Brain

Problems finding your way around may be earliest sign of Alzheimer's disease

Problems finding your way around may be earliest sign of Alzheimer's disease

Long before Alzheimer's disease can be diagnosed clinically, increasing difficulties building cognitive maps of new surroundings may herald the eventual clinical onset of the disorder, finds new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

"These findings suggest that navigational tasks designed to assess a cognitive mapping strategy could represent a powerful new tool for detecting the very earliest Alzheimer's disease-related changes in cognition," said senior author Denise Head, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences in Arts & Sciences.

UF Health researchers develop unique model for studying ALS

UF Health researchers develop unique model for studying ALS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- University of Florida Health researchers have developed a unique mouse model that will allow researchers around the world to better study the genetic origins and potential treatments for a neurodegenerative brain disease that causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often referred to as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, and frontotemporal dementia.

Asleep somewhere new, one brain hemisphere keeps watch

Asleep somewhere new, one brain hemisphere keeps watch

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] -- People who go to bed wary of potential danger sometimes pledge to sleep "with one eye open." A new Brown University study finds that isn't too far off. On the first night in a new place, the research suggests, one brain hemisphere remains more awake than the other during deep sleep, apparently in a state of readiness for trouble.

How a macaque's brain knows it's swinging

How a macaque's brain knows it's swinging

Any organism with a brain needs to make decisions about how it's going to navigate through three-dimensional spaces. That's why animals have evolved sensory organs in the ears to detect if they're rotating or moving in a straight line. But how does an animal perceive curved motion, as in turning a corner? One explanation, published April 21 in Cell Reports, from researchers looking at macaques, is that curved motion is detected when sensory neurons in the brain receiving converging information about linear and rotational movement are activated.

Farming amoebae carry around detoxifying food

Farming amoebae carry around detoxifying food

Humans aren't the only farmers out there. Five years ago, the Queller-Strassmann lab at Rice University, now at Washington University in St. Louis, demonstrated that the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum -- affectionately nicknamed "Dicty" -- can maintain a crop of food bacteria from generation to generation, giving these farmers an advantage when food is scarce.

This is why you feel groggy after sleeping in a new place

When people sleep in an unfamiliar place for the first time--a hotel room, for example--they often feel as though they haven't slept as well. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 21 have discovered the reason why: under those conditions, one hemisphere of the brain stays more awake to keep watch.

Powerful genetic regulator identified as risk factor for schizophrenia

By turning skin cells into brain neurons, researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have identified that certain tiny molecules aiding in gene expression, known as microRNAs (miRNAs), are under-expressed in the brains of the 14 schizophrenia patients they studied. Their findings, published online today in the journal Cell Reports, show that one of these molecules, a miRNA known as miR-9, is a risk factor that controls the activity of hundreds of genes.

Regenstrief, IU study finds machine learning as good as humans' in cancer surveillance

INDIANAPOLIS -- Machine learning has come of age in public health reporting according to researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. They have found that existing algorithms and open source machine learning tools were as good as, or better than, human reviewers in detecting cancer cases using data from free-text pathology reports. The computerized approach was also faster and less resource intensive in comparison to human counterparts.

Need to remember something? Better draw it, study finds

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have found that drawing pictures of information that needs to be remembered is a strong and reliable strategy to enhance memory.

"We pitted drawing against a number of other known encoding strategies, but drawing always came out on top," said the study's lead author, Jeffrey Wammes, PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology. "We believe that the benefit arises because drawing helps to create a more cohesive memory trace that better integrates visual, motor and semantic information."

Review assesses published research on brain changes associated with autism

A recent review that examined all published studies on anatomical abnormalities in the brains of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder found substantial discrepancy throughout the literature regarding the reported presence and significance of neuroanatomical findings.

An ideal study would include hundreds of well-characterized individuals of both sexes, with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder, who would undergo brain imaging at birth and be followed at least until late childhood or late adolescence