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Science News About Brain Anatomy and Physiology

Eating Disorder Behaviors Alter Reward Response in the Brain

Press Release

A new NIMH-supported study found that eating disorder behaviors alter the brain’s reward response process and food intake control circuitry, which can reinforce the behaviors.

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New Experiences Enhance Learning by Resetting Key Brain Circuit

Press Release

A study of spatial learning in mice shows that exposure to new experiences dampens established representations in the brain’s hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, allowing the mice to learn new navigation strategies.

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NIH-funded Study Sheds Light on Abnormal Neural Function in Rare Genetic Disorder

Press Release

A genetic study has identified neuronal abnormalities in the electrical activity of cortical cells derived from people with a rare genetic disorder called 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.

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Study Shows Highly Reproducible Sex Differences in Aspects of Human Brain Anatomy

Press Release

A scientific analysis of more than 2,000 brain scans found evidence for highly reproducible sex differences in the volume of certain regions in the human brain.

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Brain Cells Can Harbor and Spread HIV Virus to the Body

Press Release

Researchers funded by NIMH have found that astrocytes, a type of brain cell, can harbor HIV and then spread the virus to immune cells that traffic out of the brain and into other organs.

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Fast-Fail Trial Shows New Approach to Identifying Brain Targets for Clinical Treatments

Press Release

An innovative NIMH-funded trial shows that a receptor involved in the brain’s reward system may be a viable target for treating anhedonia (or lack of pleasure), a key symptom of several mood and anxiety disorders.

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Neural Signature Identifies People Likely to Respond to Antidepressant Medication

Press Release

NIH-funded research uses machine learning algorithm to predict individual response to a commonly-prescribed antidepressant.

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Reading the Brain’s Map: Coordinated Brain Activation Supports Spatial Learning and Decision-Making

Press Release

NIH-supported study finds that spatial “replay” in neurons may help rats learn how to navigate toward goals.

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New BRAIN Initiative Awards Accelerate Neuroscience Discoveries

Press Release

The NIH has announced its continued support for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative by funding more than 180 new BRAIN Initiative awards, bringing the total 2019 budget for the program to more than $424 million.

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Study Reveals Sex-Based Differences in the Development of Brain Hubs Involved in Memory and Emotion

Press Release

Researchers have uncovered sex-based differences in the development of the hippocampus and amygdala—brain areas that have been implicated in the biology of several mental disorders that impact males and females differently.

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Fifth Annual BRAIN Initiative Investigators Meeting

Institute Update

On April 11-13, 2019, approximately 1,500 scientists from many disciplines will attend the fifth annual Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN)® Initiative Investigators Meeting in Washington, DC. This open meeting provides a forum for discussing scientific developments and potential new directions, and to identify areas for collaboration and research coordination.

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NIH Study Reveals Differences in Brain Activity in Children with Anhedonia

Press Release

Researchers have identified changes in brain connectivity and brain activity during rest and reward anticipation in children with anhedonia, a condition where people lose interest and pleasure in activities they used to enjoy.

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Neuromelanin-Sensitive MRI Identified as a Potential Biomarker for Psychosis

Press Release

Researchers have shown that a type of magnetic resonance imaging — called neuromelanin-sensitive MRI (NM-MRI) — is a potential biomarker for psychosis. NM-MRI signal was found to be a marker of dopamine function in people with schizophrenia and an indicator of the severity of psychotic symptoms in people with this mental illness.

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New Findings Reveal Surprising Role of the Cerebellum in Reward and Social Behaviors

Press Release

A new study in rodents has demonstrated, for the first time, that the brain’s cerebellum plays a role in controlling reward and social preference behavior—findings that shed light on the brain circuits critical to the affective and social dysfunction seen across multiple psychiatric disorders.

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The Pathways Through which Light Affects Learning and Mood

Science Update

In a new study, researchers have traced the brain pathways responsible for the effects of light on learning and mood. The findings revealed that these effects are brought about by two different and distinct pathways from the retina into the brain.

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Understanding Critical Components of the Brain’s Stress Circuitry

Science Update

A new study has revealed more about the organization and function of a brain structure—the paraventricular nucleus of the thalamus—that may serve a key role in linking stress detection to the development of adaptive behaviors.

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Delay in HIV Treatment Associated with Brain Atrophy

Science Update

People infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, known as HIV, display reductions in brain volume compared with people who are not infected with HIV, but now an NIMH-funded study has shed light on the course of this deterioration and shows that antiretroviral treatment started in the first few years of infection may stop these brain changes.

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NIH Releases First Dataset from Unprecedented Study of Adolescent Brain Development

Press Release

The National Institutes of Health released to the scientific community an unparalleled dataset from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study.

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Scientists Give Star Treatment to Lesser-Known Cells Crucial for Brain Development

Press Release

Star-shaped support brain cells, astrocytes, growing in 3-D “organoids” in a dish develop similarly as those in human brain tissue.

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The NIH NeuroBioBank: Addressing the Urgent Need for Brain Donation

Science Update

The directors of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke discuss the importance of post-mortem brain donation in a joint message.

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Neuroimaging Technique May Help Predict Autism among High-Risk Infants

Press Release

Functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) may predict which high-risk, 6-month old infants will develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by age 2 years.

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NIMH to Host Multimodal Brain Stimulation Speaker Series

Science Update

Beginning May 31, 2017, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will launch a speaker series intended to bring together leaders in the field conducting research using non-invasive brain stimulation and functional imaging including EEG, fMRI, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

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