Press Releases & News Articles: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Copyright 2012, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke en Press Release Saturday Sunday Altered protein shapes may explain differences in some brain diseases It only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch, and the same may be true of certain proteins in the brain. Studies have suggested that just one rogue protein (in this case, a protein that is misfolded or shaped the wrong way) can act as a seed, leading to the misfolding of nearby proteins. According to an NIH-funded study, various forms of these seeds — originating from the same protein — may lead to different patterns of misfolding that result in neurological disorders with unique sets of symptoms. Wed, 03 Jul 2013 00:00:00 EDT Minor Changes in Cardiovascular Health Reduce Chances of Stroke A report, published in Stroke, showed that small improvements in cardiovascular risk factors reduce the chances a person will suffer a stroke. The report is part of an ongoing national study called Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) which is funded by NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Thu, 06 Jun 2013 00:00:00 EDT Of Mice and Flies: A Cutting-Edge Method for Detecting Neurodegenerative Disease Targets Studying neurodegenerative diseases can be like investigating a crime. Scientists inspect damaged nervous tissue, or “the scene”, for suspicious molecules and then work backwards to explain how the suspects may have killed nerve cells. Recently two research groups, one in the United States and the other in the United Kingdom, collaborated to develop a new way to quickly round up many more suspects and test their “alibis”. Their results may lead to more effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and a variety of other neurodegenerative disorders. Thu, 16 May 2013 00:00:00 EDT Teenage Years in the “Stroke Belt” Drive up Risk Adolescence is inarguably a vulnerable time of life, but a new study suggests that spending it living in the southeastern United States region known as the “Stroke Belt” adds an extra hazard: It raises one’s risk of stroke later in life. Thu, 16 May 2013 00:00:00 EDT A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain Arteriovenous Malformations (ARUBA) Upon the recommendation of the ARUBA Data and Safety Monitoring Board, the NINDS has stopped enrollment of patient volunteers into the trial. Under the experimental conditions in this trial, the interim analysis of data collected to date shows that medical management is superior to intervention in patients with unruptured brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). The DSMB further recommended extended follow-up to determine whether the disparity in event rates will persist over time. Thu, 09 May 2013 00:00:00 EDT NIH study uses Botox to find new wrinkle in brain communication NIH researchers used the popular anti-wrinkle agent, Botox®, to discover a new and important role for a group of molecules that nerve cells use to quickly send messages. This novel role for the molecules, called SNARES, may be a missing step scientists have been searching for as a way to fully understand how brain cells communicate under normal and disease conditions. Thu, 02 May 2013 00:00:00 EDT NIH awards $40 million in grants to reduce stroke disparities in the U.S. Four research centers will develop high-impact culturally tailored interventions aimed at lowering stroke risk among racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. Together the centers are expected to receive $40 million in funding over five years, contingent on the availability of funds from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health. Wed, 01 May 2013 00:00:00 EDT Genetic Lassos May Steer Neurons Toward Survival During Lou Gehrig's Disease Cowboys use lassos to catch runaway horses and cattle. Recently, NINDS-funded researchers showed that genetic lassos may also be used to “round-up” toxic runaway molecules in neurons. Their results suggest that molecules, called RNA lariats, may effectively prevent nerve degeneration during amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Wed, 10 Apr 2013 00:00:00 EDT Big Cells in “Little Brain” may be Involved with Autism Nestled in the back and bottom part of the brain is a distinctive-looking region called the cerebellum. Nicknamed “the little brain,” the cerebellum is primarily known for controlling movement and coordination. Wed, 10 Apr 2013 00:00:00 EDT NIH-funded researchers create next-generation Alzheimer's disease model A new genetically engineered lab rat that has the full array of brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease supports the idea that increases in a molecule called beta-amyloid in the brain causes the disease, according to a study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health. Tue, 09 Apr 2013 00:00:00 EDT New Genetically Engineered Proteins Allow Scientists to Watch Nerve Cells Spark in Real Time Neurons send electric sparks from one end of the cell to another. The action potential, a distinctive change in voltage, is a hallmark of electric signaling in neurons. Usually researchers directly monitor these signals with cumbersome electrodes or toxic voltage-sensitive dyes, or indirectly with calcium detectors. For decades, they tried developing voltage-sensitive fluorescent proteins, called fluorogenetic voltage sensors, as a less-invasive alternative. In addition, these detectors could be used in specific types of neurons, including ones that are inaccessible with traditional methods. Previous attempts did not produce proteins sensitive enough to watch action potentials and subtle voltage changes in real time. Thu, 04 Apr 2013 00:00:00 EDT Learning may Spindle Tiny Parts of the Sleeping Brain How does the brain remember? A growing body of evidence suggests that sleep is important, especially a sleep stage called nonrapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. During NREM, the brain undergoes unique waves of electrical activity called sleep spindles. Previous studies suggested that spindles represent learning activity. Currently scientists are debating whether spindles occur synchronously, throughout the entire brain, or locally in the areas involved with something new. Thu, 04 Apr 2013 00:00:00 EDT