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  • News

    Brain features may reveal if placebo pills could treat chronic pain

    Certain brain and personality characteristics may help predict whether a sugar pill can provide relief to someone suffering from chronic pain.

    In a small study, patients with persistent back pain who responded to a placebo treatment benefitted from up to a 33 percent reduction in their pain intensity. These people had distinctive features in their brains and certain personality traits,...

    09/13/2018 - 13:00 Neuroscience, Health, Clinical Trials
  • News in Brief

    How obesity may harm memory and learning

    Obesity can affect brainpower, and a study in mice may help explain how.

    In the brains of obese mice, rogue immune cells chomp nerve cell connections that are important for learning and memory, scientists report September 10 in the Journal of Neuroscience. Drugs that stop this synapse destruction may ultimately prove useful for protecting the brain against the immune cell assault.

    ...

    09/10/2018 - 13:06 Neuroscience
  • News in Brief

    Newfound skull tunnels may speed immune cells’ trek to brain injuries

    Skulls seem solid, but the thick bones are actually riddled with tiny tunnels.

    Microscopic channels cut through the skull bones of people and mice, scientists found. In mice, inflammatory immune cells use these previously hidden channels to travel from the bone marrow of the skull to the brain, the team reports August 27 in Nature Neuroscience. It’s not yet known whether immune cells...

    08/31/2018 - 07:00 Neuroscience
  • News

    How antibodies attack the brain and muddle memory

    Antibodies in the brain can scramble nerve cells’ connections, leading to memory problems in mice.

    In the past decade, brain-attacking antibodies have been identified as culprits in certain neurological diseases. The details of how antibodies pull off this neuronal hit job, described online August 23 in Neuron, may ultimately lead to better ways to stop the ensuing brain damage.

    ...

    08/23/2018 - 11:32 Neuroscience
  • 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