In a first of its kind study, researchers at UCLA utilized ultrasound to “jump start” the brain of a man with severe brain injury who was recovering from a coma. According to the UCLA Newsroom, the 25 year old man could only perform small, limited movements when instructed and “showed minimal signs of consciousness” before the procedure. Three days after the treatment, he regained full consciousness and language comprehension. He could reliably communicate by shaking or nodding his head. Five days after, the patient attempted to walk for the first time since the coma.Read More
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(Image of brain by functional MRI via Wikimedia Commons)
Cognitive neurologist, Rosie Cowell of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst received a nearly $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The funding will be used to develop and test her theory of how fine-grained visual perception interacts with the area of the brain critical to memory.Read More
A pioneering new study at Ohio State University found a link between chronic stress and short-term memory issues. In the study, mice were subjected to repeated visits from an aggressive, larger intruder mouse. Researchers found that the mice repeatedly exposed to the intruder had more difficulty recalling where the escape hole was in a maze they’d mastered prior to the stressful period, compared to mice that had not been stressed.
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Brain surgery is an extremely delicate matter, and complicated even further when performed on children with brain cancer. These cancer cells are difficult to discern from healthy cells during brain surgery and afterward may or may not still reside in the brain where they can continue to spread and cause damage.Read More
Six teams of researchers from leading univerisites are going to receive a set of three-year grants, totaling over $7.5 million, to create lab-grown brain cells in a process called neuronal maturation.
The funding to the various universities was made possible by The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation as part of its Allen Distinguished Investigator grants, and will ensure the continued development of important neuroscience research.Read More
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Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research have discovered a potential new method for treating brain cancer using specially engineered immune cells.
According to a university press release, personalized immune cells were engineered by UPenn scientists in order to seek out and attack a type of deadly brain cancer, and were found to be both safe and effective at controlling tumor growth in mice that were treated with these modified cells.Read More
Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno are able to peer deeper into the mysteries of the brain thanks to a recent grant from the National Institutes of Health.
A $10 million grant was given to the Reno research institution by the NIH to help expand the University’s neuroscience research and capabilities using advanced functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).
In partnership with the Renown Regional Medical Center, UNR researchers will scan healthy and impaired brains in order to more fully understand its myriad functions.Read More
Autism, a group of neurodegenerative genetic disorders that cause learning and behavioral challenges, affects approximately 2 million Americans. Other neurodegenerative diseases like stroke and cerebral palsy also affect a large amount of people in the United States. Stroke and cerebral palsy can cause serious brain damage, while autism causes many lifelong behavioral and learning challenges.Read More
Researchers at the Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research on the Parnassus Campus of the University of California San Francisco have just published the results of two related studies involving differentiated brain cells transplanted into mice. In one case, the cells were human brain cells integrated successfully into a mouse brain; in the other, epileptic mice were cured with specialized mouse brain cells. In both studies the differentiated cells were a type of interneuron progenitor called medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) cells. Unlike other brain stem cells that can turn into any number of specialized cells, these differentiated MGE cells have a specific function, which is to inhibit signaling in overactive nerve circuits. These experiments hold promise for future treatment of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and the chronic pain and spasticity caused by spinal cord injury.
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Given the widespread use and abuse of alcohol for recreation, a drug that could interrupt its effects would have enormous value in treating alcoholism. Since addiction is based on stimulating pleasure centers, scientists have been looking for a way to block that interaction between alcohol and the brain. The challenge has been to find a key protein that carries out this transmission and identify its binding site. Now, biologists in the Harris Lab at the University of Texas Austin have made a major research breakthrough validating the importance of certain ligand-gated ion channels in that process and locating a cavity where the binding takes place. Remarkably, they were able to push their research forward thanks to an obscure alpine cyanobacteria recently sequenced in France.