Weekly Neuroscience Update

Credit: Nature Communications (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-38248-4

Scientists have found that the gut microbiome holds Parkinson’s disease markers and may indicate a method of early diagnosis.

Deep sleep, also known as non-REM slow-wave sleep, may help reduce memory loss in older adults facing a heightened burden of Alzheimer’s disease. The research indicates that superior amounts of deep sleep can act as a protective factor against memory decline in those with existing high amounts of Alzheimer’s disease pathology, potentially helping to alleviate some of dementia’s most devastating outcomes.

Researchers have discovered new genetic risk factors for non-Alzheimer’s dementia, specifically Lewy body dementia (LBD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

Scientists have made strides in uncovering the mechanisms underlying memory formation and consolidation in the brain during rest or sleep. A new study focuses on the role of the hippocampus, a brain region important for memory, and its place cells which “replay” neuronal sequences. The researchers built an artificial intelligence model to better understand these processes, discovering that sequences of experiences are prioritized during replay based on familiarity and rewards. The AI agent was found to learn spatial information more effectively when replaying these prioritized sequences, offering valuable insight into the way our brains learn and process information.

New research finds that the brains of otherwise healthy military personnel who are exposed to explosions show an abnormal brain accumulation of amyloid-beta protein—a protein that plays a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

A new study has found that people with a genetic risk for psychosis have an imbalance of glutamate and GABA neurotransmitters in their brains, specifically in the hippocampus. This imbalance is associated with hippocampal atrophy, which may lead to the development of psychotic symptoms.

Researchers have developed human brain organoids that contain microglia, the immune cells of the brain. These organoids allow researchers to study how microglia develop and function in a more realistic setting than previous models.

Researchers used artificial intelligence to analyze speech in Parkinson’s disease patients, revealing distinct patterns. The AI found Parkinson’s patients used more verbs but fewer nouns and fillers in their speech, even before cognitive decline typically associated with PD was evident.

A research team has found that the risk of long COVID and its symptoms present very differently across diverse populations.

A new study sheds light on the potential role of diet in preventing dementia. The analysis explored the relationship between gut health and Alzheimer’s disease, uncovering a strong link between specific types of gut bacteria and the likelihood of developing dementia. The findings highlight the significance of gut microbiota in brain health and provide insights into the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Finally this week, researchers have created a revolutionary device that emulates the human eye’s ability to see colour.


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