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NINDS News Articles


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Suspect gene corrupts neural connections
Monday, Aug 17, 2014
Researchers have long suspected that major mental disorders are genetically-rooted diseases of synapses – the connections between neurons. Now, investigators supported in part by the National Institutes of Health have demonstrated in patients’ cells how a rare mutation in a suspect gene disrupts the turning on and off of dozens of other genes underlying these connections.

The Learning Box

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.

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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.

Flicking internal brain switches on and off

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.

Chipping Away at Parkinson's

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.

Attack of the glioma cells

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.


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Researchers find essential brain circuit in visual development
Monday Aug 26, 2013
A study in mice reveals an elegant circuit within the developing visual system that helps dictate how the eyes connect to the brain. The research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, has implications for treating amblyopia, a vision disorder that occurs when the brain ignores one eye in favor of the other.

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