Reducing fat levels in obese mice through exercise or surgery appears to result in better cognitive performance.
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.
from programs like Experience Corps suggest that having a goal or purpose helps
protect against cognitive decline as we age.
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?
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In February 2013, the New York Times Magazine published, " Why Ca
Scientists have reported promising rejuvenation experiments on mouse brains-but it isn't clear that such results can be translated usefully into human therapies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Deaf people who learned American Sign Language first show differences in brain structure compared with deaf people who learned to lip-read English first.
Either as “handmaidens to
neurons” or as actors in their own right, researchers find glial cells show
powerful effects in mouse models of disease.
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.
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.
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.
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?
A recent finding of an Alzheimer's early-warning "biomarker" needs replication, but researchers expect to have reliable ones before too long.
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
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.
perceptual conditions occur at higher rates in people with autism. Teasing out
why could help explain how all our brains process such information.
new studies reinterpret classic signs of cognitive decline.
While the use of solitary confinement in US prisons has grown in recent decades, so has research showing its lasting harmful effects.
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
Poverty and Cognition: How the Poor Get Poorer
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
A single day of drug treatment before birth reportedly prevents an autism-like condition in two different rodent models
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.
Researchers tap into the brain’s intricate circuitry as it draws and judges its work.
Researchers are developing a host of new PET-scan tracers for proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases
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.
New research suggests that ‘eudaimonic well-being’ might dampen harmful inflammation and delay Alzheimer’s
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
A series of small studies suggests low mood may affect a range of senses.
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 2011 10 12 By Carolyn Asbury, Ph.D. With appreciation to
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.
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