Brain

Whiskers provide a mouse with essential information to negotiate a burrow or detect movement that could signal a predator's presence. These stiff hairs relay sensory input to the brain, which shapes neuronal activity. In a first, studies of this system by Carnegie Mellon scientists show just how well a mouse brain can compensate when limited to sensing the world through one whisker. Published April 4 in the Journal of Neuroscience, the results should help shape future studies of sensory deprivation that results from stroke or traumatic brain injury, say the authors.

People who develop dementia or Alzheimer's disease experience brain structure changes years before any signs of memory loss begin, according to a study published in the April 17, 2007, issue of Neurology®, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Researchers say these findings may help identify people at risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which leads to Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers have discovered how a defect in a single master gene disrupts the process by which several genes interact to create myelin, a fatty coating that covers nerve cells and increases the speed and reliability of their electrical signals.

A vaccine for treating a recurrent cancer of the central nervous system that occurs primarily in the brain has shown promise in preliminary data from a clinical trial at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dream journals being kept by students in a college psychology class have provided researchers with a unique look at how people experienced the events of 9/11, including the influence that television coverage of the World Trade Center attacks had on people’s levels of stress.

In recent years, researchers have worked to develop a number of vaccines to help the immune system fight tumors. Cancer vaccines are not intended to prevent cancer; rather, they are used to boost immune responses to preexisting tumors. Unlike traditional chemotherapy, vaccines have relatively low toxicity and, potentially, a high degree of efficacy.

The controversial idea that one cause of high blood pressure lies within the brain, and not the heart or blood vessels, has been put forward by scientists at the University of Bristol, UK, and is published this week in the journal Hypertension.

Dr. Hidefumi Waki, working in a research group led by Professor Julian Paton, has found a novel role for the protein, JAM-1 (junctional adhesion molecule-1), which is located in the walls of blood vessels in the brain.

Research by Renee Theiss, Jason Kuo and C J Heckman, which has just been published in The Journal of Physiology, throws light on how information is processed in the Central Nervous System (CNS) to drive movement. The findings are relevant to understanding mechanisms underlying movement and disorders such as spinal cord injury and motor neurone disease (ALS).

Chemists at UCLA have designed new organic structures for the storage of voluminous amounts of gases for use in alternative energy technologies.

Much of the research surrounding childhood asthma has sought new approaches to managing the disease. However, little was done to address other conditions that often appear along with asthma including depression and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which can negatively affect a child’s ability to cope.