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- Locusts provide insight into brain response to stimuli, senses
By training a type of grasshopper to recognize odors, a team of biomedical engineers is learning more about the brain and how it processes information from its senses. While the results of this research focus on the sense of smell, researchers plan to use the results to determine if the brain processes signals similarly for other senses.
- Nerve cells, blood vessels in eye 'talk' to prevent disease
Nerve cells and blood vessels in the eye constantly 'talk' to each other to maintain healthy blood flow and prevent disease, scientists say. The study has implications for treating diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration--the leading causes of vision loss in adults. Since the eye is often a good model for understanding the workings of the brain, the findings also provide clues to major neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, researchers say.
- Breakthrough in understanding Canavan disease
Investigators have settled a long-standing controversy surrounding the molecular basis of an inherited disorder that historically affected Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe but now also arises in other populations of Semitic descent, particularly families from Saudi Arabia. Canavan disease is a type of leukodystrophy that is an incurable and progressively fatal neurological condition.
- Finding the body clock's molecular reset button
An international team of scientists has discovered what amounts to a molecular reset button for our internal body clock. Their findings reveal a potential target to treat a range of disorders, from sleep disturbances to other behavioral, cognitive, and metabolic abnormalities.
- Brain balances perception and action when caught in an illusion
Two wrongs can make a right, at least in the world of visual perception and motor functioning, according to brain scientists who tracked the eyes of students during exercises in a dark laboratory.
- Hate to diet? It's how we're wired
If you're finding it difficult to stick to a weight-loss diet, scientists say you can likely blame AGRP neurons -- hunger-sensitive cells in your brain. New experiments show these neurons are responsible for the unpleasant feelings of hunger that make snacking irresistible. The negative emotions associated with hunger can make it hard to maintain a diet and lose weight, and these neurons help explain that struggle.
- Your adolescent brain on alcohol: Changes last into adulthood
Repeated alcohol exposure during adolescence results in long-lasting changes in the region of the brain that controls learning and memory, according to a research team that used a rodent model as a surrogate for humans.
- HIV prevention and risk behaviors follow weekly patterns
The peak time for seeking information on topics related to HIV, such as prevention and testing, is at the beginning of the week, while risky sexual behaviors tend to increase on the weekends, according to a new analysis.
- Study links insomnia to impaired work performance in night shift workers
A new study of night shift workers suggests that overnight occupational and cognitive impairment is more strongly correlated to insomnia than it is to sleepiness.
- A 'GPS' to navigate the brain's neuronal networks
Scientists have announced a "Neuronal Positioning System" (NPS) that maps the circuitry of the brain, similar to how a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver triangulates one's location on the planet.
- Potential new treatment for multiple sclerosis
Scientists have discovered a way to prevent the development of multiple sclerosis in mice. Using a drug that blocks the production of a certain type of immune cell linked to inflammation and autoimmunity, the researchers successfully protected against the onset of MS in an animal model of the disease. The scientists say the next step is to test this strategy using other autoimmune disorders.
- Bullying leads to depression and suicidal thoughts in teens
High school students subjected to bullying and other forms of harassment are more likely to report being seriously depressed, consider suicide and carry weapons to school, according to findings from a trio of studies.
- Outsmarting smartphones: Technology reduces distracted driving among teens
Technology can bolster efforts by parents, lawmakers and insurance companies to reduce distracted driving among novice teen drivers, according to a new study.
- Serving healthy foods with a smile may entice students to eat better
Labeling healthy foods with smiley faces and offering small prizes for buying nutritious items may be a low-cost way to get students to make healthy choices in the school lunch line, according to a new study.
- Some children lose autism diagnosis but still struggle
About one in 14 toddlers diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder no longer met the diagnostic criteria in elementary school, but most continued to have emotional/behavior symptoms and required special education supports, according to a new study.
- Parents sound off on mobile device use by children
Smartphones and tablets have become part of everyday life, but parents still worry that mobile devices may not be the best thing for their children, according to a new study.
- We are family: Adult support reduces youths' risk of violence exposure
Adults can have a bigger influence on youths growing up in poor, violent neighborhoods than they may realize.
- Just an hour of TV a day linked to unhealthy weight in kindergartners
Kindergartners and first-graders who watched as little as one hour of television a day were more likely to be overweight or obese compared to children who watched TV for less than 60 minutes each day, according to a new study.
- Cell phones take parents' attention away from kids on playgrounds
Parents who take their kids to the playground may be tempted to pull out their cell phone to send a quick text or check Facebook. It may be more prudent, however, to stay focused on their child to ensure he or she plays safely. More than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger are treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year for playground-related injuries.
- Giving books to kids before summer break can stem reading losses
A new study shows that giving students books at the end of the school year can help stem losses in reading skills.
- Babies as young as six months using mobile media
More than one-third of babies are tapping on smartphones and tablets even before they learn to walk or talk, and by one year of age, one in seven toddlers is using devices for at least an hour a day, according to a new study.
- MRI shows association between reading to young children and brain activity
There is evidence that reading to young children is in fact associated with differences in brain activity supporting early reading skills.
- Youths who survive self-poisoning continue to be at risk of suicide for years
Teenagers who are hospitalized after intentionally poisoning themselves are at a significantly increased risk of dying by suicide in the following decade, according to a new study.
- High radiotherapy dose improves prospects for children with brain cancer
Researchers have found that increasing the dose of radiotherapy given to children with an intracranial ependymoma, a form of cancer of the central nervous system, can significantly improve their survival.
- Mental disorders don't predict future violence, study suggests
Most psychiatric disorders -- including depression -- do not predict future violent behavior, reports a new longitudinal study of delinquent youth. The only exception is substance abuse and dependence.
- Discovery may open door for treating fragile X carriers
Fragile X syndrome, an inherited cause of autism and intellectual disability, can have consequences even for carriers of the disorder who don't have full-blown symptoms.
- We think better on our feet, literally
A new study finds students with standing desks are more attentive than their seated counterparts. Preliminary results show 12 percent greater on-task engagement in classrooms with standing desks.
- Significant increase in major depression reported during recent recession
The recent Great Recession was accompanied by a significant and sustained increase in major depression in US adults, according to a new study.
- New light shed on brain's source of power
New research represents a potentially fundamental shift in our understanding of how nerve cells in the brain generate the energy needed to function. The study shows neurons are more independent than previously believed and this research has implications for a range of neurological disorders.
- Psychology of the appeal of being anti-GMO
A team of philosophers and plant biotechnologists have turned to cognitive science to explain why opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has become so widespread, despite positive contributions GM crops have made to sustainable agriculture. They argue that the human mind is highly susceptible to the negative and often emotional representations put out by certain environmental groups and other opponents of GMOs.
- Risk perception: Social exchange can amplify subjective fears
A 'pass the message' experiment investigates how people perceive and communicate the risks of a widely used chemical.
- New insight into how brain makes memories
Researchers have identified the role that a key protein associated with autism and the co-occurrence of alcohol dependency and depression plays in forming the spines that create new connections in the brain.
- Stem-cell-based therapy promising for treatment of breast cancer metastases in the brain
Investigators have developed an imageable mouse model of brain-metastatic breast cancer and shown the potential of a stem-cell-based therapy to eliminate metastatic cells from the brain and prolong survival. The study also describes a strategy of preventing the potential negative consequences of stem cell therapy.
- Inclusive classrooms don't necessarily increase friendships for children with disabilities
When parents of children with disabilities drop their child off at kindergarten they often worry about whether they will make friends – a key factor in reducing anxiety, depression and the likelihood of being bullied. The response from schools has been to create inclusive classrooms, where a significant number of students with disabilities receive their education. A new study, however, finds that inclusive classrooms with disability awareness curricula alone do not increase friendships for those students.
- Can a parent's concerns predict autism?
New research shows that many parents notice signs of autism spectrum disorder in their infant children far before an official diagnosis. The study concludes that parental concerns for their children starting as early as six months of age can be predictive of autism spectrum disorder.
- Long-term exposure to air pollution may pose risk to brain structure, cognitive functions
Air pollution, even at moderate levels, has long been recognized as a factor in raising the risk of stroke. A new study suggests that long-term exposure can cause damage to brain structures and impair cognitive function in middle-aged and older adults.
- Glimpses of how the brain transforms sound
When people hear the sound of footsteps or the drilling of a woodpecker, the rhythmic structure of the sounds is striking. Even when the temporal structure of a sound is less obvious, as with human speech, the timing still conveys a variety of important information. How such sounds are processed is now better understood.
- Resilience, not abstinence, may help teens battle online risk
Boosting teenagers' ability to cope with online risks, rather than trying to stop them from using the Internet, may be a more practical and effective strategy for keeping them safe, according to a team of researchers.
- World Happiness Report 2015 ranks happiest countries
Since it was first published in 2012, the World Happiness Report demonstrated that well-being and happiness are critical indicators of a nation's economic and social development, and should be a key aim of policy. This year's report looks at the changes in happiness levels in 158 countries, and examines the reasons behind the statistics.
- Connecting places causes mental maps to merge
Realizing how places connect geographically causes local maps in the brain to join, forming one big map which helps with planning future journeys, finds a new study.
- In search of tinnitus, that phantom ringing in the ears
About one in five people experience tinnitus, the perception of a sound -- often described as ringing -- that isn't really there. Now, researchers have taken advantage of a rare opportunity to record directly from the brain of a person with tinnitus in order to find the brain networks responsible.
- Major depression leaves a metabolic mark
Major depression comes with an unexpected metabolic signature, according to new evidence.The findings in humans and mice offer new insight into the nature of depression. They may also yield new ways to measure and monitor mental health at the molecular level.
- Brain circuitry for selecting among sensations
Neuroscientists show how cells in the brain's cortex can either stifle or enhance sensory information incoming from the thalamus, thereby allowing it to focus on just some of the many sensory inputs it might choose to consider.
- Link between proteins points to possibilities for future Alzheimer’s treatments
Researchers have found that the proteins that control the progression of Alzheimer's are linked in a pathway, and that drugs targeting this pathway may be a way of treating the disease, which affects 40 million people worldwide.
- How to stop a stroke in its tracks
New minimally invasive surgical devices called stentrievers are enabling brain surgeons to stop strokes in their tracks.
- Fat tissue controls brain's response to food scarcity, helping regulate optimal amount of body fat for brain function
An enzyme secreted by the body's fat tissue controls energy levels in the brain, according to new research. The findings, in mice, underscore a role for the body's fat tissue in controlling the brain's response to food scarcity, and suggest there is an optimal amount of body fat for maximizing health and longevity. The findings may help explain the many studies that show a survival benefit to having a body mass index toward the low end of what is considered overweight.
- Extra sleep fixes memory problems in flies with Alzheimer's-like condition
Many studies have linked more sleep to better memory, but new research in fruit flies demonstrates that extra sleep helps the brain overcome catastrophic neurological defects that otherwise would block memory formation, report scientists.
- How experience may lead to misperception
Distance, volume, brightness or duration -- when judging magnitudes, we make systematic errors. A new model combines two competing classical theories of magnitude estimates and attributes prior experience to play an important role.
- Scientists create the sensation of invisibility
The power of invisibility has long fascinated man and inspired the works of many great authors and philosophers. A team of neuroscientists now reports a perceptual illusion of having an invisible body, and show that the feeling of invisibility changes our physical stress response in challenging social situations.
- Epigenetic Marks Lay Foundations for a Child’s Future Abilities
Epigenetic marks on our DNA account for how all cells in the body have the same DNA sequence, inherited from our parents, but nonetheless there are hundreds of different cell types. The body uses epigenetics as its principal control system, to increase or decrease the expression of our genes, and epigenetic processes are known to be important in memory and other aspects of brain function. The new research used umbilical cord tissue collected at birth and identified epigenetic marks in a key brain development gene called HES1 that were linked to the child’s ability to learn and their cognitive performance at ages 4 and 7 years. The findings in two groups of children in Southampton, UK, were accompanied by additional findings in children from Singapore that HES1 epigenetic marks at birth were associated with aspects of socially disruptive behaviour that have previously been linked with a reduced school performance.
- Birds show surprising resilience in the face of natural stresses
Life as a wild baby bird can involve a lot of stress; competing with your siblings, dealing with extreme weather, and going hungry due to habitat loss are just a few examples. However, birds have an amazing capacity to overcome stresses experienced early in life and go on to reproductive success as adults, according to a new article.
- Verbal therapy could block consolidation of fear memories in trauma victims
A verbal 'updating' technique aimed at blocking the consolidation of traumatic memories could protect against the long-term psychological and physiological effects of trauma, according to new research.
- Patient-doctor ethnic differences thwart end-of-life conversations
Most doctors balk at talking with seriously ill patients about what's important to them in their final days, especially if the patient's ethnicity is different than their own, according to a new study. The work is based on questionnaires answered anonymously by 1,040 medical residents in their last year of training.
- Discovery could impact study of chronic pain conditions
Researchers have uncovered the critical role in pain processing of a gene associated with a rare disease. Their breakthrough paves the way for a better understanding of chronic pain conditions, they say.
- This is your teen's brain behind the wheel
A new study of teenagers and their moms reveals how adolescent brains negotiate risk -- and the factors that modulate their risk-taking behind the wheel. Researchers observed that teens driving alone found risky decisions rewarding. Blood flow to the ventral striatum, a "reward center" in the brain, increased significantly when teen drivers chose to ignore a yellow stoplight and drove through the intersection anyway. A mother's presence, however, blunted the thrill of running the yellow light.
- Nanoparticle drug reverses Parkinson's-like symptoms in rats
As baby boomers age, the number of people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease is expected to increase. Patients who develop this disease usually start experiencing symptoms around age 60 or older. Currently, there's no cure, but scientists are reporting a novel approach that reversed Parkinson's-like symptoms in rats. Their results could one day lead to a new therapy for human patients.
- Researchers discover new drugs to combat the root cause of multiple sclerosis
Several drugs could lead to new treatment options for multiple sclerosis, including two drugs that effectively treat MS at the source, in vivo, researchers report. At the pathological level, MS is a disease in which the immune system attacks the protective myelin sheath, a type of insulation that covers nerves, ultimately disrupting communication between the brain and the body and leading to nerve deterioration.
- Researchers show how blood-brain barrier is maintained
In a new study, researchers have made insights into how the blood-brain barrier, or BBB, is maintained, identifying a protein key to the process. Delivering this protein to mice with the rodent equivalent of MS improved their symptoms.
- Lessons to be learned from Caribbean treatment of mental health
With Caribbean people in the UK nine times more likely than white British counterparts to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, a mental health researcher has visited Jamaica and Barbados to find out what lessons can be learned.
- Autism and prodigy share a common genetic link
Researchers have uncovered the first evidence of a genetic link between prodigy and autism. The scientists found that child prodigies in their sample share some of the same genetic variations with people who have autism.