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  • News

    Nerve cells from people with autism grow unusually big and fast

    Young nerve cells derived from people with autism are precocious, growing bigger and developing sooner than cells taken from people without autism, a new study shows.

    The results, described January 7 in Nature Neuroscience, hint that in some cases nerve cells veer off course early in brain development to ultimately cause the disorder.

    As a proxy of brain growth, researchers led by...

    01/11/2019 - 06:00 Neuroscience
  • Year in Review

    The battle over new nerve cells in adult brains intensifies

    Just a generation ago, common wisdom held that once a person reaches adulthood, the brain stops producing new nerve cells. Scientists countered that depressing prospect 20 years ago with signs that a grown-up brain can in fact replenish itself. The implications were huge: Maybe that process would offer a way to fight disorders such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

    This year,...

    12/20/2018 - 07:00 Neuroscience
  • Year in Review

    Zapping the spinal cord helped paralyzed people learn to move again

    The spinal cord can make a comeback.

    Intensive rehabilitation paired with electric stimulation of the spinal cord allowed six paralyzed people to walk or take steps years after their injuries, three small studies published this year showed.

    “There’s a capacity here of human spinal circuitry to be able to regain significant motor control and function,” says Susan Harkema, a...

    12/17/2018 - 08:19 Neuroscience
  • News

    Big data reveals hints of how, when and where mental disorders start

    Psychiatric disorders’ many complexities have stymied scientists looking for clear genetic culprits. But a new giant dataset holds clues to how, when and where these brain disorders begin.

    Called PsychENCODE, the project’s first large data release has revealed intricate insights into the behavior of genes and the stretches of genetic material between them in both healthy brains and those...

    12/13/2018 - 14:49 Neuroscience, Genetics
  • News in Brief

    Here’s a rare way that an Alzheimer’s protein can spread

    An Alzheimer’s protein found in contaminated vials of human growth hormone can spread in the brains of mice. That finding, published online December 13 in Nature, adds heft to the idea that, in very rare cases, amyloid-beta can travel from one person’s brain to another’s.

    Decades ago, over a thousand young people in the United Kingdom received injections of growth hormone derived from...

    12/13/2018 - 11:00 Neuroscience
  • Feature

    A gut-brain link for Parkinson’s gets a closer look

    Martha Carlin married the love of her life in 1995. She and John Carlin had dated briefly in college in Kentucky, then lost touch until a chance meeting years later at a Dallas pub. They wed soon after and had two children. John worked as an entrepreneur and stay-at-home dad. In his free time, he ran marathons.

    Almost eight years into their marriage, the pinky finger on John’s right hand...

    12/07/2018 - 09:00 Health, Neuroscience, Microbiology
  • News

    The uterus may play a role in memory

    The uterus is best known for its baby-growing job. But the female organ may also have an unexpected role in memory, a study in rats suggests.

    The results, published online December 6 in Endocrinology, counter the idea that the nonpregnant uterus is an extraneous organ. That may have implications for the estimated 20 million women in the United States who have had hysterectomies.

    In...

    12/06/2018 - 14:02 Neuroscience
  • Editor's Note

    Seeking a panacea in the gut’s microbiome

    It almost feels like people think every known disorder could be cured by tweaking the gut microbiome: The list of possibilities includes obesity, liver disease, diabetes, autism, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, depression and anxiety. The length of that list alone invites skepticism among those of us who cover science. But there’s enough evidence that gut microbes...
    12/05/2018 - 05:15 Science & Society, Health, Neuroscience
  • News in Brief

    Zaps to a certain spot in the brain may ease depression

    Precisely placed zaps to the brain swiftly improved the moods of people with signs of depression. The results, achieved with implanted electrodes, bring scientists closer to understanding the nature of depression — and point to ways to treat it.

    Neurologist Vikram Rao and neuroscientist Kristin Sellers, both of the University of California, San Francisco, and their colleagues studied 25...

    11/29/2018 - 11:00 Neuroscience
  • News in Brief

    Brain implants let paralyzed people use tablets to send texts and stream music

    Devices that eavesdrop on neural activity can help paralyzed people command computer tablets to stream music, text friends, check the weather or surf the internet.

    Three people with paralysis below the neck were able to navigate off-the-shelf computer tablets using an electrode array system called BrainGate2. The results, published November 21 in PLOS One, are the latest to show that...

    11/21/2018 - 14:00 Neuroscience