Brain

Brain cancer: Modules that Regulate Glioblastoma Genes

Brain cancer: Modules that Regulate Glioblastoma Genes

Researchers have shown for the first time a pyramid hierarchical network of “coherent gene modules” that regulate glioblastoma genes, involved in a highly aggressive form of brain cancer.

By identifying the most important gene modules responsible for cancer growth and proliferation, the study informs a strategy that could elucidate these modules at the top levels of their network, and in turn be used to identify new drug therapies.

Evolving a bigger brain with human DNA

Evolving a bigger brain with human DNA

The size of the human brain expanded dramatically during the course of evolution, imparting us with unique capabilities to use abstract language and do complex math. But how did the human brain get larger than that of our closest living relative, the chimpanzee, if almost all of our genes are the same?

Brain protein with high affinity for Valium

Brain protein with high affinity for Valium

Valium, one of the best known antianxiety drugs, produces its calming effects by binding with a particular protein in the brain. But the drug has an almost equally strong affinity for a completely different protein. Understanding this secondary interaction might offer clues about Valium's side effects and point the way to more effective drugs.

How brain waves guide memory formation

Our brains generate a constant hum of activity: As neurons fire, they produce brain waves that oscillate at different frequencies. Long thought to be merely a byproduct of neuron activity, recent studies suggest that these waves may play a critical role in communication between different parts of the brain.

Newborn neurons in the adult brain may help us adapt

The discovery that the human brain continues to produce new neurons in adulthood challenged a major dogma in the field of neuroscience, but the role of these neurons in behavior and cognition is still not clear. In a review article published by Cell Press February 21st in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Maya Opendak and Elizabeth Gould of Princeton University synthesize the vast literature on this topic, reviewing environmental factors that influence the birth of new neurons in the adult hippocampus, a region of the brain that plays an important role in memory and learning.

More structure in your life? Deconstructing mental illness through ultradian rhythms

Might living a structured life with regularly established meal times and early bedtimes lead to a better life and perhaps even prevent the onset of mental illness?

That's what's suggested in a study led by Kai-Florian Storch, PhD, of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and McGill University, titled "A highly tunable dopaminergic oscillator generates ultradian rhythms of behavioral arousal," and published in eLife.

Complex environments push 'brain' evolution

Little animations trying to master a computer game are teaching neuroscience researchers how the brain evolves when faced with difficult tasks.

Neuroscientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University have programmed animated critters that they call "animats." The critters have a rudimentary neural system made of eight nodes: two sensors, two motors, and four internal computers that coordinate sensation, movement and memory.

How our brains process complex spatial information

Northwestern University's David H. Uttal discussed a program that has enhanced students' learning at a variety of levels, from basic spatial reasoning to solving complex problems involving the coordination of numerous variables, such as those involved in climate change.

The program is a partnership between a cognitive scientist and an environmental scientist that facilitates high school students' reasoning about complex real-world scientific and engineering problems through the use of computer-based layered maps.

Mindfulness meditation may improve sleep quality

Mindfulness meditation practices resulted in improved sleep quality for older adults with moderate sleep disturbance in a clinical trial comparing meditation to a more structured program focusing on changing poor sleep habits and establishing a bedtime routine, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Opioid doses associated with increase in depression

Patients who increased doses of opioid medicines to manage chronic pain were more likely to experience an increase in depression, according a new paper in Pain which expands findings in a previous study of Veterans Administration (VA) patients.