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Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category

Dec 10, 2016

Transplanted interneurons can help reduce fear in mice

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, existential risks, neuroscience

Wild.


The expression “once bitten, twice shy” is an illustration of how a bad experience can induce fear and caution. How to effectively reduce the memory of aversive events is a fundamental question in neuroscience. Scientists in China are reporting that by transplanting mouse embryonic interneurons into the brains of mice and combining that procedure with training to lessen fear, they can help to reduce the fear response. The study is being published December 8 in Neuron.

“Anxiety and fear-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] cause great suffering and impose high costs to society,” says Yong-Chun Yu, a professor at the Institutes of Brain Science at Fudan University in Shanghai and the study’s senior author. “Pharmacological and behavioral treatments of PTSD can reduce symptoms, but many people tend to relapse. There’s a pressing need for new strategies to treat these refractory cases.”

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Dec 10, 2016

Scientists track restoration of communication in minimally conscious patient

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

A severely brain injured woman, who recovered the ability to communicate using her left eye, restored connections and function of the areas of her brain responsible for producing expressive language and responding to human speech, according to new research from Weill Cornell Medicine scientists.

The study, published Dec. 7 in Science Translational Medicine, began 21 months after Margaret Worthen suffered massive strokes, and her continuing recovery was tracked for nearly three years. The research signifies the first time that scientists have captured the restoration of communication of a minimally conscious patient by measuring aspects of brain structure and function before and after communication resumed. It also raises the question of whether other patients in chronic care facilities who appear to be minimally responsive or unresponsive may harbor organized, higher-level brain function.

“From the beginning of Margaret’s attempt to communicate, through the course of our study, we were able to show reorganization of the areas of her brain responsible for expressive language, as well as an exceptionally large change in the correlation across the brain areas in response to human speech,” said study lead author Daniel Thengone, the Fred Plum Fellow in Systems Neurology and Neuroscience in the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine. Adds senior study author Dr. Nicholas D. Schiff, the Jerold B. Katz Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience in the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute: “This is a unique demonstration of plastic change in the brain of an adult starting years after a severe brain injury. We showed a convergence of measurements over years and at multiple time points, revealing an evolving biological process of recovery.”

Dec 10, 2016

Tiny Implantable “Microcoils” in the Brain Activate Neurons Via Magnetic Fields

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, cyborgs, neuroscience

Precise stimulation could be useful for visual prosthetics or brain-computer interfaces.

Dec 6, 2016

Logic of Signaling

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, genetics, neuroscience

Why Synbio computing is where we ultimately want to more and more progress towards especially once the basic infrastructure is updated with technology like QC.


Cells are often likened to computers, running an operating system that receives signals, processes their input, and responds, according to programming, with cellular output. Yet untangling computer-like pathways in cells is anything but simple, say Denise Montell, professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Aviv Regev, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Broad Institute. However, both are eager to try and will outline their latest efforts at the “Logic of Signaling” symposium at the 2016 ASCB Annual Meeting.

“My lab is understanding how cells maintain and build normal tissues. We’re studying cellular behaviors that underlie normal behavior and tumor metastasis, a great unsolved question in cancer,” Montell said. Her lab recently discovered that cells can bounce back from the brink of apoptotic cell death. “This wasn’t known before so now we’re looking at how cells do it, when do they do it, under what circumstances, and what does it mean,” Montell said.

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Dec 6, 2016

Rhythm of breathing affects memory and fear

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered for the first time that the rhythm of breathing creates electrical activity in the human brain that enhances emotional judgments and memory recall.

These effects on behavior depend critically on whether you inhale or exhale and whether you breathe through the nose or mouth.

In the study, individuals were able to identify a fearful face more quickly if they encountered the face when breathing in compared to breathing out. Individuals also were more likely to remember an object if they encountered it on the inhaled breath than the exhaled one. The effect disappeared if breathing was through the mouth.

Dec 3, 2016

A radiation-free approach to imaging molecules in the brain

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Scientists hoping to get a glimpse of molecules that control brain activity have devised a new probe that allows them to image these molecules without using any chemical or radioactive labels.

Currently the gold standard approach to imaging molecules in the brain is to tag them with radioactive probes. However, these probes offer low resolution and they can’t easily be used to watch dynamic events, says Alan Jasanoff, an MIT professor of biological engineering.

Jasanoff and his colleagues have developed new sensors consisting of proteins designed to detect a particular target, which causes them to dilate blood vessels in the immediate area. This produces a change in blood flow that can be imaged with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or other imaging techniques.

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Dec 3, 2016

Research sets new target for brain cancer therapy

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, neuroscience

Great.


Research published in Acta Neuropathologica, identified alterations in a protein known as ATRX in human brain tumours; researchers might also be able to target microRNAs directly, altering their levels to make cancer cells less likely to form tumours.

A recent study suggests that two recently discovered genetic differences between brain cancer cells and normal tissue cells could offer clues to tumour behaviour and potential new targets for therapy.

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Dec 3, 2016

Should tech grads pick defense over Silicon Valley?

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, drones, engineering, government, military, neuroscience

Hmmmm.


Sam Gussman arrived four years ago at Stanford University hoping to eventually parlay an engineering degree into a product manager job at Google or Facebook.

Working for the National Security Agency or other intelligence bureaus never crossed his mind. For Gussman, the government didn’t seem like the place for the most exciting, cutting-edge research in human computer interaction — his area of interest. Plus, it did no on-campus recruiting, unlike the many tech startups that e-mailed him daily about job opportunities and happy hours.

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Dec 3, 2016

Human Brain Goes In And Out Of Sleep, Even When Awake

Posted by in category: neuroscience

You know that feeling when you’re awake but still unable to process anything around you? There’s a scientific reason for it.

Dec 3, 2016

Massive Parkinson’s discovery could change everything

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

A huge discovery has just been made about Parkinson’s disease that scientists may have been looking for answers in the wrong place all along. Scientists have found that there is a strong correlation between symptoms of Parkinson’s and bacteria in the gut, not the brain, based on examinations of mice.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common debilitating brain disorder in the world after Alzheimer’s. It is a neurodegenerative disease that involves a type of protein that builds up around brain cells and then causes the patient to lose motor function. Naturally, scientists had been looking at the brain for answers in dealing with it, but a new study finds that perhaps the answer was in the gut bacteria all along, according to an Axial Biotherapeutics statement.

The finding could lead to a new generation of probiotics that are far more sophisticated than typical brands currently available to the public.

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