Prucalopride, which targets the 5-HT4 receptor, may improve cognition and memory, a group of UK researchers has found. Even when the low mood associated with depression is well-treated with conventional antidepressants, many patients continue to experience problems with their memory. Our study provides exciting early evidence in humans of a new approach that might be a helpful way to treat these residual cognitive symptoms, Dr. Susannah Murphy, senior research fellow, University of Oxford and a senior author of the study1, said.
The hippocampus may be the brain’s storyteller, connecting separate, distant events into a single narrative, a new brain imaging study shows. Things that happen in real life don’t always connect directly, but we can remember the details of each event better if they form a coherent narrative, said Brendan Cohn-Sheehy, an MD/PhD student at the University of California, Davis and first author of the paper1. Narrative Coherence Cohn-Sheehy and colleagues used functional MRI to image the hippocampus of volunteers as they learned and recalled a series of short stories.
Oxytocin is often referred to as a ‘love hormone’ because it can be released during activities such as hugging, snuggling, or sex. Reality, of course, can be a bit more complicated. In the brain, oxytocin can have powerful and diverse effects on mood, stress, anxiety, and social interactions. In the body it helps regulate fluid balance, promotes contractions during childbirth, and stimulates the letdown of milk during breastfeeding. Oxytocin-synthesizing neurons in the hypothalamus.
A large study assessing the risks of developing dementia associated with different types and durations of menopausal hormone therapy found no increased risk regardless of hormone type, dose, or duration1. Within the subgroup of women with a specific diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease, a slight increasing risk association was found with use of estrogen-progestogen treatments, but measurable only for long-term usage (5 years or more). Use of different hormones and adjusted odds ratios for dementia overall and for Alzheimer’s disease.
Chronic hyperglycemia impairs working memory performance and alters fundamental aspects of working memory networks, a new study1 shows. The finding, from a team of University of Nevada, Las Vegas neuroscientists has strengthened the link between Type II diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Diabetes is a major risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease, but it is not clear why. We show that a central feature of diabetes, hyperglycemia, impairs neural activity in ways that are similar to what is observed in preclinical Alzheimer’s disease models.
Low frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over the left prefrontal cortex of the brain can improve memory performance by reducing the power of low frequency brain waves as memories form, new research1 shows. Memories of past events and experiences are what define us as who we are, and yet the ability to form these episodic memories declines with age, certain dementias, and brain injury. Experimental design. Arrows on brain model indicate stimulation site (DLPFC = purple, vertex = orange).
Molecular and genetic factors that let two types of interneurons develop different identities have been found by researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the Flatiron Institute. The findings1 could provide a model for studying the emergence of cellular diversity in the brain. Since many neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders affect different cell types, including interneurons, differently, the authors say their work could also help researchers better understand how these disorders come about.
To degrade toxic proteins more rapidly, immune cells in the brain can join together to form networks when needed, a joint study of the University of Bonn, the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the Institut François Jacob in France shows1. However, in certain mutations that can cause Parkinson’s disease, this cooperation is impaired. The protein alpha-synuclein performs important tasks in the nerve cells of the brain. But under certain circumstances, alpha-synuclein (aSyn) molecules can clump together and form insoluble aggregates.