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How kids’ brain structures grow as memory develops

How kids’ brain structures grow as memory develops

Our ability to store memories improves during childhood, associated with structural changes in the hippocampus and its connections with prefrontal and parietal cortices. New research from UC Davis is exploring how these brain regions develop at this crucial time. Eventually, that could give insights into disorders that typically emerge in the transition into and during adolescence and affect memory, such as schizophrenia and depression Continue reading

How kids’ brain structures grow as memory develops

How kids’ brain structures grow as memory develops

Our ability to store memories improves during childhood, associated with structural changes in the hippocampus and its connections with prefrontal and parietal cortices. New research from UC Davis is exploring how these brain regions develop at this crucial time Continue reading

Cancer drugs block dementia-linked brain inflammation, study finds

Cancer drugs block dementia-linked brain inflammation, study finds

A class of drugs developed to treat immune-related conditions and cancer — including one currently in clinical trials for glioblastoma and other tumors — eliminates neural inflammation associated with dementia-linked diseases and brain injuries, according to UC Irvine researchers. In their study, assistant professor of neurobiology & behavior Kim Green and colleagues discovered that the drugs, which can be delivered orally, eradicated microglia, the primary immune cells of the brain. These cells exacerbate many neural diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as brain injury Continue reading

Cancer drugs block dementia-linked brain inflammation, study finds

Cancer drugs block dementia-linked brain inflammation, study finds

A class of drugs developed to treat immune-related conditions and cancer — including one currently in clinical trials for glioblastoma and other tumors — eliminates neural inflammation associated with dementia-linked diseases and brain injuries, according to UC Irvine researchers. In their study, assistant professor of neurobiology & behavior Kim Green and colleagues discovered that the drugs, which can be delivered orally, eradicated microglia, the primary immune cells of the brain. These cells exacerbate many neural diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as brain injury. Continue reading

New combination drug therapy proves very effective in hepatitis C treatments

New combination drug therapy proves very effective in hepatitis C treatments

Treatment options for the 170 million people worldwide with chronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) are evolving rapidly, although the available regimens often come with significant side effects. Two multi-center clinical trials led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center show promise for a new option that could help lead to both an increase in patients cured with a much more simple and tolerable all oral therapy Continue reading

New combination drug therapy proves very effective in hepatitis C treatments

New combination drug therapy proves very effective in hepatitis C treatments

Treatment options for the 170 million people worldwide with chronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) are evolving rapidly, although the available regimens often come with significant side effects. Two multi-center clinical trials led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center show promise for a new option that could help lead to both an increase in patients cured with a much more simple and tolerable all oral therapy Continue reading

Splice variants reveal connections among autism genes

Splice variants reveal connections among autism genes

A team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB) at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has uncovered a new aspect of autism, revealing that proteins involved in autism interact with many more partners than previously known. These interactions had not been detected earlier because they involve alternatively spliced forms of autism genes found in the brain. In their study, published in the April 11, 2014 online issue of Nature Communications , the scientists isolated hundreds of new variants of autism genes from the human brain, and then screened their protein products against thousands of other proteins to identify interacting partners. Continue reading

For good and ill, immune response to cancer cuts both ways

For good and ill, immune response to cancer cuts both ways

The difference between an immune response that kills cancer cells and one that conversely stimulates tumor growth can be as narrow as a “double-edged sword,” report researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine in the April 7, 2014 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . “We have found that the intensity difference between an immune response that stimulates cancer and one that kills it may not be very much,” said principal investigator Ajit Varki, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine. “This may come as a surprise to researchers exploring two areas typically considered distinct: the role of the immune system in preventing and killing cancers and the role of chronic inflammation in stimulating cancers. Continue reading

Work with small peptide chains may revolutionize study of enzymes, diseases

Work with small peptide chains may revolutionize study of enzymes, diseases

Chemists in The College of Arts and Sciences have, for the first time, created enzyme-like activity using peptides that are only seven amino acids long. Continue reading

What bank voles can teach us about prion disease transmission and neurodegeneration

What bank voles can teach us about prion disease transmission and neurodegeneration

When cannibals ate brains of people who died from prion disease, many of them fell ill with the fatal neurodegenerative disease as well. Likewise, when cows were fed protein contaminated with bovine prions, many of them developed mad cow disease. On the other hand, transmission of prions between species, for example from cows, sheep, or deer to humans, is — fortunately — inefficient, and only a small proportion of exposed recipients become sick within their lifetimes. Continue reading