Brains are more plastic than we thought


Practice might not always make perfect, but it’s essential for learning a sport or a musical instrument. It’s also the basis of brain training, an approach that holds potential as a non-invasive therapy to overcome disabilities caused by neurological disease or trauma.

McGill wins $84-million grant for neuroscience

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McGill has been successful in the national competition for a massive amount of research funding under the federal government’s Canada First Research Excellence Fund, which will provide the University with an $84-million grant over seven years to support an ambitious effort in neuroscience to advance understanding of the human brain and ease the burden of neurological and mental-health disorders.

Middle-age memory decline a matter of changing focus


The inability to remember details, such as the location of objects, begins in early midlife (the 40s) and may be the result of a change in what information the brain focuses on during memory formation and retrieval, rather than a decline in brain function, according to McGill researchers.

10 new facts about the brain


It has been a remarkable year for neuroscience research at McGill – and we’re only in June. The discoveries are helping us understand the most complex organ in our bodies, and providing considerable hope for battling debilitating diseases like brain cancer and Alzheimer’s, while providing new thinking in managing chronic pain.

Decisions, decisions. How our brain makes choices


If you’re pondering whether to buy a Galaxy smartphone or an iPhone this holiday season, a part of the brain called the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex might ultimately determine your choice. Results of a new study suggest that this region of the brain plays a critical role in making choices.

Waiting for pleasure

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McGill researchers have identified the parts of the brain involved in decisions that call for delayed gratification. The discovery has implications for a range of neuropsychiatric disorders such as ADHD, eating disorders, and maladaptive behaviours related to drug use and gambling.

Practice doesn’t always make perfect (depending on your brain)

In Focus

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? New research on the brain’s capacity to learn suggests there’s more to it than the adage that “practise makes perfect.” A music-training study by scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro, at McGill University and colleagues in Germany found evidence to distinguish the parts of the brain that account for individual talent from the parts that are activated through training.

How your brain is telling you how to vote


A new study shows that a part of the brain called the lateral orbitofrontal cortex (LOFC) must function properly if voters are to make choices that combine different sources of information about the candidates. The study found that damage to the LOFC leads people to base their vote on simpler information, namely the candidate’s good looks. Healthy individuals and those with brain damage affecting other parts of the frontal lobes spontaneously weighed both attractiveness and an assessment of the candidate’s competence when making their choices.