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Neuroscience_topics
Neuroscience: CNS disease, pain, brain research, ion channels, synaptic transmission, channelopathies, neuronal network
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Alzheimer's disease: The forgetting gene

Alzheimer's disease: The forgetting gene | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

For decades, most researchers ignored the leading genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. That is set to change. 

One day in 1991, neurologist Warren Strittmatter asked his boss to look at some bewildering data. Strittmatter was studying amyloid-β, the main component of the molecular clumps found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. He was hunting for amyloid-binding proteins in the fluid that buffers the brain and spinal cord, and had fished out one called apolipoprotein E (ApoE), which had no obvious connection with the disease. (...) - by Laura Spinney, Nature, 04 June 2014

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Brain-mapping projects to join forces

Brain-mapping projects to join forces | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

US and European research programmes will begin coordinating research.

 

It seems a natural pairing, almost like the hemispheres of a human brain: two controversial and ambitious projects that seek to decipher the body's control center are poised to join forces.

The European Union’s €1-billion (US$1.3-billion) Human Brain Project (HBP) and the United States’ $1-billion Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative will launch a collaboration later this year, according to government officials involved in both projects.(...) - by Sara Reardon, Nature, 18 March 2014

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Modulation of NMDA receptor at the synapse: Promising therapeutic interventions in disorders of the nervous system

Modulation of NMDA receptor at the synapse: Promising therapeutic interventions in disorders of the nervous system | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

[Review] There is general agreement that excessive activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors plays a key role in mediating at least some aspects of synaptic dysfunction in several central nervous system disorders. On this view, in the last decades, research focused on the discovery of different compounds able to reduce NMDA receptor activity, such as classical and/or subunit-specific antagonists. However, the increasing body of knowledge on specific signaling pathways downstream NMDA receptors led to the identification of new pharmacological targets for NMDA receptor-related pathological conditions. Moreover, besides over-activation, several studies indicated that also abnormal NMDA receptor trafficking, resulting in the modification of the receptor subunit composition at the synapse, has a major role in the pathogenesis of several brain disorders. For this reason, the discovery of the molecular mechanisms regulating the abundance of synaptic versus extra-synaptic NMDA receptors as well as the activation of the specific signaling pathways downstream the different NMDA receptor subtypes is needed for the development of novel therapeutic approaches for NMDA receptor-dependent synaptic dysfunction. (...) - Mellone M. & Gardoni FEuropean Journal of Pharmacology

Volume 719, Issues 1–3, 5 November 2013, Pages 75–83

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A Model of Functional Brain Connectivity and Background Noise as a Biomarker for Cognitive Phenotypes: Application to Autism

A Model of Functional Brain Connectivity and Background Noise as a Biomarker for Cognitive Phenotypes: Application to Autism | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

We present an efficient approach to discriminate between typical and atypical brains from macroscopic neural dynamics recorded as magnetoencephalograms (MEG). Our approach is based on the fact that spontaneous brain activity can be accurately described with stochastic dynamics, as a multivariate Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process (mOUP). By fitting the data to a mOUP we obtain: 1) the functional connectivity matrix, corresponding to the drift operator, and 2) the traces of background stochastic activity (noise) driving the brain. We applied this method to investigate functional connectivity and background noise in juvenile patients (n = 9) with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and compared them to age-matched juvenile control subjects (n = 10). Our analysis reveals significant alterations in both functional brain connectivity and background noise in ASD patients. The dominant connectivity change in ASD relative to control shows enhanced functional excitation from occipital to frontal areas along a parasagittal axis. Background noise in ASD patients is spatially correlated over wide areas, as opposed to control, where areas driven by correlated noise form smaller patches. An analysis of the spatial complexity reveals that it is significantly lower in ASD subjects. Although the detailed physiological mechanisms underlying these alterations cannot be determined from macroscopic brain recordings, we speculate that enhanced occipital-frontal excitation may result from changes in white matter density in ASD, as suggested in previous studies. We also venture that long-range spatial correlations in the background noise may result from less specificity (or more promiscuity) of thalamo-cortical projections. All the calculations involved in our analysis are highly efficient and outperform other algorithms to discriminate typical and atypical brains with a comparable level of accuracy. Altogether our results demonstrate a promising potential of our approach as an efficient biomarker for altered brain dynamics associated with a cognitive phenotype. (...) - by Dominguer LG et al., PLoS ONE 8(4): e61493

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Major Discovery For Alzheimer\'s Disease

Major Discovery For Alzheimer\'s Disease | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

The Journal of Neuroscience has published a study led by researchers at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, the first and only U.S. extension of the prestigious Max Planck Society, that may hold a stunning breakthrough in the fight to treat Alzheimer's disease. The study potentially identifies a cause of Alzheimer's disease - based on a newly-discovered signaling pathway in cellular models of Alzheimer's disease - and opens the door for new treatments by successfully blocking this pathway. The Institute, which recently opened in December 2012, focuses solely on basic neuroscience research that aims to analyze, map, and decode the human brain - the most important and least understood organ in the body.(...)

The MPFI research indicates that the presence of Amyloid beta triggers increased levels of a signaling protein, called centaurin-alpha1 (CentA1), that appears to cause neuronal dysfunction - a potentially groundbreaking discovery that uncovers an important intermediary step in the progression of the disease. 
As part of the research, the scientists were able to identify CentA1 and measure its negative effects on neurons. Utilizing an RNA silencing technique, they turned down the cellular production of CentA1, and showed that affected neurons, exposed to Amyloid beta and exhibiting Alzheimer's related symptoms, returned to normal morphology and synaptic function, even with the continued presence of Amyloid beta. They further found that increased CentA1 activates a series of proteins, and these proteins form a signaling pathway from CentA1 to neuronal dysfunction. Thus, inhibiting other proteins in the pathway also "cured" affected neurons. (...) - Medical News Today, 21 March, 2013

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Learning and reconsolidation implicate different synaptic mechanisms

Learning and reconsolidation implicate different synaptic mechanisms | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

Synaptic mechanisms underlying memory reconsolidation after retrieval are largely unknown. Here we report that synapses in projections to the lateral nucleus of the amygdala implicated in auditory fear conditioning, which are potentiated by learning, enter a labile state after memory reactivation, and must be restabilized through a postsynaptic mechanism implicating the mammalian target of rapamycin kinase-dependent signaling. Fear-conditioning–induced synaptic enhancements were primarily presynaptic in origin. Reconsolidation blockade with rapamycin, inhibiting mammalian target of rapamycin kinase activity, suppressed synaptic potentiation in slices from fear-conditioned rats. Surprisingly, this reduction of synaptic efficacy was mediated by post- but not presynaptic mechanisms. These findings suggest that different plasticity rules may apply to the processes underlying the acquisition of original fear memory and postreactivational stabilization of fear-conditioning–induced synaptic enhancements mediating fear memory reconsolidation. - by Li Y. et al., PNASvol. 110 no. 12, 47984803


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Scientists construct first map of how the brain organizes everything we see

Scientists construct first map of how the brain organizes everything we see | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

Our eyes may be our window to the world, but how do we make sense of the thousands of images that flood our retinas each day? Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that the brain is wired to put in order all the categories of objects and actions that we see. They have created the first interactive map of how the brain organizes these groupings. (...) - By Yasmin Anwar, Media Relations UC Berkeley News Center, December 19, 2012 

Julien Hering, PhD's insight:

Here's the interactive map: http://gallantlab.org/semanticmovies/


More about this: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21728984.400-take-a-peek-inside-the-brains-filing-cabinet.html

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Emre Erdogan's curator insight, March 12, 2013 2:14 AM

Concepts and our brain

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[Review] TRPs in the Brain

[Review] TRPs in the Brain | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

[Abstract] The Transient receptor potential (TRP) family of cation channels is a large protein family, which is mainly structurally uniform. Proteins consist typically of six transmembrane domains and mostly four subunits are necessary to form a functional channel. Apart from this, TRP channels display a wide variety of activation mechanisms (ligand binding, G-protein coupled receptor dependent, physical stimuli such as temperature, pressure, etc.) and ion selectivity profiles (from highly Ca2+ selective to non-selective for cations). They have been described now in almost every tissue of the body, including peripheral and central neurons. Especially in the sensory nervous system the role of several TRP channels is already described on a detailed level. This review summarizes data that is currently available on their role in the central nervous system. TRP channels are involved in neurogenesis and brain development, synaptic transmission and they play a key role in the development of several neurological diseases. - by Vennekens R et al., Reviews of Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology Volume 163, 2012, pp 27-64 

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Jim Siders's curator insight, February 11, 2013 1:43 PM

Hmmmm.......getting deeper

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What is Creativity? Art as a Symptom of Brain Disease

What is Creativity? Art as a Symptom of Brain Disease | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

We don’t normally associate creativity with brain disease, but a recent paper published in Brain suggests that maybe we should. When we think of someone affected by a serious brain disorder, we imagine deterioration and loss of function, but a surprising new study shows that some people may actually develop artistic talent as a result of their brain disorder, and that in turn, their art can tell us about the nature of their brain disorder. (...) - by India Bohanna on Brain Blogger, September 23, 2012

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Jim Siders's curator insight, February 11, 2013 1:50 PM

look in the mirror maybe

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How digital culture is rewiring our brains

How digital culture is rewiring our brains | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

Our brains are superlatively evolved to adapt to our environment: a process known as neuroplasticity. The connections between our brain cells will be shaped, strengthened and refined by our individual experiences. It is this personalisation of the physical brain, driven by unique interactions with the external world, that arguably constitutes the biological basis of each mind, so what will happen to that mind if the external world changes in unprecedented ways, for example, with an all-pervasive digital technology? (...) - by Susan Greenfield in Sydney Morning Herald, August 7, 2012

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Jim Siders's curator insight, February 11, 2013 1:54 PM

digital ecosystem revisited

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Autaptic self-inhibition of cortical GABAergic neurons: Synaptic narcissism or useful introspection?

Autaptic self-inhibition of cortical GABAergic neurons: Synaptic narcissism or useful introspection? | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it
Highlights: 

-  Specific connectivity patterns between interneurons and excitatory cells.

- Cortical disinhibition is necessary for behavioral functions.

- Cortical disinhibition is provided by specific interneuron–interneuron connections.

- Autaptic self-inhibition of PV cells: a very efficient disinhibition stratagem.

- A dual role of autaptic inhibition in temporally coordinating PV basket cells. (...) - by Deleuze C et al., Current Opinion in Neurobiology, Volume 26, June 2014, Pages 64–71

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Neurophysiology of HCN channels: From cellular functions to multiple regulations

Neurophysiology of HCN channels: From cellular functions to multiple regulations | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it
Highlights
  • Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) cation channels are involved in multiple physiological processes.
  • HCN channels are excellent targets of various cellular signals to finely regulate neuronal responses to external stimuli.
  • Dysregulation of HCN channels is involved in a variety of neurological disorders.
by He C et al.Progress in NeurobiologyVolume 112, January 2014, Pages 1–23
Julien Hering, PhD's insight:

An interesting review about HCN these must-known ion channels that are involved in numerous physiological processes and brain diseases.

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Neuroscience thinks big (and collaboratively)

Despite cash-strapped times for research, several ambitious collaborative neuroscience projects have attracted large amounts of funding and media attention. In Europe, the Human Brain Project aims to develop a large-scale computer simulation of the brain, whereas in the United States, the Brain Activity Map is working towards establishing a functional connectome of the entire brain, and the Allen Institute for Brain Science has embarked upon a 10-year project to understand the mouse visual cortex (the MindScope project). US President Barack Obama's announcement of the BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative) in April 2013 highlights the political commitment to neuroscience and is expected to further foster interdisciplinary collaborations, accelerate the development of new technologies and thus fuel much needed medical advances. In this Viewpoint article, five prominent neuroscientists explain the aims of the projects and how they are addressing some of the questions (and criticisms) that have arisen. - by Kandel ER et al.Nature Reviews Neuroscience 14, 659–664 (2013) 

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The axon as a unique computational unit in neurons

The axon as a unique computational unit in neurons | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

[Review] In the mammalian cortex, axons are highly ramified and link an enormous number of neurons over large distances. The conventional view assumes that action potentials (APs) are initiated at the axon initial segment in an all-or-none fashion and are then self-propagated orthodromically along axon collaterals without distortion of the AP waveform. By contrast, recent experimental results suggest that the axonal AP waveform can be modified depending on the activation states of the ion channels and receptors on axonal cell membranes. This AP modulation can regulate neurotransmission to postsynaptic neurons. In addition, the latest studies have provided evidence that cortical axons can integrate somatic burst firings and promote activity-dependent ectopic AP generation, which may underlie the oscillogenesis of fast rhythmic network activity. These seminal observations indicate that axons can perform diverse functional operations that extend beyond the prevailing model of axon physiology. (...) - by Sasaki TNeuroscience ResearchVolume 75, Issue 2, February 2013, Pages 83–88

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Brain mapping reveals neurological basis of decision-making in rats

Brain mapping reveals neurological basis of decision-making in rats | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

Scientists at UC San Francisco have discovered how memory recall is linked to decision-making in rats, showing that measurable activity in one part of the brain occurs when rats in a maze are playing out memories that help them decide which way to turn. The more they play out these memories, the more likely they are to find their way correctly to the end of the maze. (...) - by UCSF, ScienceBlog

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12 talks on understanding the brain

12 talks on understanding the brain | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

[Videos] Read Montague is interested in the human dopamine system -- or, as he puts it in this illuminating talk from TEDGlobal 2012, that which makes us "chase sex, food and salt" and therefore survive. (...) - by Kate Torgovnick, TED blog, September 24, 2012

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Neural networks in psychiatry

Neural networks in psychiatry | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

[Abstract] Over the past three decades numerous imaging studies have revealed structural and functional brain abnormalities in patients with neuropsychiatric diseases. These structural and functional brain changes are frequently found in multiple, discrete brain areas and may include frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital cortices as well as subcortical brain areas. However, while the structural and functional brain changes in patients are found in anatomically separated areas, these are connected through (long distance) fibers, together forming networks. Thus, instead of representing separate (patho)-physiological entities, these local changes in the brains of patients with psychiatric disorders may in fact represent different parts of the same ‘elephant’, i.e., the (altered) brain network. Recent developments in quantitative analysis of complex networks, based largely on graph theory, have revealed that the brain's structure and functions have features of complex networks. Here we briefly introduce several recent developments in neural network studies relevant for psychiatry, including from the 2013 special issue on Neural Networks in Psychiatry in European Neuropsychopharmacology. We conclude that new insights will be revealed from the neural network approaches to brain imaging in psychiatry that hold the potential to find causes for psychiatric disorders and (preventive) treatments in the future. - by Pol HH et al., European Neuropsychopharmacology, in Press, Available online 8 February 2013

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Pain-related changes in the brain: diagnostic and therapeutic potentials

Pain-related changes in the brain: diagnostic and therapeutic potentials | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

[Review] Emerging evidence suggests that chronic pain is a disease that can alter brain function. Imaging studies have demonstrated structural remapping and functional reorganization of brain circuits under various pain conditions. In parallel, preclinical models have demonstrated that chronic pain causes long-term neuroplasticity. For example, thalamo–cortical oscillations are dysregulated and neurons in the sensory thalamus undergo ectopic firing linked to misexpression of membrane ion channels. In theory, physiological changes at the single-unit, multi-unit, and circuitry levels can be used as predictors of pain, and possibly to guide targeted neuromodulation of specific brain regions for therapeutic purposes. Therefore, multidisciplinary research into the mechanisms of pain-related phenomena in the brain may offer insights into novel approaches for the diagnosis, monitoring, and management of persistent pain. (...) - by Carl Y. Saab, Trends in Neurosciences, Volume 35, Issue 10, October 2012, Pages 629–637

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Early Isolation Impairs Brain Connections

Early Isolation Impairs Brain Connections | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

During the 1980s, thousands of infants in Romanian orphanages spent up to 20 hours a day lying untouched in their cribs, deprived of human contact. As they grew up, neurological and psychological tests confirmed a haunting phenomenon observed in other species, such as mice and rhesus monkeys: Early isolation and neglect can produce lasting cognitive damage, ranging from severe emotional instability to mental retardation. Now, researchers say they have discovered a possible explanation for why early neglect wreaks such havoc—isolation may stunt the growth of the brain cells that insulate neurons, resulting in slower communication between different areas of the brain. (...) - by Emily Underwood, ScienceNOW,  13 September 2012

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Jim Siders's curator insight, February 11, 2013 1:52 PM

as studied in orphanage

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Social Network Size Linked to Brain Size

Social Network Size Linked to Brain Size | Neuroscience_topics | Scoop.it

How and why the volume of the orbital prefrontal cortex is related to the size of social networks.

As humans, we aren't born with formidable armaments or defenses, nor are we the strongest, fastest, or biggest species, yet despite this we are amazingly successful. For a long time it was thought that this success was because our enlarged brains allows each of us to be smarter than our competitors: better at abstract thinking, better with tools and better at adapting our behavior to those of our prey and predators. But are these really the most significant skills our brains provide us with? (...) - by Michael HarréScientific American, August 7, 2012

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Jim Siders's curator insight, February 11, 2013 1:55 PM

how does this apply to Inclusive schools