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Genetic risk for autism stems mostly from common genes

Genetic risk for autism stems mostly from common genes

Using new statistical tools, Carnegie Mellon University’s Kathryn Roeder has led an international team of researchers to discover that most of the genetic risk for autism comes from versions of genes that are common in the population rather than from rare variants or spontaneous glitches. Published in the July 20 issue of the journal Nature Genetics , the study found that about 52 percent of autism was traced to common genes and rarely inherited variations, with spontaneous mutations contributing a modest 2.6 percent of the total risk Continue reading

Researchers identify brain network with mapping technique

Researchers identify brain network with mapping technique

Investigators at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have utilized a new image-based strategy to identify and measure placebo effects in randomized clinical trials for brain disorders. The findings are published in the August issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation . Continue reading

Researchers identify brain network with mapping technique

Researchers identify brain network with mapping technique

Investigators at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have utilized a new image-based strategy to identify and measure placebo effects in randomized clinical trials for brain disorders. The findings are published in the August issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation . Continue reading

Experts urge new discipline combining benefits of neuroscience, psychology treatments

Experts urge new discipline combining benefits of neuroscience, psychology treatments

When a patient talks with a psychological therapist, what changes occur in the patient’s brain that relieve mental disorders? UCLA psychology professor Michelle Craske says the honest answer is that we don’t know. Continue reading

Personalized approach enhances communication skills in children with autism

Personalized approach enhances communication skills in children with autism

A UCLA-led study has found that the communication skills of minimally verbal children with autism can be greatly improved through personalized interventions that are combined with the use of computer tablets. Continue reading

Mutation stops worms from getting drunk

Mutation stops worms from getting drunk

Neuroscientists at The University of Texas at Austin have generated mutant worms that do not get intoxicated by alcohol, a result that could lead to new drugs to treat the symptoms of people going through alcohol withdrawal. The scientists accomplished this feat by inserting a modified human alcohol target into the worms, as reported this week in The Journal of Neuroscience . Continue reading

Hidden Variations in Neuronal Networks May Explain Differences In Traumatic Brain Injury Outcomes

Hidden Variations in Neuronal Networks May Explain Differences In Traumatic Brain Injury Outcomes

A team of researchers at the Neuroscience Institute at Georgia State University has discovered that hidden differences in the properties of neural circuits can account for whether animals are behaviorally susceptible to brain injury. These results could have implications for the treatment of brain trauma Continue reading

Study of noninvasive retinal imaging device presented at Alzheimer’s conference

Study of noninvasive retinal imaging device presented at Alzheimer’s conference

A noninvasive optical imaging device developed at Cedars-Sinai can provide early detection of changes that later occur in the brain and are a classic sign of Alzheimer’s disease, according to preliminary results from investigators conducting a clinical trial in Australia. The researchers will present their findings July 15 in an oral presentation at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Continue reading

Brain activity in sex addiction mirrors that of drug addiction

Brain activity in sex addiction mirrors that of drug addiction

Pornography triggers brain activity in people with compulsive sexual behaviour — known commonly as sex addiction — similar to that triggered by drugs in the brains of drug addicts, according to a University of Cambridge study published in the journal PLOS ONE . However, the researchers caution that this does not necessarily mean that pornography itself is addictive. Although precise estimates are unknown, previous studies have suggested that as many as one in 25 adults is affected by compulsive sexual behaviour, an obsession with sexual thoughts, feelings or behaviour which they are unable to control Continue reading

DARPA taps Lawrence Livermore to develop world’s first neural device to restore memory

DARPA taps Lawrence Livermore to develop world’s first neural device to restore memory

The Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) up to $2.5 million to develop an implantable neural device with the ability to record and stimulate neurons within the brain to help restore memory, DARPA officials announced this week. The research builds on the understanding that memory is a process in which neurons in certain regions of the brain encode information, store it and retrieve it. Certain types of illnesses and injuries, including Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy, disrupt this process and cause memory loss. Continue reading