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BrainWeb provides information and links to validated sites about brain diseases and disorders from outside sources and from Dana publications.


Staying Sharp 

The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives' Staying Sharp program includes live public forums, printed and printable resources, and videos.

Reports on Progress

Reviews by eminent neuroscientists of specific areas of research, including normal function, disease, and new technologies. 

Briefing Papers

Briefing Papers take an in-depth look at basic and timely brain-related topics, like traumatic brain injury and obesity.

Recent Articles 


Obesity Linked to Changes in Brain’s White Matter Structure—and Cognition

Reducing fat levels in obese mice through exercise or surgery appears to result in better cognitive performance.

The Age Gauge: Older Fathers Having Children

Is there a link between a father’s age and his child’s vulnerability to psychiatric problems? Two recent studies suggest that children born to middle-aged men are more likely than their older siblings to develop a range of mental difficulties, including bipolar disorder, autism, and schizophrenia.

A Purposeful Life is a Healthier Life

Results from programs like Experience Corps suggest that having a goal or purpose helps protect against cognitive decline as we age.

‘Smart’ Drugs Alter Developing Brain

Though many “normal” people—students, lawyers, doctors—are taking drugs that may enhance cognitive function, there is little research into how these drugs affect non-disordered brains. A research review suggests that using cognitive-enhancing drugs may have unintended and quite negative consequences, especially in youngsters.

How Should We Be Thinking About Genetic Studies?

How Should We Be Thinking About Genetic Studies? 2014-06-16 BRIEFING PAPER Ann Whitman                                                                          (212) 223-4040 awhitman@dana.org   In February 2013, the New York Times Magazine published, " Why Ca

A Fountain of Youth for the Brain?

Scientists have reported promising rejuvenation experiments on mouse brains-but it isn't clear that such results can be translated usefully into human therapies.

Using Optogenetics and Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs)

Emerging techniques that allow researchers to control the activity of a subset of neurons are revolutionizing our understanding of how the central nervous system works. Whether to use optogenetics (light) or DREADDs (drugs) as a means to control neuronal activity depends on which question you wish to answer.

NIH Calls for ‘Sea Change’ Regarding Sex Differences in Research

New policy for US National Institutes of Health funding will require that researchers propose studies that have balance of male and female cells, tissues, or animals.

Uncovering the Mysteries of Myelin

Now that researchers have the technology to test the hypothesis that myelin is a simple, regular axonal insulator, they find it isn’t true. Now the fun begins.

The Neuroprotective Effects of Education

Research published in the past few years suggests that longer years of formal study can strengthen the brain, making it more resistant to the ravages of old age—and perhaps mitigating the damage that occurs after traumatic brain injury.

A Key Defender of the Aging Brain?

The loss of the REST protein from neurons appears to be an important early event in neurodegenerative disease. Researchers now are looking for ways to restore it in the elderly.


First Language Learned, Hearing Status Affects Brain Structure

Deaf people who learned American Sign Language first show differences in brain structure compared with deaf people who learned to lip-read English first.

Glia: Earning Some Respect

Either as “handmaidens to neurons” or as actors in their own right, researchers find glial cells show powerful effects in mouse models of disease.

Neuroimaging Offers Potential for Early Diagnosis of Neurodegenerative Disorders

Using DTI, researchers find brain "biomarkers" that identify who has the at-risk variation of a gene for a late onset fragile X-associated syndrome. Others are using PET scanning to track the plaques associated with Alzheimer's years before symptoms show.


Gene Variants May Help Predict Recovery from TBI and PTSD

Researchers investigating the gene that directs the building of protein BDNF find that people with one variation seem to recover more slowly and less well than those with other variations.

Glycotoxicity: A New Risk Factor for Alzheimer’s?

Advanced glycation end-products from high-temperature cooking have already been linked to diabetes and heart disease, and scientists are now looking at their effects on the brain.

Protein May Offer Insights into Regenerating Brain Function After Injury

A single gene in the fruit fly does double duty, spurring neuron connections at larval stage and then again into mature fly. This gene is in humans, as well, but we don’t see a similar effect. Might we learn to reignite this gene’s regrowth properties to help injured people?

Alzheimer's Early-Warning Biomarkers: Are We There Yet?

A recent finding of an Alzheimer's early-warning "biomarker" needs replication, but researchers expect to have reliable ones before too long.


Brain Evolution

Beyond basic science, researchers believe that identifying genes and gene expression patterns unique to humans may illuminate how higher cognitive processes go wrong—and suggest treatments for disorders like autism and schizophrenia.

Rich Man, Poor Man: Socioeconomic Adversity and Brain Development

With the widening economic gap between the haves and the have-nots in mind, our author examines new research that ties family income level and other factors to helping children develop the language, memory, and life skills that tilts the odds in their favor later in life.

Are Face-Blindness and Synesthesia Linked to Autism Spectrum Disorders?

Both perceptual conditions occur at higher rates in people with autism. Teasing out why could help explain how all our brains process such information.

Older, Slower—But Wiser?

Two new studies reinterpret classic signs of cognitive decline.

The Solitary Brain

While the use of solitary confinement in US prisons has grown in recent decades, so has research showing its lasting harmful effects.

The Discovery and Potential of Nerve Growth Factor

At a recent memorial symposium for Italian neurologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, colleagues recounted her discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF) and explained its significance to potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and brain tumors.

Poverty and Cognition: How the Poor Get Poorer

Poverty and Cognition: How the Poor Get Poorer 2014-02-25 The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It's a trend that every free society says it wants to reduce or reverse, in favor of greater socioeconomic equality. But how? Rich people tend to be smarter  than poor pe

Study Suggests Autism-Prevention Strategy

A single day of drug treatment before birth reportedly prevents an autism-like condition in two different rodent models

Neuroessentialism: The 'Dark Side' of Focus on Brain Plasticity?

Have we tipped too far in considering addiction a disease of only the brain, with no reference to the outside world? Some addiction researchers say yes.

Visualizing Art

Researchers tap into the brain’s intricate circuitry as it draws and judges its work.

Amyloid Imaging and Beyond

Researchers are developing a host of new PET-scan tracers for proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases


Big Data on Healthy Brain Aging

To tease out what distinguishes the aging brain from the diseased brain, researchers are collecting reams of data, from types of neurons in the brain to changes in people’s behavior.

Can A Purpose-Driven Life Help Protect the Aging Brain?

New research suggests that ‘eudaimonic well-being’ might dampen harmful inflammation and delay Alzheimer’s

Destroying the Brain through Immunity

The brain has long been viewed as somewhat protected from attack by the body’s immune system.  Apart from the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis, in most of the brain disorders that have been studied, such as epilepsy, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, the immune system was not believed to play a major role.

Mapping Your Every Move(1)

Editor’s Note: In 2005, our authors discovered grid cells, which are types of neurons that are central to how the brain calculates location and navigation. Since that time, they have worked to learn how grid cells communicate with other types of neurons—place cells, border cells, and head direction cells—to affect spatial awareness, memory, and decision-making. Because the entorhinal cortex, which contains the grid-cell navigation system, is often damaged in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, future research to better understand how cognitive ability and memory are lost has great potential significance for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders. 


Fine-Tuning Deep Brian Stimulation

Interest is high in using DBS to treat a variety of psychiatric diseases, but the surgical technique is young and clunky. Grants from the military and other initiatives will help researchers better pinpoint target areas to help more patients.

Past Music Training May Help Compensate for Some Age-Related Declines

People who studied music as children—and stopped when they were children—performed better at some hearing tasks decades later than those who never studied music.

What is ‘Healthy’ Cognitive Aging?

Even without a disease such as Alzheimer’s, the aging brain does show signs of wear. Researchers look to the molecular level to see if they can slow the ‘normal’ progress.

Does Depression Change the Way People Perceive the World?

A series of small studies suggests low mood may affect a range of senses.

Why Is Sleep So Important?

Many recent studies have demonstrated that sleep benefits all aspects of neural plasticity. Currently under investigation are the underlying cellular mechanisms, which should explain why these benefits can only be obtained when the brain is off-line. One of our series of Reports on Progress.

Brain Imaging Technologies and Their Applications in Neuroscience

Brain Imaging Technologies and Their Applications in Neuroscience 2011 10 12 By Carolyn Asbury, Ph.D. With appreciation to

Your Brain Under the Microscope: The Promise of Stem Cells

Scientists are just now beginning to improve their understanding of induced pluripotent stem cells. Our authors describe how they were discovered, what they are, and why a growing number of researchers and clinicians believe that they may be one of the keys in helping address a variety of brain disorders.


Patients & Caregivers

BrainWeb BrainWeb provides information and links to validated sites about brain diseases and disorders from outside sources and from Dana publications.   > More Staying Sharp   The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives' Staying Sharp program includes live public forums, printed and printable