Modeling Autism in a Lab Dish…

A striking resemblance to Jim Carrey… Or is it?

A collaborative effort between researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and the University of California, San Diego, successfully used human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells derived from patients with Rett syndrome to replicate autism in the lab and study the molecular pathogenesis of the disease.

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Delicate Balance in the Way Your Brain Controls Fear

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Fear begins in your brain

The eerie music in the movie theater swells; the roller coaster crests and begins its descent; something goes bump in the night. Suddenly, you’re scared: your heart thumps, your stomach clenches, your throat tightens, your muscles freeze you in place.

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Part of the Brain That Tracks Limbs in Space Discovered

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New research shows that the brain’s parietal cortex tracks the position of your limbs as you move through space by combining tactile information from your skin with “proprioceptive” information about the position of your hand relative to your body

Scientists have discovered the part of the brain that tracks the position of our limbs as we move through space.

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Sea Squirt Offers Hope for Alzheimer’s Sufferers

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Ciona intestinalis.

Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 27 million people worldwide. It is the most common form of age-related dementia, possibly the most feared disease of old age. There is no cure, and the available drugs only help to relieve symptoms without slowing progression of the disease. One of the characteristic changes in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients is the accumulation of plaques and tangles; currently, the best hope for curing or at least slowing the disease lies in developing drugs that target this buildup. Some drugs are already in clinical trials, but there is still a pressing need for more research, and for more and better drugs directed against both known and novel targets.

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Scientists Image Brain at Point When Vocal Learning Begins

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High resolution in vivo images of neurons and associated dendritic spines in the brain of a juvenile songbird during the initial stages of song learning. Images taken by Todd Roberts.

Duke University Medical Center scientists crowded around a laser-powered microscope in a darkened room to peer into the brain of an anesthetized juvenile songbird right after he heard an adult tutors’ song for the first time.

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Naked Mole Rats May Hold Clues to Surviving Stroke

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Naked mole rats.

Blind, nearly hairless, and looking something like toothy, plump, pink fingers, naked mole rats may rank among nature’s most maligned creatures, but their unusual physiology endears them to scientists.

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Depression as Deadly as Smoking, Study Finds

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Depression is as much of a risk factor for mortality as smoking, new research has found.

A study by researchers at the University of Bergen, Norway, and the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King’s College London has found that depression is as much of a risk factor for mortality as smoking.

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Children With Autism Show Slower Pupil Responses, Study Finds

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The Human eye

Autism affects an estimated 1 in 150 children today, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. Despite its widespread effect, autism is not well understood and there are no objective medical tests to diagnose it. Recently, University of Missouri researchers have developed a pupil response test that is 92.5 percent accurate in separating children with autism from those with typical development. In the study, MU scientists found that children with autism have slower pupil responses to light change.

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Regeneration Can Be Achieved After Chronic Spinal Cord Injury

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Mark Tuszynski, MD, PhD.

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that regeneration of central nervous system axons can be achieved in rats even when treatment delayed is more than a year after the original spinal cord injury.

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Injectable Biomaterial Regenerates Brain Tissue in Traumatic Injuries

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This is a mosaic image reconstruction of the lesion. A well-structured vasculature network was rebuilt at the lesion filled with the hydrogel.

An injectable biomaterial gel may help brain tissue grow at the site of a traumatic brain injury, according to findings by a Clemson University bioengineer.

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