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.

More DNA and extra copies of disease gene in Alzheimer's brain cells

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found diverse genomic changes in single neurons from the brains of Alzheimer's patients, pointing to an unexpected factor that may underpin the most common form of the disease.

A new study, published February 4, 2015 in the online journal eLife, shows that Alzheimer's brains commonly have many neurons with significantly more DNA and genomic copies of the Alzheimer's-linked gene, APP, than normal brains.

Learning with all the senses

"Atesi" - what sounds like a word from the Elven language of Lord of the Rings is actually a Vimmish word meaning "thought". Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig have used Vimmish, an artificial language specifically developed for scientific research, to study how people can best memorise foreign-language terms. According to the researchers, it is easier to learn vocabulary if the brain can link a given word with different sensory perceptions.

Can pheromones get you a date for Valentine's Day?

Is there such a thing as love at first smell? There are hundreds of spray-on pheromone products that claim to put you on the fast track to romance. While pheromones are a prevalent form of chemical communication across the animal kingdom, can they really help humans land a mate?

Reactions has the answers in this week's episode.

Optic nerve may help predict stroke patient death risk

Using optic ultrasound to measure the sheath of a nerve that connects the eye and brain can help identify acute stroke patients most at risk of dying within days or months, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2015.

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.