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New technique to fast-track pain research
Scientists have for the first time established a sensory neuron model able to mass-reproduce two key sensory neuron types involved in pain sensation, enabling the easy generation of large numbers of the cells to fast-track chronic pain research. Using a new technique, researchers at Flinders University have found a way to reproduce millions of the cells, providing ample resources for the simultaneous testing of thousands of samples or potential drug libraries. (2021-01-21)

Memory fail controlled by dopamine circuit, study finds
Distraction can make you momentarily forget things. But how? Davis lab at Scripps Research, Florida uncovers a mechanism in fruit flies. (2021-01-21)

How the brain learns that earmuffs are not valuable at the beach
A collaboration between the University of Tsukuba and the NEI in the US has discovered that fast-spiking neurons in the basal ganglia allow monkeys to associate different values with the same objects based on the surrounding environment. Blocking input from these cells inhibited learning of new scene-based values, but did not erase already learned associations. This could help understand clinical conditions such as Tourette syndrome, which is characterized by reduced input from these cells. (2021-01-21)

Study suggests that gut fungi are not associated with Parkinson's disease
The bacterial gut microbiome is strongly associated with Parkinson's disease (PD), but no studies had previously investigated he role of fungi in the gut. In this novel study published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease, a team of investigators at the University of British Columbia examined whether the fungal constituents of the gut microbiome are associated with PD. (2021-01-21)

Using VR training to boost our sense of agency and improve motor control
Patients with motor dysfunctions are on the rise across Japan as its population continues to age. A Tohoku University researcher has developed a new method of rehabilitation using virtual reality to increase the sense of agency over our body and aid motor skills. (2021-01-20)

Tiny high-tech probes reveal how information flows across the brain
A new study from researchers at the Allen Institute collected and analyzed the largest single dataset of neurons' electrical activity to glean principles of how we perceive the visual world around us. The study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, captures the hundreds of split-second electrical signals that fire when an animal is interpreting what it sees. (2021-01-20)

Nonsurgical treatment for cerebral infarction using wearable wireless ultrasound devices
Korea Institute of Science and Technology(KIST) announced that the research team at the Center for Bionics, led by Dr. Kim Hyungmin, developed a wireless rehabilitation treatment technology for brain nervous system damaged by a stroke by fabricating a wearable, wireless low-intensity focused ultrasound brain stimulator. Additionally, to verify its effectiveness, this brain stimulator was applied to animal models of stroke. (2021-01-19)

A neuronal cocktail for motivation
'A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step' is a popular adage that talks about the initial thrust required to embark on a task. However, once begun, how do we persevere on the job and not let it fall apart like a New Year resolution? How do we stay motivated? (2021-01-19)

Clumsy kids can be fit too
Clumsy kids can be as aerobically fit as their peers with better motor skills, a new Finnish study shows. The results are based on research conducted at the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences of the University of Jyväskylä and the Institute of Biomedicine of the University of Eastern Finland, and they were published in Translational Sports Medicine. (2021-01-19)

General health checkups may detect early signs of Parkinson's disease
A research team led by Nagoya University in Japan has found that blood pressure, the hematocrit, and serum cholesterol levels change in patients with Parkinson's disease long before the onset of motor symptoms. This finding may pave the way for early diagnosis and treatment of the disease. (2021-01-19)

Different types of neurons interact to make reaching-and-grasping tasks possible
Picking up that cup of coffee? New research from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University finds that one type of neuron is necessary for the early part of the movement, another for aiming for the cup. (2021-01-19)

Brain cell network supplies neurons with energy
Until recently, oligodendrocytes were primarily thought to be a kind of cellular insulating tape that accelerates the transmission of electrical signals in the brain. A study by the University of Bonn (Germany) now shows that they are also important for the energy supply of neurons in some brain regions. The findings are published in the journal Cell Reports. (2021-01-19)

Parkinson's: Initial steps to show nerves their growth direction magnetically
One reason why nerve damage in the brain cannot regenerate easily is that the neurites do not know in which direction they should grow. A team of researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), Sorbonne University Paris, and the Technische Universität Braunschweig is now working on showing them the direction using magnetic nanoparticles. (2021-01-18)

Artificial Intelligence beats us in chess, but not in memory
A new piece of research shows that the brain strategy for storing memories may lead to imperfect memories, but in turn, allows it to store more memories, and with less hassle than AI. The new study, carried out by SISSA scientists in collaboration with Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience & Centre for Neural Computation, Trondheim, Norway, has just been published in Physical Review Letters. (2021-01-15)

Increased risk of Parkinson's disease in patients with schizophrenia
A new study conducted at the University of Turku, Finland, shows that patients with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder have an increased risk of Parkinson's disease later in life. The increased risk may be due to alterations in the brain's dopamine system caused by dopamine receptor antagonists or neurobiological effects of schizophrenia. (2021-01-15)

Designer cytokine makes paralyzed mice walk again
To date, paralysis resulting from spinal cord damage has been irreparable. With a new therapeutic approach, scientists from the Department for Cell Physiology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) headed by Professor Dietmar Fischer have succeeded for the first time in getting paralyzed mice to walk again. The keys to this are the protein hyper-interleukin-6, which stimulates nerve cells to regenerate, and the way how it is supplied to the animals. (2021-01-15)

How the brain paralyzes you while you sleep
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba have discovered a group of neurons in the mouse brainstem that control muscle tone. Inhibiting these neuronal cells caused mice to move during REM sleep, reminiscent of REM sleep behavior disorders. These neurons were also responsible for episodes of cataplexy in a mouse model of narcolepsy; inhibiting them reduced the number of cataplexic bouts. These circuits could thus be a new target for treating these sleep disorders. (2021-01-14)

Research breaks new ground in understanding how a molecular motor generates force
A team of biophysicists set out to tackle the long-standing question about the nature of force generation by myosin, the molecular motor responsible for muscle contraction. The key question they addressed - one of the most controversial topics in the field - was: how does myosin convert chemical energy, in the form of ATP, into mechanical work? The answer revealed new details into how myosin, the engine of muscle and related motor proteins, transduces energy. (2021-01-14)

New molecular structures associated with ALS
Researchers from the University of Seville and the University of Pavia have identified a link between Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and the accumulation of DNA-RNA hybrids in the genome. The accumulation of these hybrids causes increased genomic damage and boosts genetic instability. This finding will make it possible to better understand the molecular basis of the disease, as well as to propose new solutions to curb it. (2021-01-13)

Imaging technique proves effective in measuring mitochondrial dysfunction in motor neuron disease (MND)
Non-invasive imaging technique called 31-phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy used to measure mitochondrial function in patients with motor neuron disease (MND) (2021-01-13)

Master designers: Architects of the brain revealed
In a study published in Cell Reports, researchers at Kanazawa University identify pathways in the brain which enable neurons to assemble into functional units resembling tall columns. (2021-01-12)

SARS-CoV-2 can infect neurons and damage brain tissue, study indicates
Using both mouse and human brain tissue, researchers at Yale School of Medicine have discovered that SARS-CoV-2 can directly infect the central nervous system and have begun to unravel some of the virus's effects on brain cells. The study, published today in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM), may help researchers develop treatments for the various neurological symptoms associated with COVID-19. (2021-01-12)

Are autism drugs on the horizon?
Are Autism Drugs on the Horizon? Hebrew University Identifies Genetic Mutation Associated with Autism, Offering Hope for Effective Therapeutics (2021-01-11)

Study: New insights on the role of the MLL4 gene in Kabuki syndrome
Research suggests that MLL4 controls the production of neurons that secrete growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. (2021-01-11)

Imagining a face reactivates face-detecting neurons in humans
Face-sensitive neurons in humans employ distinct activity patterns to encode individual faces; those patterns reactivate when imagining the face, according to research recently published in JNeurosci. (2021-01-11)

Neuroscientists identify brain circuit that encodes timing of events
MIT neuroscientists shed new light on how the timing of a memory is encoded in the hippocampus, and suggest that time and space are encoded separately. (2021-01-11)

GridTape: An automated electron microscopy platform
Scientists have developed an automated, faster, and more rapid electron microscopy technique, called GridTape, that enables them to label and read the location of every neuron in a tissue sample. The team used GridTape to map the circuity of the spinal cord nerve of the fruit fly. The technique not only provides a comprehensive map of neuronal circuits; it can also be used to study nerve circuitry in larger animal systems. (2021-01-11)

Scientists paint multi-color atlas of the brain
Columbia scientists have engineered a coloring technique, known as NeuroPAL (a Neuronal Polychromatic Atlas of Landmarks), which makes it possible to identify every single neuron in the mind of a worm. (2021-01-08)

Botulism breakthrough? Taming botulinum toxin to deliver therapeutics
Currently there's no treatment for botulism once the toxin gets into neurons. This novel treatment neutralized the toxin with a second, modified botulinum toxin that delivered a mini antibody into the cells - reversing paralysis in mice. (2021-01-08)

Faulty metabolism of Parkinson's medication in the brain linked to severe side effects
Until now, the reason why the drug levodopa (L-Dopa), which reduces the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, declines in efficacy after a few years' use has been unknown. A side effect that then often occur is involuntary movements. A Swedish-French collaboration, led from Uppsala University, has now been able to connect the problems with defective metabolism of L-Dopa in the brain. The study is published in Science Advances. (2021-01-07)

Neuronal circuits for fine motor skills
Writing, driving a screw or throwing darts are only some of the activities that demand a high level of skill. How the brain masters such exquisite movements has now been described in the journal ''Nature'' by a team of researchers at the University of Basel and the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research. A map of brainstem circuits reveals which neurons control the fine motor skills of the arm and hand. (2021-01-06)

Toxin chimeras slip therapeutics into neurons to treat botulism in animals
Taking advantage of the chemical properties of botulism toxins, two teams of researchers have fashioned non-toxic versions of these compounds that can deliver therapeutic antibodies to treat botulism, a potentially fatal disease with few approved treatments. (2021-01-06)

New clues why gold standard treatment for bipolar disorder doesn't work for majority of patients
Lithium is considered the gold standard for treating bipolar disorder (BD), but nearly 70 percent of people with BD don't respond to it. This leaves them at risk for debilitating, potentially life-threatening mood swings. Researchers at the Salk Institute have found that the culprit may lie in gene activity--or lack of it. (2021-01-05)

Music-induced emotions can be predicted from brain scans
Researchers at the University of Turku have discovered what type of neural mechanisms are the basis for emotional responses to music. Altogether 102 research subjects listened to music that evokes emotions while their brain function was scanned with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The study was carried out in the national PET Centre. (2020-12-28)

Gene pathway linked to schizophrenia identified through stem cell engineering
Using human-induced pluripotent stem cells engineered from a single family's blood samples, a gene signaling pathway linked to a higher risk for developing schizophrenia was discovered by scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). The research was published in a recent issue of Neuropsychopharmacology. (2020-12-21)

Researchers explore why some MS patients experience seizures
A research team at the UC Riverside School of Medicine has identified a pathway involving astrocytes, a class of central nervous system support cells, that could shed light on why seizures happen in a subset of multiple sclerosis, or MS, patients. The finding improves scientific understanding of how seizures arise in MS and could provide the foundation for better therapies to manage treatment-resistant seizures in MS and other brain diseases. (2020-12-21)

Study sheds new light on how the brain distinguishes speech from noise
For the first time, researchers have provided physiological evidence that a pervasive neuromodulation system - a group of neurons that regulate the functioning of more specialized neurons - strongly influences sound processing in an important auditory region of the brain. The neuromodulator, acetylcholine, may even help the main auditory brain circuitry distinguish speech from noise. (2020-12-20)

How does the brain project manage its learning?
In a paper published today in the prestigious journal Science, a collaboration between University of Ottawa and Humbolt University of Berlin reveals a critical role for a brain area called the perirhinal cortex in managing this learning process. (2020-12-18)

Computational model reveals how the brain manages short-term memories
Salk scientists have developed a new computational model showing how the brain maintains information short-term using specific types of neurons. Their findings, published in Nature Neuroscience on December 7, 2020, could help shed light on why working memory is impaired in a broad range of neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, as well as in normal aging. (2020-12-17)

NIH researchers discover brain area crucial for recognizing visual events
Researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI) report that a brain region in the superior temporal sulcus (fSTS) is crucial for processing and making decisions about visual information. (2020-12-17)

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