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Topic 5 Human Brain coursework

Neurological diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinson’s are always in the headlines. Advances are always being made and new tests discovered. Use either PubMed or Google Scholar. Search for 6 recent research papers published since 2014 and briefly summarise the content and citation. The field of neurology/neuroscience is a vast one, and you should feel free to look up journal articles that interest you outside the field of dementia/basal ganglia disorders e.g.




Brief summary of paper content

Vaso A, Adahan HM, Gjika A, Zahaj S & Zhurda T

Peripheral nervous system origin of phantom limb pain

Pain (2014)


Amputees can continue to ‘feel’ sensations in their missing limb/s. This paper challenges the widely held view that the ‘phantom pain’ is due to poor brain plasticity. Nerve blocks were carried out and results showed that ‘phantom pain’ was due to exaggerated input of impulses from the limb into a particular part of the nerve (dorsal root ganglion). Nerve blocks in the DRG can provide some relief to such patients.   


Zhijiang Wang, Zhengjia Dai, Gaolang Gong, Changsong Zhou, Yong He.



Understanding Structural-Functional Relationships in the Human Brain




Plain (2014)


The article elaborates the brain’s structural connectivity to its functional connectivity. This is a fundamental goal in neuroscience because it is capable of aiding our understanding of how the relatively fixed SC architecture underlies human cognition and diverse behaviours. With the aid of current non-invasive imaging technologies (e.g., structural MRI, diffusion MRI, and functional MRI). 


Alison Abbott

What Makes a Human Brain Unique


Plain (2015)


Neuroscientists have identified an area of the brain that might give the human mind its unique abilities, including language. The area lit up in human, but not monkey, brains when they were presented with different types of abstract information

Sheila K. Singh, Ian D. Clarke, Mizuhiko Terasaki, Victoria E. Bonn, Cynthia Hawkins, Jeremy Squire and Peter B. Dirks


Identification of a Cancer Stem Cell in Human Brain Tumours


Plain (2016)


The study identifies and purifies the cancer stem cell from human brain tumours of different phenotypes that possesses a marked capacity for proliferation, self-renewal, and differentiation.



Michael D. Fox, Abraham Z. Snyder, Justin L. Vincent,  Maurizio Corbetta. David C. Van Essen, and Marcus E. Raichle

The human brain is intrinsically organized into dynamic, anticorrelated functional networks


Plain (2014)


In this study, we investigate the extent to which this task-related dichotomy is represented intrinsically in the resting human brain through examination of spontaneous fluctuations in the functional MRI blood oxygen level-dependent signal.

Stanley J. Colcombe Kirk I. Erickson Naftali Raz Andrew G. Webb Neal J. Cohen Edward McAuley Arthur F. Kramer



Aerobic Fitness Reduces Brain Tissue Loss in Aging Humans

Plain (2014)


The study suggests through research that there are positive effects of aerobic fitness on a wide range of brain health markers. These effects are exerted by a chain of cellular and molecular cascades, including increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, serotonin, and capillary density

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