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Current Neuron News and Events, Neuron News Articles.
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Stumbling fruit flies lead scientists to discover gene essential to sensing joint position
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have discovered an important mechanism underlying sensory feedback that guides balance and limb movements. If the findings can be fully replicated in humans, they could lead to a better understanding of, as well as treatments for, disorders arising from faulty proprioception, the detection of body position. (2014-03-13)

Scientists catch brain damage in the act
Scientists have uncovered how inflammation and lack of oxygen conspire to cause brain damage in conditions such as stroke and Alzheimer's disease. (2014-03-13)

Restoring order in the brain
Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered that when they re-established a population of new cells in the part of the brain associated with behavior, some symptoms of Alzheimer's disease significantly decreased or were reversed altogether. (2014-03-11)

Brain circuits multitask to detect, discriminate the outside world
A new study found that neural circuits in the brain rapidly multitask between detecting and discriminating sensory input, such as car headlights in the distance. That's different from how electronic circuits work, where one circuit performs a very specific task. The brain, the study found, is wired in way that allows a single pathway to perform multiple tasks. (2014-03-05)

Experimental stroke drug also shows promise for people with Lou Gehrig's disease
Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California neuroscientists have found that early muscle impairment related to Lou Gehrig's disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, in mice is proportional to the degree of damage to the blood-spinal cord barrier, which protects the central nervous system from toxins. Repairing damage to and restoring the blood-spinal cord barrier's integrity with an experimental neurovascular medicine being studied in human stroke patients appears to delay disease progression. (2014-03-03)

Fruit fly's pruning protein could be key to treating brain injury
A protein that controls the metamorphosis of the common fruit fly could someday play a role in reversing brain injuries. Cysteine proteinase-1 in the fly directs both the early development and regrowth of dendrites that relay information from neuron to neuron. Duke researchers are hopeful the mammalian equivalent of this molecule might be used to help regrow dendrites after injury. (2014-02-27)

Brainstem discovered as important relay site after stroke
After a stroke, sufferers are often faced with the problem of severe movement impairment. Researchers at the Brain Research Institute of the University of Zurich have now discovered that the brainstem could play a major role in the recovery of motor functions. The projection of neurons from this ancient part of the brain into the spinal cord leads to the neural impulses needed for motion being rerouted. (2014-02-25)

Newly developed chemical restores light perception to blind mice
Progressive degeneration of photoreceptors -- the rods and cones of the eyes -- causes blinding diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. While there are currently no available treatments to reverse this degeneration, a newly developed compound allows other cells in the eye to act like photoreceptors. As described in a study appearing in the journal Neuron, the compound may be a potential drug candidate for treating patients suffering from degenerative retinal disorders. (2014-02-19)

How memory and schizophrenia are connected
Many psychiatric disorders are accompanied by memory deficits. Basel scientists have now identified a network of genes that controls fundamental properties of neurons and is important for human brain activity, memory and the development of schizophrenia. Their results have been published in the online edition of the US journal Neuron. (2014-02-13)

Brain process takes paper shape
A paper-based device that mimics the electrochemical signalling in the human brain has been created by a group of researchers from China. (2014-02-12)

Toxin from brain cells triggers neuron loss in human ALS model
In most cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, a toxin released by cells that normally nurture neurons in the brain and spinal cord can trigger loss of the nerve cells affected in the disease, Columbia researchers reported today in the online edition of the journal Neuron. (2014-02-06)

Loose coupling between calcium channels and sensors
In research published in this week's online edition of Science, postdoc Nicholas Vyleta and Professor Peter Jonas of the Institute of Science and Technology Austria uncover the existence of loose coupling between calcium channels and release sensors of exocytosis at a mature central synapse in the rodent brain. The researchers show that loose coupling provides a framework for presynaptic plasticity, a hallmark of synaptic signaling in hippocampal microcircuits. (2014-02-06)

Researchers pinpoint protein associated with canine hereditary ataxia
Researchers from North Carolina State University have found a link between a mutation in a gene called RAB 24 and an inherited neurodegenerative disease in Old English sheepdogs and Gordon setters. The findings may help further understanding of neurodegenerative diseases and identify new treatments for both canine and human sufferers. (2014-02-06)

Potential biomarkers for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease
Researchers identify abnormal expression of genes, resulting from DNA relaxation, that can be detected in the brain and blood of Alzheimer's patients. (2014-01-31)

Stem cell agency's grants to UCLA help set stage for revolutionary medicine
Five UCLA stem cell scientists receive CIRM Basic Biology V awards for four projects to achieve important milestones toward diverse stem cell therapies. Novel system to study production of powerful immune cells. Creating a stem cell environment to regenerate healthy articular cartilage for future treatment of osteoarthritis. New technologies to determine causes of a deadly childhood disease: spinal muscular atrophy. Neural cell generation to regain sens. (2014-01-29)

Brain regions thought to be uniquely human share many similarities with monkeys
New research suggests a surprising degree of similarity in the organization of regions of the brain that control language and complex thought processes in humans and monkeys. The study, publishing online Jan. 28 in the Cell Press journal Neuron, also revealed some key differences. The findings may provide valuable insights into the evolutionary processes that established our ties to other primates but also made us distinctly human. (2014-01-28)

Study identifies gene tied to motor neuron loss in ALS
Columbia University Medical Center researchers have identified a gene, called matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), that appears to play a major role in motor neuron degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The findings, made in mice, explain why most but not all motor neurons are affected by the disease and identify a potential therapeutic target for this still-incurable neurodegenerative disease. The study was published today in the online edition of the journal Neuron. (2014-01-22)

Scripps Florida scientists offer new insight into neuron changes brought about by aging
A new study from the Florida campus of the Scripps Research Institute offers insights into how aging affects the brain's neural circuitry, in some cases significantly altering gene expression in single neurons. These discoveries could point the way toward a better understanding of how aging affects our cognitive ability and new therapeutic targets for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. (2014-01-22)

Scientists discover 2 proteins that control chandelier cell architecture
Chandelier cells are neurons that use their unique shape to act like master circuit breakers in the brain. These cells have branching projections that allow one chandelier cell to block the output of hundreds of other neurons. Defects in their function have been linked to epilepsy and schizophrenia. In work published today in Cell Reports, CSHL scientists identify two proteins that control the structure of chandelier cells, offering insight into how the cells are regulated. (2014-01-16)

How fruit flies detect sweet foods
Using the common fruit fly, researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have performed a study that describes just how the fly's taste receptors detect sweet compounds. Even though these taste receptors were discovered more than a decade ago, how they recognize diverse chemicals remained an enigma and an unmet challenge -- until now. Understanding the mechanisms by which the fly tastes and ingests sweet substances may offer tools to control insect feeding, the researchers say. (2014-01-13)

A new pathway for neuron repair is discovered
A brand-new pathway for neuron repair has been discovered that could have implications for faster and improved healing after nerve damage. The research demonstrates, for the first time, that dendrites, the component of nerve cells that receive information from the brain, have the capacity to regrow after an injury. (2014-01-09)

Roche reports new method for efficiently transporting antibodies across the blood-brain barrier
Today the scientific journal Neuron published results on the Roche-designed Brain Shuttle technology that efficiently transfers investigational antibodies from the blood through the blood-brain barrier (BBB) into the brain in preclinical models. Roche Pharma Early Research and Development scientists found that such enhanced transfer of antibodies through the BBB was associated with a marked improvement in amyloid reduction in the brain of a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. (2014-01-08)

Jumping DNA in the brain may be a cause of schizophrenia
Stretches of DNA called retrotransposons, often dubbed (2014-01-02)

Researchers show the power of mirror neuron system in learning and language understanding
Anyone who has tried to learn a second language knows how difficult it is to absorb new words and use them to accurately express ideas in a completely new cultural format. Now, research into some of the fundamental ways the brain accepts information and tags it could lead to new, more effective ways for people to learn a second language. (2013-12-19)

Brain area attacked by Alzheimer's links learning and rewards
One of the first areas of the brain to be attacked by Alzheimer's disease, the posterior cingulate cortex, or PCC, has been found to step in during a cognitive challenge to improve the brain's performance. This small study in monkeys establishes a role for the PCC in learning and its connection to the brain's reward system. (2013-12-18)

Study led by NUS scientists provides new insights into cause of human neurodegenerative disease
A recent study led by scientists from the National University of Singapore opens a possible new route for treatment of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a devastating disease that is the most common genetic cause of infant death and also affects young adults. As there is currently no known cure for SMA, the new discovery gives a strong boost to the fight against SMA. (2013-12-18)

Electrical brain stimulation may evoke a person's 'will to persevere'
What gives some people the ability to persevere through difficult situations that others may find insurmountable? The answer is no doubt a complicated one that may be beyond our full understanding, but new research publishing online Dec. 5 in the Cell Press journal Neuron provides some intriguing insights. The study pinpoints a region of the brain that, when stimulated, causes an individual to anticipate a challenge and possess a strong motivation to overcome it. (2013-12-05)

Communicating at a katydid's jungle cocktail party
In spite of the background noise of the nocturnal jungle, chirping male katydid insects have to coordinate their calls as a chorus to attract potential mates. However, with a closely related, but trilling, katydid species using the calls with the same frequency, how can males coordinate? Manfred Hartbauer from Karl-Franzens University, Austria, finds out and contrary to expectations finds that instead of masking their calls, this trilling species aids chirping males in their romantic quest. (2013-12-04)

Chinese medicines that tonify the kidney inhibit dopaminergic neuron apoptosis
Parkinson's disease is a common neurodegenerative disease in the elderly, which is pathologically characterized by selective loss of dopaminergic neurons. (2013-11-27)

Active component from wine-processed Fructus corni inhibits hippocampal neuron apoptosis
This finding, published in the Neural Regeneration Research, provides theoretical evidence for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease with 5-hydroxymethylfurfural extracted from wine-processed Fructus corni and lays the foundations for clinical prevention and treatment of oxidative injury-related diseases in the brain. (2013-11-27)

Focusing on faces
Difficulties in social interaction are considered to be one of the behavioral hallmarks of autism spectrum disorders. Previous studies have shown differences in how the brains of autistic individuals process sensory information about faces. Now, a team led Caltech neuroscientist Ralph Adolphs has made the first recordings of the firings of single neurons in the brains of autistic individuals, and has found specific neurons that show reduced processing of the eye region of faces. (2013-11-20)

Neurons in brain's 'face recognition center' respond differently in patients with autism
In what are believed to be the first studies of their kind, Cedars-Sinai researchers recording the real-time firing of individual nerve cells in the brain found that a specific type of neuron in a structure called the amygdala performed differently in people who suffer from autism spectrum disorder than in those who do not. (2013-11-20)

Listening to music before you're even born may boost your auditory system
Playing music while you're pregnant may influence your child's auditory system. (2013-10-30)

RNA build-up linked to dementia and motor neuron disease
A new toxic entity associated with genetically inherited forms of dementia and motor neuron disease has been identified by scientists at the UCL Institute of Neurology. The toxin is the result of a genetic mutation that leads to the production of RNA molecules which could be responsible for the diseases. The findings are published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica. (2013-10-30)

UNC neuroscientists discover new 'mini-neural computer' in the brain
Dendrites, the branch-like projections of neurons, were once thought to be passive wiring in the brain. But now researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have shown that these dendrites do more than relay information from one neuron to the next. They actively process information, and multiply the brain's computing power. (2013-10-30)

Grasshopper mice are numb to the pain of the bark scorpion sting
The painful, potentially deadly stings of bark scorpions are nothing more than a slight nuisance to grasshopper mice, which voraciously kill and consume their prey with ease. When stung, the mice briefly lick their paws and move in again for the kill. (2013-10-24)

The brain's neural thermostat
Brandeis University scientists observed in vivo that neocortical neurons, cells that control higher functions such as sight, language and spatial reasoning, have a set average firing rate and return to this set point even during prolonged periods of sensory deprivation. Furthermore, the average firing rate is so well regulated by this neural thermostat that the rates do not change between periods of sleep and wakefulness. (2013-10-16)

Researchers discover and treat toxic effects of ALS mutation in neurons made from patients' skin cells
Researchers have discovered how the most common genetic abnormality in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia kills neurons and have successfully developed a therapeutic strategy to block this neurodegeneration in neurons made from the skin cells of ALS patients. The findings, which are published online in the Oct. 16 issue of the Cell Press journal Neuron, have important implications for treating patients with these debilitating, currently incurable neurodegenerative diseases. (2013-10-16)

Nobel Prize winner reports new model for neurotransmitter release
In a Neuron article published online Oct. 10, recent Nobel Laureate Thomas C. S├╝dhof challenges long-standing ideas on how neurotransmitter gets released at neuronal synapses. On Oct. 7, Suedhof won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, alongside James Rothman and Randy Schekman, for related work on how vesicles -- such as those in neurons that contain neurotransmitter -- are transported within cells. (2013-10-10)

Newly identified antibodies effectively treat Alzheimer's-like disease in mice
Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the accumulation of particular toxic proteins in the brain that are believed to underlie the cognitive decline in patients. A new study conducted in mice suggests that newly identified antibody treatments can prevent the accumulation of one of these of these toxic components, called tau proteins. The findings suggest that these antibodies may provide a basis for a promising therapy for patients with Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. (2013-09-26)

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