Scientists from the University of Nottingham developed an initial prototype of a new generation of brain scanner in 2018 which is a lightweight device that can be worn on the head like a hat, and can scan the brain even whilst a patient moves. Their latest research has now expanded this to a fully functional 49 channel device that can be used to scan the whole brain and track electrophysiological processes that are implicated in a number of mental health problems.
Persistently engaging in negative thinking patterns may raise the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, research led by University College London reports. In the study of people aged over 55, researchers found that repetitive negative thinking (RNT) is linked to subsequent cognitive decline as well as the deposition of harmful brain proteins linked to Alzheimer’s. “Depression and anxiety in mid-life and old age are already known to be risk factors for dementia.
Hundreds of published studies over the last decade have claimed it’s possible to predict an individual’s patterns of thoughts and feelings by scanning their brain in an MRI machine as they perform some mental tasks. But a new analysis by some of the researchers who have done the most work in this area finds that those measurements are highly suspect when it comes to drawing conclusions about any individual person’s brain.
A small, phase II, randomized, double blinded, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the impact of low doses of nilotinib in Alzheimer’s disease finds that it is safe and well-tolerated. The researchers, from Georgetown University Medical Center, say the drug should be tested in a larger study to further determine its safety and efficacy as a potential disease-modifying strategy. Nilotinib is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia.
Clinical trials are under way around the world, including in Australia, testing COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. These clinical trials largely fall into two groups. With observational studies, researchers follow a group of people to see what happens to them. With experimental studies, people are assigned to treatments, then followed. These study designs have come about from centuries of people trying out different ways of treating people. Here are some of the key moments in the history of clinical trials that led to the type of trials we see today for COVID-19.
New insights into how excitement, anticipation and dread factor into people’s decision-making are reported on in research from the University of British Columbia. When it’s time to schedule a vacation, most people will do it right away. But when it comes to booking a root canal, some people will procrastinate while others will put it at the top of their to-do list. “This stems from the phenomenon known as ’the sign effect’.
Analysis of blood plasma could help identify diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, according to new research. The work sheds further light on a pathway involved in disease progression and appears to rule out an environmental neurotoxin as playing a role in ALS. “Early diagnosis is important, but we are in dire need of quantitative markers for monitoring progression and the efficacy of therapeutic intervention. Since disruptions in metabolism are hallmark features of ALS, we wanted to investigate metabolite markers as an avenue for biomarker discovery,” says Michael Bereman, associate professor of biological sciences at North Carolina State University and corresponding author of the paper.
The anaesthetic drug ketamine has been shown, in low doses, to have a rapid effect on difficult-to-treat depression. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet report that they have identified a key target for the drug: specific serotonin receptors in the brain. The findings give hope for new, effective antidepressants. “In this, the largest PET study of its kind in the world, we wanted to look at not only the magnitude of the effect but also if ketamine acts via serotonin 1B receptors.