Research

Improved human brain organoids to boost neurological disease research
June 5, 2019
Scientists at Harvard University and the Broad Institute's Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research have made a major advance in the development of human brain 'organoids': miniature, 3D tissue cultures that model a patient's own brain cells in a dish. Their new method, published in , consistently...
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Opioids are not sleep aids, and can actually worsen sleep research finds
June 4, 2019
Evidence that taking opioids will help people with chronic pain to sleep better is limited and of poor quality, according to an interdisciplinary team of psychologists and medics from the University of Warwick in partnership with Lausanne University Hospital, Switzerland.
Many people ...
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Research confirms gut-brain connection in autism
May 30, 2019
People with autism often suffer from gut problems, but nobody has known why. Researchers have now discovered the same gene mutations -- found both in the brain and the gut -- could be the cause.
The discovery confirms a gut-brain nervous system link in autism, opening a new direction ...
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Thalidomide: Research advances in cancer and other conditions
May 25, 2019


Thalidomide: Research advances in cancer and other conditions

By Mayo Clinic Staff

In the 1950s and the early 1960s, thalidomide was used to treat morning sicknes...
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Obsessive-compulsive disorder research needs more focus on patients, new study asserts
May 23, 2019
For people living with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), scientific research into their condition is not an abstract concept; it can have profound real-life implications.
Cognitive science has been instrumental in furthering our understanding of mental health problems. The interdis...
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Researchers block protein that plays a key role in Alzheimer's disease
May 15, 2019
In recent years, it has become increasingly clear to researchers that the protein galectin-3 is involved in inflammatory diseases in the brain. A study led by researchers at Lund University in Sweden now shows the de facto key role played by the protein in Alzheimer's disease. When the researcher...
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Artificial intelligence tool vastly scales up Alzheimer's research
May 15, 2019
Researchers at UC Davis and UC San Francisco have found a way to teach a computer to precisely detect one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease in human brain tissue, delivering a proof of concept for a machine-learning approach to distinguishing critical markers of the disease.
Amy...
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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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Research on repetitive worm behavior may have implications for understanding human disease
May 11, 2019
Repetition can be useful if you're trying to memorize a poem, master a guitar riff, or just cultivate good habits. When this kind of behavior becomes compulsive, however, it can get in the way of normal life -- an impediment sometimes observed in psychiatric illnesses like Tourette's syndrome and...
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Researchers investigate differences in coatings of drug-coated balloon catheters
May 2, 2019
Drug-coated balloon catheters to open narrowed blood vessels and to deliver drugs to the impacted sites are used frequently for the treatment of peripheral arterial disease. Scientists believe improvement of the coatings could lead to better designs and improved outcomes. Now for the first time, ...
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Introduction to the special issue on neuroethology.
This special issue highlights some recent advances in neuroethology based on research presented at the 13th International Congress of Neuroethology and associated satellite symposia in Brisbane, Australia, on July 15–20, 2018. The discipline of neuroethology combines methods and concepts from ethology with those from neurobiology to develop a comparative analysis of the mechanisms of behavior that takes into account a species’ ecology and evolutionary history. In his 1951 book The Study of Instinct, Nobel Prize winner Niko Tinbergen called on ethologists and neurophysiologists to join forces to search for mechanisms of motivated behaviors. He used the term “ethophysiology” t...
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Understanding cerebellum in vertebrate neuroethology: From sensing in sharks and electric fish to motor sequences in movement and birdsong.
The elaborate structure of the cerebellum has been long known, although its contribution to a remarkable diversity of behavior is only recently appreciated. Taking an evolutionary perspective, we consider the wider function of the cerebellum based on insight from the function of so-called cerebellum-like structures. Cerebellum-like structures cancel the effects of self-stimulation, a function that has been well characterized in both elasmobranch and weakly electric fish. This function depends on the implementation of an adaptive filter, which provides an input-output transformation modified by specific learning rules. We argue that the broad contribution of the cerebellum to behavior can be ...
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Behavioral and neural aspects of the spatial processing of conspecifics signals in the electrosensory system.
Localizing the source of a signal is often as important as deciphering the signal’s message. Localization mechanisms must cope with the challenges of representing the spatial information of weak, noisy signals. Comparing these strategies across modalities and model systems allows a broader understanding of the general principles shaping spatial processing. In this review we focus on the electrosensory system of knifefish and provide an overview of our current understanding of spatial processing in this system, in particular, localization of conspecific signals. We argue that many mechanisms observed in other sensory systems, such as the visual or auditory systems, have comparable implement...
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Echolocating bats perceive natural-size targets as a unitary class using micro-spectral ripples in echoes.
Echolocating big brown bats emit frequency-modulated (FM) sounds covering ultrasonic frequencies in two harmonic sweeps (FM1 from 50–60 kHz sweeping down to 20–25 kHz, FM2 from 100–110 kHz sweeping down to 45 kHz). Using a complex interplay of acoustic cues, the bats perceive object distance from echo delay and object shape from echo spectra. Typical natural targets—flying insects—return discrete reflections, called glints, from prominent body parts (e.g., head, wings). Insect sizes are mostly 0.5 cm to about 3.5 cm, corresponding to reflected time separations of 30 to 210 μs. When closely spaced reflections overlap, they interfere to create a characteristic echo spectrum containi...
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Auditory communication processing in bats: What we know and where to go.
Bats are the second largest mammalian order, with over 1,300 species. These animals show diverse behaviors, diets, and habitats. Most bats produce ultrasonic vocalizations and perceive their environment by processing information carried by returning echoes of their calls. Echolocation is achieved through a sophisticated audio-vocal system that allows bats to emit and detect frequencies that can range from ten to hundreds of kilohertz. In addition, most bat species are gregarious, and produce social communication calls that vary in complexity, form, and function across species. In this article, we (a) highlight the value of bats as model species for research on social communication, (b) revie...
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Limited capabilities for condition-dependent modulation of vocal turn-taking behavior in marmoset monkeys.
Taking turns plays an important role in primate communication and involves individuals producing species-specific calls in response to conspecific vocalizations. Recent studies have revealed that marmoset monkeys are an ideal primate model system to investigate vocal turn-taking behavior and the corresponding sensory-motor interactions. However, it is largely unknown how external factors such as conspecific call latency influence this vocal behavior. Using interactive playback, we systematically answered vocalizations of monkeys with either short- or long-call response latencies. By placing marmosets in these different behavioral conditions, we demonstrate that vocal turn taking is a robust ...
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MEMRI for visualizing brain activity after auditory stimulation in frogs.
Anuran amphibians are common model organisms in bioacoustics and neurobiology. To date, however, most available methods for studying auditory processing in frogs are highly invasive and thus do not allow for longitudinal study designs, nor do they provide a global view of the brain, which substantially limits the questions that can be addressed. The goal of this study was to identify areas in the frog brain that are responsible for auditory processing using in vivo manganese-enhanced MRI (MEMRI). We were interested in determining if the neural processing of socially relevant acoustic stimuli (e.g., species-specific calls) engages a specific pattern of brain activation that differs from patte...
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