Brain

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 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.

Evidence about the biological nature of gender identity

Medical care of transgender patients, including surgical and hormonal treatment, has largely been met with resistance by physicians in favor of psychiatric treatment, owing to misconceptions that gender identity can be changed. According to a review article in Endocrine Practice, there is increasing evidence of a biological basis for gender identity that may change physicians' perspective on transgender medicine and improve health care for these patients.

The article was led by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM.

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.