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Novel therapeutic targets for Huntington's disease discovered The impact that genes may have on Huntington's disease have been illuminated by a new, novel study. The study identified specific small segments of RNA (called micro RNA or miRNA) encoded in DNA in the human genome that are highly expressed in Huntington's disease. Micro RNAs are important because they regulate the expression of genes. The researchers showed that these miRNAs are present in higher quantities in patients with HD and may act as a mitigating factor in the neurologic decline associated with the disease, making them a possible therapeutic target.
How to Respond When People Expect You to Be In a Relationship By Jessica Morris Maybe it's strange for a young adult to say this, but I actually like being single. That's not to say I want to stay this way forever, but I see that I am able to participate in life with a certain amount of freedom that I would not otherwise possess if I [...]
Early strokes leave many young adults with long-lasting disability Ten years after having a stroke, nearly a third of young survivors still need assistance or are unable to live independently. About one in 10 strokes occurs in 18- to 50-year-olds. "We don't know if it's cognition, depression, problems in their families or relationships or other factors, but once we do, we can develop more effective interventions," the main author notes.
Official calls for federal ban on employer discrimination There is no federal law protecting gay Americans from more severe discrimination – including termination from jobs over their sexual orientation.
Differences in a single gene may influence recovery from traumatic brain injury Research has revealed that differences in a single gene may predict how well a person recovers from a traumatic brain injury, compared to others with similar injuries.
Why Creativity Is Risky Business Every time a hugely talented actor, musician, or writer dies too young from alcohol or drug-related causes, the perennial question gets posed: Does alcohol and drug use foster the creative process? read more
Dual role of brain glycogen revealed by researchers Key questions regarding the activity of glycogen in neurons are answered in two recently published articles, building on years of research and publications. The authors postulated that glycogen is a lifeguard under oxygen depletion, a condition that leads the brains to shut down and that often occurs at birth and in cerebral infarctions in adults, which leads to severe consequences, such a cerebral paralysis. Their results are the first evidence that neurons constantly store glycogen by accumulating small amounts and using it as quickly as it becomes available. The beneficial and toxic roles of brain glycogen continue to be the main focus on ongoing research.
Mechanisms cancer cells use to establish metastatic brain tumors revealed by research The biologic mechanisms that individual cancer cells use to metastasize to the brain have been revealed by recent research. Metastasis, the process that allows some cancer cells to break off from their tumor of origin and take root in a different tissue, is the most common reason people die from cancer. Metastatic brain tumors are ten times more common than primary brain cancers. Yet most tumor cells die before they can take root in the brain, which is better protected than most organs against colonization by circulating tumor cells. To seed in the brain, a cancer cell must dislodge from its tumor of origin, enter the bloodstream, and cross densely packed blood vessels called the blood-brain barrier. Until now, little research has been done into how metastatic brain tumors develop.
Mouse brain atlas maps neural networks to reveal how brain regions interact Different brain regions must communicate with each other to control complex thoughts and behaviors, but little is known about how these areas organize into broad neuronal networks. In a new study, researchers developed a mouse whole-brain atlas that reveals hundreds of neuronal pathways in a brain structure called the cerebral cortex. The online database provides an invaluable resource for researchers interested in studying the anatomy and function of cortical networks throughout the brain.
Internal logic: Eight distinct subnetworks in mouse cerebral cortex The mammalian cerebral cortex, long thought to be a dense single interrelated tangle of neural networks, actually has a 'logical' underlying organizational principle. Researchers have identified eight distinct neural subnetworks that together form the connectivity infrastructure of the mammalian cortex, the part of the brain involved in higher-order functions such as cognition, emotion and consciousness.
Jack Dunham obituary My husband, Jack Dunham, who has died aged 87, was a psychologist who specialised in helping people to cope with occupational stress. In 1984 he published Stress in Teaching, which was followed in 1998 by Stress in Teachers. He encouraged the concept of a healthy school environment for pupils and staff.After attending Leeds Training College, Jack taught children with special needs. Following a one-year course in child psychology at Birmingham and a part-time MEd at Manchester University, he ran a children's remedial centre. In 1960 he moved to work at the Bristol Child Guidance Clinic and as a part-time tutor in the extramural department at Bristol University. Then he was headhunted to run management training at the Bristol Aeroplane Company.In 1966 he was a founder member of Bath University, where he worked as a lecturer in social psychology. He remained there for 19 years. After he retired in 1983, Jack became a part-time lecturer in the school of education at Bristol University, running courses in school management, which is where I met him. We married in 1987. He ran courses throughout the UK and Ireland, and also acted as an expert witness in stress cases.In 1995 he published Developing Effective School Management with Ved Varma, and in 2001 Stress in the Workplace, an appreciation of the work of the psychologist Cary Cooper.Jack was born in Bacup, Lancashire, and educated at Bacup and Rawtenstall grammar school. He had a distinguished career playing for Bacup cricket club in the Lancashire League, from 1940 until 1959, when Everton Weekes was also playing for the club.He joined the Air Training Corps in 1941 and remained devoted to the RAF until his death. His national service was as a physical training and medical rehabilitation instructor at RAF Chessington, Surrey. In the 1990s he became membership secretary of the RAF Historical Society and even recruited a new member while in hospital during his last illness.He is survived by two sons, Michael and Alastair, from his first marriage, to Shirley, which ended in 1977; his grandchildren, Lee, Holly, Lucy, Madeline and Susannah; his brother, Dick; and me.PsychologyPsychologytheguardian.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
The pain of social exclusion: Physical pain brain circuits activated by 'social pain' "Social" pain hurts physically, even when we see it in others. The distress caused by social stimuli (e.g., losing a friend, experiencing an injustice or more in general when a social bond is threatened) activates brain circuits related to physical pain: as observed in a new study. This also applies when we experience this type of pain vicariously as an empathic response (when we see somebody else experiencing it).
The Case Against Staying Calm The next time you feel nervous or anxious, worked up about a big presentation or your husband's forgetfulness, instead of willing yourself to calm down, try telling yourself to get jazzed instead. read more
After death, twin brains show similar patterns of neuropathologic changes Study on the brains of twins finds that Alzheimer's disease is actually a diverse collection of diseases, symptoms and pathological changes. In a unique study, an international team of researchers compared the brains of twins where one or both died of Alzheimer's disease. They found that many of the twin pairs not only had similar progressions of Alzheimer's disease and dementia prior to death, but they also had similar combinations of pathologies -- two-or-more unconnected areas of damage to the brain. The researchers had the rare opportunity to directly autopsy the brains of seven pairs of twins who both died after being receiving diagnostic evaluations over many years, including a pair of identical twins who were both diagnosed with Alzheimer's and died within a year of one another at the age of 98.
Effective treatment for youth anxiety disorders has lasting benefit The majority of youth with moderate to severe anxiety disorders responded well to acute treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication (sertraline), or a combination of both, new research concludes. They maintained positive treatment response over a 6 month follow-up period with the help of monthly booster sessions. Collectively, anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in children and adolescents. Often overlooked, severe anxiety can significantly impair children's school, social, and family functioning, and if untreated, can increase the risk of depression, alcohol and substance abuse, and occupational difficulties in adulthood.
Antidepressants: Higher Rates of Psychological Side-Effects Revealed by New Study In the US one in ten are prescribed antidepressants each year, but are they told about ALL the side-effects?A new survey of people taking antidepressants has found higher than expected levels of emotional numbness, sexual problems and even suicidal thoughts associated with the medication ... Continue reading - - > → Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick"
Mental health of most UK troops serving in Afghanistan, Iraq is 'resilient' Despite prolonged combat missions to Iraq and Afghanistan, there has been no overall increase in mental health problems among United Kingdom soldiers, finds a review of the available evidence. But certain groups of soldiers do seem to be more vulnerable to mental ill health on their return home, while alcohol problems continue to give cause for concern among regulars. The researchers focused on Iraq and Afghanistan because of the lengthy and challenging nature of the conflict experienced by British soldiers in these two countries, including protracted counter insurgency and repeated exposure to improvised explosive devices (IEDs), snipers, and suicide bombers. Their analysis, which draws on 34 studies, shows that, overall, most UK regulars returning from deployment have remained psychologically resilient, despite the adversities they faced.
One gene influences recovery from traumatic brain injury One change in the sequence of the BDNF gene causes some people to be more impaired by traumatic brain injury than others with comparable wounds, new research shows. The study measured general intelligence in a group of 156 Vietnam War veterans who suffered penetrating head injuries during the war. All of the study subjects had damage to the prefrontal cortex, a brain region behind the forehead that is important to cognitive tasks such as planning, problem-solving, self-restraint and complex thought. The team found that a single polymorphism (a difference in one "letter" of the sequence) in the BDNF gene accounted for significant differences in intelligence among those with similar injuries and comparable intelligence before being injured.
Can non-invasive electrical stimulation of brain help patients regain state of consciousness after coma? Researchers have shown that transcranial direct-current stimulation allows patients in a minimally conscious state to recover cognitive and motor skills. This simple, safe and relatively low-cost technique could offer clinicians a new way to help these patients recover, even several years after their coma. However, the positive effects appear to be temporary at this stage of research. "These results are all the more impressive because they can occur in chronic patients, i.e. years after their accident, when their state is often considered as no longer being able to evolve. On the contrary, our study shows that the state of consciousness in severely brain-damaged patients can improve following short cortical stimulation. However, this improvement is only temporary and patients return to their initial state after several hours," the authors explain.
Children of older men at greater risk of mental illness, study suggests Research finds children born to fathers aged over 45 were more likely to have mental health problems and do poorly at schoolChildren born to fathers over the age of 45 are at greater risk of developing psychiatric problems and more likely to struggle at school, according to the findings of a large-scale study.The research found that children with older fathers were more often diagnosed with disorders such as autism, psychosis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. They also reported more drug abuse and suicide attempts, researchers said.The children's difficulties seemed to affect school performance, leading to worse grades at the age of 15 and fewer years in education overall."We were shocked when we saw the comparisons," said Brian D'Onofrio, the first author of the study at Indiana University in the US. But he added that it was impossible to be sure that older age was to blame for the problems.Scientists have reported links between fathers' age and children's cognitive performance and health before but this study suggests the risks may be more serious than previously thought. The increased risks might be caused by genetic mutations that build up in sperm as men age.Researchers at Indiana University and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm studied medical and educational records of more than 2.6 million babies born to 1.4 million men. The group amounted to nearly 90% of births in Sweden from 1973 and 2001. Using the records, the scientists added up diagnoses for psychiatric disorders and educational achievements and compared the figures for children born to fathers of different ages.The numbers told a complex story. When health and school performance were compared across all the children, and factors such as parents' education and any history of psychiatric illness were taken into account, paternal age made little difference, except for cases of bipolar disorder, which rose with older fathers.But the researchers went on to do another analysis. This compared the health and performance of siblings in the same families, in the hope of ruling out differences between families that may have skewed the results. This time they found a striking link between paternal age and children's mental health and educational outcomes.According to the study, the children of fathers aged 45 and over were 3.5 times as likely to have autism, had more than twice the risk of psychotic disorders, suicidal behaviour and drug abuse, and had a 13-fold greater risk of ADHD. Fewer than 1% of children born to fathers younger than 45 had bipolar disorder, a figure that rose to about 14% in their siblings when fathers were 45 or older. In many cases, the risk of each disorder rose steadily with the father's age.The impact on academic achievements was less dramatic. Children with older fathers had a 60% greater risk of poor performance at age 15, defined as the equivalent of an overall fail grade across 16 academic subjects. They were also 70% more likely to spend less than 10 years in formal education.The findings appear in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.Some experts have questioned the analysis, because important factors that could be to blame were not ruled out.While looking at siblings has the advantage of ruling out differences from one family to the next – such as the number of books on shelves and diet – teasing out cause and effect is impossible.For example, a first born child may do better than his or her siblings at school, but that could be down to the parents having more time to spend with him or her than later children. The father being younger at his or her birth may be immaterial. Equally, a man's second wife may be a worse parent than his first wife, with knock-on effects for his children with her. Again, his older age would not be the direct culprit.In many countries, the age of first-time fathers is on the rise, and if the latest findings are right, that could drive more psychiatric and educational problems in future generations. The average age of men who became fathers in England and Wales rose from 30.8 to 32.6 years old in the two decades to 2011, with mothers' age rising to 29.7 years old over the same period. In 2011, 31,643 babies were born to fathers aged 45 and over. Some 833 fathers were 60 and over, according to the Office of National Statistics.Ryan Edwards, who studies the economics of health and ageing at the City University of New York, said the study revealed "some evidence that paternal age may worsen children's psychiatric, behavioral and educational outcomes."But he warned that the results hinged on the scientists' comparisons between siblings. "In that setting, it is difficult to separate the overlapping effects of paternal age, children's age, and birth order in a convincing way," he said.Jennifer Roff, also at the City University of New York, had similar reservations. "I'm not saying that there is no possible genetic role for paternal age. I simply think that this could be confounded with other environmental factors like birth order. The extent of the problem will vary. I can imagine that for things like cognitive scores, this could be a larger problem than for things like schizophrenia."ReproductionPsychologyGeneticsHuman biologyBiologyMental healthSchizophreniaBipolar disorderAttention deficit hyperactivity disorderHealthHealth & wellbeingFamilyParents and parentingIan Sampletheguardian.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