Brain

Hunger Cues

Research by investigators at Harvard Medical School illuminates the neurobiology that underlies food attraction and how hungry mice choose to pay attention to one object in their environment over another.

Exercise Boosts Blood Flow to The Brain, Study Finds

DALLAS – March 23, 2021 – It’s not just your legs and heart that get a workout when you walk briskly; exercise affects your brain as well. A new study by researchers at UT Southwestern shows that when older adults with mild memory loss followed an exercise program for a year, the blood flow to their brains increased. The results were published online today in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Researchers find a better way to measure consciousness

Millions of people are administered general anesthesia each year in the United States alone, but it’s not always easy to tell whether they are actually unconscious. A small proportion of those patients regain some awareness during medical procedures, but a new study of the brain activity that represents consciousness could prevent that potential trauma.

Distinguishing Between Two Very Similar Pediatric Brain Conditions

Slight differences in clinical features can help physicians distinguish between two rare but similar forms of autoimmune brain inflammation in children, a new study by UT Southwestern scientists suggests. The findings, published online in Pediatric Neurology, could provide patients and their families with a better prognosis and the potential to target treatments specific to each condition in the future.

Expert Alert: Encephalitis prevention another reason to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Patients with COVID-19 are at risk for neurologic complications, including encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain.

“Encephalitis cases have been reported in patients with COVID-19, although on the whole it appears to be a relatively rare complication,” says Michel Toledano, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist.

In the case of encephalitis caused by communicable diseases for which there is a vaccine available, getting vaccinated is the best way of preventing the disease.

Nutrition, companionship reduce pain in mice with sickle cell disease, UCI-led study finds

Irvine, Calif., Feb. 1, 2021 — Researchers from the University of California, Irvine and the University of Minnesota have found that an enriched diet and companionship can reduce pain in mice with sickle cell disease by increasing serotonin. They also discovered that duloxetine, an antidepressant that boosts serotonin levels, could be an alternative to opioids in treating chronic pain.

Eggs Reveal What May Happen to Brain on Impact

Our brains consist of soft matter bathed in watery cerebrospinal fluid inside a hard skull, and in Physics of Fluids, researchers describe studying another system with the same features, an egg, to search for answers about concussions. Considering that in most concussive brain injuries, the skull does not break, they wanted to find out if it was possible to break or deform the egg yolk without breaking the eggshell and did a simple experiment using an egg scrambler, measuring the soft matter deformation.

Story Ideas from Johns Hopkins Medicine

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Johns Hopkins Medicine Media Relations is focused on disseminating current, accurate and useful information to the public via the media. As part of that effort, we are distributing our “COVID-19 Tip Sheet: Story Ideas from Johns Hopkins” every other Tuesday.

Noninvasive Way to Explore Traumatic Brain Injuries

A noninvasive method to measure the stiffness parameters along fibrous pathways within the brain is helping researchers explore traumatic brain injuries. The stiffness of these tissues can reveal clues about changes and pathologies within the brain’s gray and white matter. During the 179th ASA Meeting, Anthony J. Romano will describe the method known as waveguide elastography. Waveguide elastography merges magnetic resonance elastography and diffusion tensor imaging with a combination of isotropic and anisotropic inversion algorithms.

How neurons form long-term memories

Harvard Medical School neuroscientists have discovered genes that memory neurons use to rewire connections after new experiences. The findings shed light on the biology of long-term memory, with implications for new approaches to intervene when memory deficits occur with age or disease.

How The Brain Remembers Right Place, Right Time

DALLAS – Dec. 8, 2020 – Two studies led by UT Southwestern researchers shed new light on how the brain encodes time and place into memories. The findings, published recently in PNAS and Science, not only add to the body of fundamental research on memory, but could eventually provide the basis for new treatments to combat memory loss from conditions such as traumatic brain injury or Alzheimer’s disease.

Dopamine Surge Reveals How Even for Mice, ‘There’s No Place Like Home’

“There’s no place like home,” has its roots deep in the brain. Using fiber photometry, scientists are the first to show that home evokes a surge of dopamine in mice that mimics the response to a dose of cocaine. The study demonstrates how dopamine rises rapidly in mice moved from a simple recording chamber to their home cage, but less so when they return to a cage not quite like the one they knew.

Cancer treatment without side effects?

Irvine, Calif., Oct. 27, 2020 – Treating cancer without debilitating side effects has long been the holy grail of oncologists, and researchers at the University of California, Irvine and Switzerland’s Lausanne University Hospital may have found it. Charles Limoli, professor of radiation oncology at UCI, and Marie-Catherine Vozenin, associate professor of radiation oncology at the Swiss facility, used an ultra-high dose rate of radiation therapy to eliminate brain tumors in mice, bypassing key side effects usually caused by cranial irradiation.

New dopamine sensors could help unlock the mysteries of brain chemistry

In 2018, Tian Lab at UC Davis Health developed dLight1, a single fluorescent protein-based biosensor. This sensor allows high resolution, real-time imaging of the spatial and temporal release of dopamine in live animals. Now, the team expanded the color spectrum of dLight1 to YdLight1 and RdLight1. The increased light penetration and imaging depth of these variants provide enhanced dopamine signal quality allowing researchers to optically dissect dopamine’s release and model its effects on neural circuits.

Got Fatigue? Study Further Pinpoints Brain Regions That May Control It

Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine using MRI scans and computer modeling say they have further pinpointed areas of the human brain that regulate efforts to deal with fatigue.

The findings, they say, could advance the development of behavioral and other strategies that increase physical performance in healthy people, and also illuminate the neural mechanisms that contribute to fatigue in people with depression, multiple sclerosis and stroke.

Webinar Series on the Gut-Brain Axis and the Microbiome

There is currently much interest in the gastrointestinal microbiota and its modulation as it relates to implications for host health. A notable aspect is the bidirectional communication between the gut microbiota and brain, referred to as the gut-brain-axis. Nutritional interventions have powerful effects on the gut microbiota but another significant and often overlooked factor is the influence of physical activity.