Brain

No one enjoys being told that their behavior is harmful to themselves or others. In fact, most people respond defensively when confronted with evidence that their behavior is irrational, irresponsible, or unhealthy. Fortunately, research has shown that just a few minutes of writing about an important value can reduce defensiveness.

One of the easiest ways to identify an object is by its color -- perhaps it is because children's books encourage us to pair certain objects with their respective colors. Why else would so many of us automatically assume carrots are orange, grass is green and apples are red?

DALLAS – July 22, 2008 – Hoping to answer a question raised by the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have designed the Combining Medication to Enhance Outcomes of Depression (CO-MED) trial to test multiple-medication treatment of depression.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A researcher at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory has pinpointed stem cells within the spinal cord that, if persuaded to differentiate into more healing cells and fewer scarring cells following an injury, may lead to a new, non-surgical treatment for debilitating spinal-cord injuries.

The nerve connections that keep a fly's gaze stable during complex aerial manoeuvres, enabling it to respond quickly to obstacles in its flight path, are revealed in new detail in research published today (22 July 2008).

Scientists from Imperial College London have described the connections between two key sets of nerve cells in a fly's brain that help it process what it sees and fast-track that information to its muscles. This helps it stay agile and respond quickly to its environment while on the move.

MADISON – What does the genetics of blood cells have to do with brain cells related to Parkinson's disease? From an unusual collaboration of neurologists and a pharmacologist comes the surprising answer: Genetic mechanisms at play in blood cells also control a gene and protein that cause Parkinson's disease.

Tiny microbes beneath the sea floor, distinct from life on the Earth's surface, may account for one-tenth of the Earth's living biomass, according to an interdisciplinary team of researchers, but many of these minute creatures are living on a geologic timescale.

MANHASSET, NY – In a major step in understanding how the nervous system and the immune system interact, scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have identified a new anatomical path through which the brain and the spleen communicate. The spleen, once thought to be an unnecessary bit of tissue, is now regarded as an organ where important information from the nervous reaches the immune system. Understanding this process could ultimately lead to treatments that target the spleen to send the right message when fighting human disease.

The CUPID (Cannabinoid Use in Progressive Inflammatory brain Disease) study at the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth has reached an important milestone with the news that the full cohort of 493 people with multiple sclerosis (MS) has been recruited to the study.

CUPID is a clinical trial which will evaluate whether tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of many compounds found in the in the cannabis plant (and the main active ingredient) is able to slow the progression of MS.

Masha is a dental patient. Her oral health problems continue to change as she meets new Case Western Reserve University student dentists in Second Life's virtual dental office.

The middle-aged avatar is an integral part of a new research project of the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the College of Arts and Sciences department of communication sciences to teach and give students practice time to communicate with mock patients.

Researchers have developed an experimental tongue-based system that may allow individuals with debilitating disabilities to control wheelchairs, computers and other devices with relative ease and no sophistication.

Because the tongue is directly connected to the brain via cranial nerves, it usually remains mobile when other body parts lose function to disease or accidents. That mobility underlies the new system, which may one day provide greater flexibility and simplicity to individuals who would otherwise use sip-and-puff controls or brain implants.

New data from a study of patients with treatment-resistant depression who underwent deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the subcallosal cingulate region (SCG or Cg25) of the brain shows that this intervention is generally safe and provides significant improvement in patients as early as one month after treatment. The patients also experienced continued and sustained improvement over time.

The data are reported in the online issue of Biological Psychiatry by scientists from the University of Toronto and Emory University School of Medicine.

Scientists say they have found a workable way of reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere by adding lime to seawater. And they think it has the potential to dramatically reverse CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere, reports Cath O'Driscoll in SCI's Chemistry & Industry magazine published today.

Tampa, Fla. (July 21, 2008) – Many cell transplants involve the use of stem cells from another human being (known as an allograft), which raises the major concern of the potential for acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). GVHD occurs when an immune response is elicited by the grafted cells against the recipient, resulting in tissue damage for the treated individual.

Presently, there are no definitive markers for predicting the development of acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) or its progression following the transplant of allogenic stem cells as therapy for liver cancer.

New research into the treatment of Alzheimer's disease reports improvement in language abilities using a novel immune-based approach. A video accompanying the research, published today in the open access journal BMC Neurology, documents rapid language improvement within minutes of using this new treatment.

Building on previous work by the same authors, published in BioMed Central's Journal of Neuroinflammation, this study focuses on the effect of the anti-tumor necrosis factor–alpha (TNF-alpha) drug, etanercept, on measures of verbal ability.