Brain

New potential cause for Alzheimer's: Arginine deprivation

New potential cause for Alzheimer's: Arginine deprivation

Increasingly, evidence supports the idea that the immune system, which protects our bodies from foreign invaders, plays a part in Alzheimer's disease. But the exact role of immunity in the disease is still a mystery.

A new Duke University study in mice suggests that in Alzheimer's disease, certain immune cells that normally protect the brain begin to abnormally consume an important nutrient: arginine. Blocking this process with a small-molecule drug prevented the characteristic brain plaques and memory loss in a mouse model of the disease.

Major vascular anomalies in the brains of people with Huntington's disease

An international study has identified significant vascular changes in the brains of people with Huntington's disease. This breakthrough, the details of which are published in the most recent issue of Annals of Neurology, will have significant implications for our understanding of the disease and could open the door to new therapeutic targets for treating this fatal neurodegenerative condition.

Electronic micropump delivers treatments deep within the brain

Many potentially efficient drugs have been created to treat neurological disorders, but they cannot be used in practice. Typically, for a condition such as epilepsy, it is essential to act at exactly the right time and place in the brain.

Autoimmune process that causes rejection of secondary corneal transplants uncovered

Researchers have identified an important cause of why secondary corneal transplants are rejected at triple the rate of first-time corneal transplants.

The cornea - the most frequently transplanted solid tissue - has a first-time transplantation success rate of about 90 percent. But second corneal transplants undergo a rejection rate three times that of first transplants.

Temporal acoustics: How do we hear time within sound?

How does our auditory system represent time within a sound? A new study investigates how temporal acoustic patterns can be represented by neural activity within auditory cortex, a major hub within the brain for the perception of sound.

Dr. Daniel Bendor, from University College London, describes a novel way that neurons in auditory cortex can encode temporal information, based on how their excitatory and inhibitory inputs get mixed together.

Epilepsy drug phenytoin may preserve eyesight for people with MS

A drug commonly taken to prevent seizures in epilepsy may surprisingly protect the eyesight of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, April 18 to 25, 2015.

Complex cognition shaped the Stone Age hand axe

The ability to make a Lower Paleolithic hand axe depends on complex cognitive control by the prefrontal cortex, including the "central executive" function of working memory, a new study finds.

PLOS ONE published the results, which knock another chip off theories that Stone Age hand axes are simple tools that don't involve higher-order executive function of the brain.

Oxytocin teaches maternal brain to respond to offspring's needs

Neuroscientists at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered how the powerful brain hormone oxytocin acts on individual brain cells to prompt specific social behaviors - findings that could lead to a better understanding of how oxytocin and other hormones could be used to treat behavioral problems resulting from disease or trauma to the brain. The findings are to be published in the journal Nature online April 15.

Depression, diabetes associated with increased dementia risk

Depression and type 2 diabetes mellitus were each associated with an increased risk for dementia and that risk was even greater among individuals diagnosed with both depression and diabetes compared with people who had neither condition, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

Diabetes and major depression are common in Western populations and as many as 20 percent of people with type 2 diabetes mellitus also have depression.

That pain reliever may also be diminishing your joy

Researchers studying the commonly used pain reliever acetaminophen found it has a previously unknown side effect: It blunts positive emotions.

In the study, participants who took acetaminophen reported less strong emotions when they saw both very pleasant and very disturbing photos, when compared to those who took placebos.

Acetaminophen, the main ingredient in the over-the-counter pain reliever Tylenol, has been in use for more than 70 years in the United States, but this is the first time that this side effect has been documented.