Weekly Neuroscience Update

Axon initial segments (blue) and the synapses that form along them (red and green) are shown. Image credit: Winnie Wefelmeyer/MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology.

Axon initial segments (blue) and the synapses that form along them (red and green) are shown. Image credit: Winnie Wefelmeyer/MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology.

A new study characterises a novel way in which neurons remain electrically stable when confronted with chronic increases in neuronal activity.

Lithium chloride which is used as a mood stabiliser in the treatment of mental health problems, mainly bipolar disorder, could be used to treat arthritis according to a new study.

New research indicates that adults born very premature are more likely to be socially withdrawn and display signs of autism.

Scientists have found that existing anti-malaria drugs could be a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

A number of studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, showed that regular supervised exercise sessions could help to improve symptoms in people with memory problems and dementia.

Brain scans of war veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder have led researchers to an area of the prefrontal cortex that appears to be a good predictor of response to treatment with SSRIs–the first-line drug treatment for PTSD.

New research findings show that body fat can send a signal that affects the way the brain deals with stress and metabolism.

Increasing the levels of a signaling molecule found in the brain can positively alter response to stress, revealing a potential new therapeutic target for treatment of depression.

Music training, begun as late as high school, may help improve the teenage brain’s responses to sound and sharpen hearing and language skills, suggests a new study.

Researchers have, for the first time, determined the rate at which the developing brain eliminates unneeded connections between neurons during early childhood.

Scientists have identified a critical function of what they believe to be schizophrenia’s “Rosetta Stone” gene that could hold the key to decoding the function of all genes involved in the disease.

Researchers have discovered a link between autism and genetic changes in some segments of DNA that are responsible for switching on genes in the brain.

Infants can use their expectations about the world to rapidly shape their developing brains, researchers have found.

Finally this week, there’s new evidence suggesting that women’s brains are especially vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease and other problems with memory and thinking.

Weekly Neuroscience Update

Findings suggest that physiological reactivity to sad stimuli, assessed using pupillometry, serves as one potential biomarker of depression risk among children of depressed mothers. Image credit: Jonathan Cohen, Binghamton University Photographer.

Findings suggest that physiological reactivity to sad stimuli, assessed using pupillometry, serves as one potential biomarker of depression risk among children of depressed mothers. Image credit: Jonathan Cohen, Binghamton University Photographer.

How much a child’s pupil dilates in response to seeing an emotional image can predict his or her risk of depression over the next two years, according to new research from Binghamton University.

Unwanted, intrusive visual memories are a core feature of stress- and trauma-related clinical disorders such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but they can also crop up in everyday life. New research shows that even once intrusive memories have been laid down, playing a visually-demanding computer game after reactivating the memories may reduce their occurrence over time.

Rapid eye movement or REM sleep actively converts waking experiences into lasting memories and abilities in young brains reports a new study.

People who have diabetes and experience high rates of complications are more likely to develop dementia as they age than people who have fewer diabetic complications, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

New research suggests that when deciding which of several possible actions to perform, the human brain plans multiple actions simultaneously prior to selecting one of them to execute.

In the first study of its kind researchers found that neurons in a specific brain region play a key role in rapidly forming memories about every day events, a finding that may result in a better understanding of memory loss and new methods to fight it in Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.

A major epidemiological registry-based study indicates that Parkinson’s disease begins in the gastrointestinal tract; the study is the largest in the field so far.

The activity of the emotion centres in the brain, the amygdala, is influenced by motivation rather than by the emotions themselves. This can be concluded from research carried out at Radboud University into the hormone testosterone. Testosterone increases amygdala activity in a person who is approaching a socially threatening situation and decreases the activity when such a situation is avoided.

An imaging study by Stanford University School of Medicine investigators has found distinct differences between the brains of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and those of healthy people.

According to a new study, women experiencing difficulty with time management, attention, organization, memory, and problem solving – often referred to as executive functions – related to menopause may find improvement with a drug already being used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD

A new staining method could help map the entire brain.

Finally this week, Yale researchers have determined how a key component of the nervous system develops at the embryonic stage. Their work may ultimately offer new approaches to combat major diseases such as diabetes and peripheral artery disease.