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Image: Close-up of a hand on the wheel of a wheelchair; Copyright:

Canadian researchers open a new front in the fight against MS


A discovery led by scientists at the University of Alberta and McGill University is providing hope of a new therapeutic target in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients, which could one day be used to prevent the symptoms and progression of the disease.
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Image: two asian women; Copyright: Cindy Brauer

TSRI scientists zero in on treatment for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease


About 1 in 2,500 people have a degenerative nerve disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT). The disease is typically diagnosed in children, who can lose their ability to walk and use their hands for fine motor skills. There is no cure – yet.
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Radiology: machine learning to support medical diagnostics


Automation makes work life easier in many ways but is it also a solution for analyzing medical images? Is a computer actually reliable enough to assist in the medical decision making process? Researchers in Landshut examine how machine learning algorithms can work more reliably and support radiologists.
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Image: elderly man whose eye is examined via microscope; Copyright: Ola Nilsson

Nerve damage in type 2 diabetes can be detected in the eye


By examining the cornea of ​​the eye with a special microscope it may be possible within ten minutes to diagnose if a person with type 2 diabetes has nerve damage. This according to a study among diabetics in Skellefteå, north Sweden.
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Brain ageing may begin earlier than expected


Physicists have devised a new method of investigating brain function, opening a new frontier in the diagnoses of neurodegenerative and ageing related diseases.
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Depression linked to reduced arginine levels


People suffering from major depressive disorder, MDD, have reduced arginine levels, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows. Arginine is an amino acid which the body uses to produce, e.g., nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, in turn, is a nervous system and immune defence mediator, and it also plays a role in vascular regulation.
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Image: film cover right, illustrations of the brain left; Copyright: Iiro Jääskeläinen

Film Memento helped uncover how the brain remembers and interprets events from clues


Key repeating moments in the film give viewers the information they need to understand the storyline. The scenes cause identical reactions in the viewer's brain. The results deepen our understanding of how the brain functions, how narratives work in film, and memory mechanisms impaired by conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.
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Image: syringe filled with drugs on a table and depressed woman in the background; Copyright:

Heroin vaccine blocks lethal overdose


Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have achieved a major milestone toward designing a safe and effective vaccine to both treat heroin addiction and block lethal overdose of the drug. Their research, published today in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, shows how a new anti-heroin formulation that is safe in animal models remains stable at room temperature for at least 30 days.
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Image: an emotional state mainly activates wide, overlapping neural networks; Copyright: Heini Saarimäki

Love and fear are visible across the brain instead of being restricted to any brain region


The brain mechanisms of basic emotions such as anger and happiness are fairly similar across people. Differences are greater in social emotions, such as gratitude and contempt.
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Image: colours on a black background - cells under the microscope; Copyright: UZH

Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time


Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
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Image: Composition of two mouse brain sections: left the brain of a healthy, juvenile mouse, right the equivalent without Vps15. Scientists linked this gene to defects in brain develop; Copyright: IMP

Neurological disease in mice and humans linked to an unlikely gene


Screening for mutations influencing the migration of nerve cells in mice, scientists found a gene that plays a role in the transport of proteins within nerve cells. If less of the protein is present in the developing mouse, the scientists found that its brain showed severe defects.
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Image: hnRNPA2 protein forms liquid droplets in a test tube as seen by light microscopy; Copyright: Veronica Ryan/Brown University

Research reveals atomic-level changes in ALS-linked protein


For the first time, researchers have described atom-by-atom changes in a family of proteins linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a group of brain disorders known as frontotemporal dementia and degenerative diseases of muscle and bone. Their findings appear in the journal "Molecular Cell".
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Image: transparent human head with a tumor, marked in orange, in the brain; Copyright: University of Michigan

DIPG tumor patterns offer new insight on survival


An analysis of several hundred DIPG and related tumors, including Chad Carr's, finds an overlooked key factor in determining prognosis for the aggressive childhood brain cancer.
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Image: a team of scientists posing on a staircase; Copyright: University of Granada

Researchers identify new melatonin-based molecular targets for the design of new drugs against Parkinson's


A team of scientists led by Darío Acuña-Castroviejo, professor at the University of Granada (UGR), has published the results of a new breakthrough in molecular mechanisms of the anti-parkinsonian activity of melatonin.
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Aversion to holes driven by disgust, not fear, study finds


Psychologists reveal neural underpinnings of trypophobia.
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Overweight children more likely to underestimate their size


Estimating your own body size and weight can be difficult. It turns out that this is true not only for adults, but also for children.
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Image: illustration of the neural encoding process; Copyright: IST Austria/Birgit Rieger

Unifying the theories of neural information encoding


Scientists at IST Austria and in Paris develop framework connecting and extending previous theories on how neurons in our sensory systems select and transmit information.
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Image: Illustration of the detection system in action; Copyright: Joshua Edel/Imperial College London

Early disease diagnosis could be dramatically improved with new detection system


By attaching specialised molecules to the backbone of DNA, researchers have made it easier to detect rare molecules associated with early disease.
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Noise sens­it­iv­ity vis­ible in brain struc­tures


A new study suggests that noise sensitivity can be seen in the grey matter volume of brain structures linked to emotional and interoceptive processing.
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Image: Zebrafish brain, fluorescence image (left) and 3D image (right); Copyright: private

"A 3D movie of the brain in action"


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: Eileen Stark prepares Dominik Wetzel for a measurement; Copyright: WHZ/Helge Gerischer

Paraplegia: moving muscles using electrical impulses


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: Closed eyes of a patient. Electrodes are attached above the eyebrows; Copyright:

Electrical Stimulation: Using Electrical Pulses to Combat Blindness


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?


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"


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"


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“


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


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


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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