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A Real Eye-opener: Researchers Uncover Which Gender Is Losing Sleep PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 17:13
Even with growing progress toward gender equality in the workplace, women continue to carry the most responsibility for family care, a load that according to a new study could indicate why women report more sleep disruption than men.
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Oxygen Treatment Hastens Memory Loss In Alzheimer's Mice PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 17:04
A 65-year-old women goes into the hospital for routine hip surgery. Six months later, she develops memory loss and is later diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Just a coincidence? Researchers at the University of South Florida and Vanderbilt University don't think so. They suspect that the culprit precipitating Alzheimer's disease in the elderly women may be a routine administration of high concentrations of oxygen for several hours during, or following, surgery – a hypothesis borne out in a recent animal model study.
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Temp Work Strains Employee Mental Health, Study Finds PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 August 2009 09:50
Workers hired for temporary, contract, casual or fixed-term positions are at risk for increased mental health problems, according to research to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.
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Avian Influenza Strain Primes Brain For Parkinson's Disease PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 August 2009 09:45
At least one strain of the H5N1 avian influenza virus leaves survivors at significantly increased risk for Parkinson's disease and possibly other neurological problems later in life, according to new research from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
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People With Lots Of Working Memory Are Not Easily Distracted PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 09 August 2009 17:20

"That blasted siren. I can't focus." That reaction to undesired distraction may signal a person's low working-memory capacity, according to a new study.

Based on a study of 84 students divided into four separate experiments, University of Oregon researchers found that students with high memory storage capacity were clearly better able to ignore distractions and stay focused on their assigned tasks.

Principal investigator Edward K. Vogel, a UO professor of psychology, compares working memory to a computer's random-access memory (RAM) rather than the hard drive's size -- the higher the RAM, the better processing abilities.

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Non-invasive Brain Surgery Moves A Step Closer PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 August 2009 15:33

A team of researchers working at the MR-Center of the University Children's Hospital in Zürich has completed a pilot study using transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound to treat 10 patients with neuropathic pain.

The origin of chronic pain in these patients included post amputation phantom limb syndrome, nerve injury, stroke, trigeminal neuralgia and post herpetic neuralgia from shingles.

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Looking At Language: Eye Movements Of Parkinson’s Disease Patients During Sentence Comprehension Support Subcortical Role In Processing Syntax PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 August 2009 15:24

The study of the neural basis of language has largely focused on regions in the cortex – the outer brain layers thought by many researchers to have expanded during human evolution. Research at Brown University’s Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences, reported in the September Issue of Cortex, adds to evidence that deeper, subcortical regions are also critical by pinpointing when Parkinson’s disease patients have difficulty while processing grammatically complex sentences.

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Thinking Crickets: 'Cognitive' Processes Underlie Memory Recall In Crickets PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 August 2009 14:34

 Activation of two different kinds of neurons is necessary for appetitive and aversive memory recall in crickets. Researchers blocked octopaminergic (OA-ergic) and dopaminergic (DA-ergic) transmission and found that this resulted in the inability to recall pleasant and unpleasant memories, respectively.

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Protein 'Tweek' Rare But Critical In Synaptic Process PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 August 2009 14:25

Recycling is a critical component in the process of transmitting information from one neuron to the next, and a large protein called Tweek plays a critical role, said an international consortium of researchers led by Baylor College of Medicine in a report in the journal Neuron.

Fruit flies that lack the protein, named for the over-caffeinated character in the cartoon South Park, shake in a hyperactive manner, said Dr. Hugo Bellen, professor of molecular and human genetics at BCM and senior author of the report. "Loss of this protein causes endocytic defects," he said.

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Epilepsy Halted In Mice PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 August 2009 06:25

Scientists at Leeds have prevented epilepsy caused by a gene defect from being passed on to mice offspring – an achievement which may herald new therapies for people suffering from the condition.

The study is published August 3 in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). It offers, for the first time, irrefutable proof that a faulty version of a gene known as Atp1a3 is responsible for causing epileptic seizures in mice.

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Formal Education Lessens Impact Of Alzheimer’s Disease -- Even If Brain Volume Is Already Reduced PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 12 August 2009 17:09
Researchers at the Department of Psychiatry, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, investigated the effects of formal education on the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. They were able to show that education diminishes the impact of Alzheimer's disease on cognition even if a manifest brain volume loss has already occurred.
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Unlikely Genetic Suspect Implicated In Common Brain Defect PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 August 2009 16:03
A genetic search that wound its way from patients to mouse models and back to patients has uncovered an unlikely gene critically involved in a common birth defect which causes mental retardation, motor delays and sometimes autism, providing a new mechanism and potentially improving treatment for the disorder.
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Brain Damage Seen On Brain Scans May Predict Memory Loss In Old Age PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 August 2009 09:48
Areas of brain damage seen on brain scans and originally thought to be related to stroke may help doctors predict a person's risk of memory problems in old age, according to research published in the August 11, 2009, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
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Itch-specific Neurons Identified In Mice Offers Hope For Better Treatments PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 09 August 2009 17:31

Historically, many scientists have regarded itching as just a less intense version of pain. They have spent decades searching for itch-specific nerve cells to explain how the brain perceives itch differently from pain, but none have been found.

Now researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have discovered that those itch-specific neurons do exist in mice, and their studies suggest that itch and pain signals are transmitted along different pathways in the spinal cord. Reporting in the Aug. 6 issue of Science Express.
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Fat Hormone Influences Baseline Dopamine Levels And Our Motivation To Eat PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 August 2009 15:35

As we all know from experience, people eat not only because they are hungry, but also because the food just simply tastes too good to pass up. Now, a new study in the August 6th Cell Metabolism, helps to explain how leptin, a hormone produced by fat tissue, influences that motivation to eat.

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New Alzheimer's Gene Discovered PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 August 2009 15:30

A UC Irvine study has found that a gene called TOMM40 appears twice as often in people with Alzheimer's disease than in those without it. Alzheimer's, for which there is no cure, is the leading cause of elderly dementia.

Having the harmful form of TOMM40 significantly increases one's susceptibility when other risk factors

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Autism Study Finds Visual Processing 'Hinders Ability' To Read Body Language PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 August 2009 14:35

The way people with autism see and process the body language of others could be preventing them from gauging people's feelings, according to new research.

With around half a million people in the UK affected by autism, the Durham University study suggests visual processing problems could be contributing to their day-to-day difficulties with social interaction.

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Holding Breath For Several Minutes Elevates Marker For Brain Damage PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 August 2009 14:32

Divers who held their breath for several minutes had elevated levels of a protein that can signal brain damage, according to a new study from the Journal of Applied Physiology. However, the appearance of the protein, S100B, was transient and leaves open the question of whether lengthy apnea (breath-holding) can damage the brain over the long term.

“The results indicate that prolonged, voluntary apnea affects the integrity of the central nervous system, and may have cumulative effects,” the Swedish researchers said. The release of S100B into the blood suggests that holding one’s breath for a long time disrupts the blood-brain barrier, they said.

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'Jumping Genes' Create Diversity In Human Brain Cells, Offering Clues To Evolutionary And Neurological Disease PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 05 August 2009 10:56
Rather than sticking to a single DNA script, human brain cells harbor astonishing genomic variability, according to scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. The findings, to be published in the Aug. 5, 2009, advance online edition of Nature, could help explain brain development and individuality, as well as lead to a better understanding of neurological disease.
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Preschool Depression May Continue Into Childhood PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 04 August 2009 06:18
Depression among preschoolers appears to be a continuous, chronic condition rather than a transient developmental stage, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of General Psychiatry.

"The validity of major depressive disorder in childhood has been well established, with the disorder now widely recognized and treated in mental health settings," the authors write as background information in the article. However, previous studies have primarily focused on children age 6 and older. Although a growing body of data suggests that depression does exist among preschoolers, skepticism remains about whether it is clinically meaningful or increases the later risk of psychiatric conditions.

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