Tag Archives: Neurology

* Mensa mutts? Dog IQ tests reveal canine ‘general intelligence’

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Dogs have measurable IQs, like people, suggests new research from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the University of Edinburgh. The research, published in the journal Intelligence, looked at whether dog intelligence is structured in a similar way as in humans. When IQ, or ‘general intelligence’, is tested in people, individuals […]

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Fish fins can sense touch

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New study finds pectoral fins feel touch through a surprisingly similar biological mechanism to mammals The human fingertip is a finely tuned sensory machine, and even slight touches convey a great deal of information about our physical environment. It turns out, some fish use their pectoral fins in pretty much the same way. And do […]

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Teaching neurons to respond to placebos as potential treatment for Parkinson’s

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They found that it is possible to turn a neuron which previously hasn’t responded to placebos (placebo ‘non-responder’ neuron) into a placebo ‘responder’ by conditioning Parkinson patients with apomorphine, a dopaminergic drug used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD). When a placebo (saline solution) was given for the first time, it induced neither clinical […]

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Starfish reveal the origins of brain messenger molecules

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Biologists from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have discovered the genes in starfish that encode neuropeptides — a common type of chemical found in human brains. The revelation gives researchers new insights into how neural function evolved in the animal kingdom. Publishing in the Royal Society journal Open Biology, the team led by Professor […]

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* Freezing nerves prior to knee replacement improves outcomes, study finds

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The first study of its kind has found that freezing nerves before knee replacement surgery combined with traditional pain management approaches significantly improves patient outcomes. The results of the preliminary retrospective study led by Vinod Dasa, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Orthopaedics at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, were published online Feb. 10, […]

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* Forensic odorology scientifically validated

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Odorology is a technique that uses specially-trained dogs to identify human scent. It is used in police investigations to establish that an individual has been at the scene of a crime. However, there is no international norm on how these dogs are trained. At the Centre de recherche en neurosciences de Lyon (CNRS/Université Claude Bernard […]

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* Songbird’s reference genome illuminate key role of epigenetics in evolution of memory and learning

A well-known songbird, the great tit, has revealed its genetic code, offering researchers new insight into how species adapt to a changing planet. Their initial findings suggest that epigenetics — what’s on rather than what’s in the gene — may play a key role in the evolution of memory and learning. And that’s not just […]

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Animals with larger brains are best problem solvers, study shows

Animals with larger brains are best problem solvers, study shows Why did some species, such as humans and dolphins, evolve large brains relative to the size of their bodies? Why did others, such as blue whales and hippos, evolve to have brains that, compared to their bodies, are relatively puny? It has long been thought […]

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The brain communicates on several channels

In the brain, the visual cortex processes visual information and passes it from lower to higher areas of the brain. However, information also flows in the opposite direction, e.g. to direct attention to particular stimuli. But how does the brain know which path the information should take? Researchers at the Ernst Strüngmann Institute (ESI) for […]

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Calculating whiskers send precise information to the brain

As our sensory organs register objects and structures in the outside world, they are continually engaged in two-way communication with the brain. In research recently published in Nature Neuroscience, Weizmann Institute scientists found that for rats, which use their whiskers to feel out their surroundings at night, clumps of nerve endings called mechanoreceptors located at […]

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You can teach an old dog new tricks, but younger dogs learn faster

The effect of aging on cognitive processes such as learning, memory and logical reasoning have so far been studied almost exclusively in people. Using a series of touchscreen tests, Lisa Wallis and Friederike Range of the Messerli Research Institute at Vetmeduni Vienna have now studied these domains in pet dogs of varying ages. The study […]

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Drug prevents key age-related brain change in rats

As brain cells age they lose the fibers that receive neural impulses, a change that may underlie cognitive decline. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine recently found a way to reverse this process in rats. The study was published Feb. 3, 2016 in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers caution that more studies are needed, […]

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Singing in the brain: Songbirds sing like humans

A songbirds’ vocal muscles work like those of human speakers and singers, finds a study recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience. The research on Bengalese finches showed that each of their vocal muscles can change its function to help produce different parameters of sounds, in a manner similar to that of a trained opera […]

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New role for motor neurons discovered

A new study presented in the journal Nature could change the view of the role of motor neurons. Motor neurons, which extend from the spinal cord to muscles and other organs, have always been considered passive recipients of signals from interneuronal circuits. Now, however, researchers from Sweden´s Karolinska Institutet have demonstrated a new, direct signalling […]

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* First evidence for independent ‘working memory’ systems in animals

Data could inform new pre-clinical research models for Alzheimer’s disease treatment that goes beyond spatial memory. A new study from Indiana University could help ensure the hundreds of millions of dollars spent each year to develop potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease aren’t wasted on targeting the wrong types of memory. The paper, published today in […]

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How birds learn through imitation

Precise changes in brain circuitry occur as young zebra finches go from listening to their fathers’ courtship songs to knowing the songs themselves, according to a study led by neuroscientists at NYU Langone Medical Center and published online in a Science cover report on January 14. The study reveals how birds learn songs through observation […]

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Tiny electronic implants monitor brain injury, then melt away

A new class of small, thin electronic sensors can monitor temperature and pressure within the skull — crucial health parameters after a brain injury or surgery — then melt away when they are no longer needed, eliminating the need for additional surgery to remove the monitors and reducing the risk of infection and hemorrhage. Similar […]

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Why your brain makes you slip up when anxious

As musicians, figure skaters and anyone who takes a driving test will know, the anxiety of being watched can have a disastrous effect on your performance. Now neuroscientists at the University of Sussex’s Sackler Centre and Brighton and Sussex Medical School have identified the brain network system that causes us to stumble and stall just […]

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Absence of serotonin alters development, function of brain circuits

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have created the first complete model to describe the role that serotonin plays in brain development and structure. Serotonin, also called 5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT], is an important neuromodulator of brain development and the structure and function of neuronal (nerve cell) circuits. The results were published in the […]

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Restoring vision: Retinal nerve cell regeneration

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. Vision loss from glaucoma occurs when axons in the optic nerve become damaged and can no longer carry visual information to the brain. Glaucoma is most often treated by lowering pressure in the eye with drugs, laser surgery, or traditional surgery. However, these treatments can only preserve […]

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First serotonin neurons made from human stem cells

Su-Chun Zhang, a pioneer in developing neurons from stem cells at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has created a specialized nerve cell that makes serotonin, a signaling chemical with a broad role in the brain. Serotonin affects emotions, sleep, anxiety, depression, appetite, pulse and breathing. It also plays a role in serious psychiatric conditions like schizophrenia, […]

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Biomedicine wins big in US budget deal

A budget bill passed by the US House of Representatives boosts funding for several science-related agencies. Biomedical research advocates are revelling in holiday cheer as a budget bill passed by the House of Representatives on 18 December gives the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) its biggest funding increase since 2003. Several other science-related agencies […]

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* New technology enables us to ‘chart’ all cells in brain

The human brain is made up of hundreds of millions of cells. Many of these cells and their functions are as yet unknown. This is about to change with a new technology that is being used for the first time at the Center for Brain Research at MedUni Vienna and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. By […]

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Midnight munchies mangle memory

Eating at the wrong time impairs learning, memory. Modern schedules can lead us to eat around the clock so it is important to understand how this could dull some of the functions of the brain. New research in mice shows that clocks in different regions of the brain start working out of step, altering the […]

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* Gene-editing technique successfully stops progression of Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Using a new gene-editing technique, a team of scientists from UT Southwestern Medical Center stopped progression of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) in young mice. If efficiently and safely scaled up in DMD patients, this technique could lead to one of the first successful genome editing-based treatments for this fatal disease, researchers said. DMD, the most […]

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Humans probably not alone in how we perceive melodic pitch

Marmosets shed light on our evolutionary history, become model for studying musical ability tone deafness. The specialized human ability to perceive the sound quality known as ‘pitch’ can no longer be listed as unique to humans. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report new behavioral evidence that marmosets, ancient monkeys, appear to use auditory cues similar to […]

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Levetiracetam shows promise for treatment of feline audiogenic reflex seizures

A group of UK-based investigators from Davies Veterinary Group and the UCL School of Pharmacy, who recently engaged the veterinary world with an article defining the previously undocumented syndrome of feline audiogenic reflex seizures (FARS), have published follow-up findings about the treatment of the condition. Their paper, ‘Levetiracetam in the management of feline audiogenic reflex […]

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Ticks that transmit Lyme disease reported in nearly half of all US counties

Lyme disease is transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus), and the range of these ticks is spreading, according to research published in the Journal of Medical Entomology. Some symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, and fatigue, all of which can be mistaken for the common flu, […]

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Protecting the brain from Parkinson’s disease

Although a number of treatments exist to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, to date, none reliably slow the progression of the disease. In 2013, a molecule called GM1 ganglioside showed promise in patients for not only relieving symptoms but also slowing disease progression. However, GM1 ganglioside has been difficult to make and to deliver […]

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Brain-manipulation studies may produce spurious links to behaviour

Manipulating brain circuits with light and drugs can cause ripple effects that could muddy experimental results. In the tightly woven networks of the brain, tugging one neuronal thread can unravel numerous circuits. Because of that, the authors of a paper published in Nature on 9 December caution that techniques such as optogenetics — activating neurons […]

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