A study, performed in mice and utilizing post-mortem samples of brains from patients with Alzheimer’s disease, found that a single event of a moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) can disrupt proteins that regulate an enzyme associated with Alzheimer’s. The paper, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, identifies the complex mechanisms that result in a rapid and robust post-injury elevation of the enzyme, BACE1, in the brain. These results may lead to the development of a drug treatment that targets this mechanism to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
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Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital have identified several gene mutations responsible for the most common childhood brain tumor, called medulloblastoma, adding evidence to the theory that the diagnosis is a group of genetically distinct cancers with different prognoses. These and accompanying findings are likely to lead to less toxic, better targeted treatment approaches over the next two years, the researchers said.
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By decoding brain activity, scientists were able to 'see' that 2 monkeys were planning to approach the same reaching task differently - even before they moved a muscle.
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An experimental drug that reduces brain damage and improves motor skills among stroke-afflicted rodents when given with federally approved clot-busting therapy has been created.
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Researchers from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute at the University of Barcelona have coordinated research into how the IDPN nitrile causes neurological syndromes similar to those of the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a severe neuromuscular degenerative disease.
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A new Caltech study suggests that specific changes in an overactive immune system can indeed contribute to autism-like behaviors in mice, and that in some cases, this activation can be related to what a developing fetus experiences in the womb.
Mice born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy typically only live five to six days. University of Missouri researchers introduced the SMN gene into the mice’s central nervous systems and were able to extend their lives 10-25 days longer.
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The researchers demonstrated that cord blood cells, which come from the mesoderm, the middle layer of embryonic germ cells, can be switched to ectodermal cells, outer layer cells from which brain, spinal and nerve cells arise. "This study shows for the first time the direct conversion of a pure population of human cord blood cells into cells of neuronal lineage by the forced expression of a single transcription factor," says Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte.
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Why the Thrill is Gone: Scientists Identify Potential Target for Treating Major Symptom of Depression
Scientists have laid bare a novel molecular mechanism responsible for the major depression symptom, anhedonia, the loss of the ability to experience pleasure. The brain circuit involved in this newly elucidated pathway is largely identical between rodents and humans, upping the odds that the findings point toward new therapies for depression and other disorders. Additionally, opinion leaders hailed the study’s inventive methodology, saying it may offer a much sounder approach to testing new antidepressants.
The biological role of a gene variant implicated in multiple sclerosis (MS) has been determined by researchers at Oxford University. The researchers investigated one particular genetic variant - found in a gene called TNFRSF1A - which has previously been associated with the risk of developing MS.
HD mice crossbred with mice that produced greater levels of PGC-1alpha showed dramatic improvement. Production of misfolded proteins was essentially eliminated and the mice behaved normally. “Degeneration of brain cells is prevented. Neurons don’t die,” said La Spada.
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Lacking sound input, the primary auditory cortex “feels” touch. The finding reveals how the early loss of a sense affects brain development. It adds to a growing list of discoveries that confirm the impact of experiences and outside influences in molding the developing brain.