Weekly Neuroscience Update

Reviewing MRI data, researchers found the brain anatomy of people with autism above the age of six was mostly indistinguishable from that of typically developing individuals. This image is for illustrative purposes only. Credit McZusatz.

Reviewing MRI data, researchers found the brain anatomy of people with autism above the age of six was mostly indistinguishable from that of typically developing individuals. This image is for illustrative purposes only. Credit McZusatz.

Brain anatomy in MRI scans of people with autism above age six is mostly indistinguishable from that of typically developing individuals and, therefore, of little clinical or scientific value.

Some types of dementia are actually a result of many tiny, unnoticed strokes damaging the brain over time, researchers at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre in Toronto, Canada, have found. This suggests that this type of dementia could be treatable — probably through lifestyle changes.

Therapists could pick up signs of depression just be listening to how their patients talk, after a study found that unhappy people speak in a different tone.

Why do we remember some things and not others? In a unique imaging study researchers have discovered how neurons in the brain might allow some experiences to be remembered while others are forgotten. It turns out, if you want to remember something about your environment, you better involve your dendrites.

Looking at the brain as a highly interactive network of nodes, rather than a collection of individual areas of activity, could offer a new way to diagnose the memory disorders that tend to affect older people.

An international study has identified genetic markers that may help in identifying individuals who could benefit from the alcoholism treatment drug acamprosate. The findings, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, show that patients carrying these genetic variants have longer periods of abstinence during the first three months of acamprosate treatment.

New research on how the brain leads us to believe we have sharp vision.

Disturbances in the early stages of brain growth, such as preterm birth – when many of the brain’s structures have not yet fully developed – appears to affect the brain’s neuro-circuitry, which may explain premature babies’ higher risk of neurodevelopmental disorders including ADHD and autism spectrum disorder.

Data from 50 laboratories around the world has found that rare mutations in dozens of genes may be responsible for 30% or more cases of autism.

Researchers have been tracking the traces of implicit and explicit memories of fear in human. The study was published in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory; it describes how, in a context of fear, our brain differently encodes contextual memory of a negative event and the emotional response associated.

A major breakthrough in the development of stem cell-derived brain cells has put researchers on a firm path towards the first ever stem cell transplantations in people with Parkinson’s disease. A new study presents the next generation of transplantable dopamine neurons produced from stem cells. These cells carry the same properties as the dopamine neurons found in the human brain.

The brain’s plasticity and its adaptability to new situations do not function the way researchers previously thought, according to a new study published in the journal Cell.

Finally this week, researchers have shown how a single neuron can perform multiple functions in a model organism, illuminating for the first time this fundamental biological mechanism and shedding light on the human brain.

 

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