer, Guo-Li Ming, Linda S. Overstreet-Wadiche
Journal of Neuroscience 12 November 2008, 28 (46) 11785-11791; DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3798-08.2008

Summary: Neurons created as a result of adult neurogenesis mature for longer and grow larger than those created during infancy. Findings suggest adult-born neurons may have a more powerful function than those created during infancy and may play a critical role in neuroplasticity.

Read the full summary article in the Neuroscience News journal

Original Research: Closed access
“Adult-Born Hippocampal Neurons Undergo Extended Development and Are Morphologically Distinct From Neonatally-Born Neurons”. by John Darby Cole, Delane Espinueva, Désirée R. Seib, Alyssa M. Ash, Matthew B. Cooke, Shaina P. Cahill, Timothy O’Leary, Sharon S. Kwan and Jason S. Snyder.
npj Science of Food doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1665-19.2020

Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure


By Aisha S. Ahmad

Global catastrophes change the world, and this pandemic is very much akin to a major war. Even if we contain the Covid-19 crisis within a few months, the legacy of this pandemic will live with us for years, perhaps decades to come. It will change the way we move, build, learn, and connect. There is simply no way that our lives will resume as if this had never happened. And so, while it may feel good in the moment, it is foolish to dive into a frenzy of activity or obsess about your scholarly productivity right now. That is denial and delusion. The emotionally and spiritually sane response is to prepare to be forever changed….

The link to the full version of Aisha S. Ahmad’s beautifully written personal account of adapting to living in the Corona-virus induced crisis and withstanding the “productivity pressure” can be found here