By identifying a possible novel cellular mechanism for migraines, researchers may have also found a new way to treat chronic migraine. The goal of the research1 was to find a new mechanism of chronic migraine and propose a cellular pathway for migraine therapies. Senior author Amynah Pradhan is associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois Chicago. He explained that the dynamic process of routing and rerouting connections among nerve cells, called neural plasticity, is critical to both the causes and cures for disorders of the central nervous system such as depression, chronic pain, and addiction.
Women suffer severe COVID-19 at around half the rate as men, but the reason for this has been unclear. Now, research1 has found that women have different levels of mucosal associated invariant T cells, and these immune cells amass in the lungs, poised to attack the COVID virus. Better armed with these specialized immune cells, women appear to be more equipped to fight some of the most severe impacts of COVID-19, notably the respiratory infections that can become life-threatening,
Staufen1, a protein that accumulates in the brains of patients with certain neurological conditions, is linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, along with other neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease, University of Utah Health scientists report. Credit: Unsplash/CC0 The findings1 connect Staufen1 to the emerging concept that neurodegenerative diseases are linked to malfunctions in the way cells cope with cellular stress.
An extensive push to identify and validate blood biomarkers for mood disorders has resulted in a blood test, composed of RNA biomarkers, that can distinguish how severe a patient’s depression is. The test also can predict their risk of severe depression in the future, and their risk of future bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, as well as informs tailored medication choices for patients. The work1 builds on previous research into blood biomarkers2 that track suicidality as well as pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease3.
People with early-onset dementia are often misdiagnosed as having depression. Research has now identified what may actually be happening in such cases: a profound loss of ability to experience pleasure. The loss is related to degeneration of ‘hedonic hotspots’ in the brain where pleasure mechanisms are concentrated, University of Sydney-led research1 shows. The study revealed marked degeneration, or atrophy, of grey matter in frontal and striatal areas of the brain related to diminished reward-seeking, in patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
Two small proteins made by the M. tuberculosis bacteria mediate secretion of it’s toxin by pore formation in the membranes that envelop the bacteria, new research1 shows. Six years ago, Michael Niederweis, Ph.D., described the first toxin ever found for the deadly pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Scanning electron micrograph of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, which cause TB. Credit: NIAID The toxin, tuberculosis necrotizing toxin, or TNT, became the founding member of a novel class of previously unrecognized toxins present in more than 600 bacterial and fungal species, as determined by protein sequence similarity.
Exposure to phthalates, a class of chemicals widely used in packaging and consumer products, is known to interfere with normal hormone function and development in human and animal studies. Now researchers have found evidence1 linking pregnant women’s exposure to phthalates to altered cognitive outcomes in their infants. Most of the findings involved slower information processing among infants with higher phthalate exposure levels, with males more likely to be affected depending on the chemical involved and the order of information presented to the infants.
Extreme repetitive behaviors such as hand-flapping, body-rocking, skin-picking, and sniffing are common to a number of brain disorders including autism, schizophrenia, Huntington’s disease, and drug addiction. These behaviors, termed stereotypies, are also apparent in animal models of drug addiction and autism. In a new study1, researchers at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research have identified genes that are activated in the brain prior to the initiation of these severe repetitive behaviors.