This Week on NeuroScientistNews: 30 November-4 December
News Dec 04, 2015
Gene therapy advances for epilepsy; cannabis makes a ‘noisy’ brain; asthma-migraine connection, and more.
By delivering genes for a certain signal substance and its receptor into the brain of test animals with chronic epilepsy, a research group at Lund University in Sweden with colleagues at University of Copenhagen Denmark has succeeded in considerably reducing the number of epileptic seizures among the animals. The test has been designed to as far as possible mimic a future situation involving treatment of human patients.
In the first study of its kind, researchers have shown that inadequate maternal iron intake during pregnancy exerts subtle effects on infant brain development. The findings have been published in the journal Pediatric Research. The research indicates the potential significance for the child of even modest changes in maternal dietary health.
Several studies have demonstrated that the primary active constituent of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (?9-THC), induces transient psychosis-like effects in healthy subjects similar to those observed in schizophrenia. However, the mechanisms underlying these effects are not clear. A new study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, reports that ?9-THC increases random neural activity, termed neural noise, in the brains of healthy human subjects. The findings suggest that increased neural noise may play a role in the psychosis-like effects of cannabis.
Pre-existing asthma may be a strong predictor of future chronic migraine attacks in individuals experiencing occasional migraine headaches, according to researchers from the University of Cincinnati, Montefiore Headache Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Vedanta Research.
Some athletes who experience sports-related concussions have reduced blood flow in parts of their brains even after clinical recovery, according to a study presented November 30 at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. The results suggest a role for MRI in determining when to allow concussed athletes to return to competition.
Neurons in the human brain receive electrical signals from thousands of other cells, and long neural extensions called dendrites play a critical role in incorporating all of that information. Using hard-to-obtain samples of human brain tissue, MIT neuroscientists have now discovered that human dendrites have different electrical properties from those of other species.