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Press releases

Archive press releases:

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17.01.2017 Researchers discover severe side effects of approved medication

The therapeutic antibody alemtuzumab is used for multiple sclerosis patients with active disease. It can apparently worsen the illness in some cases.

The multiple sclerosis (MS) therapy alemtuzumab can trigger severe, unpredictable side effects. This was the finding by a team led by Prof Dr Aiden Haghikia and Prof Dr Ralf Gold from the Department of Neurology of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum at St. Josef’s Hospital. In the journal Lancet Neurology, the scientists report on two patients for whom the infusion of alemtuzumab significantly worsened symptoms. The team also describes a treatment that successfully curbed the harmful side effects.

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11.01.2017 Our senses can’t learn under stress

Stress is part of our everyday lives – while some thrive on it, it makes others sick. But what does stress do to our senses?

When we train them, we can sharpen our senses thereby improve our perceptual performance. The stress hormone cortisol completely blocks this important ability. In the current issue of “Psychoneuroendocrinology” neuroscientists of the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) report on this finding.

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13.12.2016 Kompetenznetz Multiple Sklerose (in German)

Bochumer Mediziner zum Sprecher des Forschungsnetzwerks gewählt
So sollen Diagnose, Therapie und Versorgung für Patienten besser werden.


Der Bochumer Mediziner Prof. Dr. Ralf Gold ist zum Sprecher des Kompetenznetzes Multiple Sklerose gewählt worden. Der Direktor der Neurologischen Klinik der Ruhr-Universität Bochum am St. Josef-Hospital wird das Amt drei Jahre lang bis August 2019 innehaben. Das beschlossen die Mitglieder des Netzwerks auf ihrer Versammlung im September 2016.

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21.11.2016 Stau in Opas Kopf (in German)

Bilderbuch und Kurzfilm helfen Kindern verstehen
Was ist los im Gehirn, wenn es nicht mehr normal funktioniert? Pip und Milli erklären es kindgerecht.


Nach einer Hirnschädigung, zum Beispiel durch einen Schlaganfall oder eine Verletzung, verändert sich das Leben von Patienten und ihren Angehörigen häufig dramatisch. Schon Erwachsene sind mit den Symptomen oft überfordert. Kinder verstehen erst recht die Welt nicht mehr. Mit einem Kurzfilm zum Thema Gesichtsfeldausfall und einem Bilderbuch über den Schlaganfall haben Neurowissenschaftler der Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) neue Wege gefunden, um Kindern das Verständnis zu erleichtern.

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04.10.2016 Sprachverarbeitung im Gehirn (in German)

Eine App zeigt, was Eltern Kindern weitergeben

Gut und günstig, so lautet das Fazit von Bochumer Psychologen, die erstmals eine Smartphone-App für Forschungszwecke verwendet haben. Dabei ging es um die Vorliebe für eine Gehirnhälfte bei der Verarbeitung von Sprache.

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29.09.2016 fMRT Study: How our brain's resting state changes

It is impossible for the brain to do nothing. It is always active - but not always in the same way. Scientists in Bochum have investigated changes in the brain's resting state – with the help of Morse code.

When we learn a new skill, a network of brain regions is affected, which is active during the brain's resting state. Even when we appear to do nothing, many areas of the brain are working at full speed. The way these areas are connected depends on what we have previously learned. Researchers reported on these findings in the journal "NeuroImage".

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19.09.2016 Tauben können Englisch lernen (in german)

Nicht nur Menschen können sich orthografische Regeln aneignen, sondern auch Vögel. So haben Forscher sie ihnen beigebracht.

Tauben können englische Wörter und Nicht-Wörter auseinanderhalten. Die Tiere treffen die Unterscheidung anhand der Buchstabenkombinationen. Das berichten Psychologen der Universität Otago, Neuseeland, und der RUB in der Zeitschrift „Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences“.

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15.09.2016 Alzheimer’s research - Poison in the brain

Nuclear spheres facilitate the formation of putatively toxic structures in the neuronal nuclei of Alzheimer’s patients.

Spherical structures in the nucleus of nerve cells, so-called nuclear spheres, are suspected to trigger Alzheimer’s disease. A team headed by Dr Thorsten Müller from the research group Cell Signaling in Neurodegeneration has for the very first time demonstrated the presence of the presumably toxic protein aggregates in the human brain. The researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum have published their article in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.

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13.09.2016 How our brain slows down the effects of aging

The older we get, the more difficult it becomes to put the world around us in order. Yet, our brain develops remarkable strategies to slow down the effects of aging.

In order to process the information that we receive every day, we build categories into which we sort everything that makes up the world around us. Neuroscientists from Bochum's Ruhr University (RUB) found out: the way we categorise things changes throughout our lifetimes. Their research results were now published in the journal Neuropsychologia.

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30.08.2016 Cannabinoid receptor activates spermatozoa

Researchers from Bochum and Bonn have detected a highly sensitive cannabinoid receptor in spermatozoa. Its function is crucial for fertilisation.

During fertilization, a sperm must first fuse with the plasma membrane and then penetrate the female egg in order to penetrate it. To this end, sperm cells go through a process known as the acrosome reaction which is the reaction that occurs in the acrosome of the sperm as it approaches the egg. In the lab, this so-called acrosome reaction is considered a test for analysing the ability of semen to accomplish fertilisation. A receptor for an endogenous cannabinoid plays a crucial role in this process. A team of biologists from Bochum and Bonn, headed by Prof Dr Dr Dr Hanns Hatt, have been the first one to provide a proof of the so-called G protein-coupled receptors 18 (GPR18) in spermatozoa, following a comprehensive analysis. They published their findings in Scientific Reports.

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29.08.2016 When the immune system attacks brain cells

Sometimes the immune system fights the body's own structures - often leading to grave consequences

When the immune system fights the body's own structures, consequences can be devastating. Especially in those cases where the brain's nerve cells are being attacked. Researchers from Bochum and Göttingen now revealed that such autoimmune reactions against a certain receptor of nerve cells in the brain are much more complex than previously thought. In addition, it became clear that the mere presence of such autoantibodies in the bloodstream does not necessarily mean you will get sick. The project was spearheaded by RUB biochemist Prof. Dr. Michael Hollmann and medical scientist Prof. Dr. Hannelore Ehrenreich of the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine in Göttingen. The researchers reported in the journal "Molecular Psychiatry".

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08.08.2016 Scent research Olfactory receptors discovered in bronchi

The muscle cells of bronchi detect scents, for example a specific banana and apricot scent.
This might be good news for asthma sufferers.


Researchers identified two types of olfactory receptors in human muscle cells of bronchi. If those receptors are activated by binding an odorant, bronchi dilate and contract – a potential approach for asthma therapy.
This is the conclusion drawn by a team headed by Prof Dr Dr Dr habil Hanns Hatt and Dr Benjamin Kalbe at the Department for Cellphysiology in Bochum. Together with colleagues from various clinics in Bochum, Cologne and Herne, the researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum published their report in the journal “Frontiers in Physiology”.

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20.07.2016 Thinking inside the box – How our brain puts the world in order

Neuroscientists find sorting centre in the brain
Brain activity observed through MRI


Neuroscientists have investigated what happens when we put the world around us in order. They found out which areas of the brain help us to think inside the box.

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16.06.2016 How older people learn

Learning at an advanced age makes the brain fit. Older people even learn more than younger ones. Still, age-related brain changes cannot be undone.

As a person ages, perception declines, accompanied by augmented brain activity. Learning and training may ameliorate age-related degradation of perception, but age-related brain changes cannot be undone. Rather, brain activity is enhanced even further, but for other reasons and with different outcomes. Researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) discovered these facts in a recent study, the results of which have now been published in Scientific Reports.

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03.06.2016 Neuromedizin am Bergmannsheil erfolgreich bei BMBF-Förderinitiative (in german)

Photo 3T-MRT-Scanner

Rund 2 Mio. Euro Förderung für NeuroTechGate
Innovatives Neuroimaging, elektrische Neurostimulation und Big-Data-Gangbildscreening


Im Rahmen einer Förderinitiative des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) zur Entwicklung von Industrie-in-Klinik-Plattformen setzte sich das Konsortium NeuroTechGate am Berufsgenossenschaftlichen Universitätsklinikum Bergmannsheil mit seiner Neurologischen Klinik durch: Das Projekt der Bochumer Gruppe ist eines von bundesweit fünf Projekten, das in den nächsten Jahren durch das BMBF gefördert wird. In den folgenden zweieinhalb Jahren wird die Gruppe ihre neurowissenschaftlichen Modellvorhaben mit einer finanziellen Unterstützung von voraussichtlich ca. 2,2 Mio. Euro am Bergmannsheil realisieren können.

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02.06.2016 New discoveries in scent research

Olfactory receptor discovered in pigment cells of the skin
The team intends to examine the newly identified receptor in patients. A current study explains why.


Researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum were the first ones to prove the existence of an olfactory receptor in pigment-producing cells in human skin, the so-called melanocytes. The team headed by Prof Dr Dr Dr habil. Hanns Hatt demonstrated that the violet-like scent Beta-Ionone can activate the receptor.
Together with colleagues from Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the university hospital in Jena, the researchers at Bochum’s Department for Cellphysiology reported their findings in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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01.05.2016 Von Bochum nach Magdeburg (in german)

Prof. Dr. Magdalena Sauvage leitet neue Abteilung am Leibniz-Institut für Neurobiologie Magdeburg
Wechsel von der Ruhr an die Elbe


Am 1. April hat Frau Prof. Dr. Magdalena Sauvage ihre Tätigkeit am Leibniz-Institut für Neurobiologie (LIN) aufgenommen. Sie hatte zuvor eine Mercator-Professur an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum inne. Sie leitet am LIN die neu gegründete Abteilung "Funktionelle Architektur des Gedächtnisses". Zudem wurde sie auf eine Professur für "Funktionelle Neuroplastizität" an die Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg berufen.
Herzlichen Glückwunsch!

Pressemitteilung vom LIN, Magdeburg (2.Mai 2016)


28.04.2016 The smell of memories

We learn differently, when it smells
RUB-researchers investigate memory


Our sense of smell influences how our brain stores information about novel objects. A particular part of the hippocampus plays an important role in this process.

When we learn something new, we use all our senses to acquire information. Neuroscientists from the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) and the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf have investigated how the brain stores these impressions. And they used a special method to do it.

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26.04.2016 Controlling nerve cells with light

Insights into the complex serotonin system. Understanding the causes of anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression are two of the most frequently occurring mental disorders worldwide. Light-activated nerve cells may indicate how they are formed.

By coupling nerve cell receptors to light-sensitive retinal pigments, Prof Dr Olivia Masseck researches into the causes of anxiety and depression. For more than 60 years, researchers have been hypothesising that the diseases are caused by, among other factors, changes to the level of the neurotransmitter. “Unfortunately, it is very difficult to understand how the serotonin system works,” says Masseck, who became junior professor for Super-Resolution Fluorescence Microscopy at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) in April 2016.

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18.04.2016 How children perceive faces

Seven-year-olds show different brain activities than adults
Children find different photos of the same person more difficult to recognise


Humans are experts in facial perception. But not from birth. At which point do children become as skilled at it as adults?

Seven-year-olds show different brain activities than adults when it comes to facial perception. This is reported by the workgroup Developmental Neuropsychology in the Ruhr-Universität Bochum’s science journal Rubin. The results don’t support the theory that brain areas that are specialised for facial perception are fully developed at the age of five.

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08.04.2016 Novel optogenetic tool

Switching specific G-protein-coupled signalling pathways on and off
Protein melanopsin facilitates transient and sustained activation


Blue on, yellow off: using different-coloured light, researchers are able to switch signalling pathways in the brain on and off.

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01.04.2016 Brain processes social information at high priority

Everyday actions activate bottom-up attention processes
Bochum researchers use hypnosis to study cognitive processes


Our brain automatically pays great attention to everyday actions linked to a social context. Researchers from Bochum have verified this fact with the aid of hypnosis.

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15.03.2016 When memories age

Neuroscientists follow the trace of memory
Molecular imaging shows how we remember


For our brain it makes a great difference whether we remember experiences from long ago, or if we recollect recent events. RUB-neuroscientists were able to show that distinct brain-networks are involved.

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03.03.2016 Some birds are just as smart as apes

Complex cognition is possible without a cortex
Researchers figure out similarities in brain architecture


At first glance, the brains of birds and mammals show many significant differences. In spite of that, the cognitive skills of some groups of birds match those of apes.

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23.02.2016 Serotonin-receptor drives learning in the hippocampus

Study investigates coding of memories
Neuroscientists explore memory at cellular level


Neuroscientists at the Ruhr University Bochum are investigating the cellular processes involved in memory and learning. In the journal "Hippocampus" they now report on a special serotonin-receptor in the hippocampus, which influences memory encoding and storage.

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11.02.2016 Neuroscience: Darks are conveyed faster than lights

Luminance change creates “motion” through activity waves in the brain
RUB scientists publish in The Journal of Neuroscience


RUB scientists have investigated how we perceive movement. They show that contrasts between object and background lead to activity waves in the brain that aid perception.

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02.02.2016 Memory is experience-dependent

Protein supports synaptic plasticity
Study investigates chemical basis for learning


A team of neuroscientists at the Ruhr University Bochum has investigated the chemical foundations of learning mechanisms in the brain. The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein involved in nerve growth, and its connection to information storage and memory in the hippocampus were at the centre of their research. The team was able to show that this particular protein facilitates some, but not all forms of learning. The journal "Hippocampus" has now published the result of their work.

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25.01.2016 Stress inhibits spatial perception

Researchers investigate effects of stress on the brain
Study offers insights into function of hippocampus


Neuroscientists of Collaborative Research Centre 874 at the Ruhr University Bochum have investigated the effects of stress on the perception of scenes and faces. In a behavioural study, they compared the results of stressed participants with those of an unstressed control group. They were able to show that stress inhibits the perception of complex spatial information. The reason for this lies in the processing of this information in the hippocampus, an area in the temporal lobe of the brain, which is influenced by the stress hormone cortisol. The journal “Psychoneuroendocrinology” has published the results of the study.

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19.01.2016 How to forget fear

Neural network is responsible for retrieval of fear-memory
Insight for treatment of posttraumatic stress disorders


Each time a memory is retrieved, the brain updates this memory and, for a short period of time, it becomes vulnerable. This process of reconsolidation and the participating areas of the brain were investigated by a team of scientists at Bochum's Ruhr University. Using optogenetics, a method combining optics and genetics, they were able to influence the ability to remember. Their findings offer promising new approaches for the therapy of anxiety disorders. The researchers' insights were published in the journal "Cerebral Cortex".

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22.12.2015 Mental time travel: an exclusively human capacity

To anticipate the future, one must know the past
Episodic memory is only one component of mental time travel


Are humans the only ones who are able to remember events that they had experienced and mentally time travel not only into the past but also the future? Or do animals have the same capacity? To a certain extend, according to three researchers who are contributing a new theoretical model to this long-standing discussion. They published their results in the journal “Neuroscience and Behavioral Reviews”.

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10.12.2015 Neurotransmitter predicts learning

Magnetic resonance spectroscopy shows levels of chemical messenger in the brain
RUB-researchers collaborate with Johns Hopkins University


In an international collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD, USA), neuroscientists at the Ruhr-University Bochum have determined a link between brain levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, the main source of inhibition in the brain, and tactile learning. Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, they were able to show that success in learning can be predicted by baseline GABA levels. The results of this research were recently published in the scientific journal “Cerebral Cortex”.

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01.12.2015 Onur Güntürkün wird Stiftungsprofessor (in german)

Prof. Onur Güntürkün (Biopsychologie) besetzt 2016 die Johannes-Gutenberg-Stiftungsprofessur in Mainz. In seiner Veranstaltungsreihe „Psychologie und Gehirn: Zur Innenansicht des Menschen“ wird er sich mit neuesten Erkenntnissen der Psychologie und der Neurowissenschaft auseinandersetzen.

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02.12.2015 Nervenzellwachstum magnetisch stimulieren (in german)

Horizon 2020-Projekt
Neuer Therapieansatz für die Parkinson-Krankheit


Das internationale Team vom Projekt "Magneuron" erhält 3,5 Millionen Euro für vier Jahre aus dem Horizon 2020-Programm. Die EU unterstützt es im Rahmen des Programms „Future and Emerging Technologies open“. 680.000 Euro davon fließen an die RUB.

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30.11.2015 900,000 Euros for memory research

International collaboration in Computational Neuroscience
Funded by BMBF and National Institute of Health


Investing more than 900,000 euros, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the US-American National Institute of Health are funding a close research cooperation between Prof Dr Sen Cheng from the Mercator Research Group “Structure of Memory” at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Prof Dr Kamran Diba from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Together, both researchers and their three collaborators will investigate “Neural network mechanisms of sequence generation in the hippocampus”. The three-year project begins in December 2015.

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20.11.2015 High frequency stimulation in pain medicine

Stimulation of fingertips improves sense of touch
Pilot study brings interdisciplinary team together


Due to disease-related changes in their brain, pain patients often suffer from an impaired tactile ability in their hands. In a pilot study conducted by scientists at the Ruhr-University Bochum, high frequency repetitive stimulation was investigated as a therapeutic approach for these patients. The results of this study have now been published in the journal "Frontiers in Neurology”. They show that passive stimulation of this kind is a promising new therapy option.

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17.11.2015 RUB scientists investigate anatomy of the pigeon brain

New insights into connections between brain hemispheres
Research aims to draw conclusions about human brain


The brain of Columba livia, a close relative of the domestic pigeon, is an evolutionary precursor to the human brain; making it particularly interesting for neuroscientists. In contrast to the human brain, the brain of pigeons does not have a corpus callosum. This thick strand of nerve cells connects the brain hemispheres of humans and other mammals. In pigeons, the two halves of the brain are connected by the much smaller commissura anterior. Scientists of the Collaborative Research Center 874 at the Ruhr-University Bochum have taken a closer look at this structure. They hope to gain a better understanding of interhemispheric exchange in birds and other vertebrate classes. "The Journal of Comparative Neurology" has published the results of their neuroanatomical study.

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11.11.2015 Alzheimer research: new findings

Protein exhibits additional mechanism
Neurotransmitter activity impairment


Current Alzheimer’s research focuses on the amyloid precursor protein (APP), which is responsible for the formation of destructive plaques in the brain. Researchers from Bochum have now demonstrated that APP, in addition to forming those plaques, might also affect the development of Alzheimer’s disease via another mechanism.

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30.10.2015 Working memory: underlying processes are more complex than we thought

Rhythmic brain activity in hippocampus is the key
Successful memory performance is based on alternating activity states


In order to retain a piece of information for a short time, working memory is required. The underlying processes are considerably more complex than hitherto assumed, as researchers from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Bonn University report in the journal “Cell Reports”. Two brain states must alternate rhythmically in order for a piece of information to be successfully maintained.

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23.10.2015 Alzheimer risk impairs “satnav” function of the brain

Altered activation pattern in entorhinal cortex in young risk carriers
Researchers report their findings in “Science”


Young adults with genetically increased Alzheimer’s risk have altered activation patterns in a brain region that is crucial for spatial navigation. This is reported by the team headed by Prof Nikolai Axmacher from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, together with colleagues from the universities of Bonn, Nijmegen and Ulm in the journal Science, which appears on October 23.

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21.10.2015 How diet may affect the progression of multiple sclerosis

Neurologists focus on fatty acids
Collaboration between neurologists from Bochum and Erlangen


Dietary fatty acids affect the development and progression of autoimmune chronic-inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis. In a collaborative study between the Departments of Neurology at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (St. Josef-Hospital) and the Friedrich Alexander Universtiy Erlangen, researchers now found that long-chain fatty acids promote the development and propagation of CNS reactive immune cells in the intestinal wall. On the contrary, short-chain fatty acids promote the development and propagation of regulatory cells in the immune system. Prof Dr med. Aiden Haghikia and Prof Dr med. Ralf Linker published their results in the current edition of the renowned journal "Immunity".

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14.10.2015 The Brain´s Dress Code

Much ado about a dress – optical illusion is responsible
Bochum study provides explanation


In February 2015, the photo of a striped dress stirred a worldwide internet debate ; now, neuroscientists at the university clinic Bergmannsheil in Bochum have further decoded the phenomenon , demonstrating that the optical illusion is linked to specific brain activation patterns. The study results have been published in the neuroscience journal "Cortex".

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29.09.2015 Morse code is key to learning mechanisms in the brain

Researchers at Bergmannsheil University Hospital find "adaptive neuroplasticity"
3-Tesla MRI scanner gives insights into the working brain


Researchers at Bergmannsheil University Hospital have investigated how the brain behaves during a learning process and which areas of the brain play a part in solving different analytical tasks. In a recent study they asked participants to learn and decode parts of the Morse alphabet. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner measured their brain activity during the tasks. The scientists were able to show that a common network of brain areas is activated. Depending on the task at hand, further areas are recruited – the neuroscientists call this "adaptive neuroplasticity". The journal "Human Brain Mapping" has published these findings.

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22.09.2015 Wie sich Erinnerungen im Schlaf festigen (in german)

Damit Menschen Erinnerungen für lange Zeit speichern können, braucht es die Zusammenarbeit verschiedener Hirnareale. Entscheidend scheint dabei der Rhythmus der Gehirnaktivität. In „Nature Neuroscience“ berichten Forscher von den Rhythmen einer Gedächtnisregion des Menschen, mit deren Hilfe sich Erinnerungen im Schlaf festigen könnten. An der Veröffentlichung ist auch RUB-Prof. Dr. Nikolai Axmacher vom Institut für Kognitive Neurowissenschaft beteiligt.

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27.08.2015 How the mind sharpens the senses

Zen meditation improves sense of touch
Mental states induce neuroplasticity and learning


A study conducted with experienced scholars of Zen-Meditation shows that mental focussing can induce learning mechanisms, similar to physical training. Researchers at the Ruhr-University Bochum and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University München discovered this phenomenon during a scientifically monitored meditation retreat. The journal “Scientific Reports”, from the makers of “Nature”, has now published their new findings on the plasticity of the brain.

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20.08.2015 "Memory region" of the brain also involved in conflict resolution

Hippocampus is involved in quick and successful decisions
The brain could learn useful lessons from resolved conflicts


The hippocampus in the brain's temporal lobe is responsible for more than just long-term memory. Researchers have for the first time demonstrated that it is also involved in quick and successful conflict resolution. The team headed by Prof Dr Nikolai Axmacher from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), together with colleagues from the University Hospital of Bonn as well as in Aachen and Birmingham, reported in the journal "Current Biology".

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17.08.2015 Turkish whistling makes asymmetries in the brain disappear

Left hemisphere not dominant in the perception of all languages
Whistled Turkish involves both hemispheres equally


Researchers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have debunked the theory that the left brain hemisphere is dominant in the processing of all languages. To date, it has been assumed that that dominance is not determined by the physical structure of a given language. However, the biopsychologists have demonstrated that both hemispheres are equally involved in the perception of whistled Turkish. Onur Güntürkün, Monika Güntürkün and Constanze Hahn report in the journal “Current Biology”.

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04.08.2015 Fundamental neue Theorie für den Sehsinn (in german)

Spezialisierung von Zellen im Kortex könnte Ursprung in der Netzhaut haben
Prinzip des Farbsehens gilt möglicherweise auch für Wahrnehmung anderer Eigenschaften


Lebewesen könnten verschiedene Orientierungen visueller Reize auf die gleiche Weise wahrnehmen wie verschiedene Farben. Diese neue Theorie schlagen Prof. Trichur Vidyasagar von der University of Melbourne und Prof. Ulf Eysel von der Ruhr-Universität Bochum in der Zeitschrift „Trends in Neurosciences“ vor. Die Idee: Die Zellen der Netzhaut arbeiten bereits als Detektoren für wenige ausgewählte Orientierungen, die je nach Anordnung eines Reizes im Raum unterschiedlich stark angesprochen werden. Aus dem Verhältnis ihrer Antworten berechnet das Gehirn die genau vorliegende Orientierung. Das gleiche Prinzip könnte auch der Wahrnehmung anderer Reizeigenschaften zugrunde liegen.

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28.07.2015 Where memory is encoded and retrieved

New findings in a long-standing debate
Researchers study the function of the hippocampus at a cellular level


Are the same regions and even the same cells of the brain area called hippocampus involved in encoding and retrieving memories or are different areas of this structure engaged? This question has kept neuroscientists busy for a long time. Researchers at the Mercator Research Group "Structure of Memory" at RUB have now found out that the same brain cells exhibit activity in both processes. They have published their results in the journal "Hippocampus".

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21.07.2015 Slowness facilitates structure in the brain

Neuroscientists analyse the principles of self-organisation of nerve cells
Slow Feature Analysis explains many experimental results


The brain is so complex that its structure cannot be completely determined by genetics. Neuroscientists at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) attempt to figure out which mechanisms nerve cells use to organise themselves. They have suggested that slowness may be the decisive factor. The Ruhr-Universität's science magazine RUBIN reports.

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13.07.2015 Neuronal networks: Tiny source, great effect

How nerve cells organise themselves
Propagation of local excitation in the brain is a chain reaction


Brain researchers from the Mercator Research Group "Structure of Memory" at RUB have used a computer model to analyse how neuronal networks in the brain organise themselves. They found out that changes within the network can be traced back to small, local nerve excitations. Their results were published in the journal "Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience".

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08.07.2015 RD Neuroscience im Fokus der Weltöffentlichkeit

Zum Weltkongress der International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) vom 7. bis 11. Juli 2015 in Rio de Janeiro, wird das Research Department of Neuroscience der RUB in einem Dokumentarfilm der Weltöffentlichkeit vorgestellt.

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01.07.2015 How cortisol reinforces traumatic memories

Stress hormone takes effect while people retrieve and reconsolidate emotional memories
Results could shed light on anxiety and PTSD phenomena


The stress hormone cortisol strengthens memories of scary experiences. However, it is effective not only while the memory is being formed for the first time, but also later when people look back at an experience while the memory reconsolidates. This has been published by cognition psychologists from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in the journal "Neuropsychopharmacology". They suggest that the results might explain the persistence of strong emotional memories occurring in anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

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17.06.2015 RUB-Scientists develop ataxia mouse model

Investigating the origins of spinocerebellar ataxia 6
Eye blink conditioning for early diagnosis


Scientists at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum established a mouse model for the human disease SCA6. SCA6 is characterized by movement deficits and caused by similar genetic alterations as Chorea Huntington. The mouse model will be used to investigate the disease mechanisms. Experiments suggest that an impairment of eye blink conditioning could be an early disease symptom. The team from the Department of Zoology and Neurobiology published their data in “The Journal of Neuroscience”; the work was highlighted by the editor’s commentary.

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10.06.2015 2. Deutsch-Türkische Wissenschaftsgespräche an der RUB (in german)

Neurowissenschaftler sprechen über die Architektur des Gehirns
Onlineregistrierung für Symposium bis zum 14. Juni 2015


Warum sind wir, wie wir sind? Bei ihrer Suche nach Antworten beschäftigen sich Psychologen weltweit mit der Architektur des Gehirns. Beim Symposium "Neuroscience: From Structure to Function and Back" erörtern herausragende Neurowissenschaftler aus Deutschland und der Türkei neue Erkenntnisse über die Evolution des Gehirns. Das Symposium findet am 16. Juni 2015 an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum statt.

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03.06.2015 In search of memory storage

New model for memory formation in the hippocampus
RUB researchers deploy computer simulation


The hippocampus plays a crucial role in memory formation. However, it is not yet fully understood in what way that brain structure's individual regions are involved in the formation of memories. Neuroscientists at the Collaborative Research Center 874 at RUB have recreated this process with the aid of computer simulations. Their findings challenge the model of memory forming in the hippocampus established to date. Their results have been published in the journal "PLOS Computational Biology".

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21.05.2015 Rub-Neuroforscher neu in NRW Akademie (in german)

Als die 19 neuen Mitglieder in der Nordrhein-Westfälischen Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Künste (AWK) am 20. Mai in Düsseldorf willkommen geheißen wurden, gehörten auch zwei RUB-Forscher dazu: der Biopsychologe Prof. Dr. Onur Güntürkün und die Pädagogin Prof. Dr. Käte Meyer-Drawe.

Mit seiner Aufnahme ist Prof. Güntürkün (Arbeitseinheit Biopsychologie) der erste Psychologe der Klasse für Naturwissenschaften und Medizin.

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12.05.2015 Nerve cells in the fast lane

Dopamine-producing neurons fulfil important function in the brain
Scientists from Bochum and Bonn conduct joint research


Nerve cells that produce dopamine for the purpose of transmitting signals to other cells affect numerous crucial brain functions. This becomes evident in diseases such as Parkinson’s and schizophrenia, where dopamine transmission in the brain is impaired. In collaboration with researchers from Bonn, RUB scientists at the Mercator Research Group “Structure of Memory” have now identified in what way a specific form of this important cell is generated and which networks it forms in the course of brain development. In the process, the researchers discovered a data highway of sorts: the nerve cells use not only dopamine for signal transmission, but also the much-faster glutamate. The results have now been published in the trade magazine “Nature Neuroscience”.

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09.04.2015 Delicate magnolia scent activates human pheromone receptor

Just like animals, humans use chemical communication
Scent molecule Hedione triggers different brain activities in men and women


The question if humans can communicate via pheromones in the same way as animals is under debate. Cell physiologists at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have demonstrated that the odorous substance Hedione activates the putative pheromone receptor VN1R1, which occurs in the human olfactory epithelium. Together with colleagues from Dresden, the Bochum-based researchers showed that the scent of Hedione generates sex-specific activation patters in the brain, which do not occur with traditional fragrances. “These results constitute compelling evidence that a pheromone effect different from normal olfactory perception indeed exists in humans,” says scent researcher Prof Dr Dr Dr Hanns Hatt. The team published the results in the Journal “NeuroImage”.

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08.04.2015 Emotions are not just feelings hidden inside

RUB philosophers put forward a new emotion recognition model
Humans perceive feelings of others via pattern recognition


Philosophers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have put forward a new model that explains how humans recognise the emotions of others. According to their theory, humans are capable of perceiving feelings directly via pattern recognition. They do not have to deduce feelings by interpreting other people’s behaviour. That model is described by the philosophers Prof Dr Albert Newen and Dr Anna Welpinghus, together with Prof Dr Georg Juckel from the LWL University Hospital for Psychiatry, in the journal "Mind & Language".

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08.04.2015 Nachwuchspreis für RUB-Forscherin (in german)

Mit dem wichtigsten deutschen Nachwuchspreis wird die Bochumer Juniorprofessorin Sarah Weigelt (36) ausgezeichnet. Sie gehört zu den diesjährigen Trägerinnen und Trägern des Heinz Maier-Leibnitz-Preises.

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30.03.2015 Building block for memory and learning identified

A specific neurotransmitter receptor supports optimal information processing in the brain
RUB researchers published their report in “The Journal of Neuroscience”


Researchers have been fascinated for a long time by learning and memory formation, and many questions are still open. Bochum-based neuroscientists Prof Dr Denise Manahan-Vaughan and Dr Hardy Hagena have discovered a key building block for this complex process. A particular neurotransmitter receptor, namely the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5, is a switch for activating opposing forms of plasticity in the hippocampus, a brain region vital for memory forming. They reported in the current edition of “The Journal of Neuroscience”.

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18.03.2015 New insights into circadian clock mechanism

Ras protein regulates circadian rhythm
Effects on period length and regulation through external time cues


Biochemists at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have gained new insights into the generation and maintenance of circadian rhythms. They demonstrated that the Ras protein is important for setting the phase of such a circadian clock, as its activity determines the period length of the rhythm. Ras is also contributing to induce phase-shifts in circadian rhythms in response to external time cues such as light. The team headed by Prof Dr Rolf Heumann published their results in the magazine “Molecular Neurobiology”.

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16.02.2015 How we know where we are

Intracranial EEG reveals the signature of specific spatial locations
Bochum and Bonn-based study with epileptic patients


Knowing where we are and remembering routes that we’ve walked are crucial skills for our everyday life. In order to identify neural mechanisms of spatial navigation, RUB researchers headed by Prof Dr Nikolai Axmacher, together with colleagues from Bonn, analysed the relevant processes with the aid of an electroencephalography (EEG) monitored directly in the brain. Thus, they identified the neural signature during learning and remembering of specific spatial locations. Their report was published in the current edition of Current Biology.

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19.01.2015 Citrus scent inhibits liver cancer

Researchers from Bochum decode signalling pathway
Olfactory receptors in liver cancer cells verified


As main component of essential oils, terpenes can inhibit the growth of different cancer cells. Researchers from the Ruhr-University Bochum headed by Prof Dr Dr Dr Hanns Hatt have analysed this process in liver cancer cells in detail. They shed light upon the molecular mechanisms that resulted in cancer cells stop growing, following the application of (-)-citronellal, and they proved that the olfactory receptor OR1A2 is the crucial molecule for that purpose. In future, the olfactory receptor could serve as target for liver cancer diagnosis and therapy. The researchers report their findings in the journal Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

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