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  • News

    Tiny bits of RNA can trigger pain and itchiness

    Some snippets of RNA can be a real pain.

    A microRNA called miR-30c-5p contributes to nerve pain in rats and people, a new study finds. A different microRNA, miR-711, interacts with a well-known itch-inducing protein to cause itching, a second study concludes. Together, the research highlights the important role that the small pieces of genetic material can play in nerve cell function,...

    08/13/2018 - 14:06 Cells, Physiology, Neuroscience, Genetics
  • Reviews & Previews

    Strange brains offer a glimpse into the mind

    To understand the human brain, take note of the rare, the strange and the downright spooky. That’s the premise of two new books, Unthinkable by science writer Helen Thomson and The Disordered Mind by neuroscientist Eric R. Kandel.

    Both books describe people with minds that don’t work the same way as everyone else’s. These are people who are convinced that they are dead, for instance;...

    08/13/2018 - 09:00 Neuroscience, Mental Health
  • News

    Football and hockey players aren’t doomed to suffer brain damage

    A career of hard hits to the head doesn’t inevitably lead to brain decline, a small study of former football and hockey pros suggests. The results counter a specter raised by other studies on pro football players’ brains after death.

    The new findings come from extensive brain scans and behavioral tests of 21 retired athletes — football players from New York’s Buffalo Bills and hockey...

    08/07/2018 - 15:00 Neuroscience
  • News in Brief

    Soccer headers may hurt women’s brains more than men’s

    Heading soccer balls may have high stakes for women’s brains, a study of amateur soccer players suggests.

    Among amateur players who headed a similar number of balls, women had more signs of microscopic damage in their brains’ white matter than men, scientists report July 31 in Radiology.

    Female athletes are known to have worse symptoms after brain injuries than male athletes, but a...

    07/31/2018 - 10:00 Neuroscience
  • News

    Anxiety in monkeys is linked to hereditary brain traits

    Anxiety can run in families. Key differences in how an anxious monkey’s brain operates can be passed along too, a large study suggests.

    By finding a pattern of brain activity linked to anxiety, and by tracing it through generations of monkeys, the results bring researchers closer to understanding the brain characteristics involved in severe anxiety — and how these characteristics can be...

    07/30/2018 - 13:00 Neuroscience
  • News

    Lowering blood pressure may help the brain

    Keeping a tight lid on blood pressure isn’t just good for the heart. It may also help the brain. 

    People given intensive drug treatment for high blood pressure were less likely to develop an early form of memory loss, according to preliminary results from a major clinical trial. This approach reduced the rate of early memory loss, called mild cognitive impairment, by around 19 percent,...

    07/25/2018 - 09:00 Health, Clinical Trials, Neuroscience
  • Science Visualized

    This colorful web is the most complete look yet at a fruit fly’s brain cells

    If the secret to getting the perfect photo is taking a lot of shots, then one lucky fruit fly is the subject of a masterpiece.

    Using high-speed electron microscopy, scientists took 21 million nanoscale-resolution images of the brain of Drosophila melanogaster to capture every one of the 100,000 nerve cells that it contains. It’s the first time the entire fruit fly brain has been imaged...

    07/19/2018 - 11:44 Neuroscience, Technology
  • News

    How a variation on Botox could be used to treat pain

    Painkillers crafted with a part of the wrinkle-smoothing drug Botox provide long-term pain relief in mice.

    Researchers added the modified Botox to molecules that target pain-messaging nerve cells. Mice given a single spinal injection of the new drugs showed signs of pain relief for the full duration of the experiments, around three weeks, researchers report online July 18 in Science...

    07/18/2018 - 15:52 Health, Neuroscience
  • Science Ticker

    Publicity over a memory test Trump took could skew its results

    When President Donald Trump took a mental test as part of his physical in January, the results called attention to far more than his fitness for office. (He passed with a perfect score, according to his physician.) It put a test commonly used to catch early signs of dementia in the spotlight. That publicity could lead to missed diagnoses, researchers warn July 16 in JAMA Neurology.

    ...

    07/16/2018 - 11:00 Health, Neuroscience
  • Feature

    The brain may clean out Alzheimer’s plaques during sleep

    Neuroscientist Barbara Bendlin studies the brain as Alzheimer’s disease develops. When she goes home, she tries to leave her work in the lab. But one recent research project has crossed into her personal life: She now takes sleep much more seriously.

    Bendlin works at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, home to the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, a study of more than 1,500...

    07/15/2018 - 06:00 Biomedicine, Neuroscience, Mental Health