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Brain degeneration in Huntington's disease caused by amino acid deficiency Working with genetically engineered mice, neuroscientists report they have identified what they believe is the cause of the vast disintegration of a part of the brain called the corpus striatum in rodents and people with Huntington's disease: loss of the ability to make the amino acid cysteine. They also found that disease progression slowed in mice that were fed a diet rich in cysteine, which is found in foods such as wheat germ and whey protein.
New clue to autism found inside brain cells The problems people with autism have with memory formation, higher-level thinking and social interactions may be partially attributable to the activity of receptors inside brain cells, researchers have learned. The receptor under study, known as the mGlu5 receptor, becomes activated when it binds to the neurotransmitter glutamate, which is associated with learning and memory. This leads to chain reactions that convert the glutamate's signal into messages traveling inside the cell.
Why Does Present Self Trump Future Self? "I'll feel more like it tomorrow." How often have you said that? Present self doesn't feel like it, but certainly future self will. Why do we do this? Is it true?read more
Autism 'begins long before birth' Scientists say they have new evidence that autism begins in the womb.
Last drinks: Brain's mechanism knows when to stop Our brains are hardwired to stop us drinking more water than is healthy, according to a new brain imaging study. The study found a 'stop mechanism' that determined brain signals telling the individual to stop drinking water when no longer thirsty, and the brain effects of drinking more water than required.
Using PET scanning to evaluate therapies of Menkes disease PET imaging to visualize the distribution in the body of copper, which is deregulated in Menkes disease, a genetic disorder, has been used by scientists in a mouse model. This study lays the groundwork for PET imaging studies on human Menkes disease patients to identify new therapy options.
10 Jobs That Make People Most Happy ...and the 10 jobs that make people the most miserable.→ Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick" Related articles:10 Psychological Keys to Job Satisfaction Can People's Personalities Change? How Aging Changes What Makes You Happy 4 Qualities of Truly Horrible Managers Top 5 Psychology Articles This Month (Aug '13)
Strong evidence for a new class of antidepressant drugs revealed by research A chemical in the brain called galanin is involved in the risk of developing depression, scientists have shown for the first time. Galanin is a neuropeptide (a small protein) that was discovered and investigated over 30 years ago. This new research demonstrates that galanin is an important stress mechanism in the human brain that influences how sensitive or resilient people are to psychosocial stress.
Precision drugs sought for anxiety disorders Researchers are striving to find out how cell communication regulating kainate receptors contribute to the susceptibility towards anxiety disorders. The intention is to also develop drugs that would be effective against prolonged anxiety.
World-first PTSD research starts in Brisbane Some of Australia's leading scientists, researchers and doctors have started world-first clinical research in Brisbane to unlock the code behind post-traumatic stress disorder - the debilitating and ...
How Many New Intelligences Are There? Judging from new book titles, there are quite a few new "intelligences" out there.read more
EEG study shows how brain infers structure, rules when learning A new study documents the brain activity underlying our strong tendency to infer a structure of context and rules when learning new tasks (even when a structure isn't valid). The findings, which revealed individual differences, shows how we try to apply task knowledge to similar situations and could inform future research on learning disabilities.
Unravelling nerve-cell death in rare children's disease Mutations in a protein that plays a role in the body's DNA repair system has been discovered by researchers, similar to what's observed in the rare children's disease ataxia-telangiectasia. The discovery provides an approach to identifying therapies that will resuscitate the broken DNA repair mechanism.
Brain differences in college-aged occasional drug users Impaired neuronal activity has been found in the parts of the brain associated with anticipatory functioning among occasional 18- to 24-year-old users of stimulant drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines and prescription drugs such as Adderall. The brain differences, detected using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), are believed to represent an internal hard wiring that may make some people more prone to drug addiction later in life.
Blood-brain barrier repair after stroke may prevent chronic brain deficits Following ischemic stroke, the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, which prevents harmful substances such as inflammatory molecules from entering the brain, can be impaired in cerebral areas distant from initial ischemic insult. This disruptive condition, known as diaschisis, can lead to chronic post-stroke deficits, researchers report.
How Much Alcohol Is Too Much? Each person processes alcohol differently and a wide range of factors comes into play whenever we take a drink, such as gender, weight, food intake, your tolerance, age, mood, and other medications you are taking.read more
What are your top five fears? | Open thread A YouGov survey has identified the top five phobias of British people. Unsurprisingly they include heights, snakes and spiders. Tell us your worst fearsA YouGov survey of 2,000 people has ranked the things that British people are most afraid of. The survey asked people to rate a list of 13 phobias, and asked them to describe their fear levels for each one. Here were the top five things that terrified us:HeightsUnsurprisingly, a fear of heights tops the list. We're not a nation of skyscrapers and vertiginous mountains. Most of us would rather not look over the edge of the Grand Canyon or climb a unsteady pylon for the rush of it. And given that vertigo gives some people the urge to jump, a healthy fear of heights seems completely sensible to us.SnakesSince our rainy island doesn't welcome the deadliest types of snake, it's somewhat odd to see this phobia so high up on the list. We don't have to deal with the Black Mamba, a deadly snake which can move at speeds of over 12mph. Sure, you might see the odd grass snake or adder in the countryside, but you're unlikely to meet a boa constrictor on a cool spring night as you pop down to the pub. So why the fear?A fear of public speakingThis one is understandable. Gazing out on a sea of expectant faces would give anyone sweaty palms. There is an entire industry devoted to helping people who cannot face speaking publicly, so we won't try to give you too much advice. But have you tried imagining the crowd naked?A fear of spidersAs with snakes, the UK isn't exactly overrun with poisonous, fanged arachnids. But the recent panic about False widow spiders, and the oft repeated myth about eating spiders in your sleep might have contributed to a slight shiver in our collective consciousness. Are you feeling something crawling up your arm right now?A fear of small spacesThis doesn't only apply to the shoebox sized living spaces we can barely afford thanks to the housing shortage, but to the primal fear of not being able to escape a confined place. No wonder some people over the years have devised 'safety coffins,' which have bells and breathing tubes installed just in case the departed haven't departed all the way.The rest of the list comprised of a fear of mice, fear of needles, fear of flying, fear of crowds, fear of clowns, fear of the dark, fear of blood, and a fear of dogs. Tell us what you'd add to the list. What are your top phobias? Come and scare us in the thread below.Psychologytheguardian.com © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
MRI reveals genetic activity: Deciphering genes' roles in learning and memory Doctors commonly use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose tumors, damage from stroke, and many other medical conditions. Neuroscientists also rely on it as a research tool for identifying parts of the brain that carry out different cognitive functions. Now, biological engineers are trying to adapt MRI to a much smaller scale, allowing researchers to visualize gene activity inside the brains of living animals.
Exploring Brain for Keys to Solving Parkinson's Disease One of the final frontiers of science is the human brain. The brain is the source of our intelligence, feelings and ability to make our bodies move – as well as the locus of terrible diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's – and is as complicated as any object that scientists explore. Parkinson's disease, which experts say affects more than six million people around the world, can progressively degrade many of those functions, a primary reason why a team of researchers has been given a grant to delve ever more deeply into the circuitry and function of the striatum.
Recreational drug users who switch from ecstasy to mephedrone don't understand dangers Contrary to popular belief among recreational drug users, mephedrone has several important differences when compared with MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy. These differences mean that mephedrone could leave a user with acute withdrawal symptoms and indicate that it may have a higher potential for developing dependence than MDMA according to a study.