neuroscience

neuroscience

neuroscience

A global consortium analyzes neuropsychiatric diseases cell by cell

The PsychENCODE consortium, established in 2015 and dedicated to illuminating the molecular mechanisms underlying schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism spectrum disorder, presents findings based on the examination of human brains at the cellular level. The studies are published today in the journals Science, Science Translational Medicine and Science Advances.

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Non-invasive electrostimulation device improves arm and hand function in quadriplegic patients

A clinical trial involving 60 people with upper and lower body paralysis showed that a non-invasive electrical spinal cord stimulation device - called ARCEX - helps improve hand and arm function in quadriplegic patients. The study, the results of which are published in Nature Medicine, showed that 43 of the people with paralysis experienced improved arm and hand strength and function after receiving electrical stimulation along with rehabilitation exercises.  

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Reactions: scientists regenerate neural pathways in mice with rat cells

Two independent research teams have managed to regenerate brain circuits in mice using neurons cultivated from rat stem cells. Today, both studies were published in the journal Cell. The research, in which chimeras of different species were generated, delve into how brain tissue forms and present new opportunities for restoring lost brain function due to diseases and aging.

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Reactions to study finding a neuron migration pathway active up to two years of age

A study published in Nature in which researchers from the University of Valencia have participated has identified a neuron migration route that begins in the foetus around mid-gestation and continues until between two and three years of age. The route extends from the lateral ventricle, where these cells are born, to the entorhinal cortex, an area related to the regions where memory and learning are consolidated. There, neurons await signals that induce them to mature, providing plasticity to the brain after birth.

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Reaction: A temperature-sensitive prosthesis enhances the dexterity of amputated individuals

A team of researchers has developed a device that would allow individuals with amputations to perceive and respond to temperature by providing thermal information from the tip of the prosthetic finger to the amputee's stump. The device, called "MiniTouch," featured in the journal Med, can be integrated into commercially available prosthetic limbs and does not require surgery. The authors demonstrate that, thanks to the thermosensitive prosthetic hand, a 57-year-old male with below-elbow amputation was able to distinguish and manually classify objects of different temperatures and perceive bodily contact with other humans.

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Reactions to the development of brain organoids from human fetal brain tissue

A team led by the Princess Máxima Pediatric Oncology Center and the Hubrecht Institute (The Netherlands) has generated small 3D brain models--known as organoids--from human fetal brain tissue. Until now, these brain organoids-which attempt to resemble real organs on a miniature scale-were grown in the laboratory using pluripotent or embryonic stem cells. The new technique, published in the journal Cell, allows regions of brain tissue to self-organize into three-dimensional brain structures. The authors used these organoids and the CRISPR-Cas9 tool to simulate the development of one type of brain tumor, glioblastoma, and see how it responded to different drugs.

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Reaction: the most detailed atlas of the mouse brain is published

Nine studies published today in the journal Nature present the most comprehensive and detailed characterization of the mouse brain. The findings reveal the structure and organization of the brain, the function of individual brain cells, and neural circuits. According to the authors, these investigations serve as a tool to delve into the development and evolution of mammalian brains, and how the organization of different types of cells could contribute to neurological disorders in humans.

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Reaction: Rats have imagination, according to a study

A research group has developed an innovative system that combines virtual reality and a brain-machine interface to probe the inner thoughts of rats. The results of their research, published in Science, suggest that, much like humans, animals can think about places and objects that are not right in front of them, using their thoughts to imagine walking to a location or moving a remote object to a specific point.

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Reactions to the publication of the world's largest high-resolution atlas of brain cells

The Science group of journals publishes several parts of a high-resolution atlas of human brain cells, the largest 'map' of its kind to date. It is a series of papers from an international mega-project, the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative - Cell Census Network (BICCN), launched in 2017 to study brain cell types and their functions in humans, non-human primates and rodents. The data "will now allow researchers to address fundamental scientific questions about the human brain and its genetic organisation," states the introduction to the journal's special issue.

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Reactions: traumatic experiences can be passed on to offspring and reversed with drug in mice

Early-life adversity, such as separation from the mother, can alter the neurological functioning of mice, causing some to experience panic and anxiety later in life. A study shows that these changes can be passed on for at least two generations and that inhalation of a drug, the diuretic amiloride, can reverse them. According to the authors, this treatment could be used in the future to alleviate panic disorders and related conditions in humans. The results are published in the journal Science Advances.

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