We have previously had alerts about how genes affect the workings of the brain, i.e imaging genetics. But could it not also be so that genes affect the size and shape of brain structures? Of course! In a study by Bueller et al. in Biological Psychiatry, it is demonstrated that the BDNF Val Met Allele is associated with reduced hippocampal volume. This, of course, in healthy subjects. Hey, I wanted to do that study!
Does your personality affect how you experience meaning in life? According to a study by Schnell & Becker, it does. In the journal Personality and Individual Differences, they claim that 52% of variance in people's experience of meaningfulness with their life could be explained by their personality. As they conclude "The results suggest that individuals have a predisposition for particular sources of meaning, dependent on their personality. Persons with the capability of self-transcendence as well as extraverted individuals are prone to experience their lives as meaningful. Furthermore, some sources of meaning show positive correlations with Neuroticism—a finding that is cautiously interpreted, but will need further clarification."
Ageing is known to affect a lot of congitive — and neural — functions. Among the latest articles, we find that the atrophy rates for medial temporal lobe structures such as the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus have individual trajectories (see here). In addition, trophy rates of hippocampus, but not that of ERC increased with presence of lacunes, in addition to age.
Another ageing article demonstrates that the excitability of motor regions in older subjects is lower than in young subjects, consistent with the idea that there is an impaired efficiency of some intracortical circuits in old age.
Attention changes in ageing. But do different kinds of attention change individually? It seems so, according to a study by Fernandez-Duque and Black. Their findings provide evidence of different life span developmental and clinical trajectories for each attentional network.
Near-death experiences have been known through centuries, and in most cases people believe that the vivid experiences of this kind counts as one evidence for an afterlife. In Nature a news article questions whether these experiences are really just dreams. Accoding to this article "People who have had near-death experiences are more likely to mix up dreams and reality than those who have not".