This Week on NeuroScientistNews: 24 August – 28 August
News Aug 28, 2015
Genetic components of gambling; antidepressants and neuropathetic pain; screen time and sleep, and more.
Gambling can have large negative consequences on the social, personal and financial lives of people. Disordered gambling is a term used to describe people with clinically diagnosed gambling addiction and those with gambling tendencies which trend towards—but don’t yet meet—the clinical threshold for diagnosis. Diagnoses of disordered gambling are on the rise, increasing the need for scientists to develop validated animal gambling models for use in identifying root genetic components underlying this behavioral addiction.
Commonly used antidepressant drugs change levels of a key signaling protein in the brain region that processes both pain and mood, according to a study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The newly understood mechanism could yield insights into more precise future treatments for nerve pain and depression.
Colorful and expressive, the eyes are central to the way people interact with each other, as well as take in their surroundings. That makes amblyopia — more commonly known as "lazy eye" — all the more obvious, but the physical manifestation of the most common cause of vision problems among children the world over is actually a brain disorder.
A new study has an important implication for tweens and young teens as they head back to school: Taking a gadget to bed could really hurt their sleep. Enough light exposure at night can keep anyone from falling asleep as quickly as they otherwise would have. But the new research, published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, finds that the sleep biology of boys and girls aged 9 to 15 who were in the earlier stages of puberty were especially sensitive to light at night compared to older teens. In lab experiments, an hour of nighttime light exposure suppressed their production of the sleep-timing hormone melatonin significantly more than the same light exposure did for teens aged 11 to 16 who were farther into puberty.
Bedwetting, or nocturnal enuresis, causes distress in children and young adults, as well as for their parents or caregivers. The causes are not fully understood and there may be both physiological and psychological components to the condition. In a new study published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, researchers report that repetitive sacral root magnetic stimulation (rSMS) can reduce the frequency of nighttime bedwetting and improve quality-of-life for sufferers.
Age-related declines in abstract reasoning ability predict increasing depressive symptoms in subsequent years, according to data from a longitudinal study of older adults in Scotland. The research is published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.