Brain

Jerusalem, Israel – August 27, 2008 – Mainstream belief regarding identity theory tends to portray adolescents as the sole agents involved in their identity development. However, a new article in the Journal of Research on Adolescence reveals that parents are concerned, involved, and reflective participants in their children's identity formation.

Finnish scientists have identified genes that may predispose to anxiety disorders. Research conducted under the supervision of Academy Research Fellow Iiris Hovatta have focused on genes that influence human behaviour, and some of the studied genes show a statistical association with specific anxiety disorders. The work is carried out as part of the Academy of Finland Research Programme on Neuroscience (NEURO).

Brain development in infants who are born very prematurely is still incomplete. Factors that cause premature birth may have an impact on the development of the premature infant's brain both during pregnancy and later on after birth. A project conducted as part of the Academy of Finland Research Programme on Neuroscience (NEURO) is concerned to study brain growth and development invery premature or low-weight infants.

Addictions to medicines and drugs are thought to develop over a relatively long period of time. The process involves both structural and functional changes in brain nerve cells that are still poorly understood. However, a single drug or alcohol dose is sufficient to generate an initial stage of addiction. Recent research conducted under the umbrella of the Academy of Finland Research Programme on Neuroscience (NEURO) has discovered the same phenomenon in the dosage of benzodiazepine diazepam.

A typical characteristics of children's linguistic development are early signs of the risk of developing reading and writing disabilities, or dyslexia. New research points to preventive exercises as an effective means to tackle the challenges children face when learning to read. The results achieved at the Centre of Excellence in Learning and Motivation Research were presented at the Academy of Finland's science breakfast on 21 August.

Philadelphia, PA, August 27, 2008 – The news about antidepressant medications over the past several years has been mixed. The bad news from large multicenter studies such as STAR*D is that current antidepressant medications are effective, but not as effective as one might hope. Thus, there is a significant need for new treatment mechanisms for depression. On that front, there has been mixed news as well.

Philadelphia, PA, August 27, 2008 – Most people would agree that stress increases your risk for illness and this is particularly true for severe long-term stresses, such as caring for a family member with a chronic medical illness. However, we still have a relatively limited understanding of exactly how stress contributes to the risk for illness. In the August 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry, researchers shed new light on one link between stress and illness by describing a mechanism through which stress alters immune function.

BOSTON – Previous research has found that when vision is lost, a person's senses of touch and hearing become enhanced. But exactly how this happens has been unclear.

CINCINNATI - Lymphangioleiomyomatosis, or LAM, is a rare but serious lung disease that may cause severe respiratory symptoms in patients. The often-fatal disease has no cure.

Researchers say the key to learning more about LAM might lie in better understanding how symptoms differ among LAM patients

University of Cincinnati (UC) scientists are conducting a new research study that examines why symptoms of LAM are different in certain subgroups of people with the goal of finding more successful therapies.

Researchers at Tulane University Medical Center in New Orleans (USA) have discovered that drug-efflux pumps, belonging to the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter family, are constitutively expressed on vascular endothelial cells. Transcripts for several different ABC-transporters, e.g. MDR-1 (P-gp) and MRPs, were detected in endothelial cells, obtained from brain, aortic artery, pulmonary artery, dermal microvessels and umbilical veins.

PITTSBURGH—A new study from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University sheds light on why smokers' intentions to quit "cold turkey" often fizzle out within days or even hours.

If a smoker isn't yearning for a cigarette when he makes the decision to kick the habit—and most aren't—he isn't able to foresee how he will feel when he's in need of a nicotine buzz.

A new study could explain why "daddy" and "mommy" are often a baby's first words – the human brain may be hard-wired to recognize certain repetition patterns.

Using the latest optical brain imaging techniques, University of British Columbia post-doctoral fellow Judit Gervain and a team of researchers from Italy and Chile documented brain activities of 22 newborns (2-3 days old) when exposed to recordings of made-up words.

Researchers at the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music and Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences have developed a unique test for perfect pitch, and have found surprising results.

Is sleep essential? Ask that question to a sleep-deprived new parent or a student who has just pulled an "all-nighter," and the answer will be a grouchy, "Of course!"

But to a sleep scientist, the question of what constitutes sleep is so complex that scientists are still trying to define the essential function of something we do every night. A study published this week in PLoS Biology by Chiara Cirelli and Giulio Tononi addresses this pressing question.

Research by UK and American scientists has struck another blow to the theory that Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) became extinct because they were less intelligent than our ancestors (Homo sapiens). The research team has shown that early stone tool technologies developed by our species, Homo sapiens, were no more efficient than those used by Neanderthals. Published today (26 August) in the Journal of Human Evolution, their discovery debunks a textbook belief held by archaeologists for more than 60 years.