Brain

08/28/2014 - 11:00

Until the last few decades, the frontal lobes of the brain were shrouded in mystery and erroneously thought of as nonessential for normal function—hence the frequent use of lobotomies in the early 20th century to treat psychiatric disorders. Now a review publishing August 28 in the Cell Press journal Neuron highlights groundbreaking studies of patients with brain damage that reveal how distinct areas of the frontal lobes are critical for a person’s ability to learn, multitask, control their emotions, socialize, and make real-life decisions. The findings have helped experts rehabilitate patients experiencing damage to this region of the brain.

 

08/28/2014 - 08:24

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have solved the mystery of why a specific signaling pathway can be associated with alcohol dependence. This signaling pathway is regulated by a gene, called neurofibromatosis type 1 (Nf1), which TSRI scientists found is linked with excessive drinking in mice. The new research shows Nf1 regulates gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that lowers anxiety and increases feelings of relaxation.

 

08/27/2014 - 13:28

Duke University researchers have found a ”roving detection system” on the surface of cells that may point to new ways of treating diseases like cancer, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The cells, which were studied in nematode worms, are able to break through normal tissue boundaries and burrow into other tissues and organs -- a crucial step in many normal developmental processes, ranging from embryonic development and wound-healing to the formation of new blood vessels.

 

08/25/2014 - 19:00

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have found one of the keys to why certain glioblastomas – the primary form of a deadly brain cancer – are resistant to drug therapy. The answer lies not in the DNA sequence of the tumor, but in its epigenetic signature. These findings have been published online as a priority report in the journal Oncotarget.

 

08/22/2014 - 09:34

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists have developed a strategy for finding disease-causing mutations that lurk in only a small fraction of the body's cells. Such mutations can cause significant problems, but cannot be detected with traditional methods of genetic testing, as well as newer, more costly genome sequencing technologies.

 

08/18/2014 - 14:08

Schizophrenia is among the most severe forms of mental illness, yet some people with the disease are as happy as those in good physical and mental health according to a study led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.