Brain scans reveal hidden damage from combat veteran IED blasts

Brain scans reveal hidden damage from combat veteran IED blasts

The brains of some Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans who survived blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and died later of other causes show a distinctive honeycomb pattern of broken and swollen nerve fibers throughout critical brain regions, including those that control executive function. The pattern is different from brain damage caused by car crashes, drug overdoses or collision sports, and may be the never-before-reported signature of blast injuries suffered by soldiers as far back as World War I.

VR brain training game can detect mild cognitive impairment

VR brain training game can detect mild cognitive impairment

A recent study demonstrated the potential of a virtual reality cognitive training game as a screening tool for patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) among a sample of older adults. MCI is a condition that often predates Alzheimer's disease (AD) and is characterized by memory loss and inability to execute complex activities such as financial planning.

Restoring vision to the blind

Restoring vision to the blind

Scientists have long known that species such as amphibians and fish can regenerate retinal cells — so why can’t mammals? The third report from the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation and the International Retinal Research Foundation’s 10-year collaboration, recently published in Translational Vision Science & Technology (TVST), addresses this and other questions.

Folic acid saves 1,300 babies each year from brain and spine birth defects

Fortifying grain foods with the B vitamin folic acid has saved about 1,300 babies every year from being born with serious birth defects of the brain and spine known as neural tube defects (NTDs), according to new data published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).The number of babies born in the United States with these conditions has declined by 35 percent since 1998.

Alzheimer's foreshadowing: Depression, behavior changes even before memory

Depression and other behavior changes may show up in people who will later develop Alzheimer's disease even before they start having memory problems, according to a new study published in the January 14, 2015, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

We conform to the norm -- even if the norm is a computer

Often enough it is human nature to conform. This tendency makes us follow the lead of computers, even if the machines give us the wrong advice. This is the finding of a study in Springer's journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review that investigates how people make judgment calls after playing role-playing video games. The research was led by Ulrich Weger of the University of Witten/Herdecke in Germany.

Dopamine discovery brings cocaine addiction antidote a bit closer

Researchers studying the mechanism behind a protein dopamine transporter say their work could help in the development of future medical treatment against cocaine addiction. According to the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, cocaine is the second most commonly used illegal drug in Europe, after cannabis.

Did viruses help us evolve to be smarter?

A new study indicates that inherited viruses that are millions of years old play an important role in building up the complex networks that characterize the human brain.

Researchers have long been aware that endogenous retroviruses constitute around five percent of our DNA. For many years, it was unclear if they had a role - the colloquial term junk DNA was attached to them because they might have been a side-effect of our evolutionary journey.

Help a senior with balance - send them out to play catch

The simple training exercise of catching a weighted medicine ball can improve balance and may help prevent falls in the elderly - and if you have a grandkid that wants to go out in the yard and toss a baseball, it will be good for both of them in many ways.

When someone is jostled by a bump or a stumble, the brain uses two strategies to maintain balance and prevent a fall, says Alexander Aruin, professor of physical therapy at University of Illinois at Chicago and principal investigator on the two studies.

Study suggests worsening trends in headache management

Each year more than 12 million Americans visit their doctors complaining of headaches, which results in estimates of lost productivity and costs of upwards of $31 billion annually. A new study suggests some of that cost could be offset by physicians ordering fewer tests and an increased focus on counseling about lifestyle changes.