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New method shows great potential for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease
In Alzheimer's disease, a protein (peptide) forms clumps in the brain and causes sufferers to lose their memory. In a recently published article, a research group at Uppsala University described a new treatment method that increases the body's own degradation of the building blocks that lead to these protein clumps. (2020-11-03)

A malformation illustrates the incredible plasticity of the brain
One in 4,000 people is born without a corpus callosum, a brain structure consisting of neural fibres that are used to transfer information between hemisphere. 25% of them do not have any symptoms. Neuroscientists from the University of Geneva discovered that when the neuronal fibres that act as a bridge between the hemispheres are missing, the brain reorganises itself and creates an impressive number of connections inside each hemisphere, recreating connections using alternative neural pathways. (2020-10-30)

Children with asymptomatic brain bleeds as newborns show normal brain development at age 2
A study by UNC researchers finds that neurodevelopmental scores and gray matter volumes at age two years did not differ between children who had MRI-confirmed asymptomatic subdural hemorrhages when they were neonates, compared to children with no history of subdural hemorrhage. (2020-10-30)

Graphene-based memory resistors show promise for brain-based computing
As progress in traditional computing slows, new forms of computing are coming to the forefront. At Penn State, a team of engineers is attempting to pioneer a type of computing that mimics the efficiency of the brain's neural networks while exploiting the brain's analog nature. (2020-10-29)

Brainstem neurons control both behaviour and misbehaviour
A recent study at the University of Helsinki reveals how gene control mechanisms define the identity of developing neurons in the brainstem. The researchers also showed that a failure in differentiation of the brainstem neurons leads to behavioural abnormalities, including hyperactivity and attention deficit. (2020-10-29)

New assay screens human brain organoids, doubles known candidate genes for microcephaly
A new tissue screening assay for human cerebral organoids identified 25 additional candidate genes for microcephaly, nearly doubling the number of currently known genes linked to the rare neurological condition. (2020-10-29)

New imaging technique doubles visibility of brain tumors in scans
A new three-dimensional imaging technique has been developed that greatly improves the visibility of brain tumors in magnetic resonance imaging scans. The technique will potentially enable earlier diagnosis of tumors when they are smaller and more treatable. (2020-10-28)

Cancer cells mediate immune suppression in the brain
Notre Dame researchers showed that one type of cell important for immunity, called a myeloid cell, can suppress the immune response -- which has the effect of allowing breast cancer cells to metastasize to the brain to form secondary tumor cells there. (2020-10-27)

What EEGs tell us about COVID-19 and the brain
A systematic review of hundreds of cases of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 helps painting a broader picture of how COVID-19 affects the brain. (2020-10-27)

Hydrogen sulfide helps maintain your drive to breathe
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba have found that the production of hydrogen sulfide gas is necessary to breathe normally. Inhibition of hydrogen sulfide production in rats prevented brain neurons that control breathing from functioning normally. These findings have identified new mediators of breathing that can now be explored in the context of human health and disease. (2020-10-26)

Researchers discover 'spooky' similarity in how brains and computers see
The brain detects 3D shape fragments (bumps, hollows, shafts, spheres) in the beginning stages of object vision - a newly discovered strategy of natural intelligence that Johns Hopkins University researchers also found in artificial intelligence networks trained to recognize visual objects. (2020-10-22)

Humans are born with brains 'prewired' to see words
Humans are born with a part of the brain that is prewired to be receptive to seeing words and letters, setting the stage at birth for people to learn how to read, a new study suggests. Analyzing brain scans of newborns, researchers found that this part of the brain - called the ''visual word form area'' (VWFA) - is connected to the language network of the brain. (2020-10-22)

What lies between grey and white in the brain
A multidisciplinary team led by Nikolaus Weiskopf from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) has succeeded in making the superficial white matter visible in the living human brain. (2020-10-19)

New model of human brain 'conversations' could inform research on brain disease, cognition
A team of Indiana University neuroscientists has built a new model of human brain networks that sheds light on how the brain functions. (2020-10-19)

Automatic decision-making prevents us harming others - new study
The processes our brains use to avoid harming other people are automatic and reflexive - and quite different from those used when avoiding harm to ourselves, according to new research. (2020-10-15)

Inhibiting epileptic activity in the brain
A new study shows that a protein -- called DUSP4 -- was increased in healthy brain tissue directly adjacent to epileptic tissue. The research suggests that boosting levels of DUSP4 could be a novel way of preventing or treating epilepsy. (2020-10-08)

Cortex-wide variation of neuronal cellular energy levels depending on the sleep-wake states
The brain is assumed to exert homeostatic functions to always keep the cellular energy status constant, this has not been proven. Researchers at Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science discovered that cortical neuronal intracellular concentrations of ATP, the major cellular energy metabolite, greatly decreased during REM sleep, despite a simultaneous increase in cerebral hemodynamics for energy supply, compared with waking in mice. These indicate that cerebral energy metabolism may not always meet neuronal energy demands. (2020-10-07)

Millimetre-precision drug delivery to the brain
Focused ultrasound waves help ETH researchers to deliver drugs to the brain with pinpoint accuracy, in other words only to where their effect is desired. This method is set to enable treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders and tumours with fewer side effects in the future. (2020-10-05)

Awakening after a sleeping pill
A patient who could not move and talk spontaneously for eight years started to do so again after being administered a sleeping pill. The spectacular but temporary effect was visualized with brain scans, giving researchers from Radboud university medical center and Amsterdam UMC a better understanding of this disorder's underlying neurophysiological processes. The article has been published in Cortex. (2020-10-02)

Bird brains are surprisingly complex
Some birds can achieve extraordinary cognitive performance - but their brains were considered to be rather disorganized compared to those of mammals. Scientists from Bochum (RUB), Düsseldorf (HHU), Jülich (FZJ), and Aachen (RWTH) now show striking similarities between the neocortex of mammals and sensory brain areas of birds: Both are wired in horizontal layers and vertical columns. The finding refutes 150-year-old assumptions. Decisive insights were provided by a method developed by Jülich and Düsseldorf brain researchers. (2020-09-28)

Evolutionary and heritable axes shape our brain
Every region has its place in the brain. However, it has been unclear why brain regions are located where they are. Now, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences have defined two main axes along which brain regions are genetically organized, stretching from posterior to anterior and inferior to superior in the brain. These axes are mainly shaped by genes and evolution. (2020-09-28)

Parental touch reduces pain responses in babies' brains
Being held by a parent with skin-to-skin contact reduces how strongly a newborn baby's brain responds to a painful medical jab, finds a new study led by researchers at UCL and York University, Canada. (2020-09-24)

How a single protein in non-neuronal cells controls brain development
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba identified the protein PRMT1 as an important regulator of glial cell function and normal brain development. They found that mice lacking PRMT1 during brain development showed significant inflammation as well as an increase in astrocyte and microglia cells in the postnatal period. These findings help clarify the molecular mechanisms of normal brain development. (2020-09-23)

Center for BrainHealth advances technique to distinguish brain energy molecules
Researchers examined how cells in the brains of people at risk for developing Alzheimer's disease make and use energy. Relationships between the brain's energy metabolism and the risk of Alzheimer's have been reported previously. But this is the first study to distinguish different energy molecules in the brain using high-powered imaging MRS at 7-Tesla. The findings from this study could help the development of tests for earlier detection and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. (2020-09-23)

World first study links obesity with reduced brain plasticity
A world-first study has found that severely overweight people are less likely to be able to re-wire their brains and find new neural pathways, a discovery that has significant implications for people recovering from a stroke or brain injury. (2020-09-23)

Scientists advance understanding of blood-brain barrier health
in a study with potential impacts on a variety of neurological diseases, Virginia Tech researchers have provided the first experimental evidence from a living organism to show that an abundant, star-shaped brain cell known as an astrocyte is essential for blood-brain barrier health. (2020-09-21)

Neurobiology - To keep pain in check, count down
Diverse cognitive strategies affect our perception of pain. Studies by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich neuroscientist Enrico Schulz and colleagues have linked the phenomenon to the coordinated activity of neural circuits located in different brain areas. (2020-09-21)

The overlap between fear and anxiety brain circuits
Fear and anxiety reflect overlapping brain circuits, according to research recently published in JNeurosci. The findings highlight a need to reevaluate the existing models guiding anxiety research. (2020-09-21)

How researchers look at the bird brain in action
How do birds make decisions and which brain regions are particularly active when they solve tasks? Researchers from Bochum are investigating these questions. So far, only anesthetized birds and therefore passive experiments could be examined using the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Thus, the examination of brain processes during active tasks was not possible. Now the researchers have constructed an experimental set-up which allows them to carry out fMRI examinations on awake pigeons and thus also investigate cognitive processes for the first time. (2020-09-18)

Mapping the decision-making pathways in the brain
Scientists at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) have identified a new area of the brain that could be involved in cost-benefit decision-making. (2020-09-18)

The brain's memory abilities inspire AI experts in making neural networks less 'forgetful'
Artificial intelligence (AI) experts at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Baylor College of Medicine report that they have successfully addressed what they call a ''major, long-standing obstacle to increasing AI capabilities'' by drawing inspiration from a human brain memory mechanism known as ''replay.'' (2020-09-17)

Reward and punishment take similar paths in the mouse brain
One brain pathway, originating from the striosome, regulates the motivations that influence behavior. Previously, this part of the brain was thought to support reward-seeking and positive reinforcement for learning. The discovery that some neurons in this pathway contribute instead to negative-reinforcement learning reveals the striosome to be a complex motivation-processing hub. Motivation processing is impaired in people with certain mental illnesses. (2020-09-15)

Researchers identify key role of immune cells in brain infection
Researchers at the University of Liverpool have identified the specific type of immune cell that induces brain inflammation in herpes simplex virus (HSV) encephalitis. Crucially, they have also determined the signalling protein that calls this immune cell into the brain from the bloodstream. The findings, published in Cell Reports, could aid the development of targeted treatments for the brain infection, which is the most common cause of viral encephalitis worldwide. (2020-09-15)

TRESK regulates brain to track time using sunlight as its cue
Research from the University of Kent has found that TRESK, a calcium regulated two-pore potassium channel, regulates the brain's central circadian clock to differentiate behaviour between day and night. (2020-09-14)

Detection of PCBs and their metabolites (OH-PCBs) in the fetal brain of a Japanese macaque
This study selected the Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) as a model animal for the fetal transfer of OH-PCBs in humans, and revealed OH-PCB concentrations and their relationships in the maternal and fetal brains. The key finding from this study is that OH-PCBs can reach the developing brain of the fetus as early as the first trimester of pregnancy. These OH-PCBs may exceed the levels that induce adverse effects on neurodevelopment. (2020-09-14)

Immune cells sculpt circuits in the brain
Brain immune cells, called microglia, protect the brain from infection and inflammation. It turns out that they also sculpt circuits in the developing brain in response to sensory cues. (2020-09-14)

Site of male sexual desire uncovered in brain
The locus of male sexual desire has been uncovered in specific regions of brain tissue where a key gene named aromatase is present, reports a new study in mice. The gene regulates sexual behavior in men, and thus can be targeted by drugs to either increase its function for low sexual desire or decrease its function for compulsive sexual desire, scientists said. Aromatase converts testosterone to estrogen in the brain, which drives male sexual activity. (2020-09-11)

Vitamin B1 deficiency a key factor in the development of alcohol-related dementia
A research group led by Stephan Listabarth from MedUni Vienna's Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Division of Social Psychiatry, has now developed a hypothesis whereby iron deposits in the brain -- resulting from alcohol-induced vitamin B1 deficiency -- can be regarded as key factors in cognitive decline. (2020-09-09)

OHSU discovers cell in zebrafish critical to brain assembly, function
New research from Oregon Health & Science University for the first time documents the presence of astrocytes in zebrafish, a milestone that will open new avenues of research into a star-shaped type of glial cell in the brain that is critical for nearly every aspect of brain assembly and function. (2020-09-08)

People with anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder show brain similarities, differences
A new UCLA study shows partially overlapping patterns of brain function in people with anorexia nervosa and those with body dysmorphic disorder, a related psychiatric condition characterized by misperception that particular physical characteristics are defective. (2020-09-08)

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