Image: Zebrafish brain, fluorescence image (left) and 3D image (right); Copyright: private

"A 3D movie of the brain in action"

08/12/2016

Watching millions of neurons in the brain interacting with each other – for a long time this was possible only to a limited extent. The current techniques can visualize only superficial layers or the imaging they use is too slow. But now, Prof Daniel Razansky and his team have found a new method to visualize the brain activity – by using optoacoustics.
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Image: A man sitting on a bench, with his head down; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Andriy Popov

Sometimes just watching hurts - and the signs of pain are seen in the brain

30/11/2016

Some people claim to experience pain just watching something painful to happen. This is true especially of people suffering from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a disabling chronic pain disorder in a limb. In CPRS patients, both own movements and just observing other persons' movements may aggravate the pain.
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Image: A silhouette of a human head. In the head is a brain shown. A speech bubble points to the open mouth; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Benoit Charton

Stuttering related to brain circuits that control speech production

28/11/2016

Researchers at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) have conducted the first study of its kind, using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to look at brain regions in both adults and children who stutter.
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Image: Man is running alogn the beach at dusk; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Olaf Karwisch

How long projecting neurons couple the movement of our limbs

22/11/2016

We humans walk with our feet. This is true, but not entirely. Walking, as part of locomotion, is a coordinated whole-body movement that involves both the arms and legs. Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel and the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research have identified different subpopulations of neurons in the spinal cord with long projections.
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Image: Eileen Stark prepares Dominik Wetzel for a measurement; Copyright: WHZ/Helge Gerischer

Paraplegia: moving muscles using electrical impulses

22/11/2016

It happens about 1,800 times per year: after a sporting or traffic-related accident, a person’s spinal cord is injured to where nerve tracts are severed and he/she becomes paralyzed. Researchers now want to develop software that measures the brain signals of paralyzed patients and sends out electrical impulses via a system to stimulate muscles, causing them to move again.
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Image: A stretchy optical fiber with yellow, blue and green regions; Copyright: MIT

Stretchy optical fibers for implanting in the body

15/11/2016

Researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School have developed a biocompatible and highly stretchable optical fiber made from hydrogel — an elastic, rubbery material composed mostly of water. The fiber, which is as bendable as a rope of licorice, may one day be implanted in the body to deliver therapeutic pulses of light or light up at the first sign of disease.
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Photo: older couple making smoothie; Copyright: panthermedia.net / Dmitriy Shironosov

Exercise and healthy diets associated with better cognitive functioning

09/11/2016

Findings published this week in the Journal of Public Health reveal that both younger and older Canadian adults who engage in regular physical activity, consume more fruits and vegetables and are normal weight or overweight have overall better cognitive functioning.
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Image: DNA strand on the left, viruses on the right; Copyright: panthermedia.net/cuteimage

Grant for nerve tumour research

31/10/2016

Research investigating how DNA from a virus millions of years old may affect the development of nerve tumours, has been awarded funding.
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Image: Autumn tree on a meadow with leaves in the shape of a head, which back is already leafless; Copyright: panthermedia.net/lightsource

Structure of toxic tau aggregates determines type of dementia

31/10/2016

The distinct structures of toxic protein aggregates that form in degenerating brains determine which type of dementia will occur, which regions of brain will be affected, and how quickly the disease will spread, according to a study from the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute.
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Image: Red sign with the word

"Stroke clearly is a brain disease"

28/10/2016

International experts are concerned about WHO moves in classification process. "The medical rationale for stroke being a disease of the brain is overwhelming." This is the key message of an urgent appeal launched by leading neurology experts in The Lancet.
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Image: Close-up of an eye; Copyright: panthermedia.net /Pirotehnik

Brain diseases manifest in the retina of the eye

05/10/2016

Diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) may manifest as pathological changes in the retina of the eye. Research from the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) shows that retinal changes may be detected earlier than brain changes. Findings from mouse models suggest that eye examination could be used as a noninvasive screening tool for human brain diseases.
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Image: Sleeping girl; Copyright: panthermedia.net / svetamart

Developing brain regions in children hardest hit by sleep deprivation

04/10/2016

A team of researchers from the University of Zurich has studied the effects of acute sleep deprivation in children for the first time. They discovered that the brain in five to 12-year-olds responds differently to sleep deprivation compared to adults.
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Image: A circular diagram; Copyright: Robert Kofler/Vetmeduni Vienna

Software helps to find out why "jumping genes" are activated

19/09/2016

Jumping genes, so-called transposons, reproduce as parasites in the genome. This selfish behavior can be an evolutionary advantage for the organism or harm it. There is still a debate about the factors controlling the activity of transposons.
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Image: Three scientists standing in a row; Copyright: RUB, Kramer

Poison in the brain

16/09/2016

The following factors facilitate the formation of putatively toxic structures in the neuronal nuclei of Alzheimer's patients. Spherical structures in the nucleus of nerve cells, so-called nuclear spheres, are suspected to trigger Alzheimer's disease.
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Image: Black background with some red and blue lights; Copyright: A*STAR’s Genome Institute of Singapore

Scientists develop DNA-altering technology to tackle diseases

14/09/2016

Researchers in Singapore have developed a new protein that can alter DNA in living cells with much higher precision than current methods.
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Image: Closed eyes of a patient. Electrodes are attached above the eyebrows; Copyright: savir-center.com

Electrical Stimulation: Using Electrical Pulses to Combat Blindness

22/07/2016

Millions of people all over the world suffer from partial blindness – caused by glaucoma, a stroke or traumatic brain injury. For years, the loss of vision was deemed irreversible. But now a new treatment makes it possible to improve eyesight and vision.
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Photo: laboratory mouse eating something

Multiple Sclerosis: does the colon affect the immune system?

01/12/2015

Multiple sclerosis apparently can strike anyone - regardless of age, family history, lifestyle or gender. Yet why then does it not strike everyone? Genetic and environmental factors appear not to be the only reason whether it develops or not. The countless microorganisms that colonize our intestinal tract could also be involved in this.
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ECG measurements: "Our chest strap moistens itself"

01/07/2015

When measuring myocardial activity, it is important for the skin to always stay moist under the electrodes of the ECG. Only then can data be consistently transferred. Athletes have an easier time with this: they are used to sweating. This is a lot harder for older patients.
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Graphic: human sacrum

"Neuromonitoring during lesser pelvis surgery is still uncharted territory"

08/05/2015

The bowel is surrounded by a dense plexus of nervous tissue that presents problems for surgeons. On the one hand, it is difficult to distinguish from the surrounding tissue; while on the other hand, sometimes portions of it need to be removed when parts of the colon are removed. Yet injuring these nerves can result in permanent damage.
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Making Your Own End-of-Life Decisions: “All options of palliative care, pain management and continued life need to have been explained to the patient“

01/12/2014

How does a physician handle a patient, who wants to die and what rights do I actually have as a patient? Legal practitioners do not automatically answer these and other questions. We talked about this subject with MD-PhD Ralf Jox from the Institute of Ethics, History and Theory of Medicine at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Germany.
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Persistent vegetative state: brain stimulation with laser beams

01/09/2014

The public only notices diseases when celebrities become patients: in the spring of 2014, Formula One driver Michael Schumacher fell into a coma for several months as the result of a head injury caused by a skiing accident. These types of accidents show how delicate the brain responds to injuries. Brain stimulation could possibly support the rehabilitation of vegetative patients.
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Diagnosing Parkinson's: the skin is revealing

01/07/2014

In patients with Parkinson's, neural cells in the brain die off that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. Certain physical symptoms that can indicate the disease follow years later. But a reliable diagnosis can only be made through examination of the brain after the patient's death, and not during his lifetime.
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