Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as motor neuron disease (MND), has 4 distinct patterns of changes in electrical signals that can be identified using resting-state electroencephalography, according to new research1 from Trinity College Dublin. The findings will be valuable in identifying patients for clinical trials and will assist in finding new treatments for this disease. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a devastating condition which causes progressive paralysis, changes in thinking, increasing physical disability and ultimately death within an average of two to three years.
Nerve growth factor receptor (NGFR) drives the process of early metastasis in melanoma, work from an international team of scientists has found. Additionally, blocking the molcule reduces metastasis in animal models. The reduction was achieved using THX-B. This molecule is being tested for the treatment of other pathologies, which will accelerate its possible use in the treatment of tumors. In order to fight tumors, researchers have typically focused on studying their intrinsic behavior, but not on their surroundings.
You probably don’t realise it when you’re listening to your favourite song, but music has an incredibly powerful effect on the human brain. Singing, playing an instrument or listening to music have all been shown to activate numerous areas of the brain that control speech, movement and cognition, memory and emotion – often all at the same time. Remarkably, research also suggests that music can physically increase brain matter, which could help the brain repair itself.
The brain’s maps of visual space are thought to retain the topology of the retina, but a new study1 has found that visual maps in the secondary visual cortex of tree shrews challenge this assumption. Neuroscientists who specialize in vision are the cartographers of the brain, exploring and mapping out how our brain represents what we see in the world. The visual cortex, responsible for visual processing, contains sophisticated neural circuits that evaluate information arriving from our eyes and respond to distinguishing visual features such as color, edges, motion, and location in visual space.
Blood levels of a substance proven to be highly predictive of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease rose markedly during cardiac surgery and remained elevated for two days post-surgery, which was when levels were last measured, a small study has found. Heart surgery, a lengthy operation typically involving substantial tissue injury, is particularly stressful and causes inflammation throughout the body, including the brain, says Martin Angst, an anesthesiologist at Stanford University with an interest in biochemistry-based predictions of surgical outcomes who helped lead the study1.
Reversing the modification of molecular messages at synapses in the human brain may contribute to reversible mental health conditions such as anxiety, and memory diseases such as dementia, University of Nottingham researchers have revealed. The findings1 are a major step in our understanding how brain cells communicate, and could help to identify new treatments for neurological and psychiatric conditions. The research was led by Dr. Helen Miranda Knight in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham, along with researchers across the Schools of Medicine, Life Science, and Bioscience.
CD4+ T cells respond to buildups of alpha-synuclein, a Northwestern Medicine study has found. Alpha-synuclein are a feature of neurodegenerative diseases including dementia with Lewy bodies (LWD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). This autoimmune response proves harmful, and inhibiting signaling pathways that trigger the response may represent a future therapeutic target, according to David Gate, Ph.D., assistant professor of Neurology and lead author of the study1. These findings have established a detrimental role of the immune system in Lewy body dementias,
Microglia help regulate blood flow and maintain the brain’s critical blood vessels, University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers have found. It is an important but previously unknown role for these immune cells that protect the brain from disease and injury. The findings1 may prove important in cognitive decline, dementia and stroke, among other conditions linked to diseases of the brain’s small vessels. Precise blood vessel function is critical to accommodate the extreme energy demands of the brain for normal brain function.