Brain

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.

Mosaic: Subtle brain mutations tracked systematically

Mosaic: Subtle brain mutations tracked systematically

DNA sequences were once thought to be identical from cell to cell but it's increasingly understood that mutations can arise during brain development that affect only certain groups of brain cells.

A technique developed at Boston Children's Hospital allows these subtle mutation patterns to be traced and mapped spatially for the first time. This capability is a significant advance for genetics research and provides a new way to study both the normal brain and brain disorders such as epilepsy and autism.

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.

Insulin nasal spray shows promise as treatment for adults with Alzheimer's

A man-made form of insulin delivered by nasal spray may improve working memory and other mental capabilities in adults with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease dementia, according to a pilot study led by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

How risky is youth rugby?

With the cultural spotlight shining so brightly on the risks of gridiron football, it was only a matter of time before the unknown risks of youth rugby got some scrutiny, and a senior doctor in The BMJ does that this week.

Michael Carter, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, argues that "rugby sidesteps many safeguards intended to ensure pupil wellbeing" and calls on schools, clubs, medical facilities, and regulatory bodies to "cooperate now to quantify the risks of junior rugby."

Brain imaging may predict future behavior

Noninvasive brain scans, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, have led to basic science discoveries about the human brain, but they've had only limited impacts on people's day-to-day lives. A review article published in the January 7 issue of the Cell Press journal Neuron, however, highlights a number of recent studies showing that brain imaging can help predict an individual's future learning, criminality, health-related behaviors, and response to drug or behavioral treatments. The technology may offer opportunities to personalize educational and clinical practices.