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Huntington’s disease protein helps wire young brain

Huntington’s disease protein helps wire young brain

The protein that is mutated in Huntington’s disease is critical for wiring the brain in early life, according to a new Duke University study. Huntington’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that causes a wide variety of symptoms, such as uncontrolled movements, inability to focus or remember, depression and aggression. By the time these symptoms appear, usually in middle age, the disease has already ravaged the brain. Continue reading

Understanding of how hearing works advanced by new research

Understanding of how hearing works advanced by new research

Understanding how hearing works has long been hampered by challenges associated with seeing inside the inner ear, but technology being developed by a team of researchers that includes a biomedical engineer from Texas A&M University is generating some of the most detailed images of the inner ear to date. Continue reading

Stem cell type resists chemotherapy drug

Stem cell type resists chemotherapy drug

A new study shows that adipose-derived human stem cells, which can become vital tissues such as bone, may be highly resistant to the common chemotherapy drug methotrexate (MTX). The preliminary finding from lab testing may prove significant because MTX causes bone tissue damage in many patients. MTX is used to treat cancers including acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer. Continue reading

Noninvasive brain control: New light-sensitive protein enables simpler, more powerful optogenetics

Noninvasive brain control: New light-sensitive protein enables simpler, more powerful optogenetics

Optogenetics, a technology that allows scientists to control brain activity by shining light on neurons, relies on light-sensitive proteins that can suppress or stimulate electrical signals within cells. This technique requires a light source to be implanted in the brain, where it can reach the cells to be controlled Continue reading

Noninvasive brain control: New light-sensitive protein enables simpler, more powerful optogenetics

Noninvasive brain control: New light-sensitive protein enables simpler, more powerful optogenetics

Optogenetics, a technology that allows scientists to control brain activity by shining light on neurons, relies on light-sensitive proteins that can suppress or stimulate electrical signals within cells. This technique requires a light source to be implanted in the brain, where it can reach the cells to be controlled. Continue reading

Adding sugar to high-fat Western diet could be worse than high-fat diet alone

Adding sugar to high-fat Western diet could be worse than high-fat diet alone

A high-fructose, high-fat diet can cause harmful effects to the livers of adult rats, according to new research published in Experimental Physiology , providing new insight into the effects of adding fructose to a Western diet high in fat. The study showed that short-term consumption of a Western diet, rich in saturated fats and fructose, is more damaging for healthy liver development than following a high fat diet alone. Continue reading

Adding sugar to high-fat Western diet could be worse than high-fat diet alone

Adding sugar to high-fat Western diet could be worse than high-fat diet alone

A high-fructose, high-fat diet can cause harmful effects to the livers of adult rats, according to new research published in Experimental Physiology , providing new insight into the effects of adding fructose to a Western diet high in fat. Continue reading

3-D computer model may help refine target for deep brain stimulation therapy for dystonia

3-D computer model may help refine target for deep brain stimulation therapy for dystonia

Although deep brain stimulation can be an effective therapy for dystonia — a potentially crippling movement disorder — the treatment isn’t always effective, or benefits may not be immediate. Precise placement of DBS electrodes is one of several factors that can affect results, but few studies have attempted to identify the “sweet spot,” where electrode placement yields the best results. Continue reading

Blocking brain’s ‘internal marijuana’ may trigger early Alzheimer’s deficits, study shows

Blocking brain’s ‘internal marijuana’ may trigger early Alzheimer’s deficits, study shows

A new study led by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine has implicated the blocking of endocannabinoids — signaling substances that are the brain’s internal versions of the psychoactive chemicals in marijuana and hashish — in the early pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. A substance called A-beta — strongly suspected to play a key role in Alzheimer’s because it’s the chief constituent of the hallmark clumps dotting the brains of people with Alzheimer’s — may, in the disease’s earliest stages, impair learning and memory by blocking the natural, beneficial action of endocannabinoids in the brain, the study demonstrates. Continue reading

Blocking brain’s ‘internal marijuana’ may trigger early Alzheimer’s deficits, study shows

Blocking brain’s ‘internal marijuana’ may trigger early Alzheimer’s deficits, study shows

A new study led by investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine has implicated the blocking of endocannabinoids — signaling substances that are the brain’s internal versions of the psychoactive chemicals in marijuana and hashish — in the early pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. A substance called A-beta — strongly suspected to play a key role in Alzheimer’s because it’s the chief constituent of the hallmark clumps dotting the brains of people with Alzheimer’s — may, in the disease’s earliest stages, impair learning and memory by blocking the natural, beneficial action of endocannabinoids in the brain, the study demonstrates. Continue reading