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NIH awards $35 Million for Centers for Collaborative Research in Fragile X
Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014
The National Institutes of Health is making funding awards of $35 million over the next five years to support the Centers for Collaborative Research in Fragile X program. Investigators at these centers will seek to better understand Fragile X-associated disorders and work toward developing effective treatments.
Scientists plug into a learning brain
Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014
Learning is easier when it only requires nerve cells to rearrange existing patterns of activity than when the nerve cells have to generate new patterns, a study of monkeys has found. The scientists explored the brain’s capacity to learn through recordings of electrical activity of brain cell networks. The study was partly funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Monthly blood transfusions reduce sickle cell anemia-related brain injury in children
Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014
Regular blood transfusions prevent recurrent blockage of brain blood vessels, a serious neurological side effect that occurs in one third of children with sickle cell anemia, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The findings appear in the Aug. 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Scientists use lasers to control mouse brain switchboard
Thursday, Aug 14, 2014
Ever wonder why it’s hard to focus after a bad night’s sleep? Using mice and flashes of light, scientists show that just a few nerve cells in the brain may control the switch between internal thoughts and external distractions. The study, partly funded by the National Institutes of Health, may be a breakthrough in understanding how a critical part of the brain, called the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN), influences consciousness.
NIH scientists find six new genetic risk factors for Parkinson’s
Sunday, Jul 27, 2014
A new international study has taken number crunching to the extreme. Using data from over 18,000 patients, scientists identified more than two dozen genetic risk factors involved in Parkinson’s disease, including six that had not been previously reported. The study, published in Nature Genetics, was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and led by scientists working in NIH laboratories.
Brain tumor invasion along blood vessels may lead to new cancer treatments
Tuesday, Jul 8, 2014
Invading glioblastoma cells may hijack cerebral blood vessels during early stages of disease progression and damage the brain’s protective barrier, a study in mice indicates. This finding could ultimately lead to new ways to bring about the death of the tumor, as therapies may be able to reach these deadly cells at an earlier time point than was previously thought possible.
NIH scientists take totally tubular journey through brain cells
Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014
In a new study, scientists at the National Institutes of Health took a molecular-level journey into microtubules, the hollow cylinders inside brain cells that act as skeletons and internal highways. They watched how a protein called tubulin acetyltransferase (TAT) labels the inside of microtubules. The results, published in Cell, answer long-standing questions about how TAT tagging works and offer clues as to why it is important for brain health.
NIH embraces bold, 12-year scientific vision for BRAIN Initiative
Thursday, Jun 5, 2014
A federal report calls for $4.5 billion in funding for brain research over the next 12 years. The long-term scientific vision of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative was presented today to National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., by his Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD). Dr. Collins accepted the recommendations, calling the report bold and game changing.
Shining a light on memory
Sunday, Jun 1, 2014
Using a flash of light, scientists have inactivated and then reactivated a memory in genetically engineered rats. The study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, is the first cause-and-effect evidence that strengthened connections between neurons are the stuff of memory.
Federal pain research database launched
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
The Interagency Pain Research Portfolio (IPRP), a database that provides information about pain research and training activities supported by the federal government, has been launched by six federal agencies.
Scientists take a close-up of key pain-sensing molecule
Friday, May 16, 2014
A revolutionary microscopy technique could help design better treatments for chronic pain
Worms surprise scientists with hints that stress can guard nerves
Friday, May 16, 2014
Taut springs guard worm’s sensory neurons during flexing and help respond to touch, an NIH-funded study reports
Longevity gene may boost brain power
Friday, May 9, 2014
Scientists showed that people who have a variant of a longevity gene, called KLOTHO, have improved brain skills such as thinking, learning and memory regardless of their age, sex, or whether they have a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Increasing KLOTHO gene levels in mice made them smarter, possibly by increasing the strength of connections between nerve cells in the brain.
Preliminary results show improvement in MS symptoms
Tuesday, Apr 29, 2014
Combining the estrogen hormone estriol with Copaxone, a drug indicated for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), may improve symptoms in patients with the disorder, according to preliminary results from a clinical study of 158 patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
Eavesdropping on brain cell chatter
Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014
Everything we do — all of our movements, thoughts and feelings – are the result of neurons talking with one another, and recent studies have suggested that some of the conversations might not be all that private. Brain cells known as astrocytes may be listening in on, or even participating in, some of those discussions.
Too much protein may kill brain cells as Parkinson’s progresses
Thursday, Apr 10, 2014
Scientists may have discovered how the most common genetic cause of Parkinson’s disease destroys brain cells and devastates many patients worldwide. The study was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS); the results may help scientists develop new therapies.
NIH celebrates grand opening of John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center
Monday, Mar 31, 2014
The National Institutes of Health will host a scientific symposium and a dedication ceremony March 31- April 1, 2014, to celebrate the completion of the John Edward Porter Neuroscience Research Center. This state of the art facility brings together neuroscientists from 10 institutes and centers across the NIH in an effort to spur new advances in our understanding of the nervous system in health and disease.
3-D changes in DNA may lead to a genetic form of Lou Gehrig’s disease
Wednesday, Mar 5, 2014
New findings reveal how a mutation, a change in the genetic code that causes neurodegeneration, alters the shape of DNA, making cells more vulnerable to stress and more likely to die.
NIH announces six funding opportunities for the BRAIN Initiative in fiscal 2014
Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013
The National Institutes of Health is releasing funding opportunities to build a new arsenal of tools and technologies for unlocking the mysteries of the brain. The NIH action is in support of President Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.
NIH and NFL tackle concussion research
Monday, Dec 16, 2013
The National Institutes of Health has selected eight projects to receive support to answer some of the most fundamental problems on traumatic brain injury, including understanding long-term effects of repeated head injuries and improving diagnosis of concussions.
Study breaks blood-brain barriers to understanding Alzheimer’s
Friday, Dec 13, 2013
Researchers used mice to show how a breakdown of the brain’s blood vessels may amplify or cause problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The results published in Nature Communications suggest that blood vessel cells, called pericytes, may provide novel targets for treatments and diagnoses.
NIH network revolutionizes stroke clinical research
Thursday, Dec 12, 2013
A network of 25 regional stroke centers working with nearby satellite facilities will span the country, have teams of researchers representing every medical specialty needed for stroke care and will address the three prongs of stroke research: prevention, treatment and recovery. The Centers were announced today by the National Institutes of Health.
Concussion secrets unveiled in mice and people
Sunday, Dec 8, 2013
There is more than meets the eye following even a mild traumatic brain injury. While the brain may appear to be intact, new findings reported in Nature suggest that the brain’s protective coverings may feel the brunt of the impact.
NeuroBioBank gives researchers one-stop access to post-mortem brains
Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013
To expedite research on brain disorders, the National Institutes of Health is shifting from a limited funding role to coordinating a Web-based resource for sharing post-mortem brain tissue. Under a NIH NeuroBioBank initiative, five brain banks will begin collaborating in a tissue sharing network for the neuroscience community.
Gene-silencing study finds new targets for Parkinson’s disease
Monday, Nov 25, 2013
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have used RNA interference (RNAi) technology to reveal dozens of genes which may represent new therapeutic targets for treating Parkinson’s disease. The findings also may be relevant to several diseases caused by damage to mitochondria, the biological power plants found in cells throughout the body.
Novel medical treatment is more effective than brain stents for stroke prevention
Saturday, Oct 26, 2013
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and is often the result of blood vessel narrowing due to buildup of cholesterol in brain blood vessels. A new report, published in Lancet, details long-term outcomes of a study that compared aggressive medical therapy with surgically implanted stents to open narrowed brain blood vessels for the prevention of stroke. This clinical trial was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.
Brain may flush out toxins during sleep
Thursday, Oct 17, 2013
A good night’s rest may literally clear the mind. Using mice, researchers showed for the first time that the space between brain cells may increase during sleep, allowing the brain to flush out toxic neurodegenerative molecules that build up during waking hours. These results suggest a new role for sleep in health and disease. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the NIH.
NIH-funded study suggests brain is hard-wired for chronic pain
Tuesday, Sep 17, 2013
The structure of the brain may predict whether a person will suffer chronic low back pain, according to researchers who used brain scans. The results, published in the journal Pain, support the growing idea that the brain plays a critical role in chronic pain, a concept that may lead to changes in the way doctors treat patients. The research was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.
New members selected for National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council
Thursday, Sep 12, 2013
Four distinguished individuals have been selected to join the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council, the principal advisory body to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.
Statement on the Termination of NET-PD LS-1 Study
Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013
On September 11, 2013, the NINDS stopped the NET-PD LS-1 study of creatine for treatment of early stage Parkinson's disease, acting on the recommendation of the study's Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB).
Closing in on risk factors for cerebral palsy and infant death
Monday, Sep 9, 2013
Karin B. Nelson, M.D., scientist emeritus at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health, and her colleagues from the University of Sydney, the University of Western Australia and Sydney Adventist Hospital in Australia examined the degree to which four specific risk factors contributed to cerebral palsy and young infant death.
Scientists fish for new epilepsy model and reel in potential drug
Tuesday, Sep 3, 2013
According to new research on epilepsy, zebrafish have certainly earned their stripes. Results of a study in Nature Communications suggest that zebrafish carrying a specific mutation may help researchers discover treatments for Dravet syndrome (DS), a severe form of pediatric epilepsy that results in drug-resistant seizures and developmental delays.
NIH-funded study discovers new genes for childhood epilepsies
Sunday, Aug 11, 2013
A genetic study of childhood epilepsies has linked two new genes to severe forms of disease and provides a novel strategy for identifying therapy targets. This study used a cutting-edge genetic technique, called exome sequencing, to search for new mutations that are not inherited. The results suggest this may be a highly effective way to find and confirm many disease-causing gene mutations.
Scientists watch live brain cell circuits spark and fire
Thursday, Aug 8, 2013
Scientists used fruit flies to show for the first time that a new class of genetically engineered proteins can be used to watch electrical activity in individual brain cells in live brains. The results, published in Cell, suggest these proteins may be a promising new tool for mapping brain cell activity in multiple animals and for studying how neurological disorders disrupt normal nerve cell signaling. Understanding brain cell activity is a high priority of the President’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.
NIH launches neurological drug development projects
Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013
The National Institutes of Health has launched three innovative projects that will focus on development of therapeutics for Fragile X syndrome, nicotine addiction, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). These projects are funded through the NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network which provides access to a variety of drug development resources.
Silky brain implants may help stop spread of epilepsy
Thursday, Jul 25, 2013
Silk has walked straight off the runway and into the lab. According to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, silk implants placed in the brain of laboratory animals and designed to release a specific chemical, adenosine, may help stop the progression of epilepsy. The research was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), which are part of the National Institutes of Health.
NIH researchers discover how brain cells change their tune
Thursday, Jul 25, 2013
Brain cells talk to each other in a variety of tones. Sometimes they speak loudly but other times struggle to be heard. For many years scientists have asked why and how brain cells change tones so frequently. Today National Institutes of Health researchers showed that brief bursts of chemical energy coming from rapidly moving power plants, called mitochondria, may tune brain cell communication.
For a healthy brain, don’t let the trash pile up
Sunday, Jul 21, 2013
Recycling is not only good for the environment, it’s good for the brain. A study using rat cells indicates that quickly clearing out defective proteins in the brain may prevent loss of brain cells.
NIH-funded study suggests that moving more may lower stroke risk
Thursday, Jul 18, 2013
Here’s yet another reason to get off the couch: new research findings suggest that regularly breaking a sweat may lower the risk of having a stroke. A stroke can occur when a blood vessel in the brain gets blocked. As a result, nearby brain cells will die after not getting enough oxygen and other nutrients. A number of risk factors for stroke have been identified, including smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and being inactive.
Altered protein shapes may explain differences in some brain diseases
Wednesday, Jul 3, 2013
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.
Minor Changes in Cardiovascular Health Reduce Chances of Stroke
Thursday, Jun 6, 2013
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.
Of Mice and Flies: A Cutting-Edge Method for Detecting Neurodegenerative Disease Targets
Thursday, May 16, 2013
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.
Teenage Years in the “Stroke Belt” Drive up Risk
Thursday, May 16, 2013
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.
A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain Arteriovenous Malformations (ARUBA)
Thursday, May 9, 2013
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.
NIH study uses Botox to find new wrinkle in brain communication
Thursday, May 2, 2013
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.
NIH awards $40 million in grants to reduce stroke disparities in the U.S.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
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.
Genetic Lassos May Steer Neurons Toward Survival During Lou Gehrig's Disease
Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013
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.
Big Cells in “Little Brain” may be Involved with Autism
Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013
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.
NIH-funded researchers create next-generation Alzheimer's disease model
Tuesday, Apr 9, 2013
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.
New Genetically Engineered Proteins Allow Scientists to Watch Nerve Cells Spark in Real Time
Thursday, Apr 4, 2013
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.
Learning may Spindle Tiny Parts of the Sleeping Brain
Thursday, Apr 4, 2013
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.
Imaging acute ischemic stroke patients’ brains did not lead to improved outcomes
Friday, Feb 8, 2013
The use of advanced imaging shortly after the onset of acute stroke failed to identify a subgroup of patients who could benefit from a clot-removal procedure, a study has found.
Clot-retrieval devices failed to improve stroke-related disability
Thursday, Feb 7, 2013
A stroke survivor’s chances of living independently after 90 days are not improved by the use of devices inserted into the artery to dissolve or remove a stroke-causing clot shortly after the onset of symptoms, according to a randomized controlled trial involving 656 patients.
Reflex control could improve walking after incomplete spinal injuries
Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013
A training regimen to adjust the body’s motor reflexes may help improve mobility for some people with incomplete spinal cord injuries, according to a study funded by NINDS. During training, participants were instructed to suppress a reflex elicited by a small shock to the leg. Those who were able to calm hyperactive reflexes – a common effect of spinal cord injuries – saw improvements in their walking.
NIH launches collaborative effort to find biomarkers for Parkinson’s
Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013
NINDS has launched a new initiative to help researchers investigate biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease, and to help patients learn about and participate in such studies. So far, the NINDS Parkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program has funded nine research teams. To support collaboration across these projects and others, the PDBP is introducing a new online platform for investigators to share their data.
NIH-funded researchers show possible trigger for MS nerve damage
Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012
High-resolution real-time images show in mice how nerves may be damaged during the earliest stages of multiple sclerosis. The results suggest that the critical step happens when fibrinogen, a blood-clotting protein, leaks into the central nervous system and activates immune cells called microglia.
Research breakthrough selectively represses the immune system
Monday, Nov 19, 2012
In a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have developed innovative technology to selectively inhibit the part of the immune system responsible for attacking myelin—the insulating material that encases nerve fibers. Their approach involved attaching myelin to microparticles, and using it as a decoy to thwart the immune attack.
Migraine-associated brain changes not related to impaired cognition
Tuesday, Nov 13, 2012
Women with migraines did not appear to experience a decline in cognitive ability over time compared to those who didn’t have them, according to a nine-year follow up study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
MRI and EEG could identify children at risk for epilepsy after febrile seizures
Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012
Febrile seizures during childhood are usually benign, but when prolonged, they can foreshadow an increased risk of epilepsy later. A new study suggests that brain imaging and recordings of brain activity could help identify the children at highest risk. It shows that within days of a prolonged febrile seizure, some children have signs of acute brain injury, abnormal brain anatomy, and/or altered brain activity.
Two NIH landmark studies show power of epidemiology research; underscore need to address health disparities
Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012
Heart disease risk factors are widespread among Hispanic/Latino adults in the United States, with 80 percent of men and 71 percent of women having at least one risk factor for heart disease, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health; Researchers from the NIH-supported REGARDS study found that black men and women were about twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease (CHD) compared with their age-matched white counterparts.
Breaking News from Society for Neuroscience 2012
Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012
Hundreds of NIH-funded studies are being presented at the 2012 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting. Here, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has highlighted a selection of studies and events led by our grantees.
NIH researchers provide detailed view of brain protein structure
Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012
Researchers have published the first highly detailed description of how neurotensin, a neuropeptide hormone which modulates nerve cell activity in the brain, interacts with its receptor. Their results suggest that neuropeptide hormones use a novel binding mechanism to activate a class of receptors called G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs).
NIH–sponsored workshop calls for more detailed reporting in animal studies
Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012
A workshop sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has produced a set of consensus recommendations to improve the design and reporting of animal studies. By making animal studies easier to replicate and interpret, the workshop recommendations are expected to help funnel promising therapies to patients.
National Neurological Disorders and Stroke Advisory Council welcomes four new members
Thursday, Sep 20, 2012
The NINDS announced that four new members have joined its National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council: E. Antonio Chiocca, M.D., Ph.D., David B. Goldstein, Ph.D., Byron D. Ford, Ph.D., and Amy Comstock Rick, J.D. The council serves as the principal advisory body to NINDS regarding the institute’s research program planning and priorities.
Aspirin-clopidogrel no better than aspirin alone for patients with lacunar stroke
Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012
An NIH-funded trial has found that aspirin combined with the antiplatelet drug clopidogrel is no better than aspirin alone for stroke prevention in people with a history of lacunar strokes, which are typically small strokes that occur deep within the brain. The trial also found that whether patients received aspirin or the dual therapy, their stroke risk was reduced more than three-fold from what it was 10 years ago.
NIH researchers implicate unique cell type in multiple sclerosis
Wednesday, Aug 1, 2012
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found evidence that a unique type of immune cell contributes to multiple sclerosis (MS). Their discovery helps define the effects of one of the newest drugs under investigation for treating MS – daclizumab – and could lead to a new class of drugs for treating MS and other autoimmune disorders.
New gene mutations linked to ALS and nerve cell growth dysfunction
Sunday, Jul 15, 2012
Researchers have linked newly discovered gene mutations to some cases of the progressive fatal neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Shedding light on how ALS destroys the cells and leads to paralysis, the researchers found that mutations in this gene affect the structure and growth of nerve cells.
Patient-derived stem cells could improve drug research for Parkinson's
Wednesday, Jul 4, 2012
Researchers have taken a step toward better drug therapies for Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease by investigating signs of distress and vulnerability in patient-derived cells. Cells derived from patients with Parkinson's had different responses to drug treatments depending on the type of Parkinson's each patient had. These are the latest advances from the NINDS iPS cell consortia.
First cases of degenerative brain disease CTE found in veterans with blast injuries
Friday, Jun 29, 2012
Some veterans who experience blast-related head injuries can develop the same kind of long-term brain damage seen in athletes who have had multiple head injuries on the playing field. The finding expands the potential public health impact of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) – the name for degenerative changes in the brain that sometimes occur after a history of multiple concussions.
NIH-supported study shows how immune cells change wiring of the developing mouse brain
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Researchers show how immune cells in the brain target and remove unused connections, or synapses, between neurons during normal development. Immune cells known as microglia respond to neuronal activity to select synapses to prune, and eliminate synapses in the way that bacterial cells or other pathogenic debris are eliminated.
Paralyzed individuals use thought-controlled robotic arm to reach and grasp
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
A trial funded in part by NIH is evaluating the BrainGate neural interface system, an investigational device intended to put robotics and other assistive technology under the brain's control. Two trial participants – both paralyzed by stroke years ago – learned to use the BrainGate to make complex reach-and-grasp movements with a robotic arm, simply by imagining they were using their own arms.
NIH-funded research provides new clues on how ApoE4 affects Alzheimer's risk
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Common variants of the ApoE gene are strongly associated with the risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease, but the gene's role in the disease has been unclear. NIH-funded researchers have found that in mice, the most risky variant of ApoE triggers an inflammatory reaction and damages the blood vessels that feed the brain. An inflammatory molecule called cyclophilin A could be a new target for therapy.
Tai chi helps Parkinson’s patients with balance and fall prevention
Thursday, May 10, 2012
For Parkinson’s disease, exercise routines are often recommended to help maintain stability and the coordinated movements necessary for everyday living. An NIH-funded study evaluated three different forms of exercise – resistance training, stretching, and tai chi – and found that tai chi led to the greatest overall improvements in balance and stability for patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease.
How nervous systems adapt to extreme environments (It's not always DNA)
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Like all machines, ion channels – the machines that power nerve cell firing and muscle contraction – operate less efficiently in the cold. That poses a challenge for animals that live in icy environments. A new study shows that octopi in polar climates solve the problem by modifying their ion channels through a process called RNA editing.
Up close with opioid receptors
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Researchers have taken the closest-yet look at the structures of opioid receptors. Drugs that target these receptors are widely prescribed for treating acute and chronic pain, but their long-term use carries a risk of addiction and tolerance. The new findings might aid development of safer painkillers and addiction-fighting medications.
‘Anti-aging’ genes have anti-Huntington’s effects in mice
Monday, Apr 30, 2012
Sirtuins have been implicated in promoting longer life, but recently some scientists have begun to think that the genes influence the susceptibility to age-related diseases, rather than the aging process itself. Now two studies have found that boosting the levels of the sirtuin-1 gene reduces the loss of brain tissue in mouse models of Huntington’s disease.
Brain-activated muscle stimulation restores monkeys’ hand movement after paralysis
Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012
An artificial connection between the brain and muscles can restore complex hand movements in monkeys following paralysis. Researchers developed a neuroprosthetic system that uses a brain-computer interface (BCI) to provide functional electric stimulation (FES) to paralyzed muscles in the arm, allowing brain-controlled muscle contactions and restoring movement.
Dr. Rajesh Ranganathan named director of NINDS Office of Translational Research
Wednesday, Mar 14, 2012
Rajesh Ranganathan, Ph.D., a leading scientific expert in translational research, has been named director of the Office of Translational Research (OTR) at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. In this role, he will lead the institute’s efforts to convert basic and clinical research results into new treatments for patients more quickly and effectively.
Blockade of learning and memory genes may occur early in Alzheimer's disease
Wednesday, Feb 29, 2012
A repression of gene activity in the brain appears to be an early event affecting people with Alzheimer's disease, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have found. In mouse models of Alzheimer's disease, this epigenetic blockade and its effects on memory were treatable.
Autoinjectors offer way to treat prolonged seizures
Wednesday, Feb 15, 2012
Drug delivery into muscle using an autoinjector, akin to the EpiPen used to treat serious allergic reactions, is faster and may be a more effective way to stop status epilepticus, a prolonged seizure lasting longer than five minutes, according to a study sponsored by NIH. Status epilepticus is a potentially life-threatening emergency, and is usually treated with anticonvulsant drugs delivered intravenously.
Members of new Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee announced
Monday, Feb 13, 2012
NIH announced the members of the new Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee chaired by NINDS Director Story Landis, Ph.D. The IPRCC includes researchers, members of nonprofit public advocacy organizations, and representatives from 7 federal agencies that deal with pain research and patient care.
NIH-funded twin study finds occupational chemical exposure may be linked to Parkinson’s risk
Monday, Nov 14, 2011
New research in twins contributes to the increasing evidence that repeated occupational exposure to certain chemical solvents raises the risk for Parkinson’s disease. Of the six chemicals investigated, researchers concluded that two common chemical solvents, trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PERC), are significantly linked to development of this disease.
Ultrathin flexible brain implant offers unique look at seizures in NIH-funded research
Sunday, Nov 13, 2011
NIH-funded researchers have developed a flexible brain implant that could one day be used to treat epileptic seizures. In animal studies, the researchers used the device – a type of electrode array – to take an unprecedented look at brain activity during seizures. Someday, these arrays could be used to pinpoint where seizures start in the brain and perhaps to shut them down, the researchers say.
NIH study finds stroke risk factors may lead to cognitive problems
Tuesday, Nov 8, 2011
Having common risk factors for stroke can lead to cognitive problems without causing a full-blown stroke. The new findings come from the REGARDS study, an effort to track stroke risk and cognitive health in Americans 45 and older. One of the strongest predictors of cognitive decline was high systolic blood pressure, with each 10 mm Hg increase bumping up the risk by 4 percent.
NINDS Lab Helps Track a Viral Brain Disease
Friday, Oct 28, 2011
NINDS intramural scientists led by Eugene Major have developed a sensitive laboratory assay to detect JC virus. The test has become an important resource for diagnosing cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy or PML, a brain disease that is a rare side effect associated with some monoclonal antibody therapies used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune disorders.
Genetic mutation linked to inherited forms of ALS, dementia
Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011
Researchers have identified the most common genetic cause known to date for two neurological diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). A mutation in a single gene on chromosome 9 accounts for nearly 50 percent of familial ALS and FTD in Finland, and more than a third of familial ALS in other groups of European ancestry.
YouTube videos can inaccurately depict Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders
Wednesday, Sep 21, 2011
After reviewing the most frequently watched YouTube videos about movement disorders, a group of neurologists found that the people in the videos often do not have a movement disorder. As described in a Letter to the Editor in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, such medical misinformation may confuse patients seeking health information and advice online.
Four new members appointed to National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council
Monday, Sep 12, 2011
The NINDS announced that four new members have joined its National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council: David M. Holtzman, M.D., David D. Ginty, Ph.D., Paul H. Gross, and Kevin St. P. McNaught, Ph.D. The council serves as the principal advisory body to NINDS regarding the institute’s research program planning and priorities.
NIH-funded research points to potential therapy for tumor-associated epilepsy
Sunday, Sep 11, 2011
Brain tumors called gliomas are often associated with seizures, but why the seizures occur and how to effectively treat them have been elusive. New research shows that gliomas release excess levels of the brain chemical glutamate, overstimulating neurons and triggering seizures. Sulfasalazine, a drug on the market for treating certain inflammatory disorders, reduced seizures in mice with gliomas.
NIH stroke prevention trial has immediate implications for clinical practice
Wednesday, Sep 7, 2011
Patients at a high risk for a second stroke who received intensive medical treatment had fewer strokes and deaths than patients who received a brain stent in addition to the medical treatment, a large nationwide clinical trial has shown. New enrollment in the study was stopped in April because early data showed significantly more strokes and deaths occurred among the stented patients at the 30-day mark.
NIH database will speed research toward better prevention, diagnosis and treatment of TBI
Monday, Aug 29, 2011
NIH, in partnership with the Department of Defense, is building the Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Research (FITBIR) database. The database is expected to accelerate research toward better treatment and diagnosis of TBI by making it easier to compare results across studies.
NIH Blueprint empowers drug development for nervous system disorders
Thursday, Aug 18, 2011
The NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research has made awards to investigators across the United States for an ambitious set of projects seeking to develop new drugs for disorders of the nervous system. The projects are part of the NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network, which will be funded at up to $50 million over the next five years.
New model of ALS is based on human cells from autopsied tissue
Thursday, Aug 11, 2011
By isolating cells from patients' spinal tissue within a few days after death, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have developed a new model of the paralyzing disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). They found that during the disease, cells called astrocytes become toxic to nerve cells – a result previously found in animal models but not in humans.
In U.S. Southeast, Cognitive Decline Could Identify Those at High Risk for Stroke
Wednesday, Jul 20, 2011
New research shows that in addition to facing a higher risk of stroke, people living in a part of the Southeastern U.S. known as the Stroke Belt are also at higher risk for cognitive decline as they age. The findings, from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, suggest that cognitive decline could be a marker for changes in the brain that increase stroke risk.
Diffusion Tensor Imaging May Shed Light on Soldiers' Brain Injuries
Wednesday, Jul 13, 2011
More than a hundred thousand soldiers have returned from combat in the Middle East with traumatic brain injuries. Despite devastating consequences, many of these injuries are difficult to see on brain scans. In a new study, researchers found that a method called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) may be more sensitive than conventional scans for detecting signs of brain damage in these cases.
Scientists Could Turn Natural Enzyme into Defense against Man-Made Nerve Agents
Friday, Jul 1, 2011
Organophosphate-based nerve agents, first manufactured by German scientists during World War II, continue to pose a potential threat to people around the world. With support from the NIH Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) program, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel are working to turn a natural enzyme into a drug capable of breaking down organophosphates.
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Give Investigators a New Window into Neurological Disease
Friday, Jun 24, 2011
It is possible to take a sample of skin cells and induce them to behave like embryonic stem cells. Scientists are using these so-called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to study disease mechanisms and test potential therapeutic drugs. In 2009, NINDS funded three consortia to develop iPS cell lines from individuals with Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Huntington’s disease.
A Mitochondrial Meltdown in Huntington's Disease?
Friday, Jun 17, 2011
A study in Nature Medicine shows that the cellular energy factories known as mitochondria become fragmented in cells affected by Huntington's disease. Normal mitochondria have a dynamic structure, fusing together and splitting apart, but in Huntington's, an enzyme called DRP1 may shift the balance toward splitting. The enzyme could be a target for therapy.
Dystonia Can Originate in Part of the Brain Commonly Overlooked
Friday, Jun 17, 2011
The exact causes of dystonia vary and are not well understood in the majority of cases, but for decades the disorder has been linked to abnormalities in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia. A study published in Nature Neuroscience lends support to the notion that a brain structure called the cerebellum also plays an important role.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy May Also Affect Sensory Neurons
Thursday, Jun 2, 2011
Until recently, most researchers thought that problems with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) began exclusively in motor neurons, the cells that transmit signals from the spinal cord to muscles. New results suggest for the first time that SMA may also affect sensory neurons, the cells that transmit movements and sensations to the spinal cord.
In NIH-Funded Trial, Man with Spinal Cord Injury Stands after Specialized Physical Therapy and Spinal Stimulation
Friday, May 20, 2011
After intensive physical therapy and electric stimulation to the spine, a man with a paralyzing spinal cord injury has recovered the ability to stand. He is the first of five individuals being studied in an NIH-funded trial of this approach, led by scientists at the University of Louisville and UCLA.
While Probing Activity of New Multiple Sclerosis Drug, NIH Researchers Uncover Inner Workings of the Immune System
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Daclizumab quiets the abnormal immune reactions that occur in people with multiple sclerosis by targeting a single molecule on immune cells. Research from NIH reveals new insights into how the drug works, and into the basic biology of the immune system.
Advanced Brain Scanning Technique Reveals the Potentially Long-Lasting Effects of Concussions
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Concussions used to be thought of as simple injuries. Nowhere was this view more prevalent than in sports, where common practice dictated that players could quickly return to the field once symptoms ended. Now researchers are learning that sports-related concussions are very complicated injuries and that even the mildest ones may cause hidden, long-lasting problems.
Cancer Drug Could Be Repurposed to Treat Spinal Cord Injuries
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Research shows that the chemotherapy drug taxol (also called paclitaxel) could help improve recovery from spinal cord injuries. Writing in Science,* a team led by Frank Bradke, Ph.D., of the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried, Germany reports that taxol helps repair spinal connections and improves walking in rats with spinal cord damage.
Large NIH Funded Rehabilitation Study Looks at Getting Stroke Patients Back on Their Feet
Friday, Feb 11, 2011
In a large study, stroke patients who received intensive physical therapy improved their ability to walk just as well as those treated with a more complex rehabilitation program involving a body weight-supported treadmill. The study also found that patients continued to improve up to one year after stroke, defying conventional wisdom that recovery occurs early and tops out at six months.
National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council Welcomes Six New Members
Thursday, Feb 3, 2011
The NINDS announced that six new members have joined its National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council, the Institute’s principal advisory body regarding research program planning and priorities. The new members are Ben A. Barres, PhD, Robert B. Darnell, MD, PhD, Sharon E. Hesterlee, PhD, Eve Esther Marder, PhD, Robert Enrico Pacifici, PhD, and Amita Sehgal, PhD.
Researchers Investigate Genes Involved in Brain Repair after Stroke
Friday, Jan 28, 2011
A stroke leaves an area of nonviable brain tissue surrounded by a halo of surviving cells. A fraction of these surviving neurons grows vigorously, sprouting new branches, making new connections and contributing to recovery. A new study shows that there are unique genetic programs associated with this growth, and that these programs change dramatically with age.
New Links Found between Familial and Sporadic ALS
Friday, Dec 17, 2010
After 1993, when mutations in the SOD1 protein were first connected to familial ALS, SOD1 became the most studied protein in ALS research. However, there have been doubts about SOD1's relevance to sporadic ALS (sALS). A new study in Nature Neuroscience shows that in people with sALS, it is possible to detect SOD1 protein that is genetically normal but has properties similar to mutant SOD1.
Glowing Results: Brain Mapping Tool Proves Reliable Over Time
Friday, Dec 10, 2010
Diffusion tensor imaging, or DTI, enables neuroscientists to visualize the nerve fibers that connect different parts of the brain. This advance in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tracks the water diffusion through white matter, illuminating the brain’s circuitry. A recent study confirmed that fiber tracking can provide a reliable tool for studying white matter properties over time.
Impaired Clearance, Not Overproduction of Toxic Proteins, May Underlie Alzheimer’s Disease
Thursday, Dec 9, 2010
In Alzheimer’s disease, a protein fragment called beta-amyloid accumulates at abnormally high levels in the brain. Now researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have found that in the most common, late-onset form of Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid is produced in the brain at a normal rate but is not cleared, or removed from the brain, efficiently.
Parkinson’s Disease: More Signs of Mitochondrial Damage and Hope for Repair
Wednesday, Dec 8, 2010
New research supports a theory that cellular energy factories called mitochondria play a central role in Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, drugs capable of jumpstarting mitochondria, including one drug currently on the market for diabetes, could help fight the disease. The research shows that hundreds of genes needed for mitochondrial function are less active in people with Parkinson’s.
Taking Aim at a Rogue Gene may Yield New Drugs for Parkinson’s Disease
Monday, Nov 29, 2010
Mutations in the LRRK2 gene are the most common known cause of Parkinson’s disease. In experiments on mice, researchers think they have found a class of organic compounds that can limit the damaging effects of such mutations in the brain. Preparations are underway to test these compounds in a monkey model of Parkinson’s disease.
Spinocerebellar Ataxia 2 Gene is a Risk Gene for ALS
Friday, Nov 26, 2010
A recent study links sporadic ALS to a stutter-like mutation in the ataxin-2 gene. This same kind of mutation is known to be the culprit in another rare neurological disease, spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2). “Having an expansion in the ataxin-2 gene does not necessarily cause ALS, but it does increase the risk for it,” said Aaron Gitler, Ph.D, a cell biologist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Therapeutic Strategy for Huntington’s Disease Could Focus on Containing Cell ‘Shrapnel’
Wednesday, Nov 24, 2010
Writing in the journal Neuron,* investigators report that enzymes involved in ailments from stroke to cancer also play a role in Huntington’s disease. Blocking the function of these enzymes, called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), is beneficial in cell and animal models of Huntington’s, and could be an effective therapeutic strategy for patients.
X-Rays Reveal 3-D Structural Image of Brain Receptor
Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010
Researchers led by Eric Gouaux at Oregon Health and Science University have built a three-dimensional image of a glutamate receptor, a workhorse protein of brain communications. The scientists uncovered the receptor’s form by bombarding it with X-rays – a technology called X-ray crystallography. The findings are expected to yield new insights into receptors and their critical role in thinking, learning and memory.
From Touchpad to Thought-pad?
Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010
A study published in Nature found that when research subjects had their brains connected to a computer displaying two merged images, they could force the computer to display one of the images and discard the other. The signals transmitted from each subject’s brain to the computer were derived from just a handful of brain cells.
New Evidence that Blood Clots Play a Role in Alzheimer’s Disease
Monday, Oct 4, 2010
Growing evidence points to a connection between Alzheimer’s disease and poor blood flow to the brain. Signs that a stroke has occurred are often found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Meanwhile, there is evidence that stroke and Alzheimer’s disease share similar risk factors, including high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
NINDS awards new Udall Centers for Parkinson’s Disease Research
Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010
The NINDS has established two new sites as part of the Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research. The NINDS grants will provide a five-year investment totaling more than $16 million for Emory University in Atlanta and the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York.
Researchers Explore Gene-Caffeine Interaction in Parkinson’s Disease
Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010
The genetic makeup of people with Parkinson’s disease may determine how they respond to caffeine, which is generally associated with a lower risk of the disease. The finding, reported today at the World Parkinson Congress (WPC) in Glasgow, Scotland, comes from one of the first genome wide association studies (GWAS) that looked at genetic and environmental interactions.
NIH awards Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center Grants
Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010
Three grants totaling more than $4.5 million, from the National Institutes of Health, will be used to explore novel treatment strategies for muscular dystrophy. The grants designate Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, as a Senator Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center, and will continue funding two established centers at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Iowa.
Researchers Find Connection between Parkinson’s Disease and Immune System-Related Gene
Monday, Sep 27, 2010
Researchers have found that a gene involved in the immune response is linked to the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The finding strengthens a theory that Parkinson’s disease may result partly from harmful immune reactions such as inflammation, infections or autoimmunity – when the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues.
Targeting Brain’s ‘Go’ Pathway Might Help Relieve Parkinson’s Symptoms
Friday, Sep 24, 2010
Parkinson’s disease affects the brain’s motor control circuitry, causing rigidity, slowed movement and poor balance. In a study published in Nature,* researchers have teased apart this circuitry, confirming that it contains two distinct pathways – a “go” pathway that tells the body to move and a “stop” pathway that suppresses movement. Tipping the balance in favor of the go pathway might help treat patients.
Spinal Cord Injury, Spasms, and Serotonin
Monday, Sep 20, 2010
When people think of spinal cord injury, they tend to think of paralysis. But a spinal cord injury can also cause debilitating muscle spasms. Although the drug baclofen can control these spasms, many patients cannot tolerate its side effects. A new study sheds light on how a spinal cord injury leads to spasms, and on the promise of more precisely targeted drugs with fewer side effects.
Scientists Find Possible Molecular Triggers for Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy
Friday, Sep 17, 2010
In the brains and hearts of animal models, neuroscientists have uncovered new clues about molecular triggers for sudden unexplained death in epilepsy, or SUDEP. Evidence from two studies linked SUDEP to faulty ion channels, protein gateways essential for transmitting electrical signals. The discoveries could help medical researchers predict or find ways to reduce the risk of death in epilepsy.
‘Resolvins’ May Help Resolve Chronic Inflammatory Pain
Friday, Sep 17, 2010
Chronic inflammatory pain is among the most common health problems and the most difficult to treat. New research points to resolvins – small molecules derived from the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish – as a possible alternative treatment for inflammatory pain when other drugs prove inadequate. Resolvins help put an end to inflammation and affect how pain-sensing nerve cells respond to inflammation.
$40 million awarded to trace human brain's connections
Wednesday, Sep 15, 2010
The NIH today awarded grants totaling $40 million as part of the Human Connectome Project. The grants will support two research consortia to map the anatomical and functional connections in the brain, and to optimize brain imaging technology to achieve the highest possible resolution. The research is expected to lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders.
Abnormalities in Brain Histamine may be Key Factor in Tourette Syndrome
Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010
Since the first case description in the 19th century, the causes of Tourette syndrome have been a mystery. Now researchers have identified a rare gene mutation responsible for the disorder in one family. The gene is needed for producing histamine, a small molecule with many roles in the body, including signaling in the brain.
Spinal Cord Injury – Therapeutic Strategies May Need to Include Repairing Myelin
Monday, Sep 13, 2010
In a study in animals, researchers have shown they can improve recovery from spinal cord injuries through an infusion of cells that help rebuild the myelin sheath – a covering around nerve fibers. Despite efforts by many investigators to develop therapies that target myelin, there has been a lack of consensus about the extent to which myelin loss has functional consequences in spinal cord injury.
Gene Scan Finds Link across Array of Childhood Brain Disorders
Sunday, Aug 22, 2010
Mutations in a single gene can cause several types of developmental brain abnormalities that experts have traditionally considered different disorders. With support from the National Institutes of Health, researchers found those mutations through whole exome sequencing – a new gene scanning technology that cuts the cost and time of searching for rare mutations.
Discovery Opens Door to Therapeutic Development for FSH Muscular Dystrophy
Thursday, Aug 19, 2010
Scientists are closer to understanding what triggers muscle damage in one of the most common forms of muscular dystrophy, called facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). The work will allow researchers to test new theories and potential new treatments for the disease. Until now, there were few clues to the mechanism of FSHD and essentially no leads for potential cures.
Gene Therapy Rescues Monkeys from Parkinson's Symptoms
Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010
In a study funded by NINDS, researchers have found they can rescue monkeys from a Parkinson’s-like condition by using gene therapy to deliver the growth factor GDNF. The approach involves packaging the gene for GDNF into a small virus, which is then injected into the brain. Monkeys that were already symptomatic improved after the treatment.
Deep Brain Stimulation at Two Different Targets Produces Similar Motor Benefits for Parkinson’s Patients
Wednesday, Jun 2, 2010
In a major study, investigators have compared how individuals with Parkinson’s disease respond to deep brain stimulation (DBS) at two different sites in the brain. Contrary to current belief, patients who received DBS at either site in the brain experienced comparable benefits for the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Landmark NIH Clinical Trial Comparing Two Stroke Prevention Procedures Shows Surgery and Stenting Equally Safe and Effective
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
A major study of people at risk for stroke showed that two medical procedures designed to prevent strokes are safe and effective overall. In the trial of 2,502 participants, carotid endarterectomy, a gold-standard surgical procedure, was compared to carotid artery stenting, a newer and less invasive procedure.
Researchers Probe Genomes of Twins with Multiple Sclerosis for Nature vs. Nurture Clues
Wednesday, Apr 28, 2010
In a new study, researchers scoured the genomes of several identical twin pairs, in which one twin had developed multiple sclerosis (MS) while the other did not. The researchers were searching for any genetic differences that could explain the twins’ different fates. The study touches on the influence of nature vs. nurture in MS.
A Brain-Recording Device that Melts into Place
Monday, Apr 19, 2010
Scientists have developed a brain implant that essentially melts into place, snugly fitting to the brain’s surface. The ultrathin flexible implants, made partly from silk, can record brain activity more faithfully than thicker implants embedded with similar electronics. The technology could pave the way for better devices to monitor and control seizures, and to transmit signals from the brain past damaged parts of the spinal cord.
Songbird Genome Analysis Reveals New Insights Into Vocal Behavior
Thursday, Apr 1, 2010
An international research consortium has identified more than 800 genes that appear to play a role in the male zebra finch’s ability to learn elaborate songs from his father. The researchers also found evidence that song behavior engages complex gene regulatory networks within the brain of the songbird — networks that rely on parts of the genome once considered junk.
Whole Genome Analysis Solves Medical Mystery in One Family, Comes Nearer to Routine Use
Thursday, Mar 11, 2010
For the first time, researchers have used whole genome sequencing to achieve a molecular diagnosis in a family with a genetic disorder. The results suggest that in the near future, genome sequencing could become a routine part of medical care, both to diagnose rare disorders and help estimate the risk of common disorders.
Diffusion Tensor Imaging May Improve Diagnosis and Tracking of Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
Thursday, Mar 4, 2010
Investigators have found that a state-of-the-art brain imaging method may be useful for detecting and monitoring mild traumatic brain injury, a controversial diagnosis that is based largely on a patient’s subjective experience. A mild traumatic brain injury typically involves no sign of damage based on a neurological exam or standard brain imaging techniques.
Clinical Trial for Childhood Absence Epilepsy Identifies Differences in Seizure Control and Side Effects
Thursday, Mar 4, 2010
The first comprehensive comparative effectiveness clinical trial of three widely used anti-seizure drugs for childhood absence epilepsy – the most common form of epilepsy in kids – has established an evidence-based approach for initial drug therapy.
Researchers Identify a Signal for Cell Death during Stroke
Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010
In a new study, researchers have identified a signal that promotes the death of vulnerable brain cells in an animal model of stroke. In the future, drugs designed to inhibit this death signal might help reduce brain damage in stroke patients.
MicroRNA Triggers Protective Response in Mice with ALS
Tuesday, Mar 2, 2010
In a recent study, investigators found that mice with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) mount a protective, though ultimately unsuccessful, response against the disease. Central to this response is a small molecule called microRNA-206. Identifying ways to stimulate the molecule or its effects may lead to new treatments for ALS.
Potential Weapon against Brain Tumors – Stop Them from Fattening Up
Tuesday, Feb 23, 2010
Two new studies reveal that some kinds of glioblastoma – an aggressive and deadly brain tumor – thrive and spread by turning up their production of energy-rich fat molecules. Finding ways to cut off this energy supply may lead to effective treatments against glioblastoma.
Researchers Firm up Evidence for Role of Mitochondria in Parkinson’s Disease
Tuesday, Feb 23, 2010
New studies supported by the National Institutes of Health shed light on the functions of two genes related to Parkinson’s disease called parkin and PINK1. The studies connect parkin and PINK1 in a pathway that assures quality control over mitochondria – subcellular factories that are the main source of energy for neurons and most other cells in the body.
Four New Members Appointed to National Neurological Disorders and Stroke Advisory Council
Thursday, Feb 4, 2010
Four New Members Appointed to National Neurological Disorders and Stroke Advisory Council
Combination Therapy Stimulates Spinal Cord Regeneration in Rats More Than One Year after Injury
Monday, Feb 1, 2010
In a study on animals, researchers found that a combination of treatments can stimulate the growth of severed axons (nerve fibers) across an injured spinal cord, even when the treatments are delayed for more than a year.
How Light Boosts Migraine Pain
Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010
Most migraine sufferers know that light can intensify headache pain. A new study of blind patients with migraine may help explain why. The finding ultimately may lead to new approaches for calming severe light-induced headaches.
Small Changes in Protein Chemistry Play Large Role in Huntington’s Disease
Thursday, Dec 24, 2009
In Huntington’s disease, a mutated protein in the body becomes toxic to brain cells. Recent studies have demonstrated that a small region adjacent to the mutated segment plays a major role in the toxicity. Two new studies supported by the National Institutes of Health show that very slight changes to this region can eliminate signs of Huntington’s disease in mice.
Researchers Pinpoint Genes with Key Role in Neuronal Growth and Regeneration
Friday, Nov 20, 2009
In a new study funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), investigators identified a set of genes that are regulated during development, and that in turn regulate the capacity of nerve cells to grow.
Researchers Identify Gene Mutations Underlying Risk for Most Common Form of Parkinson’s Disease
Friday, Nov 20, 2009
Two genes containing mutations known to cause rare familial forms of parkinsonism are also associated with the more common, sporadic form of the disease where there is no family history, researchers have found. The finding came in the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) reported to date involving Parkinson's disease.
Better Understanding of Newborn Seizures Leads to Potential New Treatment
Thursday, Oct 29, 2009
Commonly used anti-seizure medications do not work as effectively in newborns as they do in adults and children. A new study funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) helps explain why, and suggests that effective treatment for newborn seizures could be a matter of repurposing an available drug and using it to supplement conventional anti-seizure therapies.
Study Calls for Rethinking CT Scans in the ED to Diagnose Children with Headache
Thursday, Oct 29, 2009
When a child is rushed to the emergency room with an acute headache, the goal for both parents and doctors is to determine if a serious neurological condition might be causing the pain. One option is to perform a computed tomography (CT) scan to aid diagnosis. But a new study offers evidence that CT scans are of little benefit for diagnosing headache in young children who have normal neurological exams and no history of serious problems.
Therapy Investigated for ALS May Find New Role in Kennedy’s Disease
Monday, Oct 26, 2009
A growth factor that has generated tides of hope and disappointment for treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may turn out to be an effective therapy for a less common disease, Kennedy’s disease.
Investment in Parkinson’s Disease Data Bank Yields Potential Therapy
Tuesday, Oct 13, 2009
Individuals with Parkinson’s disease who have higher levels of a metabolite called urate in their blood and in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) have a slower rate of disease progression, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. A clinical trial is under way to examine the safety and potential benefits of supplemental urate elevation for recently diagnosed Parkinson’s patients who have low urate levels.
NINDS Names Dr. Petra Kaufmann Director of the Office of Clinical Research
Wednesday, Sep 9, 2009
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health, has named Petra Kaufmann, M.D., M.Sc., as director of its Office of Clinical Research.
NIH Researchers Identify Key Factor that Stimulates Brain Cancer Cells to Spread
Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have found that the activity of a protein in brain cells helps stimulate the spread of an aggressive brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). In a move toward therapy, the researchers showed that a small designer protein can block this activity and reduce the spreading of GBM cells grown in the laboratory.
From Nerve Roots to Plant Roots – Researchers are Gaining Unexpected Insights into Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia
Thursday, Aug 6, 2009
Sprouting. Branching. Pruning. Neuroscientists have borrowed heavily from botanists to describe the way that neurons grow, but analogies between the growth of neurons and plants may be more than superficial. A new study from the National Institutes of Health and Harvard Medical School suggests that neurons and plant root cells may grow using a similar mechanism.
Dr. William Matthew Tapped to Lead NINDS Office of Translational Research
Thursday, Jul 30, 2009
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health, has named William D. Matthew, Ph.D., as director of its Office of Translational Research (OTR).
The Sleeping Brain Yields Clues to the Conscious Mind
Monday, Jul 27, 2009
Recent studies have used brain imaging to identify the parts of our brains that underlie emotions from love to disgust, and behaviors from solving math problems to solving moral problems. Now, NIH scientists are probing the very basis of conscious thought by examining differences in brain activity between wakefulness and sleep.
NIH Launches the Human Connectome Project to Unravel the Brain’s Connections
Wednesday, Jul 15, 2009
The National Institutes of Health Blueprint for Neuroscience Research is launching a $30 million project that will use cutting-edge brain imaging technologies to map the circuitry of the healthy adult human brain. By systematically collecting brain imaging data from hundreds of subjects, the Human Connectome Project (HCP) will yield insight into how brain connections underlie brain function, and will open up new lines of inquiry for human neuroscience.
Novel Drug Discovery Tool Could Identify Promising New Therapies for Parkinson’s Disease
Monday, Jul 13, 2009
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have turned simple baker’s yeast into a virtual army of medicinal chemists capable of rapidly searching for drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease. The researchers rescued yeast cells from toxic levels of a protein implicated in Parkinson’s disease by stimulating the cells to make very small proteins called cyclic peptides.
Family with Alzheimer's Disease may Carry Clues to Treatment
Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009
In the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease (AD), a toxic protein fragment called beta-amyloid accumulates in clumps that leave a path of damaged brain tissue. Although age is the most powerful risk factor for AD, a small fraction of people develop the disease because of genetic mutations that trigger beta-amyloid accumulation. In a recent study published in Science*, researchers described a family with a mutation that causes beta-amyloid accumulation and AD in some individuals, but could protect against the disease in others.
Spinal Cord Stimulation may be Alternative to Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease
Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009
Electrical stimulation of the spinal cord relieves symptoms of Parkinson's disease in rodents, according to a new study published in Science*. The procedure might provide a safe, effective alternative to deep brain stimulation (DBS), a relatively invasive treatment for Parkinson's disease that is used when medication fails.
New Route Identified for Clearing Away the Toxic Protein that Causes Huntington’s Disease
Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009
In Huntington’s disease (HD), a toxic protein accumulates inside brain cells, leading to symptoms such as uncontrolled movements, impaired thinking and personality changes. Researchers have now identified a chemical tag that attaches to this protein, sends it through a cellular waste handling system and prevents its harmful effects. Efforts are underway to identify drugs that could stimulate tagging of the protein and thus slow the course of HD.
Genetic Factor Extends Survival in People with ALS
Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009
Researchers funded in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have identified a gene that affects how long people survive with the fatal neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The finding could lead to much needed drugs to slow the course of the disease.
Organ Transplant Drug Could Treat Meningioma
Thursday, Jun 11, 2009
Researchers funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have found that an organ transplant drug might one day be used to treat meningioma, a type of brain tumor. The drug also could be used to treat neurofibromatosis type 2, a rare disease associated with meningiomas and other benign tumors of the nervous system.
Genetic Study Confirms the Immune System’s Role in Narcolepsy
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health have identified a gene associated with narcolepsy, a disorder that causes disabling daytime sleepiness, sleep attacks, irresistible bouts of sleep that can strike at any time, and disturbed sleep at night. The gene has a known role in the immune system, which strongly suggests that autoimmunity, in which the immune system turns against the body's own tissues, plays an important role in the disorder.
Risk of Autism Tied to Genes that Influence Brain Cell Connections
Tuesday, Apr 28, 2009
In three studies, including the most comprehensive study of autism genetics to date, investigators funded in part by the National Institutes of Health have identified common and rare genetic factors that affect the risk of autism spectrum disorders. The results point to the importance of genes that are involved in forming and maintaining the connections between brain cells.
Researchers Discover New Genetic Variants Associated with Increased Risk of Stroke
Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009
Scientists have identified a previously unknown connection between two genetic variants and an increased risk of stroke, providing strong evidence for the existence of specific genes that help explain the genetic component of stroke. The research was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health and by several other NIH institutes and centers.
New Gene Discoveries Hint at Therapies for Glioblastoma
Tuesday, Mar 3, 2009
Scientists have long known that cancer results from an accumulation of genetic damage. But despite decades of research, the list of known cancer related genes is surprisingly short.
In Parkinson's Disease, the Brain Stops Playing by the 'Rules'
Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009
Parkinson's disease (PD) slowly robs people of their ability to control movement. Purposeful movements become slow and rigid, while periods of rest become interrupted by shakes and tremors. In a study reported in Science, researchers say they are closer to understanding how these symptoms arise, and possibly how to treat them.
Support Cells, Not Neurons, Lull the Brain to Sleep
Wednesday, Jan 28, 2009
Brain cells called astrocytes help to cause the urge to sleep that comes with prolonged wakefulness, according to a study in mice, funded by the National Institutes of Health. The cells release adenosine, a chemical known to have sleep-inducing effects that are inhibited by caffeine.
Motor Skill Learning May be Enhanced by Mild Brain Stimulation
Monday, Jan 19, 2009
People who received a mild electrical current to a motor control area of the brain were significantly better able to learn and perform a complex motor task than those in control groups.
Deep Brain Stimulation More Effective than Best Medical Therapy Even in Older Parkinson’s Patients
Wednesday, Jan 7, 2009
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) was more effective than best medical therapy (BMT) in improving “on” time-- periods of unimpeded motor function--and quality of life in a large comparison study of more than 200 advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients. Patients in the DBS group, even those over 70 years old, gained as much as four and a half hours of on time compared to the BMT group, who gained none.
Researchers Identify Mechanism, Possible Drug Treatment for Tumors in Neurofibromatosis
Thursday, Oct 30, 2008
Researchers studying neurofibromatosis type 1 – a rare disease in which tumors grow within nerves – have found that the tumors are triggered by crosstalk between cells in the nerves and cells in the blood. They also found that a drug on the market for treating certain kinds of blood cancer curbs tumor growth in a mouse model of neurofibromatosis type 1.
Tuberous Sclerosis Moves toward Drug Therapy, Offers Clues to Epilepsy and Autism
Friday, Oct 24, 2008
Three recent studies show that the drug rapamycin reduces neurological symptoms in mouse models of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a rare genetic disorder associated with epilepsy and autism. Scientists say those results could pave the way for effective treatment – and not just for TSC.
Scientists Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs through Artificial Brain-Muscle Connections
Wednesday, Oct 15, 2008
Researchers in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have demonstrated for the first time that a direct artificial connection from the brain to muscles can restore voluntary movement in monkeys whose arms have been temporarily anesthetized.
Dr. Roscoe Brady Receives Presidential Honor for Scientific Achievement
Monday, Oct 6, 2008
NINDS Scientist Emeritus Dr. Roscoe O. Brady has been selected to receive the National Medal of Technology and Innovation—the highest honor for achievement in science and technology bestowed by the President of the United States.
Four New Members Named to National Neurology Advisory Council
Thursday, Sep 18, 2008
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has appointed four new members to its major advisory panel, the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council. The NINDS, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the nation's primary supporter of basic, translational, and clinical research on the brain and nervous system. NINDS Director Story Landis, Ph.D., formally introduced the new members, who will serve through July 2012, at the Council's September 18, meeting.
Common Treatment to Delay Labor Decreases Preterm Infants' Risk for Cerebral Palsy
Thursday, Aug 28, 2008
Preterm infants born to mothers receiving intravenous magnesium sulfate — a common treatment to delay labor — are less likely to develop cerebral palsy than are preterm infants whose mothers do not receive it, report researchers in a large National Institutes of Health research network.
NIH Symposium Explores Promise of Stem Cell Therapies
Monday, Jul 14, 2008
Stem cells have been hailed as a toolkit to treat a host of diseases, but at an NIH symposium on May 6, researchers said they are still deciphering the toolkit’s instruction manual.
Study Suggests Improved Treatments for Neuropathic Pain
Thursday, Jun 26, 2008
Two chemicals associated with neurodegeneration and inflammation play important and distinct roles in development of neuropathic pain, a new study shows. The findings may lead to new treatments that can stop neuropathic pain from developing and alleviate it after it begins.
Huntington’s Disease Protein Affects Nerve Signaling; Study Suggests New Treatments
Thursday, Jun 26, 2008
The abnormal protein found in Huntington’s disease (HD) leads to an unusually large amount of nerve signaling early in the disease process, before other problems appear, a new study shows. Partially blocking these nerve signals prevents neuron death and loss of motor function in fruit flies models of HD. The findings suggest possible new ways of delaying the onset or slowing the progression of the disease.
NIH Researchers Find That Rett Syndrome Gene is Full of Surprises
Thursday, May 29, 2008
A study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has transformed scientists' understanding of Rett syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes autistic behavior and other disabling symptoms. Until now, scientists thought that the gene behind Rett syndrome was an "off" switch, or repressor, for other genes. But the new study, published today in Science1, shows that it is an "on" switch for a startlingly large number of genes.
Researchers Develop First Transgenic Monkey Model of Huntington’s Disease
Friday, May 23, 2008
Scientists have developed the first genetically altered monkey model that replicates some symptoms observed in patients with Huntington's disease. This advance, reported in Nature, could lead to major breakthroughs in the effort to develop new treatments for a range of neurological diseases.
Nanotech Treatment Shows Promise against Spinal Cord Injury in Mice
Monday, May 19, 2008
In experiments on mice, scientists have shown that an injectable nanotech-based polymer stimulates axons to regrow all the way across a spinal injury.
Combining MRI and PET Could Yield Dynamic Pictures of the Brain
Friday, Apr 25, 2008
In experiments on mice, scientists report that they have successfully combined two brain imaging techniques – magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET).
New Mouse Model for Neurofibromatosis Yields Insights into Disease Process and Treatment
Monday, Apr 21, 2008
In a move expected to enhance the development of therapies for neurofibromatosis type 1, scientists have created an improved mouse model for the disease.
NIH to Host Research Symposium on Clinical Applications of Stem Cell Therapies
Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008
"Challenges and Promise of Cell-Based Therapies" is a one-day symposium to explore promising research in regenerative medicine using stem cells.
Early Treatment Prevents Full-Blown Epilepsy in Animals
Friday, Mar 14, 2008
For the first time, researchers have shown that treating epilepsy-prone animals with an anticonvulsant drug prior to the development of chronic epilepsy can significantly reduce the number of seizures the animals experience, even after the treatment stops. The study provides hope that researchers may eventually be able to prevent epilepsy in people who are at risk of the disorder because of genetic mutations or other factors.
Reactions to Protein Stress in Neurodegenerative Disease – Sometimes Good, Sometimes Bad and Always Ugly
Friday, Mar 14, 2008
Research has shown that cells have a cleanup system for handling protein "stress," and some studies suggest the possibility of developing therapeutic drugs that would work by giving the system a boost. But a new study published in Neuron suggests that during prolonged stress, the cleanup system can suppress vital cell functions or even actively kill the cell.
Leptin Inhibits Seizures; Study May Lead to New Treatments for Epilepsy
Thursday, Mar 13, 2008
A new study shows that leptin, a hormone normally associated with eating and metabolism, can inhibit seizures in animal models of epilepsy. The finding may lead to new ways of treating epilepsy. It also may help explain how the ketogenic diet, which is sometimes used to treat epilepsy, reduces seizures.
An Over-Worked, Under-Appreciated Brain Cell Finally Gets its Due
Tuesday, Mar 11, 2008
As the cells that generate the brain's electrical signals, neurons tend to grab the limelight when it comes to studies of brain function. Until recently, brain cells called glia have been mostly ignored, and their roles remain poorly understood, despite the fact that they outnumber neurons by about 10 to 1.
Study Identifies Possible Trigger for Parkinson's Disease
Monday, Feb 25, 2008
A chemical interaction that blocks cells' ability to break down damaged proteins may trigger development of Parkinson's disease (PD), a new study shows. Finding ways to overcome the blockage could lead to strategies for preventing the disease or stopping its progression.
NIH Announces New Initiative in Epigenomics
Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008
NIH Announces New Initiative in Epigenomics
Study Suggests Some Brain Injuries Reduce the Likelihood of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Sunday, Dec 23, 2007
A new study of combat-exposed Vietnam War veterans shows that those with injuries to certain parts of the brain were less likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The findings, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Naval Medical Center, suggest that drugs or pacemaker-like devices aimed at dampening activity in these brain regions might be effective treatments for PTSD.
NINDS Announces New Spanish-Language Website
Friday, Dec 7, 2007
Free, accurate information on many neurological disorders is now available on a new Spanish-language website from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The website is available at espanol.ninds.nih.gov.
El NINDS Anuncia una Nueva Página Web en Español
Friday, Dec 7, 2007
Información precisa y gratuita sobre muchos desordenes neurológicos esta ahora disponible en una nueva página web en español del National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) el cual es parte de los National Institutes of Health (NIH). La página web se encuentra disponible en espanol.ninds.nih.gov.
The Structure of an Important Drug Target Made Crystal Clear
Wednesday, Dec 5, 2007
Scientists have produced detailed 3-dimensional images of a common type of neurotransmitter receptor, the class of proteins on the receiving end of chemical signals in the nervous system. The work, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is expected to speed the development of drugs for a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders.
New Technique Removes Toxic Protein and Prevents Memory Impairment in Alzheimer's Disease Model
Wednesday, Dec 5, 2007
Increasing the activity of a key protein in the bloodstream slows the buildup of a toxic substance in the brains of mice with the gene mutation for Alzheimer's disease (AD). It also prevents some memory problems, a new study shows. If the approach works in humans, it may eventually lead to a way of preventing or halting AD.
Study Suggests Idebenone May Improve Neurological Function in Friedreich's Ataxia
Wednesday, Dec 5, 2007
Results of a placebo-controlled, double-blind phase II study of the antioxidant idebenone in children with Friedreich's ataxia (FA) suggest that the treatment may lead to improvements in neurological function. It is the first placebo-controlled study to suggest that the neurological deterioration associated with this disease can be slowed or reversed.
Embryonic Stem Cell Milestone Achieved in Primates
Monday, Dec 3, 2007
Researchers have achieved a major milestone in embryonic stem cell research: they isolated embryonic stem cells for the first time from a cloned primate embryo. The technique, if developed in humans, could potentially be used to make personalized stem cells to treat diseases without worry of rejection by the patient’s immune system.
A Rollercoaster of Seizure-Like Activity May Damage the Alzheimer's Brain
Tuesday, Nov 27, 2007
Although seizures are not a common symptom of Alzheimer's disease (AD), the brains of people with AD could be humming with seizure-like activity, interrupted by quiet rebound periods that do more harm than good.
Cilia Malfunction Disrupts Brain Development: Study Helps Explain Joubert Syndrome, Other Disorders
Friday, Nov 16, 2007
What goes wrong in developmental brain disorders? Recent genetic studies have suggested a surprising culprit in some of these disorders: abnormalities in hairlike structures called cilia on the surfaces of cells. A new study shows that proteins associated with cilia are essential for normal development of the brain’s cerebellum. The finding helps to explain a diverse and puzzling group of developmental disorders.
Is It Just a Headache? Study Links Migraine to Brain Damage in Mice
Friday, Nov 16, 2007
Migraine headaches are a source of disabling pain for millions of people. Now, a study in mice suggests that these headaches may be linked to tiny areas of stroke-like brain damage. The findings suggest that treatment to prevent migraines may also prevent longer-term cognitive problems.
Scientists Zero in on the Cellular Machinery that Enables Neurons to Fire
Wednesday, Nov 14, 2007
If you ever had a set of Micronauts – toy robots with removable body parts – you probably had fun swapping their heads, imagining how it would affect their behavior. Scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health have been performing similar experiments on ion channels – pores in our nerve cells – to sort out the channels' key functional parts.
Imaging Neural Progenitor Cells in the Living Human Brain
Thursday, Nov 8, 2007
For the first time, investigators have identified a way to detect neural progenitor cells (NPCs), which can develop into neurons and other nervous system cells, in the living human brain using a type of imaging called magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). The finding, supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), may lead to improved diagnosis and treatment for depression, Parkinson's disease, brain tumors, and a host of other disorders.
A Brain of Many Colors
Thursday, Nov 1, 2007
Using a clever genetic trick to generate dozens of different colors, researchers have for the first time visualized hundreds of cells and their connections to each other in the brain. Over the past few years, researchers have developed variations of proteins called fluorescent proteins that can appear in many different colors. Researchers reasoned that they might be able to use these proteins to generate a range of different colors in cells in the same way that a television or computer monitor can create almost unlimited colors by mixing red, green and blue.
NIH National Neurology Advisory Council Gains Five New Members
Friday, Oct 12, 2007
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) welcomes five new members to its National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council. The Council serves as the principal advisory body to the NINDS, a component of the National Institutes of Health and the nation's primary supporter of basic, translational, and clinical research on the brain and nervous system.
Treatment Blocks Pain Without Disrupting Other Functions
Wednesday, Oct 3, 2007
A combination of two drugs can selectively block pain-sensing neurons in rats without impairing movement or other sensations such as touch, according to a new study by National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported investigators. The finding suggests an improved way to treat pain from childbirth and surgical procedures. It may also lead to new treatments to help the millions of Americans who suffer from chronic pain.
Arthritis Drug Shows Promise for Reducing Brain Hemorrhage in Premature Babies
Monday, Aug 27, 2007
A drug that is commonly used to reduce the pain of arthritis may eventually be used in pregnant women with preterm labor to lessen the risk of brain damage in very low birthweight babies, a new study suggests.
Gene Triggers Obsessive Compulsive Disorder-Like Syndrome in Mice: Study Suggests New Treatment Targets
Wednesday, Aug 22, 2007
Using genetic engineering, researchers have created an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) - like set of behaviors in mice and reversed them with antidepressants and genetic targeting of a key brain circuit. The study, by National Institutes of Health (NIH) -funded researchers, suggests new strategies for treating the disorder.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Announces Effort to Promote Stroke Awareness in the Hispanic Community
Wednesday, Aug 8, 2007
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced the launch of a new community education program, which broadens the Institute’s national stroke education campaign "Know Stroke. Know the Signs. Act in Time." to promote stroke awareness among Hispanics in the United States.
Blood Pressure Drug May Slow Parkinson's Disease
Friday, Aug 3, 2007
For decades, scientists have tried to learn what causes the death of a select group of nerve cells in the brains of people with Parkinson's disease (PD). New research identifies an unusual mode of activity in these cells that makes them exceptionally vulnerable to toxins and stress and shows that a common drug can protect these neurons in animal models of PD. This work suggests a possible new way to slow or prevent the disease.
Support Cells Trigger Neuron Death in ALS
Thursday, Aug 2, 2007
Star-shaped support cells in the brain secrete a toxin that kills motor neurons in a model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), two new studies show. The studies may lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating the disorder.
Lithium May Offer Relief from Rare but Devastating Neurological Disorders
Thursday, Aug 2, 2007
Lithium carbonate, a compound commonly used to treat depression, might also provide symptomatic relief for a group of inherited movement disorders that includes the fatal disease spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1).
After a Decades-Long Search, Scientists Identify New Genetic Risk Factors for Multiple Sclerosis
Sunday, Jul 29, 2007
A pair of large-scale genetic studies supported by the National Institutes of Health has revealed two genes that influence the risk of getting multiple sclerosis (MS) – data sought since the discovery of the only other known MS susceptibility gene decades ago. The findings could shed new light on what causes MS – a puzzling mix of genes, environment and immunity – and on potential treatments for at least 350,000 Americans who have the disease.
A Basic Recipe for Prions
Monday, Jul 2, 2007
Prions have been among the most controversial of infectious disease agents. These misshapen proteins have no DNA or RNA, so many researchers have been skeptical of the idea that they alone can be responsible for disease. Now, infectious prions have successfully been created in the laboratory for the first time, providing insight into how these deadly proteins form.
Scientists Identify a Mouse Embryonic Stem Cell More Like Our Own
Thursday, Jun 28, 2007
Scientists have discovered a new type of mouse embryonic stem cell that is the closest counterpart yet to human embryonic stem (ES) cells, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today. The cells are expected to serve as an improved model for human ES cells in studies of regeneration, disease pathology and basic stem cell biology.
Therapeutics for Huntington's and Related Diseases Could Pack a One-Two Punch
Tuesday, Jun 5, 2007
Added to its devastating neurological symptoms, Huntington's disease (HD) carries with it a lesser-known horror. The genetic mutation that causes the disease can grow larger, causing its symptoms – involuntary movements, dementia, and dramatic personality changes – to grow worse across generations and even during a single lifetime. New research sheds light on how the mutation grows and offers hope for locking it down.
NIH Study Tracks Brain Development in Some 500 Children across U.S.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Children appear to approach adult levels of performance on many basic cognitive and motor skills by age 11 or 12, according to a new study coordinated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Blood-Clotting Protein Could be a Target for Therapy against MS
Monday, May 14, 2007
In multiple sclerosis (MS), the immune cells that patrol our blood for pathogens venture out of the bloodstream and attack the brain. Researchers have found that leakage of a blood-clotting protein into the brain, once considered merely a sign of damage in the MS brain, helps stimulate this attack.
Morality and the Brain: Is Choosing the Greater Good Rational or Just Cold?
Thursday, May 10, 2007
You are adrift at sea in a lifeboat weighed down with too many people, including a wounded man who is near death. Do you throw him overboard? Throughout history, philosophers have debated these kinds of moral dilemmas. Now, neuroscientists are joining the discussion, but instead of asking how we should make moral choices, they're asking how our brains actually make such choices.
Immune Cells Protect Against Alzheimer’s Disease
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Immune cells in the brain help slow the accumulation of beta-amyloid that is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a new study shows. The researchers also found that a specific immune system protein strongly affects mortality in a mouse model of AD.
Disease May Push Nerve Cells to Their Breaking Point, Literally
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
In some neurological diseases, neurons might die in a surprising, yet relatively simple way: by breaking under mechanical strain.
'Gateway' Gene Allows Brain Stem Cells to Grow into Tumors
Friday, Apr 6, 2007
According to a new study, a gene that supports normal brain development also supports the growth of a brain tumor called glioblastoma.
Inner Workings of the Magnanimous Mind
Wednesday, Apr 4, 2007
It’s an enduring mystery that taunts neuroscientists and evolutionary biologists. If the human brain evolved to maximize its owner’s survival, why are we motivated to help others, even when it incurs some personal cost?
Large-Scale Gene Study Identifies Clues about Sporadic ALS
Tuesday, Apr 3, 2007
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have completed the first large-scale study of the role of common genetic variation in sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which occurs in people without any family history of the disease. The results provide interesting hints about the causes of the disorder and can serve as a starting point for future studies.
‘Gene Chip’ Study Could Lead to Blood Test for Parkinson’s
Monday, Apr 2, 2007
A new study has revealed 30 genes whose activity levels are altered in the blood of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), paving the way for a blood test and a better understanding of what causes the disease.
NIH Announces Phase III Clinical Trial of Creatine for Parkinson's Disease
Thursday, Mar 22, 2007
The NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is launching a large-scale clinical trial to learn if the nutritional supplement creatine can slow the progression of Parkinson's disease (PD). While creatine is not an approved therapy for PD or any other condition, it is widely thought to improve exercise performance. The potential benefit of creatine for PD was identified by Parkinson’s researchers through a new rapid method for screening potential compounds.
Better Prediction Could Mean Better Control over Epileptic Seizures
Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007
Despite conventional wisdom that epileptic seizures are random and unforeseeable, a new study shows that people can sometimes anticipate them, hinting at the possibility of treatments that could quell an oncoming seizure.
Sure You're Awake? Spit into this Cup
Friday, Mar 9, 2007
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences identifies a chemical in saliva whose levels go up when people are sleep-deprived and down when they are rested.
Trigger for Adult Brain Disease May Be Set During Brain Development
Monday, Mar 5, 2007
A new study suggests that spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) – a genetic brain disease that manifests during adulthood – begins with subtle problems in brain development that occur during infancy.
Stem Cells Make Neurons, and Tumors, in Rat Model of Parkinson's Disease
Thursday, Mar 1, 2007
In a new study that illustrates the promise and perils of stem cell therapy, scientists found that implanting human embryonic stem cells led to dramatic functional improvement – but also to brain tumors – in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Brain Implant Teaches Neurons New Tricks
Monday, Feb 26, 2007
Using an electronic implant, researchers have altered the connections between cells in the motor control region of the monkey brain, subtly altering the cells’ influence over movement. Similar devices might one day be used to “rewire” damaged parts of the human brain and restore movement to people paralyzed by traumatic injury or neurological disease.
New Targets Found for Drug Development in Neuropathic Pain
Thursday, Feb 22, 2007
New studies reveal that two proteins in the body play a role in neuropathic pain – pain and sensitivity from a nerve injury that persist long after the nerve has healed. By zeroing in on these proteins, scientists hope to develop better drugs for the condition.
Treatment Extends Survival in Mouse Model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Thursday, Feb 22, 2007
Drug therapy can extend survival and improve movement in a mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), new research shows. The study, carried out at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), suggests that similar drugs might one day be useful for treating human SMA.
In Brain, One Gene is Worth a Thousand Words
Tuesday, Feb 20, 2007
Using microarray technology, researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have shown that people with one variant of a gene that’s active in the brain have better episodic memory – the ability to remember events and facts – than do people without that variant. The researchers are using the same technology to identify genetic risk factors associated with neurological diseases.
Variation in HIV Protein Yields Clues to AIDS-Related Dementia
Thursday, Feb 8, 2007
In a move that could lead to better treatments for neurological complications of AIDS, researchers have identified a protein variant in HIV that is associated with brain infection and dementia in people with the disease.
Low Serum Vitamin D Linked to Multiple Sclerosis
Wednesday, Jan 31, 2007
A new study shows that multiple sclerosis (MS) is linked to low levels of vitamin D in the blood, but it’s unclear whether vitamin D deficiency is a causal factor in the disease or whether vitamin D supplements would protect against it.
Aggressive Brain Cancer Is Tied to Stem Cells ‘Gone Bad’
Monday, Jan 29, 2007
The existence of rogue stem cells that refuse to die explains why an aggressive brain tumor known as glioblastoma typically isn’t extinguished by radiation therapy. A study in the December 7, 2006 issue of Nature* shows that the therapy fails to kill a small but potent fraction of cancerous cells – about 5 percent of those in the tumor.
NIH Study Finds MRI More Sensitive Than CT in Diagnosing Most Common Form of Acute Stroke
Friday, Jan 26, 2007
Results from the most comprehensive study to compare two imaging techniques for the emergency diagnosis of suspected acute stroke show that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide a more sensitive diagnosis than computed tomography (CT) for acute ischemic stroke. The difference between MRI and CT was attributable to MRI’s superiority for detection of acute ischemic stroke—the most common form of stroke, caused by a blood clot. The study was conducted by physicians at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Findings appear in the January 27, 2007 edition of The Lancet.
NINDS Names Dr. Walter Koroshetz as Deputy Director
Wednesday, Jan 3, 2007
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has named Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., as its Deputy Director. Effective January 2, 2007, he will work with the NINDS Director in program planning and budgeting, as well as oversee Institute scientific and administrative functions.
Developing Tools to Detect Cognitive Impairment from Silent Strokes
Monday, Nov 6, 2006
Scientists from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the Canadian Stroke Network recently wrapped up a workshop – the first of its kind – aimed at harmonizing clinical and research tools for assessing vascular cognitive impairment (VCI), a common disability linked to stroke.
Gene Variants Linked to Risk of Stroke in Young Women
Monday, Nov 6, 2006
Specific variants of a gene called phosphodiesterase 4D (PDE4D) significantly increase the risk of stroke in women aged 15-49, a new study shows. The risk is magnified in women who smoke cigarettes. The study is the first to identify a possible interaction between this gene and an environmental factor in triggering stroke. The results help to show how the gene contributes to stroke risk and may lead to new ways of preventing stroke.
Enzyme Reverses Memory Loss in Alzheimer’s Mouse Model
Monday, Nov 6, 2006
Increasing the amount of a specific enzyme in the brain partially restores memory in a mouse model for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), researchers say. The results could eventually lead to new treatments for AD or other neurodegenerative disorders.
In Most Comprehensive Study Yet, Two-Week Regimen Helps Stroke Survivors Regain Arm Control
Tuesday, Oct 31, 2006
In the largest, most comprehensive study of its kind to date, researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed clinical improvements out to one year when stroke survivors who had lost function in one arm were given a unique, two-week rehabilitation regimen.
Vitamin B3 Points Toward New Strategy For Treating MS
Friday, Oct 27, 2006
Researchers have shown that a form of vitamin B3 is beneficial in mice with an MS-like disease. Although standard doses of the vitamin would not be potent enough for long-term treatment of MS, the findings could be a step toward developing effective drugs against the disease.
Gene Variation Affects Pain Sensitivity and Risk of Chronic Pain: Finding May Lead to New Treatments
Sunday, Oct 22, 2006
A new NIH-funded study shows that a specific gene variant in humans affects both sensitivity to short-term (acute) pain in healthy volunteers and the risk of developing chronic pain after one kind of back surgery. Blocking increased activity of this gene after nerve injury or inflammation in animals prevented development of chronic pain.
Six New Members Named to National Neurology Advisory Council
Thursday, Oct 5, 2006
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has appointed six new members to its major advisory panel, the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council. The NINDS, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the nation’s primary supporter of basic, translational, and clinical research on the brain and nervous system. NINDS Director Story Landis, Ph.D., formally introduced the new members, who will serve through July 2010, at the Council’s September 14, 2006 meeting.
NINDS Names New Scientific Director: Dr. Alan Koretsky to Lead Institute’s Intramural Research Program
Friday, Sep 29, 2006
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announces the appointment of Alan P. Koretsky, Ph.D., as Scientific Director. Beginning October 1, 2006, he will direct the NINDS Division of Intramural Research, which conducts studies on the biomedical processes involved in the more than 600 disorders and conditions that affect the nervous system.
Researchers Announce Results of Study on Genetic Variation in Parkinson's Disease
Wednesday, Sep 27, 2006
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have completed one of the first large-scale studies of the role of common genetic variation in Parkinson’s disease (PD). While the results fill in some missing pieces of the genetic puzzle, they are primarily of benefit as a starting point for more detailed studies. The information generated by the study is now publicly available in a database that will serve as a valuable research tool for the future.
Researchers Identify Role of Protein Important for Stem Cell Growth; Study Leads to Recovery in Animal Model of Stroke
Wednesday, Aug 30, 2006
For the first time, researchers have found that a protein signal important in embryonic development promotes survival and proliferation of stem cells. Stimulating receptors for this protein, called Notch, led to functional recovery in rats with brain damage from stroke. The results suggest potential new ways of treating stroke and neurodegenerative diseases.
Organized Protein Network Discovered in the Ataxias
Monday, Aug 14, 2006
Scientists have recently announced discovery of a sophisticated network of interacting proteins that forms the basis for inherited neurodegenerative diseases such as the ataxias. This network gives scientists new insight into the normal function of disease-related genes. It also provides possible candidate sites for targeted therapies aimed at the ataxias and other progressive neurological disorders.
Mutant Mice Exhibit Abnormal Social Interactions and Brain Changes; Possible Animal Model for Autism Spectrum Disorders
Monday, Aug 14, 2006
A new study shows that inactivating a gene called Pten in a mouse model produces disturbances in social interaction and brain organization that closely mirror human autism and related disorders. This is the first time scientists have developed an animal model with both behavioral and cellular abnormalities similar to autism. These animals could provide important insights into understanding the brain regions and neurochemical interactions that underlie in this mysterious disease.
Double-Agent MMP-9: Timing is Everything in Stroke Treatment
Thursday, Aug 3, 2006
In a surprise twist, researchers have learned that a type of enzyme that contributes to brain damage immediately after a stroke also plays a role in brain remodeling and movement of neurons days after stroke. Understanding the secondary role for this enzyme in healing stroke damage may lead to new treatments for stroke and offer a longer window of time for treatment.
New Neurons are Born: Animal Model of Premature Babies Shows Evidence of Neuronal Recovery After Brain Injury
Wednesday, Jul 12, 2006
Research funded in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) shows that mice with a brain injury similar to that of many premature babies can generate new neurons that help to repair the damage. The study is the first to show that substantial recovery from neonatal injury can occur in the developing brain. The finding helps to explain why many children born prematurely with very low birth weight are able to overcome their early difficulties.
Javits Neuroscience Award Presented to Six Leading Scientists
Wednesday, Jul 12, 2006
Six outstanding scientists who target neurological disorders at the cellular and molecular level were recently awarded the prestigious Senator Jacob Javits Award in the Neurosciences. The award provides for up to seven years of research funding from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the nation’s leading agency for research on the brain and nervous system and a component of the National Institutes of Health.
Dopamine Drug Leads to New Neurons and Recovery of Function in Rat Model of Parkinson's Disease
Tuesday, Jul 4, 2006
In preliminary results, researchers have shown that a drug which mimics the effects of the nerve-signaling chemical dopamine causes new neurons to develop in the part of the brain where cells are lost in Parkinson's disease (PD). The drug also led to long-lasting recovery of function in an animal model of PD. The findings may lead to new ways of treating PD and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Neurons Grown From Embryonic Stem Cells Restore Function In Paralyzed Rats
Tuesday, Jun 20, 2006
For the first time, researchers have enticed transplants of embryonic stem cell-derived motor neurons in the spinal cord to connect with muscles and partially restore function in paralyzed animals. The study suggests that similar techniques may be useful for treating such disorders as spinal cord injury, transverse myelitis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and spinal muscular atrophy. The study was funded in part by the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
Drug Prevents Brain Swelling After Stroke
Wednesday, Jun 14, 2006
A drug long used to treat diabetes significantly reduces brain swelling, neuron loss, and death after stroke in rats, researchers have found. The finding may lead to improved ways of treating stroke and other disorders in humans.
Study Finds Loss of Small Nerve Fibers in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
Friday, May 19, 2006
A new study shows that a reduction in small-diameter nerve fibers is evident in the devastating chronic pain syndrome known as complex regional pain syndrome-type I (CRPS-I), which was formerly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy. This finding of nerve damage could provide a biomarker, or a specific physical trait, that clinicians could use in the future to help diagnose and measure the natural history of CRPS.
Study Identifies Protein that Impairs Memory in Model for Alzheimer's Disease
Thursday, May 11, 2006
For the first time, researchers have identified a specific form of amyloid beta protein that causes memory impairment long before amyloid plaques and neurodegeneration appear in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The finding may lead to new ways of diagnosing and possibly even preventing the disease.
Economic Benefit of NINDS-Supported Clinical Trials Estimated at More Than $15 Billion Over Ten Years
Thursday, Apr 20, 2006
A comprehensive review of all phase III clinical trials supported by one Federal agency finds that, estimated conservatively, the economic benefit in the United States from just eight of these trials exceeded $15 billion over the course of 10 years. The study also found that new discoveries from the trials were responsible for an estimated additional 470,000 healthy years of life. The clinical trials were sponsored by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
New Orthostatic Hypotension Treatment Reduces Symptoms Without Causing High Blood Pressure
Tuesday, Apr 11, 2006
A drug traditionally used to treat myasthenia gravis shows potential benefit for reducing symptoms of orthostatic hypotension without raising blood pressure when people lie down, according to results of a double-blind, controlled clinical trial.
Opening the Window of Opportunity: Neuregulin-1 Protects Neurons from Stroke Hours after the Event
Wednesday, Mar 8, 2006
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in adults in the United States. Currently, the only approved drug treatment for acute stroke must be given within 3 hours from stroke onset. A recent study shows that a naturally occurring growth factor, called neuregulin-1, can protect nerve cells and decrease inflammation in an animal model of stroke when administered as long as 13 hours after the brain attack. This is the first study to show that neuregulin-1 can have a positive effect on the outcome after stroke in animals and could lead to new drug treatments for people.
Evaluation of Patients Treated With Natalizumab Finds No New Cases of Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy
Wednesday, Mar 1, 2006
An independent clinical and laboratory study of more than 3000 people treated with the drug natalizumab (Tysabri®) for multiple sclerosis (MS), Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis has found no evidence of new cases of the often-fatal disorder called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). The laboratory component of the study was coordinated by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), working in conjunction with the NIH Clinical Center.
DCDC2: Demystifying and Decoding Dyslexia
Tuesday, Feb 28, 2006
A recent study shows that variations in a gene called DCDC2 may disrupt the normal formation of brain circuits that are necessary for fluent reading, leading to dyslexia. After further research, genetic screening for these variations could identify affected children early in their lives and possibly prevent the misdiagnosis of other learning disabilities that resemble dyslexia.
Genetics and Epidemiology Point to Future Treatment and Cure for Parkinson’s Disease
Monday, Feb 27, 2006
Recent advances in scientists’ understanding of the genetics and epidemiology of Parkinson’s may point to ways to prevent and, eventually, find a cure for the disease, according to scientists presenting at the World Parkinson Congress.
Study Implicates Potassium Channel Mutations in Neurodegeneration and Mental Retardation
Sunday, Feb 26, 2006
For the first time, researchers have linked mutations in a gene that regulates how potassium enters cells to a neurodegenerative disease and to another disorder that causes mental retardation and coordination problems. The findings may lead to new ways of treating a broad range of disorders, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
Preliminary Results Shows Creatine and Minocycline May Warrant Further Study in Parkinson’s Disease
Thursday, Feb 23, 2006
A National Institutes of Health-sponsored clinical trial with 200 Parkinson's disease patients has shown that creatine and minocycline may warrant further consideration for study in a large trial.
Advancements in Symptomatic and Neuroprotective Treatments Highlighted at First World Parkinson Congress
Thursday, Feb 23, 2006
At today’s World Parkinson Congress, the first international gathering of Parkinson’s researchers, health professionals, patients, and caregivers, some of the world’s leading neuroscientists from the United States, Canada, and Sweden presented on innovative therapies that show promise in controlling the symptoms of Parkinson’s, restoring lost function, and even altering the progression of the disease.
Living with Parkinson’s: A Jekyll and Hyde Existence
Thursday, Feb 23, 2006
"I live a strange double life," said 37-year-old Tom Isaacs, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD) ten years ago and is a co-founder of the Cure Parkinson's Trust in the United Kingdom. "I am both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."
Expectations of Pain: I Think, Therefore I Am
Wednesday, Feb 15, 2006
While the theory that “mind over matter” exists is an ancient belief, the scientific studies to support this idea have remained elusive. A new study provides brain imaging evidence that positive thinking interacts with and shapes the sensory experience of pain. This study suggests that decreasing the expectation of pain can reduce both the pain-related brain activity and perception of pain intensity. This knowledge may lead to new and effective ways to manage chronic pain.
Study Finds Biochemical Defect in Juvenile Batten Disease
Wednesday, Jan 25, 2006
For the first time, scientists studying a fatal childhood neurodegenerative disorder, juvenile Batten disease, have identified a defect in transport of the amino acid arginine in cells from affected children. The finding helps researchers understand how the disease develops and may lead to new ways of treating it.
Study Links Alzheimer's Disease to Abnormal Cell Division
Tuesday, Jan 17, 2006
A new study in mice suggests that Alzheimer's disease (AD) may be triggered when adult neurons try to divide. The finding helps researchers understand what goes wrong in the disease and may lead to new ways of treating it.
EvoPrinter: New Tool for Finding Evolutionary Conserved DNA Sequences
Thursday, Dec 15, 2005
Scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have developed a computer search tool that rapidly compares DNA sequences among animal species to identify those sequences that have not changed during evolution. Studies shows that these identified DNA fragments are often essential to gene function.
Scientists Discover First Gene for Tourette Syndrome
Thursday, Dec 15, 2005
A team of scientists has discovered the first gene mutation that may cause some cases of Tourette syndrome (TS), an inherited neuropsychiatric disorder known for involuntary muscle and vocal tics.
Epilepsy Can Be Triggered by Support Cells in the Brain
Thursday, Dec 15, 2005
For decades, researchers have tried to understand what triggers clusters of neurons to begin signaling excessively in epilepsy. A new study shows that, in many cases, the answer resides in star-shaped support cells called astrocytes. The finding may lead to new ways of treating epilepsy.
Study Links Progressive Aphasia Syndrome to Prion Gene
Monday, Nov 28, 2005
Most people with a rare type of dementia called primary progressive aphasia (PPA) have a specific combination of prion gene variants, a new study shows. The study is the first to link the prion protein gene to this disorder. The researchers also looked at the prion protein gene in people with Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) and did not find any association with specific gene variants in those disorders.
Genetic Analysis of Glioblastoma Brain Tumors Can Aid in Treatment Decisions, Study Shows
Wednesday, Nov 9, 2005
Screening glioblastoma brain tumors for two gene variations can reliably predict which tumors will respond to a specific class of drugs, a new study shows. The findings may lead to improved treatment for this devastating disease.
Chemical Messenger Inactivates Cellular "Police" in Multiple Sclerosis
Friday, Oct 28, 2005
One of the fundamental mysteries of autoimmune diseases is how normally protective immune responses go bad. A new study sheds some light on this issue by showing that a chemical messenger called interleukin 12, or IL-12, allows some white blood cells to proliferate and damage healthy tissues. This finding may lead to new drug treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune diseases.
Study Identifies New Mode of Action for Ataxia Gene
Wednesday, Oct 19, 2005
For the first time, researchers have identified how the gene for a hereditary neurodegenerative disease called spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) disables an important group of neurons in the brain. The findings improve understanding of how SCA1 and related diseases develop and may lead to new ways of treating them.
Toxic Interactions from Neighboring Cells May Be Necessary for Huntington’s disease
Tuesday, Sep 27, 2005
A new study suggests that interactions between different cells are critical for the development of Huntington’s disease (HD) and perhaps other neurodegenerative diseases. This study provides the first genetic evidence that cell-cell interactions may be a necessary step in the onset of HD symptoms in a mouse model. This knowledge may lead to new therapeutic strategies to treat HD.
Drug Screening Study Suggests New Treatments for Alzheimer's
Monday, Sep 26, 2005
While several treatments are currently available for Alzheimer's disease (AD), none of them can slow or halt the course of this devastating disorder. In a new study, researchers have now identified three compounds that inhibit an enzyme believed to be involved in the process that leads to AD. This discovery may lead to new treatments that can stop the disease process in its tracks.
New Members Appointed to National Neurology Advisory Council
Wednesday, Sep 14, 2005
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt announces three new appointments and one reappointment to the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council, the major advisory panel of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The NINDS, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the nation’s primary supporter of basic, translational, and clinical research on the brain and nervous system. NINDS Director Story Landis, Ph.D., will introduce the new members, who will serve through July 2009, at the Council’s September 15, 2005 meeting.
NINDS Javits Award Goes to Six Inventive Neuroscientists
Wednesday, Sep 7, 2005
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a part of the National Institutes of Health, has named six scientists to receive its prestigious Senator Jacob Javits Award in the Neurosciences. The award is given to individual investigators who have demonstrated exceptional scientific excellence and productivity in research supported by the NINDS and who are expected to conduct innovative research over the next 7 years.
NINDS Launches Stroke Awareness Video for Hispanics
Tuesday, Aug 30, 2005
Each year, more than 700,000 Americans have a stroke. Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of long-term disability in the U.S. The disease also disproportionately affects Hispanics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hispanics 35-64 years old are 1.3 times more likely to have a stroke than whites in the same age group. Today, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) released a Spanish video designed to educate Hispanic communities nationwide about stroke prevention and treatment.
Stroke Information for Seniors Added to the NIHSeniorHealth Web Site
Tuesday, Aug 23, 2005
To help older adults learn more about the signs and symptoms of stroke and the need to act quickly, the National Institutes of Health is adding four new topics on stroke to its NIHSeniorHealth web site: Act Quickly, Warnings Signs and Risk Factors, What Happens during a Stroke, and Treatments and Research. The site features easy-to-read stroke information, developed by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and may be found at www.nihseniorhealth.gov.
Combination Therapy Leads to Partial Recovery from Spinal Cord Injury in Rats
Tuesday, Jul 26, 2005
Combining partially differentiated stem cells with gene therapy can promote the growth of new "insulation" around nerve fibers in the damaged spinal cords of rats, a new study shows. The treatment, which mimics the activity of two nerve growth factors, also improves the animals' motor function and electrical conduction from the brain to the leg muscles. The finding may eventually lead to new ways of treating spinal cord injury in humans.
Gene Therapy Relieves Neuropathic Pain in Rats
Tuesday, Jun 28, 2005
Using a weakened herpes virus to deliver a neurotransmitter-related gene to sensory neurons alleviates pain for up to 6 weeks in rats with chronic pain caused by nerve damage, a new study shows. The findings may lead to the first effective treatment for people affected by this type of "neuropathic" pain.
Silencing Gene Activity Prevents Disease in Model for Huntington's
Tuesday, Jun 7, 2005
Silencing the activity of a mutant gene prevents disease symptoms in a mouse model for Huntington's disease (HD), a new study shows. The study is the first to directly target the underlying problem that causes HD, and it may lead to a new way of treating this disorder.
TorsinA Protein Protects Against Neuron Loss in Model for Parkinson's Disease
Wednesday, Jun 1, 2005
A protein found naturally in the brain may protect against Parkinson's disease (PD), a new study shows. The findings also may lead to an improved understanding of a disorder called early-onset torsion dystonia.
First Genetic Screen Reveals Possible Gene Loci for Neural Tube Defects
Monday, May 9, 2005
Dozens of investigators studying nearly 300 individuals from 44 families nationwide have narrowed down the hunt for genes that may cause such birth defects as spina bifida and anencephaly.
Learning New Rules about the "Primitive" Brain
Wednesday, May 4, 2005
A new study sheds light on how people quickly learn associations such as “stop at red” or “go at green”. This study challenges the current view of how specific brain areas help us learn rules and behave accordingly. The findings help to reveal how the brain organizes and orders its functions and processes, systems that may be disrupted in disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.
NINDS Announces New Javits Neuroscience Investigator Awardees
Wednesday, May 4, 2005
Four prominent investigators were recently awarded the prestigious Senator Jacob Javits Award in the Neurosciences, which provides for up to seven years of research funding from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
New Gene Therapy Vector May Lead to Treatment for Muscular Dystrophy
Monday, Apr 18, 2005
One of the biggest challenges in developing useful gene therapy is finding a way to get the beneficial gene into enough cells of the body to effectively treat the disease. Now, researchers have shown in rodents that a virus called adeno-associated virus 8 (AAV8) can effectively deliver a gene to all the skeletal muscles of the body. If it works the same way in humans, this virus-based approach may allow the first effective gene therapy for muscular dystrophy (MD) and similar diseases.
Aspirin is Safer than Warfarin and Just as Effective for Treating Blocked Arteries in the Brain
Wednesday, Mar 30, 2005
To reduce the risk of stroke, partial blockage of arteries in the brain (intracranial stenosis) has for decades been treated with drugs such as aspirin and warfarin that reduce blood clotting. However, doctors have never had good evidence for choosing one therapy over the other. Now, results of a double-blind, randomized clinical trial show for the first time that aspirin works as well as warfarin with fewer side effects.
Statins Prevent a "Sticky" Situation in the Formation of Plaques
Wednesday, Mar 9, 2005
Studies have suggested that statins, a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, may also lower the risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A new study now suggests that some of the beneficial effects of the drug may be derived from a cholesterol-independent activity. This research, performed in mouse cells carrying an AD-causing gene mutation, may help scientists understand the clinical benefits of statins in AD.
TROY: A Newly Identified Stop Signal in the Pathway for Nerve Regeneration
Wednesday, Mar 9, 2005
One of the major puzzles in neuroscience is how to get nerves in the brain and spinal cord to regrow after injury. A new study has identified a protein, TROY, that inhibits nerve cell repair and plays a role in preventing nerve regeneration. This finding is an important step in developing new methods for treatment of spinal cord injury, stroke, and degenerative nerve disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS).
Pain Reliever May Provide Clues for Treating Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Thursday, Mar 3, 2005
New research suggests that an off-the-market pain reliever called indoprofen may be a starting point for finding a new drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a devastating childhood neurological disorder.
Test Could Improve Detection of Prion Disease in Humans
Monday, Feb 14, 2005
A highly sensitive post-mortem test could help scientists more accurately determine if a person died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a human neurological disorder caused by the same class of infectious proteins that trigger mad cow disease, according to a new study supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The finding opens the possibility that such testing might be refined in the future so it can be used to detect prion disease in living people and animals before the onset of symptoms.
What's Old is New Again - Antibiotic Protects Nerves By Removing Excess Glutamate
Monday, Feb 7, 2005
A new study shows that a common antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections increases survival rates and delays nerve damage in a mouse model for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The antibiotic works by activating or "turning on" the gene encoding the glutamate transporter in neurons. This finding may lead to new drug treatments for ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Researchers Identify Joubert Syndrome Genes
Monday, Feb 7, 2005
Researchers have identified the genes for two different forms of Joubert syndrome, a rare developmental disorder that causes coordination and movement problems and mental retardation in children. The findings allow genetic testing for some forms of the disorder and provide valuable insights about how the human brain develops.
Serotonin Receptor Lets JC Virus Enter Brain Cells
Friday, Jan 14, 2005
Researchers funded in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have identified the cellular receptor for the JC virus, which causes the fatal neurological disease progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Generic medicines currently available may be useful in preventing the infection.
Anti-Cholesterol Drug May Block Amyloid Pathology in Alzheimer’s Disease
Friday, Jan 14, 2005
A drug designed to inhibit cholesterol production may also block the production of amyloid, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In a mouse model of the disease, the drug reduced amyloid buildup by up to 99 percent and worked for up to 2 months without any evidence of toxicity.
Maestro Leon Fleisher Uses “Two Hands” to Thank NIH
Wednesday, Dec 8, 2004
“There is always hope,” said internationally renowned classical pianist Maestro Leon Fleisher during a recent visit to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to give thanks—in performance—for the innovative treatment he received at NIH and to the NINDS physicians and scientists who helped to reverse his condition. Fleisher performed selections from his critically acclaimed new CD, titled "Two Hands."
Ultrasound-aided Therapy Better Than Stroke Drug Alone, Trial Finds
Wednesday, Nov 17, 2004
Using ultrasound in combination with the drug t-PA can improve response to an ischemic stroke, according to a study involving 126 patients. This first-of-its-kind human trial compared the safety and efficacy of ultrasound and t-PA versus use of t-PA alone. The trial was funded in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a component of the National Institutes of Health. The finding appears in the November 18, 2004, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Internationally Acclaimed Pianist Gives Thanks to the National Institutes of Health for Innovative Treatment That Enabled His Comeback
Friday, Nov 12, 2004
Maestro Leon Fleisher, one of the world's most renowned classical pianists and three-time Grammy-nominee, will perform selections from his critically acclaimed new CD "Two Hands" at a pre-Thanksgiving event at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). More than 40 years ago, at the height of his career, Mr. Fleisher lost the use of his right hand to dystonia, the third most common neurological movement disorder after Parkinson's disease and essential tremor. He could no longer play the piano with both hands and the frequently misdiagnosed disorder severely impeded his performance of everyday tasks. About 10 years ago, physicians at the NIH were able to diagnose the problem as a focal dystonia and start him on a therapy which helped to reverse the condition.
Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award Recognizes Eight Exemplary Scientists
Wednesday, Nov 10, 2004
Eight noted investigators have been awarded the prestigious Senator Jacob Javits Award in the Neurosciences, which provides for up to seven years of research funding from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). The award, which honors the late U.S. Senator Jacob Javits, is presented to investigators who have demonstrated exceptional scientific excellence and productivity in research areas supported by the NINDS and who are expected to conduct cutting-edge research over the next seven years.
NIH Neuroscience Blueprint to Shape Intra-Agency Research Cooperation
Sunday, Oct 24, 2004
National Institutes of Health Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., today announced a new intra-agency partnership to accelerate neuroscience research. Dubbed the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, the agreement reinforces ongoing NIH efforts to increase collaborative research and information-sharing among 14 NIH Institutes and Centers that conduct or support research on the brain and nervous system.
Study Using Robotic Microscope Shows How Mutant Huntington's Disease Protein Affects Neurons
Wednesday, Oct 13, 2004
Brain Imaging May Identify High Risk Stroke Patients
Using a specially designed robotic microscope to study cultured cells, researchers have found evidence that abnormal protein clumps called inclusion bodies in neurons from people with Huntington's disease (HD) prevent cell death. The finding helps to resolve a longstanding debate about the role of these inclusion bodies in HD and other disorders and may help investigators find effective treatments for these diseases. Fact Sheet
Thursday, Oct 7, 2004
Reorganization of the Brain Allows Blind Individuals to Process Speech More Effectively
By using sophisticated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology, researchers have been able to study early changes in the blood-brain barrier (BBB), a semi-permeable membrane that surrounds and protects the brain, to predict a stroke patient's outcome. This study showed that the patients who had disruption in the BBB were more likely to experience bleeding in the brain and have a poor clinical outcome. The researchers say this technique could help identify patients who are most likely to do the best with thrombolytic therapy, and to help clinicians offer additional therapies to those who might suffer complications. Fact Sheet
Monday, Oct 4, 2004
The portion of the brain devoted to vision may play a prominent role in processing the spoken word in blind people. Research conducted by the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) shows that the "sight" region of the brain is essentially reorganized in blind individuals to help them process spoken words more effectively. The findings yield important information about the brain's ability to compensate for lost function.
Gene Silencing Prevents Brain Disease in Mice
Thursday, Sep 23, 2004
Study in Dogs Shows that Histamine is Key to Wakefulness
Scientists studying a mouse model of spinocerebellar ataxia 1 (SCA1) have found an effective way to "silence" the mutant gene allele or variant that causes the disorder while leaving the normal gene allele unaffected. Fact Sheet
Thursday, Sep 23, 2004
Gene for Rapid-Onset Dystonia Parkinsonism Found
Scientists studying an animal model of narcolepsy have found that histamine-activated brain cells are key to wakefulness. The findings help to show why antihistamines, commonly used to treat colds and allergies, cause drowsiness and impair alertness. Fact Sheet
Thursday, Sep 23, 2004
Electrical Activity Alters Neurotransmitter Production in Frogs During Development
Investigators funded in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have identified the gene responsible for a rare form of dystonia known as rapid-onset dystonia parkinsonism (RDP). Fact Sheet
Tuesday, Aug 10, 2004
Scientists studying how the nervous system develops in frogs have found that altering the pattern of electrical signaling in individual neurons changes the kinds of neurotransmitters they produce. While preliminary, the finding may lead to a new understanding of how epilepsy and other neurological disorders develop and may even point to new ways of preventing or treating these disorders.
Vaccine Reduces Parkinson's Disease Neurodegeneration in Mice
Wednesday, Jul 28, 2004
Study in Mice Links Growth Factor to Hereditary Motor Neuron Disease
For the first time, researchers have shown that an experimental vaccine can reduce the amount of neurodegeneration in a mouse model for Parkinson's disease. The finding suggests that a similar therapy might eventually be able to slow the devastating course of Parkinson's disease in humans. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Jul 7, 2004
Senataxin Gene Linked to Juvenile-Onset ALS
Production of a growth factor in the spinal cord drops just before the onset of symptoms in an animal model of a rare, hereditary motor neuron disease, scientists have found. The findings point to a potential new way of treating this disease, and possibly other neurodegenerative disorders as well. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Jun 23, 2004
Small Trial Shows Daclizumab Add-On Therapy Improves Multiple Sclerosis Outcome
Researchers funded in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have identified the gene that causes a rare juvenile-onset form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The discovery of the Senataxin gene, on chromosome 9q34, may provide clues to the mechanisms of related brain disorders. Fact Sheet
Monday, May 24, 2004
Combination Therapy Dramatically Improves Function After Spinal Cord Injury in Rats
A small clinical trial of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who did not respond to interferon alone found that adding the human antibody daclizumab improved patient outcome. Patients who received the combined therapy had a 78 percent reduction in new brain lesions and a 70 percent reduction in total lesions, along with other significant clinical improvements. Fact Sheet
Sunday, May 23, 2004
Study in Flies Allows Researchers to Visualize Formation of a Memory
A combination therapy using transplanted cells plus two experimental drugs significantly improves function in paralyzed rats, a new study shows. The results suggest that a similar therapy may be useful in humans with spinal cord injury. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
For the first time, researchers have used a technique called optical imaging to visualize changes in nerve connections when flies learn. These changes may be the beginning of a complex chain of events that leads to formation of lasting memories.
Early Treatment Confirmed as Key to Stroke Recovery
Thursday, Mar 4, 2004
Valproic Acid Shows Promise for Treating Spinal Muscular Atrophy
A study in the March 6, 2004, issue of The Lancet confirms the benefits of getting stroke patients to the hospital quickly for rapid thrombolytic treatment. The study provides the results of an extensive analysis of more than 2,700 stroke patients in six controlled clinical trials who were randomized for treatment with thrombolytic t-PA or a placebo. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Feb 18, 2004
Preconditioning the brain may protect against stroke
One of the first studies of valproic acid as a potential therapy for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) shows that, in cultured cells, the drug increases production of a protein that is reduced or missing in people with the disorder. While preliminary, the study suggests that valproic acid or related drugs may be able to halt or even reverse the course of this devastating childhood disease. Fact Sheet
Tuesday, Jan 13, 2004
Yeast Model Yields Insight into Parkinson's Disease
A December 2003 news article on genetic changes to protect the brain against a second larger stroke, prepared by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Fact Sheet
Thursday, Dec 4, 2003
Promising Gene Therapy Tool May Suppress Epileptic Seizures
Scientists who developed the first yeast model of Parkinson's disease (PD) have been able to describe the mechanisms of an important gene's role in the disease. Tiago Fleming Outeiro, Ph.D., and Susan Lindquist, Ph.D., of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, studied the gene's actions under normal conditions and under abnormal conditions to learn how and when the gene's product, alpha-synuclein, becomes harmful to surrounding cells. The scientists created a yeast model that expresses the alpha-synuclein gene, which has been implicated in PD. Yeast models are often used in the study of genetic diseases because they offer researchers a simple system that allows them to clarify how genes work. Fact Sheet
Friday, Nov 14, 2003
Major New Finding on Genetics of Parkinson's Disease Zeroes In on Activity of Alpha Synuclein
A new gene therapy approach may one day stop seizures in people with common forms of epilepsy, according to a new study. Researchers found that the new therapy suppressed focal seizures and seizure induced brain damage in rats. Fact Sheet
Thursday, Oct 30, 2003
Study Reveals Patterns of Gene Activity in the Mouse Nervous System
Scientists investigating a rare familial form of early-onset Parkinson's disease have discovered that too much of a normal form of the alpha-synuclein gene may cause Parkinson's disease. The finding, reported in the October 31, 2003, issue of Science, shows that abnormal multiplication of the alpha-synuclein gene can cause the disease. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Oct 29, 2003
The first published data from a government-funded project provide remarkable new insights into where specific genes are active in the mouse nervous system during development and adulthood. Information from this project will advance researchers' understanding of how particular genes function in the brain and spinal cord, leading to insights about how the nervous system works. It also may lead to new ways of preventing or treating disorders such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, psychiatric disorders, and drug addiction.
Investigators Explore Selective Silencing of Disease Genes
Wednesday, Oct 15, 2003
Study Links Restless Legs Syndrome to Poor Iron Uptake in the Brain
A new strategy to shut down mutant gene expression in the brain may someday be useful to treat a wide range of hereditary neurodegenerative diseases, such as Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases. Fact Sheet
Monday, Aug 11, 2003
Story C. Landis, Ph.D., Named New Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Results of the first-ever autopsy study of brains from people with restless legs syndrome (RLS) suggest that the disorder may result from inefficient processing of iron in certain brain cells. The findings provide a possible explanation for this disorder and may lead to new ways of treating the disease. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Aug 6, 2003
Elias Zerhouni, M.D., director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced the appointment of Story C. Landis, Ph.D., as director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Dr. Landis, who is currently the Scientific Director of the NINDS intramural program, will begin her appointment on September 1, 2003.
Study Provides New Information About Unruptured Brain Aneurysms
Monday, Jul 14, 2003
Molecular Fingerprint Predicts HIV-Associated Dementia
Results of the largest-ever international study of unruptured brain aneurysms provide a more comprehensive look at these vascular defects and offer guidance to patients and physicians facing the difficult decision about whether or not to treat an aneurysm surgically. The findings also suggest that the risk of rupture for most unrepaired small aneurysms (less than 7 millimeters in size) is small. Fact Sheet
Monday, Jun 23, 2003
Aspirin as Effective as Ticlopidine in African American Antiplatelet Stroke Prevention Study
A new study using a cutting edge research technique called "proteomics protein fingerprinting" shows that HIV patients with dementia have distinct protein patterns in their blood, setting them apart from patients with no symptoms of dementia. The study suggests a possible way to screen HIV patients for the first signs of cognitive impairment. Fact Sheet
Tuesday, Jun 10, 2003
Faulty Muscle Repair Implicated in Muscular Dystrophies
Results from the African American Antiplatelet Stroke Prevention Study (AAASPS), a large multicenter trial of 1,809 African American stroke patients from over 60 sites in the United States, show that aspirin is as effective as ticlopidine for prevention of a second stroke in this population. Originally scheduled to run until October 2003, the AAASPS was stopped in July 2002, after analyses suggested that there was less than a 1% chance that ticlopidine would be shown to be superior to aspirin if the study were carried to completion. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Misbehaving Molecules: 3-Dimensional Pictures of ALS Mutant Proteins Support Two Major Theories About How the Disease is Caused
Researchers have revealed what may be a totally new cause for muscular dystrophy (MD). A recent study shows that a protein defective in two types of late-onset MD plays a critical role in the normal repair of muscles. Fact Sheet
Sunday, May 18, 2003
Amid Ongoing Controversy, Researchers Find Opiates Relieve Chronic Pain From Nervous System Damage
A new study reveals for the first time how gene mutations lead to the inherited form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. The study suggests that the two most prominent theories of how familial ALS (FALS) and other related diseases develop are both right in part. Fact Sheet
Monday, May 12, 2003
Stroke Recovery Rates Slower for African Americans: New Research Examines Reasons for Racial Disparities
A new study shows that opioid drugs taken orally could provide relief for some of the more than 2 million Americans suffering with chronic pain resulting from damage to the nervous system. Fact Sheet
Thursday, May 8, 2003
Pressure Combined with Heat Reduces Prion Infectivity in Processed Meats
African Americans are more likely to suffer strokes and recover from them at a slower rate than whites, and these differences are not simply the result of greater stroke severity. According to Ronnie D. Horner, Ph.D., program director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and leader of a recently published study, research has found that African Americans who delay their post-stroke rehabilitation recover at a significantly slower rate than whites who experience the same rehabilitation delay. Recovery rates are even lower among low-income African Americans. Fact Sheet
Monday, May 5, 2003
What's in a Connection? A Look at Protein Patterns Within Synapses
The combination of high temperature and very high pressure in the preparation of processed meats such as hot dogs and salami may effectively reduce the presence of infective prions while retaining the taste, texture, and look of these meats, according to a new study. Fact Sheet
Monday, May 5, 2003
A new study has begun to unravel the mysteries of protein interactions that govern the strength of nerve cell connections, or synapses, in the brain. The findings give researchers a better understanding of how synapses function during learning and memory, and they may lead to new insights about such neurological disorders as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
Transport Problems Cause Motor Neuron Degeneration
Thursday, May 1, 2003
Accurate and Affordable Diagnosis of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
A new study shows for the first time in humans that nerve cell transport problems could play a key role in the degeneration of motor neurons, the nerve cells that control movement. The finding is an important step toward understanding the biology of motor neuron diseases and could lead to the development of effective treatments. Fact Sheet
Friday, Apr 18, 2003
New Findings About Parkinson's Disease: Coffee and Hormones Don't Mix
Researchers have developed a simple and affordable blood test that detects the most common form of muscular dystrophy (MD) in more than 95 percent of cases. Fact Sheet
Thursday, Apr 17, 2003
A New Test for Myotonic Dystrophy: Exposing an Enemy That’s Too Big to See
Several large studies have shown that caffeine intake is associated with a reduced risk of developing Parkinson's disease (PD) in men, but studies in women have been inconclusive. A new study shows that hormone therapy is a possible explanation for the different effects of caffeine on PD risk in men and women. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Mar 26, 2003
Dystonia Protein Linked to Problem Common in Other Neurological Disorders
Researchers have developed a genetic test that detects a common form of muscular dystrophy with 99 percent accuracy. The accurate diagnosis of myotonic muscular dystrophy type 2 (DM2) allows researchers to fully describe its clinical features for the first time. Fact Sheet
Monday, Mar 24, 2003
Cognitive Abilities Increase Significantly With Time in Most Prematurely Born Children
A new study links the protein that is impaired in the movement disorder torsion dystonia to a problem that is common to many neurological diseases. The finding may point to new treatments for dystonia, Parkinson's disease, and other disorders. Fact Sheet
Tuesday, Feb 11, 2003
Many studies have found that children born prematurely with very low birthweight have an increased risk of neurological problems, including cognitive handicaps. New research shows that most of these children improve significantly on tests of cognitive function during early childhood and score within the normal range on tests of verbal comprehension and intelligence by age 8.
Doubling Up: Researchers Combine a Common Dietary Supplement with an Antibiotic to Treat Lou Gehrig's Disease
Friday, Jan 31, 2003
Drug-Resistant Seizures Often Take Years to Develop
A new study shows that combining the supplement creatine and the antibiotic minocycline significantly slows disease progression and prolongs survival in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. Fact Sheet
Monday, Jan 27, 2003
Bone Marrow Generates New Neurons in Human Brains
While about 80 percent of people with epilepsy gain significant relief from drug therapy, the remaining 20 percent have seizures that cannot be controlled by medications. Many of these people have a particular type of epilepsy called partial epilepsy. A new study shows that people with partial epilepsy often have seizures controlled by medications for years before their seizures become drug-resistant. The study also found that periods when seizures stopped for a year or more are common in these patients. Fact Sheet
Monday, Jan 20, 2003
A new study strongly suggests that some cells from bone marrow can enter the human brain and generate new neurons and other types of brain cells. If researchers can find a way to control these cells and direct them to damaged areas of the brain, this finding may lead to new treatments for stroke, Parkinson's disease, and other neurological disorders.
Study Links Chronic Pain to Signals in the Brain
Tuesday, Jan 7, 2003
Old Drug, New Use: New Research Shows Common Cholesterol-Lowering Drug Reduces Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms in Mice
For centuries, doctors have tried to find effective ways to treat chronic pain, a devastating neurological disorder that affects almost 90 million Americans. A new study shows that two proteins in the brain trigger the neuronal changes that amplify and sustain this type of pain. The finding may lead to new ways of treating chronic pain. Fact Sheet
Monday, Jan 6, 2003
Tumor-Tracking Missiles: Researchers Develop a Possible New Treatment Strategy for Deadly Brain Tumors
A new study shows that a widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug dramatically reduces symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in mice. Results of the study suggest that statins, which are commonly used to prevent heart attack and stroke, could be a possible new treatment for MS and other autoimmune disorders. Fact Sheet
Tuesday, Dec 31, 2002
Study Identifies Gene That Prevents Nerve Cell Death
In spite of advances in neurosurgery and radiation techniques, the prognosis for patients with intracranial glioma remains devastating. Now, researchers have identified a possible new treatment strategy for this common type of malignant brain tumor.
Friday, Oct 25, 2002
Study Suggests Coenzyme Q10 Slows Functional Decline in Parkinson's Disease
Many neurological diseases occur when specific groups of neurons die because of nerve damage, toxins, inflammation, or other factors. A new study suggests that activity of a single gene can stop neurons from dying regardless of what triggers this process. The findings could lead to new ways of treating neurodegenerative diseases. Fact Sheet
Monday, Oct 14, 2002
Researchers Successfully Deliver Drugs to the Primate Brainstem
Results of the first placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial of the compound coenzyme Q10 suggest that it can slow disease progression in patients with early-stage Parkinson's disease (PD). While the results must be confirmed in a larger study, they provide hope that this compound may ultimately provide a new way of treating PD. Fact Sheet
Thursday, Oct 3, 2002
Study Finds Psychiatric Disorders are Common in People with Cerebellar Degeneration
Current drug treatments of brainstem tumors are largely unsuccessful, because the drugs often fail to bypass the blood vessel lining protecting the brainstem. Now, an NIH study shows that researchers can effectively deliver drugs to the primate brainstem and monitor how the drugs spread inside the brain. The study provides hope for improving treatment of brainstem tumors and other brain diseases. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Sep 25, 2002
A new study shows that most patients with movement disorders caused by damage to the cerebellum also have psychiatric symptoms. The study suggests that patients with cerebellar diseases may benefit from screening and treatment of psychiatric symptoms.
Vaccine Prevents Stroke in Rats
Thursday, Sep 5, 2002
New Device Detects Fetal Brain Response to Light: May Help Prevent Brain Damage
A vaccine that interferes with inflammation inside blood vessels greatly reduces the frequency and severity of strokes in spontaneously hypertensive, genetically stroke-prone rats, according to a new study from the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). If the vaccine works in humans, it could prevent many of the strokes that occur each year. Fact Sheet
Thursday, Sep 5, 2002
For years, doctors who work in maternal and fetal medicine have had no way to detect brain activity in unborn children. Now, for the first time, researchers using a unique scanning device have shown that they can detect fetal brain activity in response to flashes of light transmitted through the mother's abdomen. With refinement, this technique may help physicians detect and prevent fetal brain damage resulting from maternal hypertension, diabetes, and other conditions.
Signaling Molecule Improves Nerve Cell Regeneration in Rats
Thursday, Aug 29, 2002
Another Reason to Avoid a Sugar High: Study Links High Blood Sugar to Mortality After Stroke
Scientists have made a key discovery that could lead to a new treatment for spinal cord injuries. Two research teams have found that a dose of a signaling molecule called cyclic AMP (cAMP) given before an induced injury causes damaged nerve cells to grow new fibers. This finding takes researchers a step closer to understanding and possibly treating paralysis in humans. Fact Sheet
Friday, Aug 23, 2002
Rewiring the Brain: A Natural Chemical Improves Motor Skills After Stroke
Stroke has long been regarded as an untreatable condition with potentially devastating consequences. But in recent years, new treatments have markedly improved patients' ability to recover from stroke, and researchers now have a new clue about how to further improve stroke treatment. Fact Sheet
Monday, Aug 12, 2002
Scientists Identify a New Kind of Genetic Problem in Muscular Dystrophy
A new study shows that a chemical naturally produced by the body helps improve motor skills after a stroke by stimulating undamaged nerve fibers to grow new connections in the brain and spinal cord. Researchers say that infusions of this chemical, called inosine, substantially improves brain function following strokes in rats. The study suggests a new potential for stroke treatment amid ongoing research efforts. Fact Sheet
Thursday, Aug 8, 2002
Study Finds a Mouse Model for Episodic Neurological Disorders
A newly identified genetic problem underlies a common neuromuscular disorder called facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), scientists say. In a new study, they show that deletion of repetitive DNA sequences in people with this disorder allows nearby genes to go into overdrive. The finding solves a decade-old riddle about the cause of this disorder and may ultimately lead to the first effective treatments. Fact Sheet
Monday, Aug 5, 2002
For years, physicians have noticed surprising similarities in the factors that seem to trigger attacks in such episodic neurological disorders as migraine and dyskinesia. Common triggers include psychological stress, caffeine or alcohol ingestion, fatigue, hormonal fluctuations and exercise. A new study shows that a mouse model can be used to investigate how these substances and environmental factors trigger symptomatic attacks. The researchers also identified two drugs that can prevent attacks of such disorders in mice.
Embryonic Mouse Stem Cells Reduce Symptoms in Model for Parkinson's Disease
Thursday, Jun 20, 2002
Study Finds Autoimmune Link In Juvenile Batten Disease
Embryonic mouse stem cells transformed into neurons in a lab dish and then transplanted into a rat model for Parkinson's disease (PD) form functional connections and reduce disease symptoms, a new study shows. The finding suggests that embryonic stem (ES) cells may ultimately be useful for treating PD and other brain diseases. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, May 22, 2002
Gene Therapy Repairs Neurological Damage in Animal Model for Rare Metabolic Disease
For years, researchers have tried to determine how the defective gene in juvenile Batten disease leads to the seizures, mental impairment, and other symptoms of this devastating childhood disorder. A new study shows that mice lacking the gene that is altered, or mutated, in this disorder have an immune reaction that disables an important enzyme in the brain. The study also found signs of this reaction in children with Batten disease. The finding provides a new clue about how Batten disease may damage the nervous system and could lead to treatments for the disorder. Fact Sheet
Tuesday, May 14, 2002
Minocycline Delays Onset and Slows Progression of ALS in Mice
Using a disabled virus, researchers have delivered corrective genes directly to the brain cells of mice affected by a rare lysosomal storage disease that causes mental impairment. The treatment not only halted progression of the disease but also restored spatial learning and memory in the mice. The study is the first to suggest that cognitive problems associated with a neurodegenerative disease might be reversed after the disease has begun. Fact Sheet
Thursday, May 2, 2002
Study Finds Widespread Sympathetic Nerve Damage in Parkinson's Disease
The antibiotic minocycline delays onset and slows progression of symptoms in a mouse model for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a new study shows. The study also revealed that the drug may work by blocking release of a molecule that triggers cell death. The findings may lead to new ways of treating ALS or other neurodegenerative disorders. Fact Sheet
Monday, Apr 22, 2002
Methylphenidate and Clonidine Help Children With ADHD and Tics
Parkinson's disease is known to cause damage to a specific region of the brain. A new study led by NINDS scientist David S. Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D., shows that the disease also causes widespread damage to the sympathetic nervous system, which controls blood pressure, pulse rate, and many other automatic responses to stress. The study also shows that this damage is unrelated to treatment with the most commonly used Parkinson's drug, levodopa, and may lead to new approaches to identifying the cause of the disease. The study appears in the April 23, 2002, issue of Neurology. Fact Sheet
Tuesday, Apr 2, 2002
Genetic Analysis of Childhood Brain Tumors Improves Diagnosis And Predicts Survival
For decades, doctors who have treated children with both attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and tics have been warned not to prescribe methylphenidate (Ritalin), the most common drug for ADHD, because of a concern that it would make the tics worse. Now, the first randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of methylphenidate and another drug, clonidine (Catapres), has found that in fact these drugs do not adversely affect tics. The researchers also found that a combination of the drugs is more effective than either drug alone. Fact Sheet
Friday, Mar 8, 2002
Scientists Identify Potential New Treatment for Huntington's Disease
Doctors who treat brain tumors and other kinds of cancer have long struggled to understand why some patients respond well to therapy while others do not. In recent years, it has become clear that the answer lies at least partially in the genes. Two studies now show that identifying the "genetic fingerprints" of some childhood brain tumors can greatly improve diagnosis and predict patients' long-term survival. The findings help researchers understand how the tumors develop and may lead to improved ways of treating them. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Feb 27, 2002
Brain Produces New Cells in Multiple Sclerosis
A drug called cystamine alleviates tremors and prolongs life in mice with the gene mutation for Huntington's disease (HD), a new study shows. The drug appears to work by increasing the activity of proteins that protect nerve cells, or neurons, from degeneration. The study suggests that a similar treatment may one day be useful in humans with HD and related disorders. Fact Sheet
Tuesday, Feb 26, 2002
Gene Linked to Epilepsy With Auditory Features
The brain produces new cells to repair the damage from multiple sclerosis (MS) for years after symptoms of the disorder appear, according to a recent study. However, in most cases the cells are unable to complete the repairs. These findings suggest that an unknown factor limits the repair process and may lead to new ways of treating this disorder. Fact Sheet
Thursday, Feb 7, 2002
Researchers Identify Potential Treatment for Learning Disability in Neurofibromatosis
A new gene involved in a rare form of epilepsy, in which affected individuals may hear sounds that aren't there, has been identified by researchers supported by the NINDS. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Jan 16, 2002
Parkinsonian Symptoms Decrease in Rats Given Stem Cell Transplants
Researchers studying learning disabilities associated with neurofibromatosis type 1, or NF1, have traced the problem to excessive activity of a crucial signaling molecule and have successfully reversed the disabilities in mice by giving them an experimental drug. The findings provide hope that these learning problems may one day be treatable in humans. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Jan 9, 2002
Immunotherapy Treatment Shows Dramatic Results for Rare Neurological Disorder
A new study shows that mouse embryonic stem cells transplanted into rats with brain damage resembling Parkinson's disease spontaneously acquire many of the features of dopamine-producing neurons. Animals that received the transplants showed a gradual reduction in their parkinsonian symptoms, and brain scans revealed evidence that the transplanted cells integrated with the surrounding area and began to produce dopamine. The findings raise the possibility that embryonic stem cell transplants may one day be useful in treating Parkinson's disease and other brain disorders. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Dec 26, 2001
An immunologic therapy, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), administered to patients suffering from stiff person syndrome (SPS), provides dramatic relief from disabling symptoms, according to a study appearing in the December 27, 2001, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.* The study's principal author, Marinos C. Dalakas, M.D., chief of the Neuromuscular Diseases Section of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, says that the success of the treatment supports the theory that SPS is the result of an autoimmune response gone awry in the brain and spinal cord.
Researchers Find Genetic Links for Late-Onset Parkinson's Disease
Wednesday, Dec 19, 2001
Delayed Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury May Improve Recovery
Recent studies provide strong evidence that genetic factors influence susceptibility to the common, late-onset form of Parkinson's disease (PD). The findings improve scientists' understanding of how PD develops and may lead to new treatments or even ways of preventing the disease. Fact Sheet
Saturday, Dec 1, 2001
Study Shows That Aspirin and Warfarin Are Equally Effective for Stroke Prevention
Rats given an experimental therapy several weeks after their spinal cords were severed showed dramatically greater regrowth of nerve fibers and recovery of function than rats treated immediately after injury, a new study shows. The report suggests that the window of opportunity for treating spinal cord injury may be wider than previously anticipated. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Nov 14, 2001
Estrogen Doesn't Prevent Second Strokes: Protective Effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy Challenged
A study appearing in the November 15, 2001, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine shows that aspirin works as well as warfarin in helping to prevent recurrent strokes in most patients. The Warfarin versus Aspirin Recurrent Stroke Study (WARSS) was a 7-year double-blind, randomized clinical trial involving 2,206 patients at 48 participating centers—the largest trial to date comparing aspirin to warfarin for recurrent stroke prevention. The study was sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Fact Sheet
Thursday, Oct 25, 2001
Safe Effective Treatment to Stop Seizures Can Be Delivered Outside of the Hospital
Estrogen hormone replacement therapy does not reduce the risk of stroke or death in postmenopausal women who have already had a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), according to a report from the first randomized, controlled clinical trial of estrogen therapy for secondary prevention of cerebrovascular disease. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Aug 29, 2001
Trial Drugs for Huntington's Disease Inconclusive in Slowing Disease
A new study shows that paramedics can safely and effectively treat patients who are suffering from acute and prolonged seizures with injections of benzodiazepines, a mild form of tranquilizers. In 59 percent of patients who received lorazepam, and in 43 percent of patients treated with diazepam, the seizures stopped before they arrived at the emergency department. Conversely, only 21 percent of patients in the placebo group arrived at the hospital seizure free. Fact Sheet
Monday, Aug 13, 2001
Manipulating A Single Gene Dramatically Improves Regeneration in Adult Neurons: Finding May Lead to New Approaches for Treating Brain and Spinal Cord Damage
A large-scale clinical trial that tested the ability of the investigational drugs remacemide and Coenzyme Q10 to slow the progression of Huntington's disease showed that neither drug resulted in any significant improvement for the patients. Although after one year of treatment, the disease seemed to progress more slowly in patients treated with Coenzyme Q10, the investigators say that overall the results are inconclusive as to whether there is real benefit from this drug. Fact Sheet
Sunday, Jul 1, 2001
Increasing the expression of a single gene that is important during development dramatically improves the ability of adult neurons to regenerate, a new study shows. The finding suggests that intrinsic properties of neurons play an important role in controlling neuronal regeneration and may lead to new approaches for treating damage from stroke, spinal cord injury, and other neurological conditions.
New Tool Allows Early Prediction of Patient's Stroke Outcome
Thursday, Jun 28, 2001
Enzyme Therapy Shown Effective and Safe for Fabry Disease
Scientists have developed a new tool that may help physicians predict, during the first several hours a stroke patient is in the hospital, the degree of recovery the patient will eventually experience. The tool uses three factors for the accurate prediction of stroke outcome: measurement of brain injury using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); the patient's score on the NIH stroke scale; and the time in hours from the onset of symptoms until the MRI brain scan is performed. Fact Sheet
Tuesday, Jun 5, 2001
Increased Awareness of Stroke Symptoms Could Dramatically Reduce Stroke Disability - New NIH Public Education Campaign Says Bystanders Can Play Key Role
Enzyme replacement therapy effectively and safely reduces neuropathic pain in patients with Fabry disease, results of a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial show. The therapy also corrects the underlying metabolic defect in patients' cells and improves their heart and kidney functions. This is the first published report to show significant clinical benefits from a controlled study of enzyme replacement therapy for Fabry disease. Fact Sheet
Tuesday, May 8, 2001
Drugs and Stress Management Together Best Manage Chronic Tension Headache: Clinical Trial Proves Benefit of Combined Therapies
Only a fraction of stroke patients each year are getting to the hospital in time to receive a treatment that makes the difference between disability and full recovery. Thousands more people could benefit from the treatment—a drug called tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA)—but do not, often because they do not know the symptoms of stroke or do not get to the hospital within the drug's 3-hour window of effectiveness. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is launching a national public education campaign, 'Know Stroke: Know the Signs. Act in Time,' to help people overcome these barriers and to get medical help in time. Fact Sheet
Tuesday, May 1, 2001
Blood Markers Associated with Autism and Mental Retardation
Stress management techniques such as relaxation and biofeedback can help treat chronic tension headaches, especially in combination with medicine, according to research funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Results of the first placebo-controlled trial comparing medicines alone vs. medicine plus stress management appear in the May 2, 2001, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Apr 25, 2001
Popular Pain Analgesics Found to Affect Central Nervous System: Study Identifies Both Peripheral and CNS Mechanisms of Action of NSAID Use
A new study shows that elevated concentrations of proteins present at birth in the blood may be associated with the development of autism and mental retardation later in childhood. The identification of a biological marker early in life and before the onset of symptoms could lead to earlier and more definitive diagnoses, better clinical definitions, and the discovery of interventional therapies for the disorders. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Mar 21, 2001
Widely prescribed pain killers that provide relief with minimal side effects may have more pain-relieving properties than previously identified. A new study funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) shows that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, not only relieve pain at the local (peripheral) site of inflammation but in fact affect the entire central nervous system.
Federal Health Agencies Team Up with the American Heart Association to Advance War on Heart Disease and Stroke
Thursday, Feb 1, 2001
The Federal government and the American Heart Association—including its division the American Stroke Association—are joining forces in the fight against heart disease and stroke, America's number one and number three killers, respectively.
Breaking Down Barriers: NIH Celebrates New National Neuroscience Research Center
Tuesday, Jan 23, 2001
At a special event held at the National Institutes of Health on January 4, more than 150 principal investigators from nine institutes--the first gathering of its type--heard NINDS Director Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D., and Steven Hyman, M.D., director of NIMH, describe their vision of a new intellectual framework for joint efforts in neuroscience research. The new National Neuroscience Research Center, which will be built on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, will support that vision through shared, flexible space, easy traffic flow, and ample areas for interaction among scientists and with the public.
Turning Blood into Brain: New Studies Suggest Bone Marrow Stem Cells Can Develop into Neurons in Living Animals
Thursday, Nov 30, 2000
For years, researchers studying stem cells have been intrigued by the possibility that these cells might be used to treat brain diseases. Recent studies have suggested that neural stem cells transplanted into the brain can migrate throughout the brain and develop into other types of cells. Now, two new studies show that bone marrow cells transplanted into mice can migrate into the brain and develop into cells that appear to be neurons. The studies suggest that bone marrow may be a readily available source of neural cells with potential for treating such neurological disorders as Parkinson's disease and traumatic brain injury.
NINDS Funds Three New Specialized Neuroscience Research Programs at Minority Academic Institutions
Tuesday, Oct 31, 2000
As part of its initiative to promote and enhance neuroscience research at minority institutions, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), in collaboration with the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), has funded three new Specialized Neuroscience Research Programs (SNRPs). The programs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Meharry Medical College and Hunter College seek to encourage neuroscience graduate education among minority students and to stimulate new research on brain and nervous system disorders affecting minorities.
NINDS Sponsors Stroke Sunday to Call Attention to Stroke Rate in African Americans
Tuesday, Oct 31, 2000
NIH Grantees Awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for Brain Research
NINDS Deputy Director Audrey Penn and researchers from NINDS' Stroke Branch recently joined U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher at a Rockville, Maryland, Baptist church for Stroke Sunday, a health education and stroke event co-sponsored by the American Stroke Association (ASA) and the Black Commissioned Officers' Advisory Group of the U.S. Public Health Service (BCOAG). The event brought attention to the major impact of stroke in the African American community and helped to inform church congregants about reducing their stroke risks. Fact Sheet
Monday, Oct 9, 2000
Long-time National Institutes of Health grantees Dr. Eric R. Kandel and Dr. Paul Greengard were awarded the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries in signal transduction in the nervous system. Together their work has improved treatments for Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, and depression and holds promise for the improvement of memory in various types of dementia.
MS Clinical Trials Confirm Approach, Demonstrate Need to Refine Targeted Peptide Therapy
Sunday, Oct 1, 2000
Cellular Membrane Changes Associated With Acclimation to Cold
Two clinical trials of a targeted peptide therapy in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) have been halted due to adverse effects in some study participants. Despite these adverse effects, the findings confirm that the targeted peptide plays a role in the disease and provide valuable information that may help refine this type of therapy for MS as well as other autoimmune diseases. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Sep 20, 2000
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have discovered a cellular mechanism in hibernating ground squirrels that may protect the nervous system from being damaged during extreme cold and lowered body temperatures, called hypothermia. This discovery could lead to a better understanding of the cellular mechanisms of hibernation and the cellular effects of hypothermia in non-hibernating animals.
Parkinson's Disease Is More Than a Brain Disorder
Monday, Sep 4, 2000
Scientists Pinpoint Possible Cause for Debilitating Sleep Disorder Narcolepsy
For many years, researchers have known that the movement problems associated with Parkinson's disease result from a loss of neurons that produce a nerve-signaling chemical called dopamine in one part of the brain. A new study suggests that Parkinson's disease (PD) also affects nerve endings that produce a related chemical, norepinephrine, in the heart. The finding improves understanding about how Parkinson's disease develops and may lead to a way of predicting the disorder and possibly even preventing it. Fact Sheet
Tuesday, Aug 29, 2000
NINDS Hosts First Parkinson's Disease Implementation Committee Meeting to Establish Priorities for Parkinson's Research
Scientists believe they may have identified the cause of the debilitating sleep disorder narcolepsy in humans. A new study shows a dramatic reduction — up to 95 percent — in the number of neurons containing a substance called hypocretins in the brains of people with narcolepsy compared to control brains. Hypocretin peptides are neurotransmitters that play an important role in regulating sleep and appetite. The researchers hypothesize that the pronounced loss of these neurons could be caused either by a neurodegenerative process or an autoimmune response. Fact Sheet
Monday, Jul 31, 2000
The first meeting of the NINDS Parkinson's Disease Implementation Committee (PDIC) was held July 31, 2000 at the National Institutes of Health, Neuroscience Center in Rockville, Maryland. The Committee identified several areas of Parkinson's disease research that will receive the highest priority in the coming weeks, including clinical trials and gene research.
Establishing Stroke Centers in Hospitals Would Reduce Deaths and Disabilities, Say Stroke Experts. First-Ever Recommendations Published in June 21 Issue of JAMA
Tuesday, Jun 20, 2000
Clinical Expert Dr. Guy McKhann Joins NINDS Research Planning Effort: Will Coordinate InstitutE'Ss Clinical Research Programs
BETHESDA, MD - A national stroke coalition today announced it is advocating for all hospitals to establish stroke centers or other programs to reduce deaths and disabilities from stroke. The June 21, 2000, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) features the first-ever recommendations for hospital stroke centers, authored by members of the Brain Attack Coalition, a group of professional, volunteer and government organizations dedicated to improving stroke treatment and prevention. Fact Sheet
Thursday, May 25, 2000
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) director Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D., today announced that Guy McKhann, M.D., will serve as Associate Director for Clinical Research for the Institute. Dr. McKhann is former chairman of The Johns Hopkins University Department of Neurology and founding director of the university's Mind/Brain Institute.
NIH Experts Say Few Eligible Stroke Patients Receive Treatments That Save Lives And Reduce Disability
Monday, May 15, 2000
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a component of the National Institutes of Health, said today that few eligible stroke patients receive treatments that can significantly reduce disability and save lives.
NINDS Funds Five Specialized Neuroscience Programs at Minority Institutions
Tuesday, Jan 18, 2000
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), in collaboration with the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and the Office for Research on Minority Health (ORMH), recently awarded grants to five minority institutions under a new funding mechanism called Specialized Neuroscience Research Programs at Minority Institutions (SNRP).
New Target Identified for Chronic Pain Therapy
Thursday, Nov 18, 1999
Scientists funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) may soon be able to reduce sensitivity to stimuli that are associated with chronic neuropathic and inflammatory pain by disabling certain nerve cells that send pain signals to the brain.
NINDS to Support Eight New Parkinson's Disease Research Centers of Excellence
Tuesday, Sep 28, 1999
As part of its efforts to defeat Parkinson's disease, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) today announced plans to award new grants to eight top universities. The new awards will raise to eleven the number of Parkinson's Disease Research Centers of Excellence the Institute funds and represent a total commitment of $49 million to be spent over the next 5 years. Added to the $24 million committed to three such centers in September of 1998, this brings total Institute funding for the Parkinson's Disease Research Centers of Excellence program to $73 million.
Stanford Researchers Nab Gene For Sleep Disorder
Thursday, Aug 5, 1999
After a decade-long search, a Stanford-led team has identified a gene that causes the sleep disorder narcolepsy -- a breakthrough that brings a cure for this disabling condition within reach, the scientists say.
Low Doses of Aspirin and Surgery Better for Stroke Prevention
Thursday, Jun 24, 1999
A new study shows that lower doses of aspirin given at the time of surgery work better than higher doses to prevent strokes. The Aspirin and Carotid Endarterectomy (ACE) trial, sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), found that patients given 81 or 325 mg of aspirin a day for three days before and 3 months after carotid endarterectomy (CE) surgery had less risk of stroke, heart attack, or death 30 days and 3 months following the surgery than did patients given 650 or 1300 mg a day.
Researchers Develop Better Means to Diagnose Adrenal Gland Tumors
Wednesday, Jun 16, 1999
A newly developed blood test to detect potentially deadly tumors that form in the adrenal glands has been shown to be significantly more sensitive than traditional diagnostic tests. The new test provides earlier and more accurate diagnoses of these tumors in patients with an inherited predisposition to develop them, possibly preventing complications or death. The study, led by researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will appear in the June 17, 1999, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
Transplanted Neural Stem Cells Migrate Throughout the Abnormal Brain, Reduce Disease Symptoms
Monday, Jun 7, 1999
For years, researchers have probed the mysteries of neural stem cells -- immature cells that can differentiate into all the cell types that make up the brain -- with the idea that they might be useful for treating brain disorders such as Parkinson's disease. Important new animal research now suggests that these cells may be effective in treating a much broader array of brain diseases than previously anticipated, including Alzheimer's disease and many childhood brain disorders.
Multitasking Behaviors Mapped to the Prefrontal Cortex
Wednesday, May 12, 1999
Investigators have mapped a region of the brain responsible for a certain kind of multitasking behavior, the uniquely human ability to perform several separate tasks consecutively while keeping the goals of each task in mind.
Fetal Cell Therapy Benefits Some Parkinson's Patients: First Controlled Clinical Trial Shows Mixed Results
Wednesday, Apr 21, 1999
Results from the first randomized, controlled clinical trial of fetal dopamine cell implants for Parkinson's disease show that the surgery helped a small number of Parkinson's patients, but not all who underwent the experimental therapy. These results raise important questions in the search for improved treatments for Parkinson's disease.
New NINDS Office of Special Programs in Neuroscience
Monday, Apr 5, 1999
In an effort to further recruit and train the next generation of minority neuroscience research professionals, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has created the Office of Special Programs in Neuroscience. The new office is headed by Alfred W. Gordon, Ph.D., an 11-year veteran of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), who has extensive experience in developing innovative neuroscience research programs at minority institutions.
Genetics Not Significant to Developing Typical Parkinson's Disease
Tuesday, Jan 26, 1999
Genetic factors do not play a significant role in causing the most common form of Parkinson's disease (PD), according to a study to be published in the January 27, 1999 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. This epidemiological study, the largest of its kind to investigate the role of genetic or environmental causes of PD, examined 19,842 white male twins enrolled in a large registry of World War II veteran twins.
Study Provides Guidance for Treating Patients with Brain Aneurysms
Wednesday, Dec 9, 1998
A new study will help physicians decide how to treat individuals with unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs). The study, reported in the December 10, 1998, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, found that the size and location of the aneurysm in the brain, as well as the patient's medical history, are the best predictors of future rupture.
NINDS Awards Almost $24 Million to Support Parkinson's Disease Research Centers of Excellence
Friday, Dec 4, 1998
Three top university hospitals will receive a total of almost $24 million from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to advance understanding of Parkinson's disease and related movement disorders. Investigators at Emory University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine will spend the next five years unraveling the cause or causes of Parkinson's disease and seeking new ways to diagnose and treat it. They will also provide state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary training for young scientists preparing for research careers investigating Parkinson's disease and related neurodegenerative disorders.
Study Ties Cerebral Palsy to Inflammation and Blood-Clotting Abnormalities
Thursday, Oct 1, 1998
Groundbreaking new research provides strong evidence that inflammation and clotting abnormalities may be important causes of cerebral palsy (CP) in full-term babies, who account for about half of all children with this disorder. The study may lead to ways of identifying babies at risk for CP and ultimately to new therapies that might prevent brain damage in some children.
Scientists Find New Clues About Fatal Childhood Disease, Ataxia Telangiectasia: Finding May Explain Tumor Development
Thursday, Sep 10, 1998
For the first time, scientists have shown conclusively how the protein that is missing or altered in the fatal childhood disease ataxia telangiectasia (A-T) acts as a key regulator of cell division after DNA damage. The finding helps researchers understand how cells in A-T patients form tumors and may lead to new understanding of other neurological and immune disorders.
Cultured Neural Stem Cells Reduce Symptoms in Model of Parkinson's Disease
Monday, Jul 20, 1998
For decades, researchers have imagined treating human diseases by replacing damaged cells with stem cells - embryonic cells from which all other kinds of cells develop. While the potential benefits are enormous, such strategies have been limited by an uncertain supply of stem cells. Now, scientists have shown that neural stem cells can be multiplied and raised to maturity in the laboratory and that these cells can greatly reduce symptoms in an animal model of Parkinson's disease.
Safe and Effective Treatment for Acute Repetitive Seizures Available for At-Home Use
Wednesday, Jun 24, 1998
A unique gel formulation of diazepam safely reduces the severity of acute repetitive seizure episodes in both children and adults, according to a study published in the June 25, 1998, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine and funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
Dr. Gerald D. Fischbach Appointed New NINDS Director
Wednesday, Jun 3, 1998
Harold Varmus, M.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced the appointment of Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D., as Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the leading federal agency supporting research on the brain and nervous system.
New Stroke Treatment Likely to Decrease Health Care Costs and Increase Quality of Life
Wednesday, Apr 22, 1998
BETHESDA, MD - Results from a new study show a greater than 90 percent probability that treating acute ischemic stroke patients with the clot-busting drug t-PA could result in a substantial net cost savings to the health care system.
Preventing Stroke: The Choice Between Aspirin and Warfarin
Tuesday, Apr 21, 1998
A new study outlines the criteria for identifying hundreds of thousands of Americans who have the most or least to gain from the use of anticoagulants such as warfarin to prevent stroke. The study identifies certain patients with a common type of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, and a low-risk for stroke who fare well by taking aspirin instead of warfarin to prevent stroke.
Widely Used Therapy May Not Be Effective in Treatment of Acute Stroke
Tuesday, Apr 21, 1998
General use of anticlotting drugs, like low-molecular-weight (LMW) heparinoids, immediately after a stroke has little effect in producing a good outcome or in preventing a second stroke in most patients, according to the results of a large clinical trial published in the April 22, 1998, issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Most People Can't Identify Stroke Symptoms
Tuesday, Apr 21, 1998
A new study shows that most people can't identify even one symptom of stroke -- the number one cause of disability and the third leading cause of death in this country. And the people most likely to suffer a stroke -- those over 75 years old -- are the least likely to know the symptoms of stroke and whether they're at risk for having a stroke.
Peptides Implicated in Body's Response to Pain
Wednesday, Mar 25, 1998
Pain is an extremely disabling condition leading to an annual cost of $65 billion lost in work productivity and 4 billion work days. It also accounts for 40 million visits per year to physicians for "new" pain and $3 billion in sales each year of over-the-counter analgesics. Scientists studying animal models with support from the National Institutes of Health have found that a chemical, called neurokinin A, may be responsible for the body's response to moderate-to-intense pain. This finding, reported in the March 26, 1998, issue of Nature, may eventually lead to new treatments for pain.
More Strokes May Be Prevented With Surgery, Study Shows
Thursday, Feb 5, 1998
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Enhances Short-Term Brain Plasticity: Finding Suggests Ways to Improve Recovery from Neurological Disorders
Investigators at more than 100 sites throughout the world have confirmed that surgery to remove fatty deposits from the arteries that carry blood to the brain can significantly cut the risk of stroke in patients with moderate as well as severe blockage. Fact Sheet
Thursday, Jan 29, 1998
For the first time, scientists studying how the brain reorganizes itself have shown that they can modify this process using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The finding suggests new ways to help people recover normal function after stroke, amputation, and other injuries.
Targeted Protein Toxin Effective Against Persistent Brain Tumors
Monday, Nov 24, 1997
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have developed a new drug that can reduce the size of some persistent brain tumors without causing severe side effects. A report of the first clinical trial of this drug, called transferrin-CRM107, will appear in the December 1997 issue of Nature Medicine.
Herpes Virus Strain Identified as a Trigger in Multiple Sclerosis
Monday, Nov 24, 1997
A strain of reactivated herpes virus may be associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own tissues. This is the first published large-scale study suggesting an association of a human herpes virus in the disease process of MS.
Gene Locus Found for Essential Tremor Disorder
Friday, Nov 7, 1997
Researchers from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke have located a gene locus responsible for the most common human movement disorder, essential tremor (ET). In an article in the November 1997 issue of Movement Disorders, Joseph J. Higgins, M.D., Lana T. Pho, and Linda E. Nee, M.S.W., report how they traced the gene to the short arm of chromosome 2.
Novel Treatment "Knocks Out" Persistent Pain
Thursday, Oct 9, 1997
Investigators have isolated a tiny population of neurons, located in the spinal cord, that together form a major portion of the pathway responsible for carrying persistent pain signals to the brain. When given injections of a lethal chemical cocktail, the cells, whose sole function is communication of this type of pain, are killed off.
Long-Time NIH Grantee Stanley B. Prusiner Wins Nobel Prize
Monday, Oct 6, 1997
Stanley B. Prusiner, M.D., a long-time grantee of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his discovery of an unusual class of infectious particles called prions. Prions are believed to be responsible for a group of diseases that include "mad cow" disease. Prusiner, who is professor of neurology, virology, and biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has received more than 56 million dollars in research grant support from NIH during the last three decades.
Gene for Last Major Form of Batten Disease Discovered
Friday, Sep 19, 1997
Just two years ago, the origins of the fatal childhood neurological disorders called Batten disease were shrouded in mystery, and there were few prospects for effective treatment. Now, for the first time, researchers can describe the genetic underpinnings of all major childhood forms of the disease.
Gene Sequenced for Disabling Childhood Movement Disorder: Early-Onset Torsion Dystonia Protein Found
Wednesday, Sep 3, 1997
Scientists have sequenced the gene responsible for early-onset torsion dystonia and have found a new class of proteins that may provide insight into all of the dystonia disorders. The discovery of the gene will make diagnosis of early-onset torsion dystonia easier and allow scientists to investigate other factors that might contribute to the disease.
Second Gene Responsible for Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Identified; TSC1 Finding on Chromosome 9 Follows 1993 Discovery of TSC2 Gene
Thursday, Aug 7, 1997
Scientists have identified the second of two genes that cause tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a relatively common developmental disorder characterized by a number of abnormalities, including seizures, benign tumors in several organs, and variable emotional and cognitive disabilities. The discovery, to be reported in the August 8, 1997, issue of Science by David Kwiatkowski, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), both components of the National Institutes of Health.
NIH Scientists Identify Gene for Fatal Childhood Disorder, Niemann-Pick Type C: Finding Points to Critical New Steps in Cholesterol Processing
Thursday, Jul 10, 1997
Bethesda, MD -- After decades of work, scientists at the National Institutes of Health have identified a gene alteration associated with the fatal childhood cholesterol disorder Niemann-Pick type C (NPC). Learning how the gene functions may lead to the first effective treatment for the disease and to a fundamental new understanding of how cholesterol is processed in the body.
Study May Reveal Clues To Friedreich's Ataxia
Friday, Jun 13, 1997
For years neurologists witnessed the slow decline of their Friedreich's ataxia patients, helpless to prevent damage to the spinal cord, heart and pancreas. The cause of the damage always eluded researchers until now. A new study in the June 13, 1997, issue of Science may offer an explanation for this neurodegenerative disease and eventually lead to the development of treatments.
Prolonged Treatment with Methylprednisolone Improves Recovery in Spinal Cord Injured Patients
Tuesday, May 27, 1997
Since 1990, thousands of spinal cord injured patients have received the first effective treatment for acute injury. Now, a new study shows that giving the drug for a longer period of time can significantly improve recovery over the standard treatment.
Scientists Gain New Understanding of CNS Stem Cells: Findings May Lead to Improved Treatments for Parkinson's Disease, Other Disorders
Thursday, Apr 3, 1997
For decades, scientists believed that the adult central nervous system could not repair itself, in part because it lacked fundamental 'stem cells', mother cells that can divide to form other kinds of cells. A series of findings has now shown that stem cells are present in the adult brain and spinal cord, and that they can be grown in culture and directed to act in much the same way as fetal stem cells. These findings provide new hope for people with Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, and a host of other disorders.
Topiramate Available For Treatment Of Epilepsy
Monday, Dec 30, 1996
A new drug for epilepsy, topiramate, with particular effectiveness for partial seizures, developed in part by scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), is now available to the public. The drug received approval by the Food and Drug Administration on December 24.
NINDS Symposium Produces National Plan for Rapid Stroke Treatment
Friday, Dec 13, 1996
For many of the 500,000 people who suffer a stroke each year, today will mark the beginning of a significant change in the way they receive medical care.
Scientists Locate Parkinson's Gene
Thursday, Nov 14, 1996
For the first time, scientists have pinpointed the location of a gene they believe is responsible for some cases of Parkinson's disease. Their discovery provides strong evidence that a genetic alteration is capable of causing the disease. The study, published in the November 15 issue of Science,1 sheds light on the mysterious origins of this devastating neurological disease that affects about 500,000 Americans.
Scientists Identify Gene for Spinocerebellar Ataxia 2
Thursday, Oct 31, 1996
Scientists have identified the gene altered in one of the most common hereditary ataxias, spinocerebellar ataxia 2 (SCA2). The discovery allows improved genetic testing and provides new clues about how genetic mutations cause several neurological disorders, including Huntington's disease. The findings are reported by three different groups in the November issue of Nature Genetics.
Protein Marker Found in Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies: Finding May Lead to Diagnostic Test for Human, Cattle Disorders
Wednesday, Sep 25, 1996
A protein widely distributed in tissues throughout the body, with the highest concentration in the brain, has been shown to be a specific marker in the spinal fluid of humans and animals infected with transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, scientists say. This discovery paves the way for the development of an improved test for the diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and encephalopathies in animals. The test could enable precise identification of disease in British cattle presently targeted for slaughter because of suspected infection with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, known as Mad Cow disease.
Trial Stopped: Warfarin Therapy Reaffirmed for Stroke Prevention
Thursday, Sep 5, 1996
BETHESDA, MD. Warfarin, a standard blood-thinning drug used to prevent stroke, worked so well in certain high-risk patients in a recent clinical trial that the study was halted early. Results of the Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation III (SPAF III) trial, funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), are published in the September 7 issue of The Lancet. The study demonstrated a 75 percent reduction in the risk of stroke for people with a common type of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation.
Acute Stroke Therapy Moves Ahead
Tuesday, Jun 18, 1996
Zach W. Hall, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), applauded today's rapid decision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve t-PA for the emergency treatment of stroke. "The FDA action means that we now have an approved emergency treatment for stroke, the leading cause of adult disability", Dr. Hall said. "This is an exemplary demonstration of careful scientific investigation and of the power of partnership between industry, academia and the Federal government."
Gene "Knockouts" Reveal Critical Links in Synapse Formation
Thursday, May 16, 1996
New studies reveal exciting clues to the mystery of how synapses form between nerve and muscle cells. The findings shed new light on human development and may help reveal how molecular interactions are altered in muscular dystrophy.
Study Implicates Zinc in Neuron Loss After Heart Attack
Thursday, May 16, 1996
Much of the damage to neurons that results from blood loss to the brain during a heart attack stems from movement of zinc into oxygen-deprived neurons, a new study shows. This damage can largely be prevented by injecting a substance that mops up the zinc between cells. The findings may lead to new strategies for preventing brain damage caused by heart attack and some kinds of surgery.
Study Links Neonatal Thyroid Function to Cerebral Palsy
Wednesday, Mar 27, 1996
Scientists have linked low levels of a thyroid hormone in premature infants to the development of disabling cerebral palsy. They examined more than 400 premature infants screened for blood levels of the hormone thyroxine during the first week of life. They found that infants with low levels of thyroxine at birth had a 3- to 4-fold increase in the incidence of disabling cerebral palsy at age 2.
New Type of Trinucleotide Mutation Found in Friedreich's Ataxia
Thursday, Mar 7, 1996
Scientists have identified a new type of trinucleotide repeat mutation that leads to Friedreich's ataxia (FA), a rare childhood neurodegenerative disease. The discovery allows accurate screening for carriers of the disease and may lead to the first effective treatments.
Audrey S. Penn, M.D., Named NINDS Deputy Director
Friday, Mar 1, 1996
BETHESDA, MD - Audrey S. Penn, M.D., one of the nation's leading neurologists and a well-known scientist specializing in neuromuscular disease research, has been named Deputy Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
Study Links Critical Enzyme to Huntington's, Other Diseases
Thursday, Feb 29, 1996
For the first time, scientists have linked a critical cellular enzyme to the gene defect found in Huntington's and several other hereditary neurological diseases. The finding provides important clues about how these diseases may develop and suggests that a single therapy eventually may be developed to treat them.
NIH Announces Emergency Treatment for Stroke
Wednesday, Dec 13, 1995
A 5-year clinical trial has shown that treatment with the clot-dissolving drug t-PA is an effective emergency treatment for acute ischemic stroke despite some risk from bleeding. The trial found that carefully selected stroke patients who received t-PA treatment within 3 hours of their initial stroke symptoms were at least 30 percent more likely than untreated patients to recover from their stroke with little or no disability after 3 months.
Gene Found for Fatal Childhood Disease, Ataxia-Telangiectasia: May Also be Marker for Cancer Predisposition
Thursday, Jun 22, 1995
Scientists have isolated the gene and identified mutations that cause the childhood disease ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T), a rare hereditary neurological disorder. Discovery of the gene paves the way for more accurate diagnosis in the short term and the potential for effective treatments in the long term. With this discovery, the investigators believe they also have identified a common genetic marker that indicates predisposition to certain cancers, and may help identify individuals who are sensitive to radiation.
Common Drug Linked to Lower Incidence of Cerebral Palsy
Wednesday, Feb 8, 1995
A new study shows that very low birthweight babies have a lower incidence of cerebral palsy (CP) when their mothers are treated with magnesium sulfate soon before giving birth. The findings come from a study sponsored by the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program (CBDMP) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and reported in the February 1995 issue of Pediatrics.
Major Trial Confirms Benefit of Stroke Prevention Surgery
Friday, Sep 30, 1994
Officials at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) announced that surgery can prevent stroke in carefully selected individuals who have no outward sign of disease but are at risk for stroke from a severe narrowing of a major artery in the neck. The NINDS brought to an early conclusion a 7-year clinical trial investigating the effectiveness of a surgical procedure, called carotid endarterectomy, in reducing stroke in these individuals.
Zach W. Hall Appointed Director of NINDS
Tuesday, Jul 19, 1994
Harold Varmus, M.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced his appointment of Zach W. Hall, Ph.D., as the new director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the leading Federal agency for research on disorders of the brain and nervous system.
Chess Playing Helps Reveal How Brain Works
Wednesday, May 18, 1994
Tournament-level chess players are helping scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) identify parts of the brain used in complex problem solving. These studies have revealed a processing network that is distributed throughout the brain, according to Dr. Jordan Grafman and his coworkers. Grafman, who heads the Institute's Cognitive Neuroscience Section, said that chess playing is an ideal model to help scientists better understand the coordinated work of the brain.
NINDS Researchers Conduct TSP Prevalence Study in Jamaica
Monday, May 16, 1994
Aurora K. Pajeau, M.D.,M.P.H., a clinical associate in the Neuroepidemiology Branch of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) will present preliminary findings from the first door-to-door prevalence study of tropical spastic paraparesis (TSP) associated with HTLV-I in Jamaica at the 6th International Conference on Human Retrovirology: HTLV.
Treatment reduces brain hemorrhages in very low birthweight babies
Monday, Apr 11, 1994
Very low-birthweight babies who are treated with indomethacin within 6-12 hours after birth have a lower incidence and reduced severity of brain hemorrhage, a frequent and often debilitating complication of such births. This conclusion is being published in the April 1994 issue of Pediatrics,* based on the results of a large multicenter clinical trial sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
Clues found for early memory loss in Alzheimer's disease
Thursday, Apr 7, 1994
Scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have discovered that adding a substance called beta amyloid to normal skin cells causes the cells to exhibit the same type of molecular dysfunction previously demonstrated in skin cells of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). This step may lead to a new explanation of memory loss, one of the earliest and most common symptoms of the disease.
Aspirin Shown Equal to Warfarin for Stroke Prevention in Some Patients
Thursday, Mar 17, 1994
Results from a new study, funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), will help physicians select optimum treatment to prevent stroke in people with atrial fibrillation, a common type of irregular heartbeat. Published in the March 19, 1994 issue of The Lancet*, the study shows that a daily adult aspirin can provide adequate stroke prevention for many of the hundreds of thousands of people with atrial fibrillation. People with this condition have five times the risk of stroke, and many are currently treated with warfarin, a drug that requires monthly blood tests and increases the risk of serious bleeding.
Study Shows IVIG Safe, Effective Treatment for Muscle Disease
Wednesday, Dec 29, 1993
Study Links Twin Births to Cerebral Palsy
Patients with a painful and debilitating muscle disease called dermatomyositis showed dramatic improvement on a treatment regimen of intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) during a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The study, which was conducted at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), will be published in the December 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, Dec 8, 1993
The current rise in multiple births may contribute to an increase in children born with cerebral palsy (CP), according to a report published in the December issue of Pediatrics. In a study involving more than 155,000 children, researchers from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program (CBDMP) found that twin pregnancies produced a child with CP more than 10 times as often as pregnancies producing a single child.
NINDS Research Offers Hope for Transplantation and Regeneration
Wednesday, Nov 10, 1993
Age-old dogma held that the central nervous system could not regrow or recover, dampening hopes for recovery from spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders. But recent results from scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) offer a glimpse of how basic research promises approaches for restoring and repairing damaged nerves.
AIDS Virus Can Infect Neurons
Tuesday, Sep 28, 1993
Using modern genetic techniques that can detect single copies of genes inside intact cells, scientists have uncovered the first conclusive evidence that the AIDS virus (HIV) can infect neurons. And using fetal brain tissue cultures, scientists have identified key substances that turn on the AIDS virus in the brain.
Discovery may lead to skin tests for Alzheimer's disease; Finding could also point to underlying cause of the disorder
Tuesday, Aug 31, 1993
Scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) in Bethesda, MD, and the Burke Medical Research Institute at Cornell Medical College in White Plains, NY, have discovered physiological differences in the skin cells of those with Alzheimer's disease (AD), a finding that could lead to a standard battery of skin tests for diagnosing the disease.
Oral Diazepam Reduces the Risk of Chilhood Febrile Seizure Recurrence
Wednesday, Jul 7, 1993
Oral diazepam (Valium), given at times of fever, safely reduces the risk of febrile seizure recurrence in infants and children, according to a study published in the July 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine* and funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Febrile seizures are fever-triggered convulsions that occur in approximately 3-4 percent of all children in the United States. Although they are generally harmless, their occurrence can cause alarm in the family.
A Hereditary Ataxia Caused by Huntington's-Type "Genetic Stutter"
Wednesday, Jun 30, 1993
Scientists have discovered that another nervous system degenerative disorder, spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1), has the same type of gene mutation occurring in Huntington's and Kennedy's diseases. In the disease, a normal three-base sequence in the genetic code — cytosine, adenine and guanine, or CAG — is abnormally repeated, according to Drs. Huda Y. Zoghbi, who led one team at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and Harry T. Orr, who headed the other team at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The same CAG repeat was reported earlier this year in Huntington's disease and in 1991 in the very rare Kennedy's disease, also called X-linked spinobulbar muscular atrophy.
New Drug Prolongs Symptom Relief in Parkinson's Disease
Thursday, Apr 29, 1993
A new drug, when added to standard treatment for Parkinson's disease, prolongs relief of symptoms by more than 60 percent, report scientists from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). In announcing their findings today at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in New York,* scientists said that the drug, called R0 40-7592, could help overcome drawbacks of current drug treatment.
Scientists Isolate "Crown Jewel" — Huntington's Disease Gene
Tuesday, Mar 23, 1993
Scientists have identified the genetic mutation that causes Huntington's disease (HD), a fatal, neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive physical and mental deterioration. The discovery, to be reported in the March 26 issue of Cell,* is the culmination of a 10-year-long collaboration between investigators in six laboratory groups around the world with major support from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
NINDS Grantees Identify NF2 Gene; Gene Protects Against Nervous System Tumors
Thursday, Mar 11, 1993
Scientists have identified a gene that normally prevents development of tumors and, when damaged, causes an inherited disorder with multiple brain and spinal cord tumors called neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2). Their results appear in the March 12 issue of Cell.
NINDS Hails Discovery of Gene for Familial ALS
Wednesday, Mar 3, 1993
Officials at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) hailed the identification of a gene associated with the familial form of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). "This discovery is extremely important because it marks the first identification of a specific gene for a neurodegenerative disease of adult life," said Carl M. Leventhal, M.D., director of the NINDS program that contributed to support for the research reported in the March 3 issue of Nature*. "It also suggests a likely mechanism for the damage to nerve cells in familial ALS and, possibly, other brain disorders."
Scientists Link Fatal, Cholesterol-Storage Disorder to Chromosome 18
Monday, Mar 1, 1993
Scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have linked a deadly brain disorder, called Niemann-Pick Type C disease, to a small region of human chromosome 18. These findings, reported in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,* may eventually lead to improved diagnosis and treatment for this inherited disorder and yield new insight into the metabolism of cholesterol inside the body's cells.
DATATOP Study Confirms Deprenyl's Efficacy in Fighting the Progression of Parkinson's Disease
Wednesday, Jan 20, 1993
Scientists announced today in the January 21 New England Journal of Medicine the results of a broad, long-term study on the effects of deprenyl and tocopherol (a form of vitamin E) on the progression of early Parkinson's disease. The investigators, who comprise a group known as the Parkinson's Study Group, confirmed that deprenyl is effective in slowing the early progression of Parkinson's disease and delaying the need for initiation of therapy with the drug levodopa. The latest results of the study showed, however, that the beneficial effects of deprenyl were not as lasting in fighting Parkinson's disease as the investigators had anticipated when evaluating the preliminary results in 1989. The clinical trials also showed no evidence that tocopherol was useful in Parkinson's disease.
Brain Damage Disrupts Emotions and Mood
Tuesday, May 5, 1992
Feeling tense and anxious? Unfettered and carefree? It may be all in your head or — rather — your cerebral hemispheres. According to scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), new research suggests that the brain's hemispheres generate our emotional outlook. Scientists also say their findings, announced today at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in San Diego, show that brain damage can change judgment of emotion and distort normal mood.
Study Detects Brain Virus in HIV-Positive Patients
Tuesday, May 5, 1992
Scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have identified a potentially fatal virus in the bloodstream in half of a small group of HIV-positive patients without neurological symptoms, they announced today at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in San Diego.
NINDS Increases Neurological Research Opportunities for Minorities
Monday, Mar 16, 1992
In an effort to increase minority participation in neurological sciences research, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently made 23 awards to grantee institutions for recruitment of minorities into biomedical and behavioral research programs. These awards provide valuable opportunities for minorities from the undergraduate level to the faculty level to gain research experience at leading grantee institutions supported by NINDS.
NINDS Scientists Isolate Segments Of DNA Sequence That Identify More Than 2,300 Brain Genes
Wednesday, Feb 12, 1992
Using a novel strategy, scientists from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke have isolated segments of DNA sequence that uniquely identify more than 2,300 brain genes. The recent data, combined with data from 347 segments sequenced earlier by NINDS scientists, doubles the total number of human genes identified by sequencing, scientists report in the February 13 issue of Nature.
NINDS Scientists Develop Strategy To Speed Gene and Brain Research
Thursday, Jun 20, 1991
Using a novel strategy, scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have isolated key identifying regions of more than 400 genes that work inside the human brain. The scientists say their work should help identify genetic defects that cause brain disease and speed progress of genetics research.
Newly developed electrode records neurotransmitter release from a single cell
Monday, Jun 17, 1991
Scientists supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have invented a tiny, ultra-sensitive electrode that can record, for the first time, the millionths-of-a-second-long burst of catecholamine molecules as they erupt from the surface of a single cell. Catecholamines are used by some cells as neurotransmitters, or molecules that allow nerve cells to communicate between themselves and with other kinds of cells.
Treatment with Enzyme Replacement Therapy Reverses Symptoms in Patients with Type 1 Gaucher's Disease
Wednesday, May 22, 1991
NINDS Hails Advance in ALS Research
Treatment with enzyme replacement therapy reverses symptoms in patients with Type I Gaucher's disease, according to a study published in the May 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine* and conducted by scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). A rare metabolic disorder, Type I Gaucher's disease affects an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 Americans. Fact Sheet
Wednesday, May 15, 1991
Post-Polio Patients Have Swallowing Abnormalities that Increase the Risk of Choking
Officials at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) hailed as a major research advance the mapping of a gene that causes familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to chromosome 21. "This is an important first step in our attempt to better understand the basic, molecular mechanisms of this widely studied but poorly understood neurological disorder," said Dr. Roger J. Porter, deputy director of the NINDS. Fact Sheet
Sunday, Apr 21, 1991
Benefits of Surgery for Some Patients at High Risk for Stroke
Many post-polio patients have swallowing abnormalities that increase the risk of choking but are unaware of their condition, according to a study directed by a scientist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and published in the April 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.* Fact Sheet
Tuesday, Feb 26, 1991
Overwhelming evidence from an ongoing clinical trial shows that the surgical removal of fatty deposits from the the main artery in the neck supplying blood to the brain is highly effective in reducing strokes for patients who have a severely narrowed carotid artery and have previously had a stroke or symptoms of a stroke.
Mounting knowledge of Parkinson's disease leads to new treatment theories
Thursday, Dec 6, 1990
Animal studies have revealed new knowledge of brain chemistry in Parkinson's disease and suggest new treatment approaches, according to results published in the December 7, 1990 issue of Science.*
NINDS and NIAID Link Abnormal Immune Finding to Chronic, Disabling Disease
Wednesday, Nov 14, 1990
Scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have linked high levels of certain immune system cells to a disabling, neurological disease that is thought to be infectious. The finding appears in the November 15 issue of Nature.*
Natural Course of Multiple Sclerosis Redefined
Tuesday, Oct 16, 1990
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Gene Mutation Found
Scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) today presented evidence that multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive disease even in its earliest stages. Fact Sheet
Thursday, Aug 30, 1990
Scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have linked three outbreaks of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in Europe and Israel to a genetic mutation found in the outbreaks' victims.
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