Benefactors in the Brain -- MEDICA Trade Fair

Image: man in front of a computer; Copyright: Stephanie Henry

Gut microbes may talk to the brain through cortisol

05/09/2017

Gut microbes have been in the news a lot lately. Recent studies show they can influence human health, behavior, and certain neurological disorders, such as autism. But just how do they communicate with the brain?
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Image: stressed man holding his head; Copyright: panthermedia.net/pressmaster

Chronic stress induces fatal organ dysfunctions via a new neural circuit

04/09/2017

New research reveals the mechanisms behind the effects of chronic stress and tiny inflammations in the brain on fatal gut failure. Hokkaido University researchers revealed that fatal gut failure in a multiple sclerosis (MS) mouse model, EAE, under chronic stress is caused by a newly discovered nerve pathway.
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Image: middle-aged man holding one hand to his forehead with an anxious expression on his face; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Volodymyr Melnyk

Severe stress behind self-perceived memory problems

01/09/2017

Stress, fatigue, and feeling like your memory is failing you. These are the symptoms of a growing group of patients studied as part of a thesis at Sahlgrenska Academy. Result – They may need help, but they are rarely entering the initial stages of dementia.
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Image: a sleeping newborn; Copyright: panthermedia.net/mschlake

The brains of newborns distinguish between caresses

25/08/2017

The ability to distinguish between different kinds of caresses on the skin already exists at a very early age. This is evident from a study by the Sahlgrenska Academy, in which the blood supply in brains of infants 6 to 10 weeks old was investigated.
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Image: people in front of laptops; Copyright: panthermedia.net/danr13

Playing with your brain

16/08/2017

Human-computer interactions, such as playing video games, can have a negative impact on the brain, says a new Canadian study published in Molecular Psychiatry. For over 10 years, scientists have told us that action video game players exhibit better visual attention, motor control abilities and short-term memory. But, could these benefits come at a cost?
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Image: brain and brain cells; Copyright: panthermedia.net/lightwise

A molecule for proper neural wiring in the cerebellum

02/08/2017

A molecule produced by insulating glial cells facilitates the functional wiring of brain cells involved in motor coordination.
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Image: elderly man listening to a woman; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Scott Griessel

Scientists use new data mining strategy to spot those at high Alzheimer's risk

31/07/2017

The push to develop treatments for Alzheimer's disease has been a promising and disappointing endeavor over the past two decades, yielding a greater understanding of the disease yet still failing to generate successful new drugs.
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Image: A older man is riding an exercise bike; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Boris Franz

How physical exercise prevents dementia

24/07/2017

Numerous studies have shown that physical exercise seems beneficial in the prevention of cognitive impairment and dementia in old age. Now researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt have explored in one of the first studies worldwide how exercise affects brain metabolism.
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image: human genes; copyright: panthermedia.net/krishna creations

New gene therapy treatment routes for motor neurone disease uncovered in new study

18/07/2017

Scientists investigating the genetic causes and altered functioning of nerve cells in motor neurone disease (MND) have discovered a new mechanism that could lead to fresh treatment approaches for one of the most common forms of the disease.
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Image: Graphic of how the photodynamic therapy works; Copyright: Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST)

A unique amino acid for brain cancer therapy

03/07/2017

Photodynamic therapy is often used to treat brain tumors because of its specificity - it can target very small regions containing cancerous cells while sparing the normal cells around it from damage. It works by injecting a drug called a photosensitizer into the bloodstream, where it gathers in cells, and then exposing the drug-filled cells to light.
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Image: A hand-prosthesis holding an egg; Copyright: Messe Düsseldorf / Constanze Tillmann

First-of-its-kind study shows how hand amputation, reattachment affect brain

29/06/2017

When a person loses a hand to amputation, nerves that control sensation and movement are severed, causing dramatic changes in areas of the brain that controlled these functions. As a result, those brain-areas take on other functions. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri have found evidence of specific neurochemical changes associated with lower neuronal health in these brain regions.
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Photo: A prosthetic limb; Copyright: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT

Muscle grafts could help amputees sense and control artificial limbs

28/06/2017

A new surgical technique devised by MIT researchers could allow prosthetic limbs to feel much more like natural limbs. Through coordination of the patient’s prosthetic limb, existing nerves, and muscle grafts, amputees would be able to sense where their limbs are in space and to feel how much force is being applied to them.
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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: 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: 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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