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73 posts categorized "Neuroscience"

17 August 2009

Anesthesia in young children may be linked to later learning disabilities (The Dana Foundation Website - 3 June 2009)

Dana Scientists are now learning that the use of anesthesia in young children is correlated with learning disabilities later in life.  A piece discussing these findings appears on the Dana Foundation Website. 


Each year, hundreds of thousands of children 3 years of age and under are anesthetized during surgeries and other common medical procedures and tests. Doctors believed that the risk of using anesthetics in infants and toddlers was minimal. But recent scientific studies, both in animals and humans, suggest that there may be a relationship between the use of anesthesia in young children and later cognitive deficits...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

Autism researchers explore genetic and environmental risk factors (The Dana Foundation Website - 14 April 2009)

Dana An article about how scientists are trying to put both the genetic and environmental pieces of Autism's puzzle together appears on the Dana Foundation's Website.


Although scientists diligently seek the genetic underpinnings of autism, the spectral nature of the disorder has made it difficult to find a “smoking gun” gene. Some researchers hope that their research into the role of environmental risk factors will help explain the disorder’s causes...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

12 March 2009

Search widens for causes of psychiatric disorder (The Dana Foundation Website - 25 February 2009)

Dana_logo An emerging discipline, epigenetics, is offering researchers ways to understand more about how genes and the environment interact in the development of psychiatric disorders.


Despite the recent leaps in our knowledge concerning the human genome, research in this area has not yet provided the kind of concrete answers that physicians and their patients had long hoped for. An emerging discipline, epigenetics, may—and may offer new directions for research as well as more targeted therapies for treatment...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

10 March 2009

Deeper understanding of the blood-brain barrier may lead to targeted treatments (The Dana Foundation Website - 9 February 2009)

Dana_logoAn article about advances in understanding how the blood-brain barrier works may provide clinicians hope for better treatments for certain disorders. 


 Several new studies of the blood-brain barrier may pave the way for better treatments of certain cancers and inflammatory brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a network of specialized blood vessels that both transports nutrients into the neural tissue from the bloodstream and blocks potentially harmful substances...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

07 November 2008

Location may make a difference in flu vaccination (The Dana Foundation Web Site - 6 November 2008)

Dana_logo A study published by scientists at the University of Melbourne suggest that where one receives an influenza vaccination may influence how effective it is.  An article about the study and its implications appears in the News and Features section of the Dana Foundation Web site.


In many areas of medicine, how effective a treatment is depends on whether it is directly applied to the area of injury or infection. For example, bandaging the shoulder when your wrist is broken may not provide the relief desired...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

04 November 2008

Brain responds quickly to faces (BrainWork - November/December 2008)

Cvr_sm_brainwork An article about recent discoveries in how we interpret facial expressions is in the November/December issue of BrainWork, the Dana Foundation's neuroscience newsletter.


Approaching the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth (in January 2009), the bulk of studies concerning facial expressions support his premise that facial expressions for emotions such as happiness, sadness and anger are universal across races and cultures. With new methods in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, researchers are extending our understanding of just what facial expressions convey and how we interpret them...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

20 October 2008

Sex differences offer new insight into psychiatric disorders (The Dana Foundation Web Site - 20 October 2008)

Dana_logo An article about how the study of sex differences is changing the field of neuroscience appears on the Dana Foundation's Web site. 


When Carolyn Schapper, 35, a military intelligence soldier, returned from a one-year Iraq deployment, she started experiencing symptoms including jumpiness, a short temper and nightmares. Six months after she returned to the United States, she realized that those symptoms might be more than simple readjustment issues...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

08 August 2008

Computational models reveal new insights in neuroscience (The Dana Foundation Website - 6 August 2008)

Dana_logo Neural networks are being used increasingly to inform neuroscience.  An article about ways they can be used to test hypotheses appears on the Dana Foundation website.


Neuroscientists have learned a great deal about how the brain works, from the molecular to the functional level, in the past few decades. But that knowledge has brought other questions, including a big one: How can researchers, often trained in a particular neuroscience discipline, understand and use all that data to develop the right kind of hypotheses to test?

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

02 July 2008

Genetic study gives new insight into schizophrenia (The Dana Foundation Website - 2 July 2008)

Dana_logo An article about how random genetic mutations may be at the root of schizophrenia appears on the Dana Foundation's website. 


A recent study by researchers at the University of Washington and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories suggests that random errors in the genome, many of them targeting glutamate pathways, may contribute to schizophrenia. The results have potential implications for how scientists should study the neurobiological effects behind the disorder as well as how they approach the design of new drug and other interventions...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

29 April 2008

The physiology of sleep (The Dana Foundation Website - 28 April 2008)

Dana_logo An article that discusses new findings that are changing the way that neuroscientists are thinking about sleep appears on the Dana Foundation website. 


Most animals sleep—mammals, reptiles, even fruit flies. And while plenty of behavioral studies show the restorative effects of sleep and the detrimental cognitive effects to vigilance and short-term memory tasks when it is withheld, it has not been clear exactly why we must periodically lose consciousness in this way. But some recent studies examining its neurobiological mechanisms have led to new hypotheses about sleep...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

09 March 2008

Psychiatric, Behavioral and Addiction Disorders (The 2008 Progress Report on Brain Research)

Progreport2008cvr_thmbOnce again, I contributed the Psychiatric, Behavioral and Addiction Disorders section to the Dana Foundation's 2008 Progress Report on Brain Research.


Mental health research in 2007 focused on gaining further understanding of the origins of certain disorders and on finding effective treatments. Many scientists maintained an emphasis on the underlying role of genetics in psychiatric disorders but moved toward more targeted study of what role genes play in management and treatment. In addition, neurobiological studies have broadened in scope by examining neural circuits, or connections between distinct parts of the brain, instead of individual regions, to understand how interrupted or misplaced signals may affect mental health...

(To read the rest of the section, click here).

18 February 2008

Video devices further research into out-of-body experiences (BrainWork - January/February 2008)

Cvr_sm_brainworkWhat is happening in the brain during out-of-body experiences?  In an article for the January/February 2008 issue of BrainWork, I spoke with two labs who are examining exactly this by trying to induce such experiences.


In recent years, neuroscientists have examined the phenomenon of out-of-body experiences to better understand how the brain integrates sensory information to form the idea of self and the idea that the self is localized within the body. New research furthers these findings by using special displays to induce the illusion of an out-of-body experience in normal participants...

(To read the entire article, click here).

01 February 2008

Rare Epilepsy Shines New Light on Glucose and the Brain (The Dana Foundation Website - 1 February 2008)

DanaAn article about how glucose accumulation in neurons is at the root of a rare form of epilepsy called Lafora disease appears on the Dana Foundation website.


Researchers in Spain studying a rare form of epilepsy have discovered that the metabolic mechanisms that could give neurons energy may also play a role in neurodegenerative diseases.

Lafora disease is an extremely rare and lethal type of genetic epilepsy that affects adolescents. “It is quite devastating,” says Joan J. Guinovart, director of Barcelona’s Institute for Research in Biomedicine and a professor at the University of Barcelona. “Children are normal until they are about 10 years old and then they start having seizures. From there, the disease evolves very rapidly.” About 200 people currently have Lafora disease and most die from six to ten years after the first symptoms are observed...

(To read the rest of the article, please click here).

12 January 2008

Therapy restores field of vision (Dana Foundation Website - 31 December 2007)

DanaAn article about visual restoration therapy (VRT) appears in the News section of the Dana Foundation website.


In 2005, Robert Hobbs suffered a stroke that blocked blood flow to parts of his brain and affected his speech, memory and vision.

“Mostly it was an effect on my field of vision,” says Hobbs, 66, of Miami Springs, Fla. “Almost every adult has taken a vision field test, where you stare at a focal point on a machine and respond to lights coming up in your periphery. I couldn’t see the lights on either side, or at least couldn’t see very many of them.” This loss also took away Hobbs’ reading ability, which meant he had to leave his job as a shift supervisor at an Associated Press news bureau...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

10 September 2007

Discovering the "face" of memory (The Dana Foundation News and Features - 10 September 2007)

DanaAn article about recent research that demonstrated how learning and memory physically alters the size of synapses in the brain appears in the News and Features section of the Dana Foundation website.


For more than a century, great minds in psychology, medicine and philosophy have searched for the stuff of which memories are made. Earlier this year, an interdisciplinary research team led by Gary Lynch, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the University of California, Irvine, may have discovered physical evidence of the neurobiological basis of a memory...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

18 July 2007

Ingredients May Affect Brain Health (BrainWork - July/August 2007)

Cvr_sm_brainwork_2An article about how polyphenols can work in a neuroprotective fashion appears in the July/August edition of BrainWork.


Compounds inherent in berries, pomegranate juice, wine and green tea have all been cited as having the potential to help people live longer and better. New research is revealing how these compounds—called polyphenols—work, not only as anti-oxidants but also in a neuroprotective capacity in the brain...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

23 May 2007

Cerebral Malaria, a Wily Foe (Cerebrum - May 2007)

Cerebrumhead A piece on recent strides in cerebral malaria research, "Cerebral Malaria, a Wily Foe" appears in the online Dana Foundation journal, Cerebrum. 


Halima, a three-year-old girl, was brought to the hospital in Kenya after running a fever for almost two days.  At first, the fever seemed nothing to be particularly concerned about, so Halima’s mother gave her paracetamol (acetaminophen) to bring down her temperature and left her in the care of an older sister while she went out to work on the farm. But when she returned a few hours later, she was unable to wake her child. She shook her gently and Halima’s eyes opened, but the girl stared blankly ahead, unable to make eye contact.  Her sister told their mother that Halima had had a convulsion earlier, her arms and legs jerking uncontrollably for several minutes before her body went limp. It was then that the mother began the arduous four-hour trek to the hospital for treatment...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

09 May 2007

A brain at rest tends to motion (BrainWork - May 2007)

Cvr_sm_brainworkAn article about the "default network," or resting states of the brain is up in the May 2007 issue of BrainWork. 


What is the brain doing when it is being asked to do nothing in particular?

During the past five years, Marcus Raichle and his team at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have looked at that question. While working on other neuroimaging studies, Raichle noticed an interesting trend in brain activation when experimental participants began a cognitive task...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

19 March 2007

Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Addictive Disorders (Dana Foundation Progress Report on Brain Research 2007)

Progrep2007cover_lgI ghostwrote the chapter on Psychiatric, Behavior and Addictive Disorders for the Dana Foundation's annual Progress Report on Brain Research. 


As was the case in 2005, mental health research in 2006 continued its concentration on the role of genes in mental disorders and the effects of the interaction of those genes with environmental factors.  However, 2006 brought with it a new focus on clinical and genetic investigations of treatments for those disorders...

(To read the rest of the section, click here- the chapter begins on page 56).

05 February 2007

Cerebrum 2007: Emerging Ideas in Brain Science

Cerebrum_2007_bookBringing the Brain of the Child with Autism Back on Track, an article co-authored with Dr. Diane Chugani, will appear in, "Cerebrum 2007:  Emerging Ideas in Brain Science," to be published by the University of Chicago Press later this year.  More information about the book and its release can be found on the University of Chicago Press website

23 January 2007

Basal Ganglia Contribute to Learning, but Also Certain Disorders (BrainWork - 23 January 2007)

Cvr_sm_brainworkAn article on the basal ganglia and the area's newly discovered prominence in learning and reward has been published in the Dana Foundation's BrainWork Neuroscience Newsletter.


Move over, hippocampus. The basal ganglia, a group of interconnected brain areas located deep in the cerebral cortex, have proved to be at work in learning, the formation of good and bad habits, and some psychiatric and addictive disorders...

(To read the rest of the article, click here).

20 January 2007

Building for the Shattered Mind: Partnering Brain Science and Architecture (Cerebrum - 20 January 2007)

Cerebrum A co-authored piece (with Russell Epstein, PhD) about the hypotheses generated at a recent Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA) multi-disciplinary workshop entitled, "Neuroscience of Facilities for the Aging and People with Alzheimer's," appears in the January edition of Cerebrum.


In Elegy for Iris, John Bayley’s poignant memoir chronicling life with his wife, Iris Murdoch, as she struggled with Alzheimer’s disease, the author writes, “Alzheimer’s is, in fact, like an insidious fog, barely noticeable until everything around has disappeared. After that, it is no longer possible to believe that a world outside the fog exists."

(To read the entire article, click here).

24 August 2006

Bringing the Brain of the Child with Autism Back on Track (Cerebrum - 24 August 2006)

Cerebrumhead_smAn article that I co-authored with Dr. Diane Chugani appears in the online journal Cerebrum.  The piece is about autism and how new research in molecular neuroimaging can help find new ways to treat the disorder with critically timed drug interventions. 

(To read a .pdf of the article, click here).