Certain cells secrete a substance in the brain that protects neurons: Finding helps explain cascade of events leading to neurodegeneration

USC researchers have discovered a secret sauce in the brain’s vascular system that preserves the neurons needed to keep dementia and other diseases at bay. The finding, in a mouse model of the human brain, focuses on specific cells called pericytes and reveals that they play a previously unknown role in brain health. Pericytes secrete a substance that keeps neurons […]

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Short-term use of opioids increases subjective pleasure: Risk of addiction

The human opioid system contributes to the regulation of emotions, pleasure and pain. Opioids are strong analgesics. In addition to effectively relieving pain, external opioids may improve mood and reduce negative emotions. However, not much has been known about the effect of opioids on emotional responses caused by external stimuli. Together with their colleagues from Aalto University and the University […]

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Behavioral disorders in kids with autism linked to reduced brain connectivity

More than a quarter of children with autism spectrum disorder are also diagnosed with disruptive behavior disorders. For the first time, Yale researchers have identified a possible biological cause: a key mechanism that regulates emotion functions differently in the brains of the children who exhibit disruptive behavior. The study appears in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. “Disruptive behaviors such […]

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Ketamine reverses neural changes underlying depression-related behaviors in mice: Study sheds light on the neural mechanisms underlying remission of depression

Researchers have identified ketamine-induced brain-related changes that are responsible for maintaining the remission of behaviors related to depression in mice — findings that may help researchers develop interventions that promote lasting remission of depression in humans. The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health, appears in the journal Science. Major […]

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Neural processing with trauma and adversity interact to increase core symptom of PTSD

Lifetime adversity and increased neural processing during a traumatic event combine to increase the frequency of intrusive traumatic memories and the distress they cause, according to a new study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. The increased neural processing was found in brain regions important for emotion and memory. The involuntary recollection of traumatic events is a core symptom […]

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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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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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Teen brain volume changes with small amount of cannabis use, study finds

At a time when several states are moving to legalize recreational use of marijuana, new research shows that concerns about the drug’s impact on teens may be warranted. The study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, shows that even a small amount of cannabis use by teenagers is linked to differences in their brains. Senior author and University of Vermont […]

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