Cases of neurological disease linked to COVID-19 are happening across the globe, a new review by University of Liverpool researchers shows. The study found that strokes, delirium and other brain complications are reported from most countries where there have been large outbreaks of the disease. COVID-19 has been associated mostly with problems like difficulty breathing, fever and cough. However, as the pandemic has continued, it has become increasingly clear that other problems can occur in patients.
In recent years, scientists have discovered that the brain’s dedicated immune cells, called microglia, can help get rid of unnecessary connections between neurons, perhaps by engulfing synapses and breaking them down. But a new study finds microglia can also do the opposite — making way for new synapses to form by chomping away at the dense web of proteins between cells, clearing a space so neurons can find one another.
Tiny eye movements can be used as an index of humans' ability to anticipate relevant information in the environment independent of the information’s sensory modality, a team of scientists has found. The work reveals a connection between eye movements and the sense of touch. “The fact that tiny eye movements can hinder our ability to discriminate tactile stimuli, and that the suppression of those eye movements before an anticipated tactile stimulus can enhance that same ability, may reflect that common brain areas, as well as common neural and cognitive resources, underlie both eye movements and the processing of tactile stimuli," explains Marisa Carrasco, a professor of psychology and neural science at New York University and the senior author of the paper.
Many people will be familiar with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as a historical treatment for “mental illness”, in which an electrical current is passed through the brain to trigger seizures, with the aim of somehow treating the illness. In fact, ECT is still being administered to about a million people each year to treat severe depression, including about 2,500 in England, under anaesthetic. The majority are women, and over 60 years of age.
For months, Patricia Merryweather-Arges, a health care expert, has fielded questions about the coronavirus pandemic from fellow Rotary Club members in the Midwest. Recently people have wondered “Is it safe for me to go see my doctor? Should I keep that appointment with my dentist? What about that knee replacement I put on hold: Should I go ahead with that?” These are pressing concerns as hospitals, outpatient clinics and physicians’ practices have started providing elective medical procedures — services that had been suspended for several months.
Tau protein has been imaged in the brains of living patients with Alzheimer’s disease by Karolinska Institutet researchers. The amount and spread of tau proved a predictor of future memory loss. Brain imaging for measuring tau can be useful both for improving diagnosis and for developing more effective treatments, say the researchers. “Modern brain imaging techniques offer new possibilities for predicting how the disease will develop. This is important both as an aid to diagnosis and a means of optimizing intervention for the individual patient, and for the development of drugs," says Konstantinos Chiotis, doctor and researcher at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, and lead author of the paper.
Cannabis use results in an average depression symptom improvement of nearly four points on a 0-10 scale just moments after consumption, researchers at The University of New Mexico report. A recent study showed that the vast majority of patients that use cannabis experience antidepressant effects, although the magnitude of the effect and extent of side effect experiences varied with fundamental properties of the plant. Conventional pharmaceutical medications for treating depression, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MOIs), tricyclics antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), typically require several weeks or even months to begin to alleviate symptoms of depression.
How your brain handles the fear of a close-up threat may make it more likely that you will have some long-term stress from the experience, according to new research from Duke University. “Clinically, people who develop PTSD are more likely to have experienced threats that invaded their personal space, assaults, or rapes, or witnessing a crime at a close distance. They’re the people that tend to develop this long-lasting threat memory.