Researchers use anesthetics to study reemerging consciousness, cognitive function after anesthesia

Millions of surgical procedures performed each year would not be possible without the aid of general anesthesia, the miraculous medical ability to turn off consciousness in a reversible and controllable way. Researchers are using this powerful tool to better understand how the brain reconstitutes consciousness and cognition after disruptions caused by sleep, medical procedures requiring anesthesia, and neurological dysfunctions such […]

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Brain tumors caused by normal neuron activity in mice predisposed to such tumors

Seeing, hearing, thinking, daydreaming — doing anything at all, in fact — activates neurons in the brain. But for people predisposed to developing brain tumors, the ordinary buzzing of their brains could be a problem. A study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Stanford University School of Medicine shows that the normal day-to-day activity […]

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Cocaine’s effect on the brain: Fruit fly research shows impact at the cellular level

New research from the Clemson University Center for Human Genetics has identified specific cell clusters in the brain of the common fruit fly affected by acute cocaine exposure, potentially laying the groundwork for the development of drugs to treat or prevent addiction in humans. While cocaine’s neurological effects are well known, the underlying genetic sensitivity to the drug’s effects is […]

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Brain scans could offer sign of postpartum psychosis risk

Postpartum psychosis is a devastating, but rare, mental health problem that affects women in the first few weeks after giving birth. Symptoms vary widely, and can include high mood (mania), depression, confusion, hallucinations and delusions. Although the disorder affects only one in every 1,000 women who have a baby, it is much more common in mothers with a history of […]

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Cerebral organoids provide new insight into role of key enzyme in natural brain development

Like many around the world, the lab of Professor Mriganka Sur in The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT has embraced the young technology of cerebral organoids, or "minibrains," for studying human brain development in health and disease. By making a surprising finding about a common practice in the process of growing the complex tissue cultures, the lab […]

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New implantable system can manipulate brain signals and suppress pathological coupling

As researchers learn more about the brain, it has become clear that responsive neurostimulation is becoming increasingly effective at probing neural circuit function and treating neuropsychiatric disorders, such as epilepsy and Parkinson's disease. But current approaches to designing a fully implantable and biocompatible device able to make such interventions have major limitations: their resolution isn't high enough and most require […]

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Weather forecasts can be a potential tool to help combat meningitis

Scientists are using weather-based surveillance to predict impending meningitis outbreaks in Sub-Saharan Africa, making weather forecasts a possible tool to help health services combat the disease. Meningitis affects more than five million people globally each year, with one in ten dying and two in ten left with an impairment such as brain injury or amputation, according to Meningitis Research Foundation. […]

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How does the brain flexibly process complex information?

Human decision-making depends on the flexible processing of complex information, but how the brain may adapt processing to momentary task demands has remained unclear. In a new article published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development have now outlined several crucial neural processes revealing that our brain networks may rapidly and flexibly shift […]

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Scientists reveal how brain cells in Alzheimer’s go awry, lose their identity

Despite the prevalence of Alzheimer’s, there are still no treatments, in part because it has been challenging to study how the disease develops. Now, scientists at the Salk Institute have uncovered new insights into what goes awry during Alzheimer’s by growing neurons that resemble—more accurately than ever before—brain cells in older patients. And like patients themselves, the afflicted neurons appear […]

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