February 6, 2014 |
A generic blood pressure drug could prevent hyperactive brain cell firing associated with early stages of autism spectrum disorder, according to a new study. Injecting pregnant mice with Bumetanide, a diuretic, appears to correct a developmental switch flipped during childbirth that reverses the firing characteristics of neurons in newborns, according to a study published online Thursday in the journal Science. Bumetanide mimics the effects of oxytocin, a hormone released during labor that helps protect newborns from the stresses and complications of birth, the study found.
June 3, 2013 |
Hyperactive brain cells firing together could be an early indicator of autism and developmental disabilities, a team of UCLA researchers has found. Networks of neurons were found to be firing in a highly synchronized and seemingly unrelenting fashion, even through sleep, in the brains of juvenile mice that have a genetic abnormality similar to one that causes mental retardation and autism symptoms in humans, according to the research published online Monday in Nature Neuroscience.
August 2, 2011 |
It's all shrinking-brain stuff this week in the health news world, it seems. Yesterday, we reported that obesity (as well as smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure) in midlife causes brains to shrink at an accelerated clip. Today, we learn that dieting causes certain brain cells to start eating bits of themselves -- triggering a hunger response. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. This act of self-cannibalism was reported by scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the journal Cell Metabolism . It occurs in mice. But there's a very good chance it would also happen in our heads as well, since many metabolic processes are very similar between our two species -- especially ancient important ones such as "eat more when you're burning more calories than you're taking in. " The neurons in question are specific ones in the hypothalamus that are involved in appetite regulation. What happens is this: The neurons in starved mice start chomping on themselves in a process known technically as autophagy ("self-eat")
June 10, 2008
Fat cells: A June 2 Health section article on fat cells said that brain cells are never replaced. Although the body doesn't create new cells in the brain's cortex and cerebellum, it does continue to create cells, or neurons, in other parts of the brain.
November 20, 2013 |
The eyes may be the mirror of the soul, but for those with autism, the mouth will have to do. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center isolated neurons in the brain's amygdala that respond to facial expressions, and tested patients with autism against those without. Both groups could correctly identify a "happy" or "fearful" face, a function long associated with the amygdala. But when the researchers examined which neurons fired in relation to areas of the face, they found that those with autism "read" the information from the mouth area more than from the eyes and seemed to be lacking a population of nerve cells that respond only to images of eyes.
June 6, 2013 |
If you lived during the early Cold War, you got nuked. On the other hand, you may have grown new brain cells. That's the take-away of research in the journal Cell that calculated the growth of brain cells in adult brains by using an isotope of carbon that was picked up by humans from the fallout due to above-ground nuclear testing from the late 1940s to 1963. Neuroscientists have shifted from an old view that you'll never have more neurons than you had when your brain was a pup. Studies have suggested that adult brains generate new neurons, particularly in the hippocampus, an area crucial to learning and memory.