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Can I buy you a drink? Genetics may determine sensitivity to other people's drinking behavior
Your friend walks into a bar to meet you for happy hour. He sidles up to the bar and orders a drink -- does that make you more likely to get a drink yourself? According to new findings reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, genetics may determine the extent to which you are influenced by social drinking cues -- signals such as advertisements, drinks placed on a bar, and seeing other people around you drinking. (2010-07-22)

NIH awards Scripps Florida scientists $2.3 Million to develop drug addiction treatments
A pair of scientists on the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute has been awarded a $2.3 million grant by the National Institutes of Health to conduct research relevant to developing new treatments for drug addiction. (2010-07-14)

Skin cells could help discover cause of Parkinson's disease
Researchers are applying new stem cell technology to use skin samples to grow the brain cells thought to be responsible for the onset of Parkinson's disease, the UK National Stem Cell Network annual science meeting will hear today. (2010-07-13)

A high-fat diet alters crucial aspects of brain dopamine signaling
Research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior, finds that prolonged exposure to a high fat diet is correlated with changes in the brain chemical dopamine within the striatum, a critical component of the brain's reward system. (2010-07-13)

New evidence shows low vitamin D levels lead to Parkinson's disease
A new study on vitamin D levels and Parkinson's disease risk points to the need for further research on whether vitamin D supplements can protect against the movement disorder. The study is the first to show that low vitamin D levels can help predict whether someone will later develop Parkinson's disease. (2010-07-12)

Gladstone scientists establish link between brain activity and Parkinson's disease symptoms
Scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease and Stanford University have shown how key circuits in the brain control movement. The research, published in the journal Nature not only establishes the function of these circuits, but offers promise for treating movement related disorders, such as Parkinson's disease. (2010-07-07)

News from Karolinska Institutet at ESOF 2010
That evolution has made the human brain slower and how Swedish research can contribute to probable future nerve cell transplants -- these are two of several topics that the Swedish medical university, Karolinska Institutet, will be presenting at this year's Euroscience Open Forum in Torino. (2010-07-03)

Parkinson's Disease Foundation announces research awards totaling $1.2 million
The Parkinson's Disease Foundation is pleased to announce awards totaling $1.2 million for research projects designed to understand the cause(s) of and find a cure for Parkinson's disease. (2010-07-01)

Impulsive, weak willed or just too much dopamine?
It's a common scenario: you're on a diet, determined to give up eating cakes, but as you pass the cake counter, all resolve disappears. Now, scientists at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL have shed light on the brain processes that affect our will power and make us act impulsively. (2010-06-29)

More than just the baby blues
Within the first week after giving birth, up to 70 percent of all women experience symptoms of the baby blues. While most women recover quickly, up to 13 percent of all new mothers suffer from symptoms of a clinical-level postpartum depression. (2010-06-16)

Genes and pesticide exposure interact to increase men's risk for Parkinson's disease
Genetic mutations and workplace exposure to some insecticides together appear to be associated with an increased risk for Parkinson's disease among men, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. (2010-06-14)

Sense of smell holds the key to diagnosis and treatment in early stage Parkinson's disease
A fast, simple and noninvasive test of the ability to smell may be an important tool to screen people who are likely to develop Parkinson's disease, in which motor symptoms only become evident at a later stage of the disease. (2010-06-11)

Molecular link between diabetes and schizophrenia connects food and mood
Defects in insulin function -- which occur in diabetes and obesity -- could directly contribute to psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia. Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigators have discovered a molecular link between impaired insulin signaling in the brain and schizophrenia-like behaviors in mice. The findings, reported June 8 in PLoS Biology, offer a new perspective on the psychiatric and cognitive disorders that affect patients with diabetes and suggest new strategies for treating these conditions. (2010-06-08)

Molecular link between diabetes and schizophrenia connects food and mood
Defects in insulin action -- which occur in diabetes and obesity -- could directly contribute to psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia. Vanderbilt University Medical Center investigators Aurelio Galli, Kevin Niswender and colleagues have discovered a molecular link between impaired insulin signaling in the brain and schizophrenia-like behaviors in mice. (2010-06-08)

Adolescent brains biologically wired to engage in risky behavior, study finds
There are biological motivations behind the stereotypically poor decisions and risky behavior associated with adolescence, new research from a University of Texas at Austin psychologist reveals. (2010-06-03)

Receptor variant influences dopamine response to alcohol
Researchers showed that human subjects with the 118G variant of the mu-opioid receptor released dopamine from the ventrial striatum of the brain in response to alcohol, while those with the more common 118A variant of this receptor did not. They then demonstrated that mice carrying the gene for the 118G receptor variant showed a fourfold higher peak dopamine response to alcohol compared to mice with the 118A receptor variant gene. (2010-05-18)

Creativity linked to mental health
New research shows a possible explanation for the link between mental health and creativity. By studying receptors in the brain, researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have managed to show that the dopamine system in healthy, highly creative people is similar in some respects to that seen in people with schizophrenia. (2010-05-18)

Parkinson's disease treatments associated with compulsive behaviors
Pathological gambling, compulsive shopping, binge eating and other impulse control disorders appear to be more common among individuals taking dopamine agonist medications for Parkinson's disease, according to a report in the May issue of Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. (2010-05-10)

Pramipexole shows promise for treating depression in patients with Parkinson's disease
Pramipexole, a dopamine agonist, improves depressive symptoms in patients with Parkinson's disease, and has the potential to become an important antidepressant treatment for these patients. The article published online first, and in the June issue of the Lancet Neurology, is the first trial to show the direct benefits of a dopamine agonist on depression in patients with Parkinson's disease. (2010-05-09)

Endometrial stem cells could repair brain cells damaged by Parkinson's disease
Stem cells derived from the endometrium (uterine lining) and transplanted into the brains of laboratory mice with Parkinson's disease appear to restore functioning of brain cells damaged by the disease, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers. (2010-05-06)

Endometrial stem cells restore brain dopamine levels
Endometrial stem cells injected into the brains of mice with a laboratory-induced form of Parkinson's disease appeared to take over the functioning of brain cells eradicated by the disease. The finding raises the possibility that women with Parkinson's disease could serve as their own stem cell donors. Similarly, because endometrial stem cells are readily available and easy to collect, banks of endometrial stem cells could be stored for men and women with Parkinson's disease (2010-05-06)

Near misses are like winning to problem gamblers
The brains of problem gamblers react more intensely to near misses than casual gamblers, new research from the University of Cambridge has found. The results could help explain what keeps problem gamblers betting even though they keep losing. (2010-05-05)

Problem gamblers provoked by 'near misses' to gamble more
The brains of problem gamblers react more intensely to (2010-05-04)

Research helps end guesswork in prescribing ADHD drug
Children with ADHD who carry a specific type of dopamine receptor gene respond better to the drug methylphenidate than those without the genotype, according to new research from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. (2010-05-03)

UGA, Emory to study how exercise may prevent drug abuse relapse
A team of researchers at the University of Georgia and Emory University will receive $1.9 million over the next five years from the National Institutes of Health to study the neurobiological mechanisms for how regular aerobic exercise may prevent drug abuse relapse. (2010-04-29)

Researchers develop technique to visualize 'your brain on drugs'
Researchers at the US Department of Energy have developed an imaging protocol that allows them to visualize the activity of the brain's reward circuitry in both normal individuals and those addicted to drugs. (2010-04-26)

Reward-driven people win more, even when no reward at stake
Whether it's for money, marbles or chalk, the brains of reward-driven people keep their game faces on, helping them win at every step of the way, even when there is no reward at stake, suggests a surprising Washington University in St. Louis brain scan study published online today by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (2010-04-26)

Unconscious learning uses old parts of the brain
A new study from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet provides evidence that basic human learning systems use areas of the brain that also exist in the most primitive vertebrates, such as certain fish, reptiles and amphibians. The study involved an investigation into the limbic striatum, one of the evolutionarily oldest parts of the brain, and the ability to learn movements, consciously and unconsciously, through repetition. (2010-04-06)

Behavioral incentives mimic effects of medication on brain systems in ADHD
Medication and behavioral interventions help children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder better maintain attention and self control by normalizing activity in the same brain systems, according to research funded by the Wellcome Trust. (2010-04-01)

New 'mouse models' give insight to gene mutation that is potential cause of Parkinson's disease
Using new one-of-a-kind (2010-03-31)

Study shows compulsive eating shares addictive biochemical mechanism with cocaine, heroin abuse
In a newly published study, scientists from the Scripps Research Institute have shown for the first time that the same molecular mechanisms that drive people into drug addiction are behind the compulsion to overeat, pushing people into obesity. (2010-03-28)

Common mechanisms of drug abuse and obesity
Some of the same brain mechanisms that fuel drug addiction in humans accompany the emergence of compulsive eating behaviors and the development of obesity in animals, according to research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a component of the National Institutes of Health. (2010-03-28)

Novel Parkinson's treatment strategy involves cell transplantation
UCSF scientists have used a novel cell-based strategy to treat motor symptoms in rats with a disease designed to mimic Parkinson's disease. The strategy suggests a promising approach, the scientists say, for treating symptoms of Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases and disorders, including epilepsy. (2010-03-25)

Impulsive-antisocial personality traits linked to a hypersensitive brain reward system
Normal individuals who scored high on a measure of impulsive/antisocial traits display a hypersensitive brain reward system, according to a brain imaging study by researchers at Vanderbilt University. The findings provide the first evidence of differences in the brain's reward system that may underlie vulnerability to what's typically referred to as psychopathy. The study in the current issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a component of the National Institutes of Health. (2010-03-15)

Psychopaths' brains wired to seek rewards, no matter the consequences
The brains of psychopaths appear to be wired to keep seeking a reward at any cost, new research from Vanderbilt University finds. The research uncovers the role of the brain's reward system in psychopathy and opens a new area of study for understanding what drives these individuals. (2010-03-14)

Ritalin boosts learning by increasing brain plasticity
Doctors treat millions of children with Ritalin every year to improve their ability to focus on tasks, but scientists now report that Ritalin also directly enhances the speed of learning. (2010-03-07)

Safety data favor norepinephrine over dopamine for shock
Physicians treating patients with shock should consider norepinephrine instead of dopamine as a tool for stabilizing blood pressure, according to an editorial in the March 4, 2010, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Jerrold Levy, M.D., F.A.H.A., professor and deputy chair for research, department of anesthesiology, Emory University School of Medicine, and co-director of cardiothoracic anesthesiology, Emory Healthcare, authored the editorial. (2010-03-03)

Soothing infants with food focus of childhood obesity study
Both genetics and parents who comfort their infants with food are the focus of a study funded for $1 million by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestion and Kidney Disease investigating risk factors for childhood obesity. The grant is part of the National Institutes of Health American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. (2010-02-10)

Great tits: birds with character
An important part of individual differences within species is due to variation in the underlying genes. One gene, the dopamine receptor D4 gene, however, is known to influence novelty seeking and exploration behaviour in a range of species, including humans and birds. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen now show that the gene's influence on birds' behavior differs markedly between wild populations of great tits. (2010-02-09)

Communication breakdown: what happens to nerve cells in Parkinson's disease
A new study from The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital -- the Neuro -- at McGill University is the first to discover a molecular link between Parkinson's disease and defects in the ability of nerve cells to communicate. The study, published in the prestigious journal Molecular Cell and selected as Editor's Choice in the prominent journal Science, provides new insight into the mechanisms underlying Parkinson's disease, and could lead to innovative new therapeutic strategies. (2010-02-09)

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