Mapping the brain’s map of the hand

No two strokes are the same. How a person is affected by a stroke is dependent on a range of factors such as the type of stroke, the part of the brain damaged, and their health before the stroke.

Many stroke survivors have trouble manipulating and holding objects, and the way people hold and manipulate objects is something NeuRA’s Dr Ingvars Birznieks is an expert in. Dr Birznieks studies tactile receptors (features in our skin that respond to touch) in the fingers and the way the brain controls our hands. Continue reading

Public neuroscience

Neuroscience is nearly everywhere, and in places where it isn’t, it should be.

NeuRA is committed to communicating its research findings and the implications of these findings to a broad audience. We all have a brain and a nervous system collecting sensory input, controlling our breathing, beating our heart, coordinating our muscles, telling our face when to smile.  Continue reading

How does having dementia affect everyday activities?

A NeuRA study recently investigated how different types of dementia affect the ability to perform everyday tasks. The focus was on progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA) and logopenic nonfluent aphasia (LPA) – two dementias that lead to similar problems in language (at least to the untrained ear, not so according to specific language tests). Under the microscope these dementias look very different: PNFA dementia is more closely linked to frontotemporal dementia, and LPA is more closely linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading

Musical cognition: the demise of ‘left-brain right-brain’?

When looking at a human face we take it for granted that we can distinguish a happy face from a sad face and a scary face from a relaxed face. People with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias often exhibit deficits in this area, and while this is interesting from a cognitive perspective, it has real world implications for the families of people with these diseases. Continue reading