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News and Multimedia from 2012 Featuring DNBBS

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Stress-Resilience/Susceptibility Traced to Neurons in Reward Circuit

Press Release

Optogenetic stimulation of reward circuit

Researchers, for the first time, have instantly switched depression-like states on-and-off in mice by tweaking the firing pattern of neurons in the brain’s reward circuit.

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Switching Off a Specific Brain Region Can Alter Ingrained Habits in Rats

Science Update

rat in a maze

Old habits may die hard, but we might be able to turn them off by targeting a specific brain region. Such a discovery could help us find better ways of controlling addiction or certain mental disorders like obsessive compulsive disorder.

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In-sync Brain Waves Hold Memory of Objects Just Seen

Press Release

blue teddy bear

The brain holds in mind what has just been seen by synchronizing brain waves in a working memory circuit, an animal study suggests. The more in-sync such electrical signals of neurons were in two key hubs of the circuit, the more those cells held the short-term memory of a just-seen object. The new findings may upturn prevailing theories about how working memory works.

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NIH Common Fund Announces Awards for Single Cell Analysis

Press Release

illustration of lighted neurons

NIH plans to invest more than $90 million over five years to accelerate the development and application of single cell analysis across a variety of fields. The goal is to understand what makes individual cells unique and to pave the way for medical treatments.

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Former NIMH Grantee Wins Nobel Prize for Chemistry

Science Update

Brian K. Kobilka, MD, of Stanford University

Former NIMH grantee Brian K. Kobilka, MD, of Stanford University has won this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He shares the award with Robert J. Lefkowitz of Duke University for explaining the communication system that the human body uses to send messages to cells.

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Genetic Switch Involved in Depression

Science Update

regular neuron, depressed neuron

Researchers have discovered a gene regulator that is over-expressed in brains of both depressed patients and rats that show depression-like behaviors. Boosting expression of the regulator, Gata1, decreased expression of genes that code for the connections between neurons in rats’ thinking and feeling circuitry, as well as the number of such synapses.

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Awake Mental Replay of Past Experiences Critical for Learning

Press Release

Awake Mental Replay

Awake mental replay of past experiences is essential for making informed choices, suggests a study in rats. Without it, the animals’ memory-based decision-making faltered, say scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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Spontaneous Gene Glitches Linked to Autism Risk with Older Dads

Press Release

Autism genetics

A trio of new studies have found that sequence changes in parts of genes that code for proteins play a significant role in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).

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Turning on Dormant Gene May Hold Key for Correcting a Neurodevelopmental Defect

Science Update

Angelman syndrome

Scientists working in cell culture and in mice have been able to correct the loss of gene activity underlying a rare but severe developmental disorder by turning on a gene that is normally silenced in brain cells.

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