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Mind & Brain In the News ...

Understanding how the protein tau moves between neurons yields insight into possible treatments for neurodegenerative diseases
Posted on Wednesday April 01, 2020

In the fight against neurodegenerative diseases such as frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer's and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, the tau protein is a major culprit. Found abundantly in our brain cells, tau is normally a team player -- it maintains structure and stability within neurons, and it helps with transport of nutrients from one part of the cell to another.

Understanding brain tumors in children
Posted on Wednesday April 01, 2020

The causes of 40% of all cases of certain medulloblastomas -- dangerous brain tumors affecting children -- are hereditary. A genetic defect that occurs in 15% of these children plays a key role by destabilizing the production of proteins. The researchers suspect that protein metabolism defects could be a previously underestimated cause of other types of cancer.

How dopamine drives brain activity
Posted on Wednesday April 01, 2020

Using a specialized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sensor that can track dopamine levels, neuroscientists have discovered how dopamine released deep within the brain influences distant brain regions.

Spina bifida surgery before birth restores brain structure
Posted on Wednesday April 01, 2020

Surgery performed on a fetus in the womb to repair defects from spina bifida triggers the body's ability to restore normal brain structure, new research has discovered.

The discovery of new compounds for acting on the circadian clock
Posted on Wednesday April 01, 2020

Scientists have succeeded in the discovery of novel compounds to lengthen the period of the circadian clock, and has shed light on their mechanisms of action.

Heavy drinking into older age adds 4 cm to waistline
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

More than half of drinkers aged 59 and over have been heavy drinkers and this is linked to a significantly larger waistline and increased stroke risk, according to a new study.

Where in the brain does creativity come from? Evidence from jazz musicians
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

A new brain-imaging study has studied the brain activity of jazz guitarists during improvisation to show that creativity is, in fact, driven primarily by the right hemisphere in musicians who are comparatively inexperienced at improvisation. However, musicians who are highly experienced at improvisation rely primarily on their left hemisphere.

Visual feedback enhances activation of muscle movement in response to bodily sensation
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

Visual feedback is just as important as a sense of body position when it comes to the involuntary reflexes that activate muscle movement, says a new study.

Experiences of undesired effects of hormonal contraception
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

A study of women who experienced mental ill-health from a hormonal contraception indicates they value their mental well-being higher than a satisfactory sex life. Their experiences can influence their choice of contraception. This is one of four themes that researchers have identified in interviews with 24 women who experience negative effects of some hormonal contraception.

Amyloid formation drives brain tissue loss in animal studies
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020

Amyloid plaque formation directly causes brain tissue loss in animals, but a drug called lithium reduces the life shortening effects of this loss, shows a new study.

The placebo effect and psychedelic drugs: Tripping on nothing?
Posted on Monday March 30, 2020

A new study suggests that, in the right context, some people may experience psychedelic-like effects from placebos alone. The researchers reported some of the strongest placebo effects on consciousness in the literature relating to psychedelic drugs. Indeed, 61% of the participants in the experiment reported some effect after consuming the placebo.

New research sheds light on potentially negative effects of cannabis
Posted on Monday March 30, 2020

Coughing fits, anxiety and paranoia are three of the most common adverse reactions to cannabis, according to a recent study.

How we perceive close relationships with others determines our willingness to share food
Posted on Monday March 30, 2020

Researchers said a better understanding of the links between attachment and food could potentially help inform efforts to extend help to people during the current coronavirus pandemic -- particularly among people with high attachment avoidance.

Air pollution linked to dementia and cardiovascular disease
Posted on Monday March 30, 2020

People continuously exposed to air pollution are at increased risk of dementia, especially if they also suffer from cardiovascular diseases, according to a new study. Therefore, patients with cardiovascular diseases who live in polluted environments may require additional support from care providers to prevent dementia, according to the researchers.

How social media makes it difficult to identify real news
Posted on Monday March 30, 2020

There's a price to pay when you get your news and political information from the same place you find funny memes and cat pictures, new research suggests. The study found that people viewing a blend of news and entertainment on a social media site tended to pay less attention to the source of content they consumed - meaning they could easily mistake satire or fiction for real news.

What are you looking at? 'Virtual' communication in the age of social distancing
Posted on Monday March 30, 2020

When discussions occur face-to-face, people know where their conversational partner is looking and vice versa. With ''virtual'' communication due to COVID-19 and the expansive use of mobile and video devices, now more than ever, it's important to understand how these technologies impact communication. Where do people focus their attention? The eyes, mouth, the whole face? And how do they encode conversation? A first-of-its-kind study set out to determine whether being observed affects people's behavior during online communication.

Engineers 3D print soft, rubbery brain implants
Posted on Monday March 30, 2020

MIT engineers are working on developing soft, flexible neural implants that can gently conform to the brain's contours and monitor activity over longer periods, without aggravating surrounding tissue. Such flexible electronics could be softer alternatives to existing metal-based electrodes designed to monitor brain activity, and may also be useful in brain implants that stimulate neural regions to ease symptoms of epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, and severe depression.

Advances in production of retinal cells for treating blindness
Posted on Monday March 30, 2020

Researchers have discovered a way to refine the production of retinal cells from embryonic stem cells for treating blindness in the elderly. Using the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, they have also managed to modify the cells so that they can hide from the immune system to prevent rejection.

A new way to study HIV's impact on the brain
Posted on Friday March 27, 2020

Using a newly developed laboratory model of three types of brain cells, scientists reveal how HIV infection -- as well as the drugs that treat it -- can take a toll on the central nervous system.

Gene mutation enhances cognitive flexibility in mice
Posted on Friday March 27, 2020

Researchers have discovered in mice what they believe is the first known genetic mutation to improve cognitive flexibility -- the ability to adapt to changing situations.

Cellular train track deformities shed light on neurological disease
Posted on Friday March 27, 2020

A new technique allows researchers to test how the deformation of tiny train track-like cell proteins affects their function. The findings could help clarify the roles of deformed 'microtubules' in traumatic brain injuries and in neurological diseases like Parkinson's.

Worldwide scientific collaboration unveils genetic architecture of gray matter
Posted on Thursday March 26, 2020

For the first time, more 360 scientists from 184 different institutions have contributed to a global effort to find more than 200 regions of the genome and more than 300 specific genetic variations that affect the structure of the cerebral cortex and likely play important roles in psychiatric and neurological conditions.

In politics and pandemics, trolls use fear, anger to drive clicks
Posted on Thursday March 26, 2020

A new CU Boulder study shows that Facebook ads developed and shared by Russian trolls around the 2016 election were clicked on nine times more than typical social media ads. The authors say the trolls are likely at it again, as the 2020 election approaches and the COVID-19 pandemic wears on.

Brain mapping study suggests motor regions for the hand also connect to the entire body
Posted on Thursday March 26, 2020

Investigators report that they have used microelectrode arrays implanted in human brains to map out motor functions down to the level of the single nerve cell. The study revealed that an area believed to control only one body part actually operates across a wide range of motor functions. It also demonstrated how different neurons coordinate with each other.

Legal marijuana products too strong for pain relief
Posted on Thursday March 26, 2020

More than 90% of the legal marijuana products offered in medical dispensaries are much stronger than what clinical studies have shown that doctors recommend for chronic pain relief, according to a new study.

Interactive product labels require new regulations, study warns
Posted on Thursday March 26, 2020

Artificial intelligence will be increasingly used on labels on food and other products in the future to make them interactive, and regulations should be reformed now so they take account of new innovations, a study warns.

Validation may be best way to support stressed out friends and family
Posted on Thursday March 26, 2020

In uncertain times, supporting your friends and family can help them make it through. But your comforting words can have different effects based on how you phrase them, according to new research.

Wildfire perceptions largely positive after hiking in a burned landscape
Posted on Thursday March 26, 2020

Results from pre- and post-hike surveys of a burned landscape indicate that people understand and appreciate the role of fire in natural landscapes more than is perceived.

How cognitive intelligence is a whole brain phenomenon
Posted on Thursday March 26, 2020

An international collaborative study provides findings on the neural basis of intelligence, otherwise known as general cognitive ability (IQ).

Despite failures, chemo still promising against dangerous childhood brain cancer, DIPG
Posted on Thursday March 26, 2020

The pediatric brain cancer known as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is almost uniformly fatal. In part, this is due to where and how it grows, forming as a diffuse net of cells in a part of the brainstem called the pons, which controls essential functions like breathing and swallowing. Another factor that makes DIPG especially dangerous is a lack of treatments - currently, there are no targeted therapies or immunotherapies proven effective to treat the condition, and the many chemotherapy clinical trials seeking to treat DIPG have been uniformly unsuccessful.

Video game experience, gender may improve VR learning
Posted on Wednesday March 25, 2020

Students who used immersive virtual reality (VR) did not learn significantly better than those who used two more traditional forms of learning, but they vastly preferred the VR to computer-simulated and hands-on methods, a new study has found.

An aspirin a day does not keep dementia at bay
Posted on Wednesday March 25, 2020

Taking a low-dose aspirin once a day does not reduce the risk of thinking and memory problems caused by mild cognitive impairment or probable Alzheimer's disease, nor does it slow the rate of cognitive decline, according to a large study.

Analysis predicts purified fish oil could prevent thousands of cardiovascular events
Posted on Wednesday March 25, 2020

Researchers have conducted a statistical analysis that predicts more than 70,000 heart attacks, strokes and other adverse cardiovascular events could be prevented each year in the U.S. through the use of a highly purified fish oil therapy.

Female lifespan is longer in wild mammal animals than in humans
Posted on Wednesday March 25, 2020

Longer lives are not only for female humans: Mammalian female's average lifespan is 18.6% longer than that of males. In humans the female advantage is on average 7.8%.

To stay positive, live in the moment -- but plan ahead
Posted on Wednesday March 25, 2020

A recent study finds that people who balance living in the moment with planning for the future are best able to weather daily stress without succumbing to negative moods.

Women 10% more likely than men to report feeling unsafe on urban public transport
Posted on Wednesday March 25, 2020

A worldwide study of 327,403 metro and bus passengers shows that women are ten per cent more likely to feel unsafe than men on urban public transport.

Mother/infant skin-to-skin touch boosts baby's brain development and function
Posted on Wednesday March 25, 2020

New research shows that extended use of Kangaroo Care, a skin-to-skin, chest-to-chest method of caring for a baby, can positively benefit full-term infants and their mothers, with important implications for post-partum depression.

Teeth serve as 'archive of life,' new research finds
Posted on Wednesday March 25, 2020

Teeth constitute a permanent and faithful biological archive of the entirety of the individual's life, from tooth formation to death, a team of researchers has found. Its work provides new evidence of the impact that events, such as reproduction and imprisonment, have on an organism.

New imaging method sheds light on Alzheimer's disease
Posted on Wednesday March 25, 2020

To understand what happens in the brain when Alzheimer's disease develops, researchers need to be able to study the molecular structures in the neurons affected by Alzheimer's disease. Researchers have tested a new imaging method for this purpose.

New molecular probes for opioid receptors
Posted on Wednesday March 25, 2020

It could be an important step forward in the improvement of pain therapy: Thanks to newly developed molecular probes, the behavior of individual opioid receptors can now be studied in detail.

Older people generally more emotionally healthy, better able to resist daily temptations
Posted on Wednesday March 25, 2020

Older people are generally more emotionally stable and better able to resist temptations in their daily lives, a new study says. Researchers pinged 123 study participants aged 20 to 80 on their cell phones three times a day for ten days. They indicated how they felt on a five-point scale for each of eight emotional states, including contentment, enthusiasm, relaxation and sluggishness, and whether they were craving chocolate, cigarettes or sex.

Elections: Early warning system to fight disinformation online
Posted on Wednesday March 25, 2020

A new project is an effort to combat the rise of coordinated social media campaigns to incite violence, sew discord and threaten the integrity of democratic elections.

Higher daily step count linked with lower all-cause mortality
Posted on Wednesday March 25, 2020

In a new study, higher daily step counts were associated with lower mortality risk from all causes.

More men, more problems? Not necessarily
Posted on Tuesday March 24, 2020

Men are more prone to competitive risk taking and violent behavior, so what happens when the number of men is greater than the number of women in a population? According to new research, the answers might not be what you expect.

Scientists investigate why females live longer than males
Posted on Tuesday March 24, 2020

An international team of scientists found that, like humans, female wild animals tend to live longer than males.

Past your bedtime? Inconsistency may increase risk to cardiovascular health
Posted on Tuesday March 24, 2020

Researchers found that individuals going to bed even 30 minutes later than their usual bedtime presented a significantly higher resting heart rate that lasted into the following day.

Brain or muscles, what do we lose first?
Posted on Tuesday March 24, 2020

From the age of 50, there is a decline not just in physical activity but also in cognitive abilities since the two are correlated. But which of them influences the other? Researchers used a database of over 100,000 people aged 50-90 whose physical and cognitive abilities were measured every two years for 12 years. The findings show that cognitive abilities ward off inactivity much more than physical activity prevents the decline in cognitive abilities.

Antibodies in the brain trigger epilepsy
Posted on Tuesday March 24, 2020

Certain forms of epilepsy are accompanied by inflammation of important brain regions. Researchers have now identified a mechanism that explains this link. Their results may also pave the way to new therapeutic options in the medium term.

COVID-19 survey of New York CIty residents
Posted on Tuesday March 24, 2020

Nearly three in ten New York City residents (29%) report that either they or someone in their household has lost their job as a result of coronavirus over the last two weeks. In addition, 80% of NYC residents said they experienced reduced ability to get the food they need, and two-thirds (66%) reported a loss of social connection in the past week, suggesting that compelled isolation is taking a toll on residents.

How well do you know the back of your hand, really?
Posted on Tuesday March 24, 2020

Many of us are spending a lot of time looking at our hands lately and we think we know them pretty well. But research shows the way our brains perceive our hands is inaccurate.

Key factors for reducing brain damage from cardiac arrest
Posted on Tuesday March 24, 2020

Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) can improve blood flow to the brain after cardiac arrest and preserve neurological function. However, factors predicting who benefits from ECPR are unclear. In a multicenter clinical study, called CRITICAL, researchers found that shorter time between standard CPR and ECPR, as well as responsiveness to defibrillation, are associated with improved neurological outcomes. The findings may help improve international guidelines on resuscitation following cardiac arrest.

Analyzing patients shortly after stroke can help link brain regions to speech functions
Posted on Tuesday March 24, 2020

New research shows analyzing the brains of stroke victims just days after the stroke allows researchers to link various speech functions to different parts of the brain, an important breakthrough that may lead to better treatment and recovery.

Uncertainty about facts can be reported without damaging public trust in news
Posted on Monday March 23, 2020

A series of experiments finds the use of numerical ranges in news reports helps people grasp the uncertainty of stats while maintaining trust in data and its sources. Researchers encourage experts and media to be more 'honest about what we don't know' when providing the public with information.

Stroke: When the system fails for the second time
Posted on Monday March 23, 2020

After a stroke, there is an increased risk of suffering a second one. If areas in the left hemisphere were affected during the first attack, language is often impaired. In order to maintain this capability, the brain usually briefly drives up the counterparts on the right side. But what happens after a second attack? Medical researchers have now found an answer by using virtual lesions.

Supercharging cells by using mitochondrial transplantation
Posted on Monday March 23, 2020

Researchers have shown that they can give cells a short-term boost of energy through mitochondrial transplantation. The team's study suggests that mitochondrial transplantation could one day be employed to cure various cardiovascular, metabolic and neurodegenerative disorders -- and even offer a new approach to the treatment of cancer.

Anxious about COVID-19? Stress can have lasting impacts on sperm and future offspring
Posted on Monday March 23, 2020

Prolonged fear and anxiety brought on by major stressors, like the coronavirus pandemic, can not only take a toll on a person's mental health, but may also have a lasting impact on a man's sperm composition that could affect his future offspring.

Stem cells and nerves interact in tissue regeneration and cancer progression
Posted on Monday March 23, 2020

Researchers show that different stem cell populations are innervated in distinct ways. Innervation may therefore be crucial for proper tissue regeneration. They also demonstrate that cancer stem cells likewise establish contacts with nerves. Targeting tumor innervation could thus lead to new cancer therapies.

Many sport students reach the limits of their physical ability, but prefer not to talk about it
Posted on Monday March 23, 2020

They are young and well-trained - but a fourth of sport science students suffers from pain in combination with psychosocial stresses.

To sleep deeply: The brainstem neurons that regulate non-REM sleep
Posted on Monday March 23, 2020

Researchers identified neurons that promote non-REM sleep in the brainstem in mice. These neurons commonly expressed the gene that encodes the neuropeptide neurotensin. Activation of these neurons induced non-REM sleep. Moreover, direct administration of neurotensin into the ventricle induced NREM sleep-like brain activity. These findings contribute to our understanding of sleep promotion and sleep disorders, and could tell us more about the evolution of sleep architecture in mammals.

Teacher evaluations weed out low-performing teachers in urban schools
Posted on Monday March 23, 2020

New research finds that statewide K-12 teacher evaluation systems have proven to phase out lower performing teachers and retain more effective teachers for longer periods of time -- particularly in urban districts and low-performing schools.


 

 

 

 

 

 

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