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Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category: Page 6

Oct 13, 2020

MIT Neuroscientists Discover a Molecular Mechanism That Allows Memories to Form

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Modifications to chromosomes in “engram” neurons control the encoding and retrieval of memories.

When the brain forms a memory of a new experience, neurons called engram cells encode the details of the memory and are later reactivated whenever we recall it. A new MIT study reveals that this process is controlled by large-scale remodeling of cells’ chromatin.

This remodeling, which allows specific genes involved in storing memories to become more active, takes place in multiple stages spread out over several days. Changes to the density and arrangement of chromatin, a highly compressed structure consisting of DNA and proteins called histones, can control how active specific genes are within a given cell.

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Oct 12, 2020

Scientists find neurochemicals have unexpectedly profound roles in the human brain

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, health, neuroscience

In first-of-their-kind observations in the human brain, an international team of researchers has revealed two well-known neurochemicals–dopamine and serotonin–are at work at sub-second speeds to shape how people perceive the world and take action based on their perception.

Furthermore, the neurochemicals appear to integrate people’s perceptions of the world with their actions, indicating dopamine and serotonin have far more expansive roles in the human nervous system than previously known.

Known as neuromodulators, dopamine and serotonin have traditionally been linked to reward processing–how good or how bad people perceive an outcome to be after taking an action.

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Oct 12, 2020

Team reprograms CRISPR system in mice to eliminate tumor cells without affecting healthy cells

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

The CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing tool is one of the most promising approaches to advancing treatments of genetic diseases—including cancer—an area of research where progress is constantly being made. Now, the Molecular Cytogenetics Unit led by Sandra Rodríguez-Perales at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) has taken a step forward by effectively applying this technology to eliminate so-called fusion genes, which in the future could open the door to the development of cancer therapies that specifically destroy tumors without affecting healthy cells. The paper is published in Nature Communications.

Fusion genes are the abnormal result of an incorrect joining of DNA fragments that come from two different genes, an event that occurs by accident during the process of cell division. If the cell cannot benefit from this error, it will die and the will be eliminated. But when the error results in a reproductive or survival advantage, the carrier cell will multiply and the genes and the proteins they encode thus become an event triggering tumor formation. “Many and the fusion genes they produce are at the origin of childhood sarcomas and leukaemias,” explains Sandra Rodríguez-Perales, lead co-author of the study now published by the CNIO. Fusion genes are also found in among others prostate, breast, lung and brain tumors: in total, in up to 20% of all cancers.

Because they are only present in tumor cells, fusion genes attract a great deal of interest among the scientific community because they are highly specific therapeutic targets, and attacking them only affects the tumor and has no effect on .

Oct 12, 2020

US Air Force aims to train pilots faster using brain electrode

Posted by in categories: military, neuroscience

In August, the US Air Force Research Laboratory 711th Human Performance Wing launched its iNeuraLS project, an effort to speed up pilot training through brain stimulation.


Some will feel a slight tingling sensation. Others will feel nothing at all.

The electrode placed inside the ear canal isn’t designed to shock. Rather, the US Air Force Research Laboratory (ARFL) believes the earbud-like device, when placed next to the brain’s vagas nerve, will have more of an intellectually stimulating effect. It ought to create moments of super learning, controllable periods of focus that allow pilots to soak up their flight training faster than humanly possible.

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Oct 12, 2020

The Helmet That ‘Resets’ Your Brain

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Magnetic stimulation is helping some people with depression—but the $12,000 treatment is also being unleashed in untested ways.

Oct 12, 2020

FDA Approves Magnetic Helmet For Treating Depression

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Circa 2013


“When the induced field is above a certain threshold, and is directed in an appropriate orientation relative to the brain’s neuronal pathways, localized axonal depolarizations are produced, thus activating the neurons in the relevant brain structure.”

First the machine is calibrated by placing it over a part of the brain that causes the subject’s hand to move. Then the coils are aimed at the brain region under treatment. The treatment lasts about 15 to 30 minutes, repeated over several weeks, and is noninvasive–all the person feels is a slight buzzing, and there are no side effects. This makes it a more palatable relative of other treatments that also target the brain directly, such as electroconvulsive therapy (formerly electroshock), or surgically implanted electrodes.

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Oct 11, 2020

The Cerebellum Isn’t What We Thought

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Scientists long believed its function was simply to coordinate movements. Now they suspect it could do much more.

Oct 11, 2020

Why Neuralink Will be More Important than Tesla and SpaceX

Posted by in category: neuroscience

While SpaceX regularly sends rockets to orbit and Tesla stock has its own way of defying gravity, the weight of Neuralink will be felt by all, through space and time.

Oct 10, 2020

Air pollution particles in young brains linked to Alzheimer’s damage

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Exclusive: if discovery is confirmed it will have global implications as 90% of people breathe dirty air.

Oct 9, 2020

Inhibiting Epileptic Activity in the Brain

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Summary: Boosting levels of the DUSP4 protein could be a novel way of preventing and treating epilepsy.

Source: University of Illinois

Epileptic seizures often originate in small, localized areas of the brain where neurons abnormally fire in unison. These electrical impulses disrupt proper brain functioning and cause seizures. But what makes regions where seizures start different from parts of the brain where electrical impulses remain normal? More importantly, what prevents these epileptic centers from growing?

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