April 23, 2019

    Deep brain stimulation improves Alzheimers. Image from pixabay.com
    A pacemaker for the brain? Alzheimer patients show improvement

    Researchers at the Ohio State University implanted electrodes in the frontal cortex of the brain of Alzheimer's patients and sought to understand if deep brain stimulation could improve signs of dementia. Thye found that patients implanted with 'brain pacemaker' improved cognition, problem-solving skills and decision-making abilities. These effects were more pronounced in individuals with an early stage of Alzheimer's and now researchers are looking to develop non-invasive methods for wider application.

    Read the full story: wexnermedical.osu.edu
    Scientific publication: content.iospress.com

    Klotho protein might improve cognition. Image from maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com
    Klotho - a funny sounding protein might be our answer to dementia and ageing

    Researcher Dena Dubal, from the UCSF Weill Institute of neurosciences, wants to reverse ageing and ameliorate dementia. The protein, Klotho, first discovered by Japanese researchers and found to increase longevity in mice might just be the answer. Dr Dubal found that higher amount of klotho resulted in better cognitive functioning. The next step is to find out how does it work without crossing the blood-brain barrier. This is exciting since maybe some day klotho becomes a therapy for humans to protect the brain against ageing.

    Read the full story: www.ucsf.edu

    Language learning recruits general learning circuits. Image: Pixabay
    Language is learned in evolutionary old brain structures

    In contrast to what has been assumed until now, humans acquire language skills using brain regions that occur in animals that existed already before humans appeared on the face of the globe. Children learning their mother tongue, or adults learning a second language both use declarative and procedural memory systems that rats use, for instance, to navigate in their environment. These “general purpose” memory systems could be examined further for the study of language and language disabilities in humans.

    Read the full story: Georgetown University Medical Center
    Scientific publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Autism is characterized by deficits in social interactions. Image dreamstime.com
    New insights about why children with autism are less social

    Children with autism are known to be less social compared with the other kids. Why this is the case is a matter of debate for a long time. To answer this question, researchers monitored the brain activity of 43 children between the ages of 7 and 10, with and without autism spectrum disorder diagnosis. The study found that kids with more severe autism were anticipating the nonsocial rewards as compared to normal kids that anticipated social rewards. Basically, children with autism are less social because they find less reward in social interaction than their peer. The results provide support for two hypotheses behind social behavior in autism: the social motivation hypothesis and the overly intense world hypothesis.

    Read the full story: www.sciencebriefss.com
    Scientific publication: https://molecularautism.biomedcentral.com

    Avoiding intuition bias in decision making. Image from pixabay.com
    Religious vs Atheist- Who's smarter?

    Researchers Richard Daws and Adam Hampshire from Imperial College London state that even though religious people score lower on overall IQ tests, they do not have general lower intelligence but are comparatively poor on tasks in which reason and intuition are in conflict. Their work suggests that stronger the religious beliefs more pronounced is the impact of intuition on decision making. However, it was also shown that cognitive training, could help religious people maintain their belief but at the same time avoid the interference of intuitive decision making for day-to-day tasks.

    Read the full story: digest.bps.org.uk
    Scientific publication: www.frontiersin.org

    Stimulating the brain for improving memory. Image by Andreashorn via creativecommons.org
    Stimulate the brain electrically- improve memory

    Michal Kucewicz from Mayo clinic and fellow researchers discovered that low-intensity stimulations of the lateral temporal cortex of the brain significantly improved word recall. While electrical stimulation is beginning to emerge as a potential treatment for a variety of neurological disorders, this is the first time that improvement in memory processes was shown. This opens up an avenue to develop memory enhancement stimulation devices to treat deficits in cognition and memory.

    Read the full story: newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org
    Scientific publication: academic.oup.com

    drugs to be delivered accurately in the brain. Image by pixabay.com
    Drug delivery directly in the brain with ultra-thin needles.

    MIT researchers in collaboration with LG Electronics have developed an ultra-thin needle to deliver drugs directly in the brain. This miniature system, which is as thin as a human hair, can deliver medicine to specific brain regions in quantities as small as one cubic millimeter. Further this system call be remotely operated and simultaneously deliver drugs as well as monitor neural activity for feedback control. The applications of this system are multifold, with the potential to treat neurological disorders like addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder as well as delivering cancer drugs and performing bio-sensing experiments.

    Read the full story: news.mit.edu
    Scientific publication: stm.sciencemag.org/

    Magic mushroom. Image from pixabay.com
    Magic Mushroom messes your brain, but in a good way

    Researchers have been testing the effect of psilocybin, the psychedelic substance in magic mushrooms for treatment of depression, which doesn’t respond to the classical antidepressants (Treatment resistant depression). Preliminary evidence has shown that the recovery is pretty long lasting in these patients. In addition, there is a side benefit. These patients also report an increased connection with nature, which persisted months after treatment. Surprisingly, the patients reported a shift away from authoritarian political views. This shown that treatment with psilocybin could change a person’s outlook and political perspectives.

    Read the full story: www3.imperial.ac.uk
    Scientific publication: journals.sagepub.com

    Lifestyle could be beneficial for dementia. Image by pixabay.com
    Genetic susceptibility to dementia could be mitigated by lifestyle changes

    Carriers of the APOE4 gene are at risk at Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia. However, the two year long FINGER trial has shown that enhanced lifestyle counselling and modification could help mitigate this risk. This enhanced counselling involved counselling for nutrition, physical and cognitive exercises and also advice on managing risk for cardiovascular diseases. This is encouraging for many individuals since it also emphasizes the critical importance of early preventive strategies which target several risk factors at the same time.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com
    Scientific publication: jamanetwork.com

    Modulating epigenetic mechanisms for treatment. Image by pixabay.com
    Getting silenced genes to express again

    Prader-Willi syndrome is a genetic disorder which affects 1 in 15,000 births and is the most common cause of fatal childhood obesity. Unlike other genetic diseases, children with Prader-Willi syndrome have all genes intact but the gene inherited from the mother is silenced. The protein produced by gene ZNF274 is suspected to be involved in this process. However, researchers Maéva Langouët and colleagues at the University of Connecticut were able to induce expression of this gene by deleting the gene for ZNF274. This could branch out a novel therapy for children with this condition.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com
    Scientific publication: academic.oup.com

    Eyes and eardrums move together. Image from publicdomainpictures.net
    'You two boys move together', says brain to the eye and the eardrum.

    Dr Jennifer Groh and her team from Duke University made an interesting observation when they found that moving the eyes triggers vibrations of the eardrum even in the absence of any sounds. Whats more surprising is that these eardrum vibrations begin a bit before the eye movements which might point that both, the eardrums and the eyes are controlled by the same motor commands from the brain. This co-ordinated movements of the eyes and eardrums could mean that the brain is merging visual and auditory information.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com
    Scientific publication: www.pnas.org

    Remembering names using the temporal lobe. Image from pixabay.com
    Do you keep forgetting names? Brains left hemisphere might be the culprit

    Psychologists from Univerity of Manchester studied how the left and the right hemisphere of the brain process semantic memory. The research was conducted in epilepsy patients who had undergone surgery to remove either their left or right anterior temporal lobes. The results indicate that both sides of the brain play a significant role in visual and verbal semantic memory. However, there were differences between these two groups of patients and mainly the left lobe resected patients performed worse in tasks that required naming a written word, indicating that the left temporal lobe could be the seat for naming function.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com
    Scientific publication: academic.oup.com

    Alzheimers disease. Image from maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com
    Mitochondria could be the seat of Alzheimer disease

    Mitochondria, the cell organelles which are concerned with energy production might show the first signs of Alzheimer's pathology. Researchers at the Arizona State University found that oligomeric beta-amyloid (OA-beta) accumulates in the mitochondria and disrupts its normal functioning. Neurons from deceased Alzheimer patients showed a drastic reduction of protein synthesized by mitochondrial genes pointing towards their degradation by OA-beta. However, the most exciting finding was that one could protect these neurons from OA-beta if they were pretreated CoQ10 which assists in reducing oxidative stress thereby opening a potential line of treatment.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com

    Distinct neuron populations for positive and negative emotions
    What decides whether you like or dislike something?

    MIT neuroscientist Kay Tye and her team at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory have dug deeper in the networks of the amygdala, the brain region associated with assigning valence or significance. They discovered that within the amygdala there are specific populations of neurons for good and bad feelings. Neurons projecting to the nucleus accumbens (commonly known as reward centre) are associated with positive valence while those projecting to the central amygdala were associated with negative valence. Dr Tye predicts that these two population of neurons engage in cross-talk and might influence each other.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com

    Brain responds differently in musicians
    Are you a musician or not? Well, your brain responses might just tell.

    Researchers at the University of Jyväskylä and Aarhus University have discovered that listening to music might trigger different responses in musicians and non-musicians. Using machine learning and computational music analysis on fMRI data, researchers were able to predict with 77% accuracy these two sets of individuals. The brain regions which predicted most accurately this distinction were frontal cortex, temporal cortex, cingulate gyrus and caudate nucleus which are usually associated with engagement and attention. This shows that music training alters our neural responses significantly.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com
    Scientific publication: www.nature.com

    Environment plays a major role in IQ: pixabay.com
    Deciphering the intelligence paradox: The nature vs. nurture debate rages on

    Even though intelligence is considered highly heritable there is a raging debate on the intelligence paradox which states that it is also highly malleable and environment play a huge influence. Scoring heritability of intelligence 0.3 on a 0-1 scale, a new review published by psychologist Bruno Sauce and Louis Matzel at Rutger's University indicates that there is enough room for change. They state that intelligence is a special characteristic which has a large pool of unknown gene-environment network. Life experiences and education do play a major role which brings in focus the schooling system and its influences which are currently ignored.



    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com
    Scientific publication: psycnet.apa.org

    New insights in Parkinson's pathology: pexels.com
    Getting rid of old astrocytes may help avoid Parkinson disease development

    Parkinson patients display higher astrocyte senescence in their post-mortem tissue. A mouse model resembling this sporadic development of Parkinson's by exposure to the neurotoxin paraquat was shown to have these senescent astrocytes too. However, clearing up these senescent astrocytes and other inflammatory cells prevented the development of signs of Parkinson's disease in mice, providing the first evidence of its kind in live mammals. This is an exciting development providing a novel avenue for treatment of this condition which affects approximately 10 million people in the world.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com

    Serotonin molecule 3D view. Image by Wikimedia Commons
    Neuroscience News: Human social advantages over apes may be due to higher dopamine levels

    We are social individuals and our success as a species has much to do with behaviors such as empathy, altruism and language. This is due in part to a brain region in our brain called the striatum, which has a unique neurochemical profile in humans, different from our relatives such as chimpanzees. One major difference between the humans and other primates is that we possess significantly more dopamine (a neurotransmitter) in the striatum, as shown by new research. It is believed that this change in brain chemistry occurred millions of years ago and it triggered the development of the complex human social networks.

    Read the full story: www.phys.org/news
    Scientific publication: www.pnas.org

    Low birth weight child. Image via Wikimedia Commons
    Brain development gets affected in children with low birth weight

    Children born as very low birth weight individuals are at a higher risk of brain injury during childbirth which might lead to abnormal brain development. Researchers at the Centre for Early Brain Development and Norwegian University of Science and Technology administered a simple attentional task to these individuals in their adulthood to test behavioural flexibility and found that these individuals had a hyper-reactive brain activation which was associated with poor white matter organization, lower intelligence and also anxiety disorder. This shows that low birth weight children have a persistent cognitive trouble well into early adulthood.

    Read the full story: www.neurosciencenews.com
    Scientific publication: www.sciencedirect.com

    Bilingualism might improve symptoms of Autism
    Bilingualism helps children with Autism

    Autism is a common neurological disorder in which children find it difficult to shift between different tasks since they have impaired executive functioning. However, researchers from McGill University has found that autistic children who are bilingual were able to perform better on set-shifting task in a laboratory setting. This is a critical piece of new evidence especially for families with autistic children since they are usually advised that exposing their children to more than one language might worsen the child’s language difficulties.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com
    Scientific publication: onlinelibrary.wiley.com

    Pupil size indicates brain activity in sleep
    Your pupil size might indicate the sleep state

    Daniel Huber and colleagues from the University of Geneva recently discovered that the pupil size fluctuates rhythmically with sleep. They suggest that the pupil size is a consistent indicator of sleep stage and the brain activity is correlated with the pupil size during the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. These fluctuations seem to be regulated by the parasympathetic system of the brain. This has interesting implications since one might be able to deduce brain activity non-invasively by pupil tracking which can be used as alternatives to electrode recordings.

    Read the full story: neurosciencenews.com
    Scientific publication: www.cell.com

    Rats know where other rats are through activation of particular cells in the hippocampus
    I know where you are! Social place cells in the hippocampus tell me!

    Bats and rats use the same neural region, the hippocampus, to orient themselves in space, and to track the whereabouts of their conspecifics, two independent research groups found. The animals use the already known “place cells” that encode their own location, and newly-found “social place cells” to code for the position of the others. These cells may be especially important for social animals (like rats, bats and humans), as knowing where conspecifics are facilitates communication, learning, or moving together.

    Read the full story: www.nature.com/articles/
    Scientific publication: science.sciencemag.org/content/bats
    Scientific publication: science.sciencemag.org/content/rats

    OpenClipart-Vectors via pixabay.com
    Abnormally interacting neurons might be the reason for cognitive deficits in Fragile X syndrome (FXS

    Dr Andre Fenton and colleagues from the New York University have discovered that in FXS which is responsible for the most widespread form of autism is characterized by normally functioning neurons for cognition and memory. However, the problem lies in the failure of these neurons interacting correctly which might result in long-term cognitive deficits. The study was conducted in mice which have genetic defects in the FMR1 gene similar to that seen in a human patient. This could have therapeutic implications since one can now target neuronal interactions instead of the upstream molecular abnormalities caused by the mutation.

    Read the full story: https://neurosciencenews.com/
    Scientific publication: http://www.cell.com/neuron/

    Source: By shgmom56 via Flickr
    Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) might appear even after head impact in the absence of concuss

    Researchers have found that early evidence of CTE pathology not only persisted for long after a head injury but also spread through the brain even in the absence of concussion. The study conducted in unanesthetized mice and post-mortem brains of teenage athletes showed that pathological aggregation of tau proteins were not only detected immediately at the site of impact but also in distant brain regions after 5 months. The study should be able to shed light on the relationship between CTE, head impact and traumatic brain injury so as to develop better therapeutic and preventive strategies.

    Read the full story: https://neurosciencenews.com/
    Scientific publication: https://academic.oup.com/brain/

    Source: OpenClipart-Vectors from pixabay.com
    Brain regions show hyper-connectivity in Cannabis abusers

    Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and her colleagues as a part of the Human Connectome Project have shown that chronic cannabis abuse results in higher resting state connectivity especially in the dopaminergic circuit of the brain which is implicated in the goal seeking behavior, reward and habit formation. This state of hyper-connectivity was also more pronounced in those individuals who began cannabis use in early adolescence. The researchers speculate that this might be the source of heightened emotional disturbances and higher risk of psychosis amongst these individuals.

    Read the full story: http://neurosciencenews.com/
    Scientific publication: http://www.sciencedirect.com/

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