Therapy could improve and prolong sight in those suffering vision loss: Damping noise in hyperactive eye cells allows details to emerge

Millions of Americans are progressively losing their sight as cells in their eyes deteriorate, but a new therapy developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, could help prolong useful vision and delay total blindness. The treatment — involving either a drug or gene therapy — works by reducing the noise generated by nerve cells in the eye, which […]

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Imaging technique finds differences between radiation-sensitive and resistant tumors: Pilot clinical trials begun

Researchers have started pilot clinical studies in head and neck cancer patients to determine if Raman spectroscopy, a noninvasive imaging technique, can effectively spare some patients of the toxic side effects of ineffective radiation therapy. Researchers at the University of Arkansas, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) used the imaging technique and discovered differences […]

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Deep brain stimulation sites for OCD target distinct symptoms: Two DBS sites equally reduced OCD symptoms but improved distinct symptoms

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) reduces symptoms of severe obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) during stimulation of either the ventral capsule (VC) or anteromedial subthalamic nucleus (amSTN), according to a study in Biological Psychiatry. DBS of the regions reduced OCD symptoms to a similar extent, but produced distinct effects on specific symptoms — VC stimulation drastically improved mood, whereas amSTN stimulation in the […]

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Cancer genes’ age and function strongly influence their mutational status

Researchers have provided new insight on why some genes that formed during the evolution of the earliest animals on earth are particularly impaired (or dysregulated) by specific mechanisms during cancer development. Their study, published today in eLife, suggests investigating the implications of this dysregulation for the entire function of cancer cells may provide useful insights for the development of potential […]

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Engineers translate brain signals directly into speech: Advance marks critical step toward brain-computer interfaces that hold immense promise for those with limited or no ability to speak

In a scientific first, Columbia neuroengineers have created a system that translates thought into intelligible, recognizable speech. By monitoring someone’s brain activity, the technology can reconstruct the words a person hears with unprecedented clarity. This breakthrough, which harnesses the power of speech synthesizers and artificial intelligence, could lead to new ways for computers to communicate directly with the brain. It […]

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Difference in brain connectivity may explain autism spectrum disorder: Researchers work toward finding the biomarkers of autism for earlier diagnosis and treatment

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have identified a possible mechanism of human cognition that underlies autism spectrum disorders, or ASD. Diagnosis for ASD is still behaviorally based. Psychologists and medical professionals with clinical expertise use the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule and the Autism Diagnostic Interview to diagnose autism — these two tests are considered the gold standard. […]

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Targeted treatment shrinks deadly pediatric brain tumors

Chemotherapy and radiation are effective cancer treatments because they kill rapidly dividing cells, including tumor cells. But for children — whose tiny bodies are still growing — these treatments can cause lifelong damage. This is particularly true for children with brain cancer, and researchers are working hard to find treatments that reduce side effects while remaining effective. Now, scientists at […]

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A tradeoff in the neural code: The price we pay for our advanced brains may be a greater tendency to disorders

Prof. Rony Paz of the Weizmann Institute of Science suggests that our brains are like modern washing machines — evolved to have the latest sophisticated programming, but more vulnerable to breakdown and prone to develop costly disorders. He and a group of researchers recently conducted experiments comparing the efficiency of the neural code in non-human and human primates, and found […]

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New hope for stem cell approach to treating diabetes: Insulin-producing cells more responsive to fluctuating glucose levels

Scientists working to develop more effective treatments for diabetes are turning to stem cells. Such cells can be transformed into cells that produce insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar. But there’s a major challenge: the amount of insulin produced by theses cells is difficult to control. Now, by tweaking the recipe for coaxing human stem cells into insulin-secreting beta […]

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Scientists create a renewable source of cancer-fighting T cells

A study by UCLA researchers is the first to demonstrate a technique for coaxing pluripotent stem cells — which can give rise to every cell type in the body and which can be grown indefinitely in the lab — into becoming mature T cells capable of killing tumor cells. The technique uses structures called artificial thymic organoids, which work by […]

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