Brain

People addicted to alcohol and young adults who are heavy drinkers, but not considered alcoholics, have something in common: they possess poor decision-making skills, according to psychologists at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The findings are based on research examining binge drinking and heavy alcohol use among college students.

Early-stage research has found that a new gene therapy can nearly eliminate arthritis pain, and significantly reduce long-term damage to the affected joints, according to a study published today in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism.

Craving – defined as a powerful urge to drink, or intense thoughts about alcohol – is an important contributor to the development and maintenance of alcoholism. Recent research suggests that appetite-regulating hormones and peptides may be involved in the neurobiology of alcohol craving. A new study has confirmed that appetite-regulating peptides leptin and ghrelin do indeed influence alcohol craving, but especially among certain subtypes of alcoholics.

Compared to math teachers in the high-achieving nations of Hong Kong and Japan, teachers in the United States offer less of certain supports that could help students learn more. This could contribute to the lower performance among U.S. students on international math tests, a UCI researcher discovered.

At four months, babies can tell whether a speaker has switched to a different language from visual cues alone, according to a University of British Columbia study.

Researcher Whitney Weikum found that infants are able to discern when a different language is spoken by watching the shapes and rhythm of the speaker's mouth and face movements.

If you do something positive for your mate, does it matter why? The answer is yes, according to new research from University of Rochester research assistant professor Heather Patrick. She will unveil a study at a Toronto conference later this month that shows both small sacrifices, like doing the dishes for your partner, and big ones, like moving across the country for a new job he or she really wants, mean more if you do them because you genuinely want to.Or get the kids to do them and make the wife a nice bath

Fragile X syndrome is the most common form of inherited mental retardation, occurring in 1 in 3600 males and 1 in 4000 to 6000 females.

To understand the details of the neuronal pathology of Fragile X syndrome, the researchers studied mice in which the same gene that causes the disease in humans had been knocked out. The scientists performed a detailed analysis of the electrophysiological properties of neurons in the prefrontal cortex, a region responsible for higher cognitive functions, including learning and memory, that are affected in humans with the disorder.

Two genes important for human development and implicated in cancer and schizophrenia also help keep a healthy balance between excitation and inhibition of brain cells, researchers say.

Neuregulin-1 and its receptor, ErbB4, promote inhibition at the site of inhibitory synapses in the brain by increasing release of GABA, a major inhibitory neurotransmitter, Medical College of Georgia researchers led by Dr. Lin Mei report in the May 24 issue of Neuron.

Shire plc announced that DAYTRANATM (methylphenidate transdermal system), the first and only non-oral medication approved for treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children aged 6 to 12 years, provided significant improvement in symptom control and tolerability, according to results of a 12-month open-label study presented at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual meeting in San Diego.

Shire plc announced today the positive results of studies of the investigational medication guanfacine extended release (GXR, previously referred to as SPD503), a selective alpha-2A-adrenoceptor agonist. These data from two short-term phase III placebo-controlled studies and two long-term phase III open-label studies, presented at the 2007 American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual meeting, demonstrated that GXR significantly improved all core symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children aged 6 to 17 years.