Brain

Smoking thins vital part of brain

Smoking thins vital part of brain

Years ago, children were warned that smoking could stunt their growth, but now a major study by an international team including the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University and the University of Edinburgh shows new evidence that long-term smoking could cause thinning of the brain's cortex.

The cortex is the outer layer of the brain in which critical cognitive functions such as memory, language and perception take place. Interestingly, the findings also suggest that stopping smoking helps to restore at least part of the cortex's thickness.

Faults in same protein? What autism can teach us about brain cancer

Faults in same protein? What autism can teach us about brain cancer

Applying lessons learned from autism to brain cancer, researchers at The Johns Hopkins University have discovered why elevated levels of the protein NHE9 add to the lethality of the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer, glioblastoma. Their discovery suggests that drugs designed to target NHE9 could help to successfully fight the deadly disease.

How the brain ignores distractions

How the brain ignores distractions

When we concentrate on something, we also engage in the unsung, parallel act of purposefully ignoring other things. A new study describes how the brain may achieve such "optimal inattention." With this knowledge, scientists at Brown University hope they can harness our power to ignore -- for instance, to reduce pain.

"This is about the mechanisms the brain is using to block out distracting things in the environment," said Stephanie Jones, assistant professor (research) of neuroscience at Brown and corresponding author of the study.

Ignore the hand, attend the foot

The brain area involved in eye movements, heading is...

An area of the brain involved in eye movements also plays an important role in establishing our direction and navigating our environment, a Dartmouth College study finds.

The study appears in The Journal of Neuroscience. A PDF is available on request.

Far out: Psychedelic drug prevents asthma development in mice

A psychedelic drug, (R)-DOI, prevents the development of allergic asthma in a mouse model. The effects are potent and effective at a concentration 50-100 times less than would influence behavior.

Serotonin-deficient brains more vulnerable to social stress

Mice genetically deficient in serotonin -- a crucial brain chemical implicated in clinical depression -- are more vulnerable than their normal littermates to social stressors, according to a Duke study appearing this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Following exposure to stress, the serotonin-deficient mice also did not respond to a standard antidepressant, fluoxetine (Prozac), which works by boosting serotonin transmission between neighboring neurons.

Energy drinks significantly increase hyperactivity in schoolchildren

Middle-school children who consume heavily sweetened energy drinks are 66% more likely to be at risk for hyperactivity and inattention symptoms, a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health has found.

The finding has implications for school success and lends support to existing recommendations to limit the amount of sweetened beverages schoolchildren drink. The authors also recommend that children avoid energy drinks, which in addition to high levels of sugar also often contain caffeine. The study is published in the journal Academic Pediatrics.

Youth hockey brain imaging study suggests early marker for concussion damage

James Hudziak, M.D., a pediatric neuropsychiatrist and director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families at the University of Vermont (UVM) College of Medicine, and UVM colleagues Matthew Albaugh, Ph.D., Catherine Orr, Ph.D., and Richard Watts, Ph.D., have published a study in the February issue of The Journal of Pediatrics that shows a relationship between concussions sustained by young ice hockey players and subtle changes in the cortex, the outer layer of the brain that controls higher-level reasoning and behavior.

Notch cell signaling pathway goes awry in common pediatric brain tumor

A new study links a well-known cell communication pathway called Notch to one of the most common -- but overall still rare -- brain tumors found in children.

Resveratrol may help prevent memory loss

Resveratrol found in common foods such as red grapes and peanuts may help prevent age-related decline in memory, according to a new paper.