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News and Multimedia from 2010 Featuring DNBBS

$40 Million Awarded to Trace Human Brain’s Connections

Press Release

diffusion spectrum imaging of human brain

The National Institutes of Health today awarded grants totaling $40 million to map the human brain’s connections in high resolution. Better understanding of such connectivity promises improved diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders.

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Rapid Antidepressant Works by Boosting Brain’s Connections

Science Update

neuronal spines on ketamine-treated rat neurons

An experimental drug that lifts depression in hours likely works by rapidly stimulating connections between brain cells, a study in rats has revealed. The drug, called ketamine, quickly generated such synapses in a brain circuit implicated in human depression by triggering a key enzyme.

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Stress Hormone Receptors Less Adaptive in Female Brain

Science Update

molecular dance

A study in rats has revealed striking gender difference in the brain’s stress response that could shed light on women’s proneness to mood and anxiety disorders. Female rat brain cells were more sensitive to a key stress hormone than males’, which could adapt to the hormone in a way female cells couldn’t.

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Mental Decline Thwarted in Aging Rats

Press Release

P7C3 compound chemical structure

Scientists have discovered a compound that restores the capacity to form new memories in aging rats, likely by improving the survival of newborn neurons in the brain's memory hub. The research, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, has turned up clues to a neuroprotective mechanism that could lead to a treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

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Drug Substitutes for Training in Rats, Inducing a Memory of Safety

Press Release

mouse

Researchers have found a way to pharmacologically induce a memory of safety in the brain of rats, mimicking the effect of training. The finding suggests possibilities for new treatments for individuals suffering from anxiety disorders.

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Resilience Factor Low in Depression, Protects Mice From Stress

Press Release

brain reward circuit

Scientists have discovered a mechanism that helps to explain resilience to stress, vulnerability to depression and how antidepressants work. The new findings, in the reward circuit of mouse and human brains, have spurred a high tech dragnet for compounds that boost the action of a key gene regulator there, called deltaFosB. Triggering deltaFosB, which is depleted in post-mortem brains of depressed patients, protected mice from developing a depression-like syndrome following chronic social stress.

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Impaired Brain Connections Traced to Schizophrenia Mutation

Press Release

mouse at decision point in T-maze

The strongest known recurrent genetic cause of schizophrenia impairs communications between the brain’s decision-making and memory hubs, resulting in working memory deficits, according to a study in mice.

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Same Genes Suspected in Both Depression and Bipolar Illness

Science Update

protein made by PBRM1 gene

Researchers, for the first time, have pinpointed a genetic hotspot that confers risk for both bipolar disorder and depression. People with either of these mood disorders were significantly more likely to have risk versions of genes at this site than healthy controls. One of the genes, which codes for part of a cell’s machinery that tells genes when to turn on and off, was also found to be over-expressed in the executive hub of bipolar patients’ brains, making it a prime suspect. The results add to mounting evidence that major mental disorders overlap at the molecular level.

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Fear: Replacing Memories

Video.

The human brain goes through a complex process to form and consolidate memories. But is it possible to replace memories of fearful events, and in doing so, assist in the treatment of patients suffering from the debilitating effects of post-traumatic stress disorder or other anxiety disorders? Dr.Joseph LeDoux and a team of New York University neuroscientists think they have found a way to replace traumatic memories through therapy.

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