A new way to study the role of a critical neurotransmitter in disorders such as epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia, depression, schizophrenia, and alcohol addiction has been developed. This model synapse can precisely control a variety of receptors for the neurotransmitter called GABA, which is important in brain chemistry.
Scientists have discovered a biological marker that may help to identify which depressed patients will respond to an experimental, rapid-acting antidepressant like ketamine. The brain signal, detectable by noninvasive imaging, also holds clues to the agent's underlying mechanism, which are vital for drug development, say NIH researchers.
A new study raises concern about chronic exposure of workers in industry to a food flavoring ingredient used to produce the distinctive buttery flavor and aroma of microwave popcorn, margarines, snack foods, candy, baked goods, pet foods and other products. It found evidence that the ingredient, diacetyl (DA), intensifies the damaging effects of an abnormal brain protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Results of a new study offer compelling evidence for the first time that mephedrone, like cocaine, does have potential for abuse and addiction. “The effects of mephedrone on the brain’s reward circuits are comparable to similar doses of cocaine,” Dr. Malanga, a professor of neurology, pediatrics and psychology at UNC School of Medicine said. “As expected our research shows that mephedrone likely has significant abuse liability.”
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.