Research

Brain researchers seek 'fingerprints' of severe mental diseases
May 13, 2019
Researchers from McLean Hospital and Yale University have published findings of their study of large-scale systems in the brain, findings that could improve understanding of the symptoms and causes of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and other mental illnesses. Their paper, "Functiona...
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Researchers identify 20 novel gene associations with bipolar disorder
May 1, 2019
In the largest study of its kind, involving more than 50,000 subjects in 14 countries, researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and more than 200 collaborating institutions have identified 20 new genetic associations with one of the most prevalent and elusive mental illnesses of...
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Clarifying Ed-Tech Research
April 16, 2019

To the Editor:
I was pleased to see our research cited in the article about key lessons about education-technology research for educators ("The Best Ed-Tech Research: 5 Key...
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Too hungry to learn: New research provides food for thought
April 9, 2019
Food insecurity -- that is, limited access to sufficient safe and nutritious food at home -- negatively impacts on the learning ability of adolescents in India, new research shows.
The research team investigated inequalities in learning achievements at 12 years by examining test score...
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Improving Research on Charters
April 9, 2019

To the Editor:
A new analysis by the Education Week Research Center finds "charter high schools … make up an outsized share of the number of public schools persistently graduating less than half of their students" ("...
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Down Syndrome Research Could Provide Important Insights Into Cancer Treatments
March 8, 2019


People with Down syndrome are highly protected from most solid tumor cancers, and yet they are highly predisposed to certain blood cancers. Studying people with Down syndrome may lead to new cancer treatments that could benefit everyone.
ACCORDING T...
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Mayo Clinic study shows sleep apnea may be tied to increased Alzheimer’s biomarker in brain
March 4, 2019
ROCHESTER, Minn. — People who stop breathing during sleep may have higher accumulations of the toxic protein tau, a biological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease...
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Have researchers found a new risk factor for schizophrenia?
January 14, 2019
Scientists have located an intriguing link between schizophrenia and the Epstein-Barr virus, a type of herpes virus. Now, they need to determine which way the risk lies.
...
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The Side Effects of Education: Research and Practice
September 12, 2018


In the early 1900s, Edward Thorndike emerged as the educational leader of the day (Lagemann, 1989). As a behaviorist, he asserted that students should gain knowledge in ways (Thorndike, 1906). On the other hand, John Dewey, one of Thorndike's...
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Earlier diagnosis, potential therapy for Huntington's disease suggested in new research
September 4, 2018
A new study published in the () suggests that Huntington's disease may take effect much earlier in life than was previously believed, and that a new drug may be key in controlling the disease.
"This could be a good start to developing new promising treatments for Huntington's disease...
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Dissociable implicit sequence learning mechanisms revealed by continuous theta-burst stimulation.
The primary motor area (M1) has been implicated in visuomotor sequence learning. However, it has been suggested there are multiple neural networks that undertake visuomotor sequence learning. The role of M1 in sequence learning may be specific to learning simple sequences comprising predictable associations between adjacent movements. This study aimed to investigate the role of M1 in learning simple (“first-order conditional”) and more complex (“second-order conditional”) sequences. It was hypothesized that continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS) over M1 would result in poorer learning of the simple sequence only. Forty-eight healthy adults received cTBS to either M1 or the parieta...
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Spatial judgment in Parkinson’s disease: Contributions of attentional and executive dysfunction.
Spatial judgment is impaired in Parkinson’s disease (PD), with previous research suggesting that disruptions in attention and executive function are likely contributors. If judgment of center places demands on frontal systems, performance on tests of attention/executive function may correlate with extent of bias in PD, and attentional disturbance may predict inconsistency in spatial judgment. The relation of spatial judgment to attention/executive function may differ for those with left-side versus right-side motor onset (LPD, RPD), reflecting effects of attentional lateralization. We assessed 42 RPD, 37 LPD, and 67 healthy control participants with a Landmark task (LM) in which a cursor m...
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Effects of nicotine exposure and anxiety on motivation for reward and gambling-like cues under reward uncertainty.
Reward uncertainty is a common characteristic of gambling and may powerfully enhance attraction to gambling-related cues, thus promoting maladaptive gambling behaviors in susceptible individuals. The co-occurrence of gambling disorder with tobacco use disorder (60.4%) suggests a common mechanism for their pathology, and comorbid anxiety (41.3%) might further promote the maintenance of these behaviors. However, it is unknown how nicotine or anxiety might contribute to cue and reward attraction, or promote disordered gambling behavior. In the present study, we investigated the effects of nicotine (0.4 mg/kg, SC) on the desire for uncertain rewards and their cues in male and female Sprague–Da...
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Sex experience increases delta FosB in male and female hamsters, but facilitates sex behavior only in females.
Motivated behaviors share the common feature of activating the mesolimbic dopamine system. Repeated experience with motivated behaviors can cause long-lasting structural changes in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). The molecular mechanisms underlying this experience-dependent plasticity in the NAc have been well described following experience with drugs of abuse. In particular, the transcription factor Delta FosB (ΔFosB) is a key regulator of drug-related neuroplasticity. Fewer studies have examined the molecular mechanisms underlying experience-dependent plasticity in the NAc following naturally motivated behaviors, but previous research has demonstrated that sexual experience increases the acc...
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The rat medial frontal cortex controls pace, but not breakpoint, in a progressive ratio licking task.
The medial frontal cortex (MFC) is crucial for selecting actions and evaluating their outcomes. Outcome monitoring may be triggered by rostral parts of the MFC, which contain neurons that are modulated by reward consumption and are necessary for the expression of relative reward value. Here, we examined if the MFC further has a role in the control of instrumental licking. We used a progressive ratio licking task in which rats had to make increasing numbers of licks to receive liquid sucrose rewards. We determined what measures of progressive ratio performance are sensitive to value by testing rats with rewards containing 0%–16% sucrose. We found some measures (breakpoint, number of licking...
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Inactivation of the interpositus nucleus during unpaired extinction does not prevent extinction of conditioned eyeblink responses or conditioning-specific reflex modification.
For almost 75 years, classical eyeblink conditioning has been an invaluable tool for assessing associative learning processes across many species, thanks to its high translatability and well-defined neural circuitry. Our laboratory has adapted the paradigm to extensively detail associative changes in the rabbit reflexive eyeblink response (unconditioned response, UR), characterized by postconditioning increases in the frequency, size, and latency of the UR when the periorbital shock unconditioned stimulus (US) is presented alone, termed conditioning-specific reflex modification (CRM). Because the shape and timing of CRM closely resembles the conditioned eyeblink response (CR) to the tone con...
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A neural marker of the start-gun in interval timing: Onset N1P2.
Although the neural markers of interval timing have been widely studied, the events that determine the onset and offset of an interval have only recently started to gain attention. In the present study, I compare the predictions of the perceptual (preonset and start-gun) and decisional bias hypotheses with respect to onset N1P2 amplitude, the point of subjective equality (PSE) and delta/theta activity. The onsets of the comparison intervals (CIs) were manipulated to begin earlier, later, or on-time with regard to a standard interval (SI). Results supported the start-gun account by demonstrating an increase in the N1P2 amplitude and delta power in the “early” and “late” onset conditio...
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NMDA receptors in the basolateral amygdala mediate acquisition and extinction of an amphetamine conditioned place preference.
Previous work from our laboratory has indicated that temporary inactivation of the basolateral amygdala (BLA) with bupivacaine blocks acquisition, consolidation, and retrieval of an amphetamine conditioned place preference (CPP). The present study was designed to extend this line of investigation by examining whether N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the BLA mediate acquisition and extinction of an amphetamine CPP. Adult male Long-Evans rats received bilateral intra-BLA injections of the NMDA receptor antagonist 2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (AP5; 1.25 μg, 2.5 μg, or 5.0 μg) or saline prior to each session of CPP acquisition (Experiment 1). In addition, separate groups of rats ...
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Brief isolation during infancy enhances the formation of long-term memories in infant rodents.
Behavioral tagging, which is well-established in adults, has recently been shown to also occur in infants. Interestingly, while familiarizing the novel experience abolishes behavioral tagging in adults, it appears to be without effect in infants. Familiarization, at least in infants, may act as an experience-dependent switch, closing the hippocampal critical period and thus accelerating the maturation of the hippocampus. In this study, infant (i.e., Postnatal Day 17) rats were placed in a context and shocked. Infants familiarized to an open field arena for 30 min the day before exhibited enhanced retention when tested 1 day later (Experiments 1 and 2). While brief exploration of an open fiel...
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Repetitive mild concussion in subjects with a vulnerable cholinergic system: Lasting cholinergic-attentional impairments in CHT+/− mice.
Previous research emphasized the impact of traumatic brain injury on cholinergic systems and associated cognitive functions. Here we addressed the converse question: Because of the available evidence indicating cognitive and neuronal vulnerabilities in humans expressing low-capacity cholinergic systems or with declining cholinergic systems, do injuries cause more severe cognitive decline in such subjects, and what cholinergic mechanisms contribute to such vulnerability? Using mice heterozygous for the choline transporter (CHT+/− mice) as a model for a limited cholinergic capacity, we investigated the cognitive and neuronal consequences of repeated, mild concussion injuries (rmCc). After fi...
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