Tag Archives: Neurology

* Genetic mutation causes ataxia in humans, dogs

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Cerebellar ataxia is a condition of the cerebellum that causes an inability to coordinate muscle movements. A study publishing June 16 in Cell Reports now describes a new genetic mutation as an additional cause of ataxia in humans and mice. The mutation, in the gene CAPN1, affects the function of the enzyme calpain-1 and causes […]

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Artificial synapse rivals biological ones in energy consumption

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Creation of an artificial intelligence system that fully emulates the functions of a human brain has long been a dream of scientists. A brain has many superior functions as compared with super computers, even though it has light weight, small volume, and consumes extremely low energy. This is required to construct an artificial neural network, […]

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Urban bird species risk dying prematurely due to stress

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Birds of the species Parus Major (great tit) living in an urban environment are at greater risk of dying young than great tits living outside cities. Research results from Lund University in Sweden show that urban great tits have shorter telomeres than others of their own species living in rural areas. According to the researchers, […]

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New view of brain development: Striking differences between adult and newborn mouse brain

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Findings reveal mismatch between neuronal activity and blood flow in the brains of newborn mice, shedding new light on how the growing brain feeds itself. Columbia scientists have found that spikes in the activity of neurons in young mice do not spur corresponding boosts in blood flow — a discovery that stands in stark contrast […]

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Compound shown to reduce brain damage caused by anaesthesia in early study

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An experimental drug prevented learning deficits in young mice exposed repeatedly to anaesthesia, according to a study led by researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center and published June 22 in Science Translational Medicine. The study results may have implications for children who must have several surgeries, and so are exposed repeatedly to general anaesthesia. Past […]

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Precise control of brain circuit alters mood

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Pacemaker circuit keeps emotional centers working together. By combining super-fine electrodes and tiny amounts of a very specific drug, Duke University researchers have singled out a circuit in mouse brains and taken control of it to dial an animal’s mood up and down. Stress-susceptible animals that behaved as if they were depressed or anxious were […]

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Human brain houses diverse populations of neurons, new research shows

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A team of researchers has developed the first scalable method to identify different subtypes of neurons in the human brain. The research lays the groundwork for “mapping” the gene activity in the human brain and could help provide a better understanding of brain functions and disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia and depression. By isolating and […]

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‘Baby talk’ can help songbirds learn their tunes

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Adult songbirds modify their vocalizations when singing to juveniles in the same way that humans alter their speech when talking to babies. The resulting brain activity in young birds could shed light on speech learning and certain developmental disorders in humans, according to a study by McGill University researchers. Lead author Jon Sakata, a professor […]

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Transmission of genetic disorder Huntington’s disease in normal animals

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Mice transplanted with cells grown from a patient suffering from Huntington’s disease (HD) develop the clinical features and brain pathology of that patient, suggests a study published in the latest issue of Acta Neuropathologica by CHA University in Korea, in collaboration with researchers at Universit√© Laval in Qu√©bec City, Canada. “Our findings shed a completely […]

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The primate brain is ‘pre-adapted’ to face potentially any situation

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Scientists have shown how the brain anticipates all of the new situations that it may encounter in a lifetime by creating a special kind of neural network that is “pre-adapted” to face any eventuality. This emerges from a new neuroscience study published in PLOS Computational Biology. Enel et al at the INSERM in France investigate […]

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Mobilizing mitochondria may be key to regenerating damaged neurons

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Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke have discovered that boosting the transport of mitochondria along neuronal axons enhances the ability of mouse nerve cells to repair themselves after injury. The study, “Facilitation of axon regeneration by enhancing mitochondrial transport and rescuing energy deficits,” which has been published in The Journal of […]

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* Scientists unpack how Toxoplasma infection is linked to neurodegenerative disease

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Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan parasite about five microns long, infects a third of the world’s population. Ingested via undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables, the parasite infects 15-30 percent of the US population. In France and Brazil, up to 80 percent of the population has the infection. Particularly dangerous during pregnancy — infection in pregnant women […]

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Antibody-based drug helps ‘bridge’ leukemia patients to curative treatmen

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In a randomized Phase III study of the drug inotuzumab ozogamicin, a statistically significant percentage of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) whose disease had relapsed following standard therapies, qualified for stem cell transplants. Inotuzumab ozogamicin, also known as CMC-544, links an antibody that targets CD22, a protein found on the surface of more than […]

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Neurologic symptoms common in early HIV infection

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A team led by researchers from UCSF and Yale has found that half of people newly infected with HIV experience neurologic issues. These neurologic findings are generally not severe and usually resolve after participants started anti-retroviral therapy. “We were surprised that neurologic findings were so pervasive in participants diagnosed with very recent HIV infection,” said […]

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Resistance mechanism of aggressive brain tumors revealed

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Brain tumors subject to therapy can become resistant to it through interactions with their tumor microenvironment rather than because of anything intrinsic about the tumor itself, a new study in mice suggests. The resistance mechanism outlined in the study involves a particular enzyme and can be overcome using other drugs that target this newly identified […]

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* How brain connects memories across time

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Neuroscientists boost ability of aging brain to recapture links between related memories. Using a miniature microscope that opens a window into the brain, UCLA neuroscientists have identified in mice how the brain links different memories over time. While aging weakens these connections, the team devised a way for the middle-aged brain to reconnect separate memories. […]

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Male birds may sing, but females are faster at discriminating sounds

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It may well be that only male zebra finches can sing, but the females are faster at learning to discriminate sounds. Leiden researchers publish their findings in the scientific journal Animal Behaviour. The scientists reached this conclusion after a meta-analysis of different experiments with the songbirds. Combining the results of 14 separate studies gave them […]

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Second gene modifies effect of mutation in a dog model of ALS

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Degenerative Myelopathy is a naturally occurring, progressive adult onset disorder of the spinal cord that leads to paralysis and death. In 2009, a SOD1 mutation was associated with risk of developing the disease (link to previous press release). However, not all dogs with the mutation became affected, prompting the hypothesis that additional genes could modify […]

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Early-life stress causes digestive problems and anxiety in rats

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Traumatic events early in life can increase levels of norepinephrine — the primary hormone responsible for preparing the body to react to stressful situations — in the gut, increasing the risk of developing chronic indigestion and anxiety during adulthood, a new study in American Journal of Physiology — Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology reports. Functional dyspepsia, […]

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Stress affects males, females differently

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How does stress — which, among other things, causes our bodies to divert resources from non-essential functions — affect the basic exchange of materials that underlies our everyday life? Weizmann Institute of Science researchers investigated this question by looking at a receptor in the brains of mice, and they came up with a surprising answer. […]

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* How prions kill neurons: New culture system shows early toxicity to dendritic spines

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Prion diseases are fatal and incurable neurodegenerative conditions of humans and animals. Yet, how prions kill nerve cells (or neurons) remains unclear. A study published on May 26, 2016 in PLOS Pathogens describes a system in which to study the early assault by prions on brain cells of the infected host. Some of the earliest […]

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Mimicking deep sleep brain activity improves memory

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It is not surprising that a good night’s sleep improves our ability to remember what we learned during the day. Now, researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered a brain circuit that governs how certain memories are consolidated in the brain during sleep. Published in the May 26 issue of Science […]

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* Alternative odor receptors discovered in mice

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Smell in mammals turns out to be more complex than we thought. Rather than one receptor family exclusively dedicated to detecting odors, a study in mice reports that a group of neurons surrounding the olfactory bulb use an alternative mechanism for catching scents. These “necklace” neurons, as they’re called, use this newly discovered olfactory detection […]

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Quick test for Zika effectively detects virus in monkeys

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A novel, inexpensive method for detecting the Zika virus could help slow spread of outbreak, and potentially other future pandemic diseases An international, multi-institutional team of researchers led by synthetic biologist James Collins, Ph.D. at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, has developed a low-cost, rapid paper-based diagnostic system for strain-specific […]

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Early life stress accelerates maturation of key brain region in male mice

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Intuition is all one needs to understand that stress in early childhood can create lifelong psychological troubles, but scientists have only begun to explain how those emerge in the brain. They have observed, for example, that stress incurred early in life attenuates neural growth. Now a study in male mice exposed to stress shows that […]

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* Cells carry ‘memory’ of injury, which could reveal why chronic pain persists

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A new study from King’s College London offers clues as to why chronic pain can persist, even when the injury that caused it has gone. Although still in its infancy, this research could explain how small and seemingly innocuous injuries leave molecular ‘footprints’ which add up to more lasting damage, and ultimately chronic pain. All […]

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Slips of the lip stay all in the family: dogs included, but not the cat

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It’s happened to many of us: While looking right at someone you know very well, you open your mouth and blurt out the wrong name. The name you blurt is not just any old name, though, says new research from Duke University that finds “misnaming” follows predictable patterns. Among people who know each other well, […]

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* Deadly animal prion disease appears in Europe

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A highly contagious and deadly animal brain disorder has been detected in Europe for the first time. Scientists are now warning that the single case found in a wild reindeer might represent an unrecognized, widespread infection. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) was thought to be restricted to deer, elk (Cervus canadensis) and moose (Alces alces) in […]

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How a macaque’s brain knows it’s swinging

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Any organism with a brain needs to make decisions about how it’s going to navigate through three-dimensional spaces. That’s why animals have evolved sensory organs in the ears to detect if they’re rotating or moving in a straight line. But how does an animal perceive curved motion, as in turning a corner? One explanation, published […]

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Despite their small brains, ravens and crows may be just as clever as chimps, research suggests

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A study led by researchers at Lund University in Sweden suggests that ravens can be as clever as chimpanzees, despite having much smaller brains, indicating that rather than the size of the brain, the neuronal density and the structure of the birds’ brains play an important role in terms of their intelligence. “Absolute brain size […]

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