This Week on NeuroScientistNews: 16-20 November
News Nov 21, 2015
Repairing neurons with light; brain structure linked to hallucinations; nanoparticles to image brain function, and more.
The nervous system is built to last a lifetime, but diverse diseases or environmental insults can overpower the capacity of neurons to maintain function or to repair after trauma. A team led by Dr. Hernán López-Schier, head of the Research Unit Sensory Biology and Organogenesis at Helmholtz Zentrum München, has now succeeded in promoting the repair of an injured neural circuit in zebrafish.
People diagnosed with schizophrenia who are prone to hallucinations are likely to have structural differences in a key region of the brain compared to both healthy individuals and people diagnosed with schizophrenia who do not hallucinate, according to new research.
A Korean research team jointly led by Professor Chan Beum Park of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Dr. Kwon Yu from the Bionano Center at the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology conducted research to suppress an abnormal assembly of beta-amyloids, a protein commonly found in the brain, by using photo-excited porphyrins.
Brain scans of people in a coma may help predict who will regain consciousness, according to a study published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study looked at connections between areas of the brain that play a role in regulating consciousness.
Research biologists, chemists, and theoreticians at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory are on pace to develop the next generation of functional materials that could enable the mapping of the complex neural connections in the brain. The ultimate goal is to better understand how the billions of neurons in the brain communicate with one another during normal brain function or dysfunction as result of injury or disease.
Scientists at Scripps Research have found that they can reverse the desire to drink in alcohol-dependent rats—with the flip of a switch. The researchers were able to use lasers to temporarily inactivate a specific neuronal population, reversing alcohol-seeking behavior and even reducing the physical symptoms of withdrawal.