In the news

Compound protects brain cells after traumatic brain injury

A new class of compounds has now been shown to protect brain cells from the type of damage caused by blast-mediated traumatic brain injury (TBI). Mice that were treated with these compounds 24-36 hours after experiencing TBI from a blast injury were protected from the harmful effects of TBI, including problems with learning, memory, and movement. Traumatic brain injury caused by blast injury has emerged as a common health problem among U.S. servicemen and women,…

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Chemical signals in brain help guide risky decisions

A gambler’s decision to stay or fold in a game of cards could be influenced by a chemical in the brain, suggests new research from the University of British Columbia. The rise and fall of dopamine plays a key role in decisions involving risk and reward, from a baseball player trying to steal a base to an investor buying or selling a stock. Previous studies have shown that dopamine signals increase when risky choices pay…

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Why is stress more devastating for some?

Some people take stress in stride; others are done in by it. New research at Rockefeller University has identified the molecular mechanisms of this so-called stress gap in mice with very similar genetic backgrounds — a finding that could lead researchers to better understand the development of psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression. “Like people, each animal has unique experiences as it goes through its life. And we suspect that these life experiences can…

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Childhood trauma could lead to adult obesity

Being subjected to abuse during childhood entails a markedly increased risk of developing obesity as an adult. This is the conclusion of a meta-analysis carried out on previous studies, which included a total of 112,000 participants. The analysis was conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, and has been published in the journalObesity Reviews. “The study clearly shows that difficult life events leave traces which can manifest as disease much later in life. The…

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Family dinners good for teens’ mental health, could protect from cyberbullying

Cyberbullying was associated with mental health and substance use problems in adolescents but family dinners may help protect teens from the consequences of cyberbullying and also be beneficial for their mental health. About 1 in 5 adolescents has experienced recent online bullying and cyberbullying, like traditional bullying, can increase the risk of mental health problems in teens as well as the misuse of drugs and alcohol. It is important to understand whether cyberbullying contributes uniquely…

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This is your brain’s blood vessels on drugs

A new method for measuring and imaging how quickly blood flows in the brain could help doctors and researchers better understand how drug abuse affects the brain, which may aid in improving brain-cancer surgery and tissue engineering, and lead to better treatment options for recovering drug addicts. The new method, developed by a team of researchers from Stony Brook University in New York, USA and the U.S. National Institutes of Health, was published today in…

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Bedsharing with baby may impair sleep quality

Nocturnal awakenings are frequent among 6-month-old children, but sharing bed might make things worse. Bedsharing reduce infants sleep duration and leads to a higher number of awakenings, a new study suggests. Even though the researchers find an overall reduction in both sleep duration and nocturnal awakenings from 6 to 18 months of age, the chronicity of sleep problems was high — and impacted by prior sleep behavior and sleeping arrangements. “Bedsharing was an independent and…

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In our digital world, are young people losing the ability to read emotions?

Children’s social skills may be declining as they have less time for face-to-face interaction due to their increased use of digital media, according to a UCLA psychology study. UCLA scientists found that sixth-graders who went five days without even glancing at a smartphone, television or other digital screen did substantially better at reading human emotions than sixth-graders from the same school who continued to spend hours each day looking at their electronic devices. “Many people…

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Primary care physicians can be critical resource for abused women in rural areas

Many primary care physicians in rural communities do not routinely screen women for intimate partner violence (IPV), according to Penn State medical and public health researchers. Rural women who are exposed to such violence have limited resources if they seek help. “Rural health care providers are uniquely positioned to help women,” said Jennifer S. McCall-Hosenfeld, a primary care physician and assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences, Penn State College of Medicine. “However, in…

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Children with autism have extra synapses in brain: May be possible to prune synapses with drug after diagnosis

Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is due to a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). Because synapses are the points where neurons connect and communicate with each other, the excessive synapses may have profound effects on how the brain functions. The study was published in the August 21 online…

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