Protein May Offer Insights into Regenerating Brain Function After Injury

By Kayt Sukel

A single gene in the fruit fly does double duty, spurring neuron connections at larval stage and then again into mature fly. This gene is in humans, as well, but we don’t see a similar effect. Might we learn to reignite this gene’s regrowth properties to help injured people?



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Q&A with Jane Nevins, Author of You’ve Got Some Explaining to Do

Dana Press editor-in-chief emerita Jane Nevins explains the differences between writing for the lay public versus scientist peers, how identifying the reader helps plot one’s narrative course, and why her new book, "You've Got Some Explaining to Do," extends to writers beyond those in the neuroscience community.



Alzheimer’s Early-Warning Biomarkers: Are We There Yet?

by Jim Schnabel

A recent finding of an Alzheimer’s early-warning “biomarker” needs replication, but researchers expect to have reliable ones before too long.



Gene-Environment Interactions in Parkinson’s Disease

By Paul Barrett, PhD, and J. Timothy Greenamyre, MD, PhD

Impairment of mitochondrial function may represent a critical choke point in the cascade of events that lead to PD. When people with a genetic predisposition toward imperfect mitochondria are exposed to certain toxins—whether natural or man-made— bad things may ensue, and this may result in PD. One of our series of Reports on Progress.



Brain Evolution: Neurogenomics Targets the Genes That Make Us Human

by Carl Sherman

Beyond basic science, researchers believe that identifying genes and gene expression patterns unique to humans may illuminate how higher cognitive processes go wrong—and suggest treatments for disorders like autism and schizophrenia.



Are Face-Blindness and Synesthesia Linked to Autism Spectrum Disorders?

by Lauren Arcuri Ware

Both perceptual conditions occur at higher rates in people with autism. Teasing out why could help explain how all our brains process such information.



Older, Slower—But Wiser?

by Jim Schnabel

Two new studies reinterpret classic signs of cognitive decline.



The Solitary Brain

by Moheb Costandi

While the use of solitary confinement in US prisons has grown in recent decades, so has research showing its lasting harmful effects.



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BAW Partner Interview: Kelley Remole

from the Dana blog

Kelley Remole, director of neuroscience outreach at Columbia University and co-president of the Greater NYC Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, describes the inaugural year of BraiNY and reminds us, "you don’t know what you’re capable of until you try." science—from labs to public plazas and parks.



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BAW Partner Interview: Norberto Garcia-Cairasco

from the Dana blog

Norberto Garcia-Cairasco, director of Neurophysiology and Experimental Neuroethology Laboratory (LNNE) at Ribeirão Preto School of Medicine at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, describes the power of networks in spreading the word on brain science—from labs to public plazas and parks.



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BAW Partner Interview: Michael Friedlander

from the Dana blog

Michael Friedlander, Ph.D., the mastermind behind Brain School, a public lecture series in which VTCRI's faculty members offered an owner’s manual on the brain, talks about how to target audiences and run great events. Their other events last year included "Mythbusters: the truth about your brain" for kids and "Food for Thought: chefs celebrate Brain Awareness Week" for foodies.



Get to Know Your BRAIN

By Guy McKhann, MD

The federal BRAIN Initiative is a worthwhile endeavor, but there are reasons to be skeptical of its potential impact, says Guy McKhann, professor of neurology and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University. Our monthly column from Brain in the News



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Cerebrum Book Review: The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

by Temple Grandin, Ph.D.

Grandin relates her own experience living with and studying autism to better understand the mind of a the 13-year-old Japanese boy with severe autism who wrote this book.



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The Discovery and Potential of Nerve Growth Factor

By Carl Sherman

At a recent memorial symposium for Italian neurologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, colleagues recounted her discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF) and explained its significance to potential treatments for Alzheimer's disease and brain tumors.



Wiring the Brain

By Carl Sherman

At a recent Mind Brain Behavior Institute lecture at Columbia University, neuroscientist Franck Polleux addressed the question, “What makes us human?”



Poverty and Cognition: How the Poor Get Poorer

By Jim Schnabel

Scientists trace more routes by which low socioeconomic status impairs cognitive ability.



Study Suggests Autism-Prevention Strategy

By Jim Schnabel

A single day of drug treatment before birth reportedly prevents an autism-like condition in two different rodent models



Brain Bee 2014 winner Hetince Zhao

NYC Regional Brain Bee 2014

By Andrew Kahn

Hetince Zhao’s New York City Regional Brain Bee victory was one year in the making. The senior from Townsend Harris High School in Flushing (Queens) now will go to the University of Maryland for the National Brain Bee in March.



Neuroessentialism: The ‘Dark Side’ of Focus on Brain Plasticity?

By Dirk Hanson

Have we tipped too far in considering addiction a disease of only the brain, with no reference to the outside world? Some addiction researchers say yes.



Destroying the Brain through Immunity

By David Lynch, M.D., Ph.D., and Jessica Panzer, M.D., Ph.D.

In recent years there has been a revolution in neuroimmunology, and a new class of nervous system disorders has been discovered. Termed “synaptic encephalitidies,” these disorders are defined by antibodies that target specific proteins located at synapses, the sites where neurons transmit signals to each other. One of our series of Reports on Progress.



Visualizing Art

By Carl Sherman

Researchers tap into the brain’s intricate circuitry as it draws and judges its work.



Amyloid Imaging and Beyond

By Jim Schnabel

Researchers are developing a host of new PET-scan tracers for proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases. 



Can A Purpose-Driven Life Help Protect the Aging Brain?

Jim Schnabel

New research suggests that ‘eudaimonic well-being’ might dampen harmful inflammation and delay Alzheimer’s.



Big Data on Healthy Brain Aging

Moheb Costandi

To tease out what distinguishes the aging brain from the diseased brain, researchers are collecting reams of data, from types of neurons in the brain to changes in people’s behavior.



Beyond Sentencing: How Neuroscience Has Already Changed the Legal System

Kayt Sukel

Defendants are “blaming the brain” not only to mitigate sentences after conviction, but in their defense, of crimes from homicide to fraud. At the recent Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, Nita Farahany described the types of cases where neuro-evidence is already being used.



Music Offers a Boost to Education in Low-SES Environments

Kayt Sukel

High-schoolers who had only two years of music training got faster and did better at understanding speech in noise than peers who took a ROTC course instead. These skills are important for reading as well as understanding spoken language.



Past Music Training May Help Compensate for Some Age-Related Declines

Kayt Sukel

People who studied music as children—and stopped when they were children—performed better at some hearing tasks decades later than those who never studied music.



Breeding Schizophrenia in the Lab

Tom Valeo

Researchers have altered genes in mice to produce animals that show signs of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Can they do the same with the oh-so-human symptoms of schizophrenia?



Seeking Biomarkers for Parkinson’s

Carl Sherman

Two major initiatives aim to find anatomical or physiological changes that could lead to earlier detection and potential treatment.



Our Sixth Sense – and Seventh and Eighth…

Jim Schnabel

Neuroscience has been revealing a multitude of interconnected sensory pathways. 



Speaking in Tongues: Glossolalia and Stress Reduction

By Dirk Hanson

Recent neurobiological research has shown that glossolalia may be a more directed activity than previously believed, and may play a direct role in defusing stress reactions.



Being Mindful about Novel Brain Research

By Kayt Sukel

We’ve heard a lot lately about brain-to-machine communication, and now there are first steps toward brain-to-brain communication. How do we prevent news of incremental discoveries from transporting our imaginations way too far?



Tweaking Genes to Target a Form of Alzheimer’s

By Tom Valeo

Researchers develop genetic “structure corrector” that unfolds misfolded protein apoE4 in mice into shape of its helpful sibling, apoE3. If it works in people, that protein change might improve healing for a range of brain injuries. 



A New Way to Fight Neurodegenerative Diseases?

Jim Schnabel

A cell-protecting response that stays active for too long appears to be a significant cause of brain-cell death in mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases—and scientists now want to develop drugs to reverse the process.



Fine-Tuning Deep Brian Stimulation

Tom Valeo

Interest is high in using DBS to treat a variety of psychiatric diseases, but the surgical technique is young and clunky. Grants from the military and other initiatives will help researchers better pinpoint target areas to help more patients. 



Jumping Genes in Brain Evolution, Health and Disease

Moheb Costandi

The number and frequency of cut-and-paste errors in DNA is higher in the brains of people with dementia and some mental disorders, but it’s not yet clear if that is a cause, effect, or neither.



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Patricia Churchland: Making Waves

Tom Valeo

The philosopher-scientist has punctured quite a few of the sacred tenets of her fields. Churchland will be among the presenters at the International Neuroethics Society’s annual meeting, in San Diego on Nov. 7.



What is ‘Healthy’ Cognitive Aging?

By Jim Schnabel

Even without a disease such as Alzheimer’s, the aging brain does show signs of wear. Researchers look to the molecular level to see if they can slow the ‘normal’ progress.



The Effects of Early Life Adversity on Brain and Behavioral Development

Charles Darwin

Our genes supply the basic blueprint for brain development, but experience adjusts the underly­ing brain ...