Neuroscience News

Scientists Characterize Nerve Cells That Detect Motion by Light Changes

February 8, 2016

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Neurobiologists Characterize Nerve Cells That Detect Motion by Light Changes

In a newly published study, neurobiologists from the Max Planck Institute reveal that (in fruit flies) four classes of nerve cell are involved in calculating directionally selective signals. The ability to see the direction in which something is moving is vital for survival. Only in this way is it possible to avoid predators, capture prey […]

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Neuroscientists Identify a Protein That Allows Brain Cells to Dampen Their Sensitivity

January 18, 2016

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Scientists Identify Protein That Allows Brain Cells to Dampen Their Sensitivity

In a newly published study, neuroscientists from MIT identify a protein that allows brain cells to dampen their sensitivity. Strengthening and weakening the connections between neurons, known as synapses, is vital to the brain’s development and everyday function. One way that neurons weaken their synapses is by swallowing up receptors on their surfaces that normally […]

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New Research Shows Hyperactive Neurons May Trigger Alzheimer’s

January 13, 2016

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Hyperactive neurons may be culprit in Alzheimer’s

New research from Yale University shows that an increase in neuronal activity can spur the creation of plaques and toxic amyloid beta peptides, which are believed to trigger Alzheimer’s disease. A long-term reduction in neuronal activity reduces amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Yale University researchers have found. The study, using mouse models of Alzheimer’s, […]

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Study Shows Amateur Contact Sports Increase Risk of Degenerative Disorder

December 2, 2015

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Football Increases Risk of Degenerative Disorder

Past evidence has shown that professional football players are susceptible to a progressive degenerative disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is caused by repetitive brain trauma. Now a new study from the Mayo Clinic reveals a significant and surprising amount of CTE in males who had participated in amateur contact sports in their youth. About […]

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Neuroscientists Identify New Mechanism That Contributes to Strengthening Synapses

November 18, 2015

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Newly Identified Mechanism Helps Strengthen Links between Neurons

Neuroscientists from MIT have identified a new mechanism that allows the brain to strengthen links between neurons. When the brain forms memories or learns a new task, it encodes the new information by tuning connections between neurons. MIT neuroscientists have discovered a novel mechanism that contributes to the strengthening of these connections, also called synapses. […]

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Neurons Can Be Changed from One Type Into Another from Within the Brain

November 10, 2015

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Researchers Reprogram Neurons

A newly published study from Harvard biologists shows how neurons can be dramatically changed from one type into another from within the brain and how neighboring neurons recognize the reprogrammed cells as different and adapt by changing how they communicate with them. Building on earlier work in which they disproved neurobiology dogma by “reprogramming” neurons […]

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Neuroscientists Observe Signs of Synaptic Plasticity Emerging in a Living Brain

November 3, 2015

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Researchers Observe Signs of Synaptic Plasticity Emerging in a Living Brain

Using measurements of changes in neural activity in neurons of the inferior temporal cortex of mature nonhuman primates as they observed novel and familiar stimuli, neuroscientists have observed signs of synaptic plasticity emerging in a living brain while it accomplishes the feat of beholding and recognizing stimuli. From the first project David Sheinberg took on […]

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Neuroscientists Reveal That the Ventral Pre-Arcuate Holds “Attentional Template”

October 29, 2015

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MIT Neuroscientists Identify Brain Region That Holds Objects in Memory

Neuroscientists from MIT have identified the region of the brain that holds objects in memory until they are spotted. Imagine you are looking for your wallet on a cluttered desk. As you scan the area, you hold in your mind a mental picture of what your wallet looks like. MIT neuroscientists have now identified a […]

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GDF10 Promotes Brain Cells’ Ability to Form New Connections

October 28, 2015

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New Discovery Could Lead to Better Recovery After Stroke

Scientists from UCLA have identified a molecule (GDF10) that signals brain tissue to form new connections after a stroke. The finding could eventually lead to a new treatment to promote brain repair and functional recovery in people who have suffered a stroke, which is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in adults. The five-year […]

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Rare ALK Genetic Mutation Extends Cancer Survival

October 15, 2015

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Rare Genetic Mutation Extends Cancer Survival

A new study from Yale University reveals that patients with the rare ALK mutation are living an average of four years, compared to typical patients that die of NSCLC within seven months. Most patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has metastasized to the brain have a dire prognosis. But Yale researchers have identified […]

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New Research Shows Individual Brain Activity Is As Unique As Fingerprints

October 13, 2015

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Functional Connectome Fingerprinting Identifying Individuals Using Patterns of Brain Connectivity

A newly published study from Yale University reveals that a person’s brain activity appears to be as unique as his or her fingerprints. These brain “connectivity profiles” alone allow researchers to identify individuals from the fMRI images of brain activity of more than 100 people, according to the study published October 12 in the journal […]

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New Drug Significantly Reduces Mortality Rate After Stroke

October 12, 2015

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New Drug Significantly Cuts Mortality Rate After Stroke

New medical trials reveal that the intravenous drug Cirara significantly reduces brain swelling following a stroke. An existing drug administered intravenously reduces the chances of dying from major stroke by 60%, according to results of a phase II trial announced October 9 at the annual Neurocritical Care Society meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. “We’ve never seen […]

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Neuroscientists Reveal Neuron-Firing Patterns That Underlie Time Measurement

October 9, 2015

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Scientists Reveal Neuron-Firing Patterns That Underlie Time Measurement

In a newly published study, neuroscientists from MIT and Columbia University reveal how neurons in one part of the brain measure time intervals and accurately reproduce them. The researchers found the lateral intraparietal cortex (LIP), which plays a role in sensorimotor function, represents elapsed time, as animals measure and then reproduce a time interval. They […]

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New Evidence That the Brain’s Inferotemporal Cortex Can Identify Objects

October 5, 2015

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Evidence That The Brain’s Inferotemporal Cortex Can Identify Objects

In a newly published study, neuroscientists from MIT reveal evidence that the brain’s inferotemporal cortex can identify objects. When the eyes are open, visual information flows from the retina through the optic nerve and into the brain, which assembles this raw information into objects and scenes. Scientists have previously hypothesized that objects are distinguished in […]

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Neuroscientists Show High-Fructose Diet Hampers Brain Recovery

October 3, 2015

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New Study Shows High-Fructose Diet Hampers Recovery

A newly published study from UCLA neuroscientists reveals how a diet high in processed fructose hampers the brain’s ability to heal itself following traumatic injury. Revealing a link between nutrition and brain health, the finding offers implications for the 5.3 million Americans living with a traumatic brain injury, or TBI. According to the Centers for […]

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Bioengineers Make “Mini-Brains” of Neurons and Supporting Cells

October 1, 2015

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Scientists Make a Mini Brain

New research from Brown University details a relatively accessible method for making a working (though not thinking) sphere of central nervous system tissue. If you need a working miniature brain — say for drug testing, to test neural tissue transplants, or to experiment with how stem cells work — a new paper describes how to […]

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Neurologists Speed Up Connectome Analysis by More Than 10-Fold

September 30, 2015

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Scientists Speed Up Reconstruction of Connections between Nerve Cells

Using a new tools called SegEM, scientists from the Max Planck Institute are able to speed up the reconstruction of connections between nerve cells more than ten-fold. Unraveling the connectivity maps between nerve cells in brains is a huge scientific endeavor – called connectomics. The main limitation to mapping large parts of the brain is […]

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Yeast Protein Reveals Clues to How Alzheimer’s Forms

September 25, 2015

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Yeast Protein Offers Clues to How Alzheimer’s Disease Begins

In a newly published study, biologists from MIT detail how a yeast protein may lead to anti-amyloid therapeutic opportunities. Fibrous protein clumps known as amyloids are most often associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, where they form characteristic plaques in the brain. Scientists first described amyloids about 150 years ago; they have since been […]

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