How to map brain connections using DNA barcodes

A new method developed at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) uses DNA sequencing to efficiently map long-range connections between different regions of the brain. The approach dramatically reduces the cost of mapping brain-wide connections compared to traditional microscopy-based methods. Neuroscientists need anatomical maps to understand how information flows from one region of the brain to another. “Charting the cellular connections […]

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How coronavirus affects the brain

Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re still learning what the disease can do. There are now detailed reports of brain illness emerging in people with relatively mild lung illness, in those who are critically ill and also in those in recovery. One key thing we’re seeing is that severity of lung illness doesn’t always correlate with severity of neurological […]

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Brain cells can harbor and spread HIV virus to the body

Researchers 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. HIV moved from the brain via this route even when the virus was suppressed by combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), a standard treatment for HIV. The study, conducted by researchers […]

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Want to stop the COVID-19 stress meltdown? Train your brain

Let’s face it: We’re all under stress right now. The uncertainty and constant health threats surrounding the coronavirus pandemic have upended our lives. We may need two vaccines: one to protect us from the coronavirus and another from the toxic effects of too much stress. Could we train our brains to prevent this stress from becoming lodged in our brains, […]

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Genome-wide pattern found in tumors from brain cancer patients predicts life expectancy

For the past 70 years, the best indicator of life expectancy for a patient with glioblastoma (GBM)—the most common and the most aggressive brain cancer—has simply been age at diagnosis. Now, an international team of scientists has experimentally validated a predictor that is not only more accurate but also more clinically relevant: a pattern of co-occurring changes in DNA abundance […]

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A ‘consciousness conductor’ synchronizes and connects mouse brain areas

For scientists searching for the brain’s ‘control room,” an area called the claustrum has emerged as a compelling candidate. This little-studied deep brain structure is thought to be the place where multiple senses are brought together, attention is controlled, and consciousness arises. Observations in mice now support the role of the claustrum as a hub for coordinating activity across the […]

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Your brain, the prediction engine: How expectations influence learning

During learning, the brain is a prediction engine that continually makes theories about our environment and accurately registers whether an assumption is true or not. A team of neuroscientists from Ruhr-Universität Bochum has shown that expectation during these predictions affects the activity of various brain networks. Dr. Bin Wang, Dr. Lara Schlaffke and Associate Professor Dr. Burkhard Pleger from the […]

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It’s now or never: Visual events have 100 milliseconds to hit brain target or go unnoticed

Researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI) have defined a crucial window of time that mice need to key in on visual events. As the brain processes visual information, an evolutionarily conserved region known as the superior colliculus notifies other regions of the brain that an event has occurred. Inhibiting this brain region during a specific 100-millisecond window inhibited event […]

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