Distinct patterns of activity, which may indicate a predisposition to care for infants, appear in the brains of adults who view an image of an infant face, even when the child is not theirs, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and in Germany, Italy, and Japan. Seeing images of infant faces appeared to activate in the adult’s brains circuits that reflect preparation for movement and speech as well as feelings of reward.
Jennifer Raymond, an associate professor in neurobiology at Stanford University, is building a circuit diagram of the brain. By bridging the gap between individual synapses and whole brain learning and memory, her research is offering new insights and strategies for medical rehabilitation and education.
Recent research by Michielsen and colleagues has demonstrated that “mirror therapy”, which can be given at home, results in significant, albeit modest, improvement in arm, wrist and hand movement abilities of stroke patients . Mirror therapy is where the arm with impaired movement is placed behind a mirror and the unimpaired arm is reflected in the mirror, giving the appearance to the patient that when the unimpaired arm is moved, the impaired arm is also moving.