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News & Views: Snooze Alert: A sleep disorder may be harming your body and brain
Posted on August 27, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit4, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

M. Scott Brauer for NPR

A lack of sleep can increase the risk of traffic accidents, heart attacks, diabetes and maybe even Alzheimer’s disease, research suggests. Yet most people with sleep disorders don’t get treatment.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: How the prescription painkiller fentanyl became a street drug
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Joe Amon/Denver Post/Getty Images

The synthetic opioid fentanyl is used for surgery and to treat severe pain. Abuse has always been a problem. Now that it’s being used to cut heroin, the risk of overdose or death has soared.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Bedtime stories for young brains
Posted on August 18, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit1, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Getty Images

It’s been known for awhile that reading to a young child is associated with good outcomes, including language development and school success. But what remains unknown is the mechanism for these outcomes. A new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, examines the unexpectedly complex interactions that happen in the brain when you put a small child on your lap and open a picture book.

Read more at NYTimes.com.

News & Views: When rehab might help an addict – but insurance won’t cover it
Posted on August 17, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Lesson5-6, ND Lesson5-7, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Ben Allen/WITF. Cris and Valerie Fiore hold one of their favorite pictures of their sons Anthony (with the dark hair) and Nick. Anthony died from a heroin overdose in May 2014 at the age of 24.

Federal law requires insurance firms to cover treatment for addiction as they do treatment for other diseases. But because addiction treatment is so different from treatment for other medical issues, it’s hard to figure out exactly what equal treatment looks like, and some families say that drug users aren’t getting the care they need.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: More evidence that music eases pain, anxiety after surgery
Posted on August 13, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Lesson3-1, ND Unit3, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

iStockphoto

Most studies of music’s ability to ease pain have been small. But an analysis pooling the best research, published Wednesday in the journal The Lancet, builds a strong case, doctors say that a dose of music reduces the need for painkillers.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Is football worth the brain-injury risk? For some, the answer is no.
Posted on August 12, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit1, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

When he killed himself at 50, former NFL player Dave Duerson’s brain showed serious damage, likely from hits during his football career. His son now questions the gamble of playing the game.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: States haven’t embraced later school start time for teens
Posted on August 10, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit4, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

iStockphoto

Last year the nation’s pediatricians said middle and high schoolers shouldn’t start school before 8:30 a.m., so they can get much-needed sleep. But almost all schools start before that, the CDC finds.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Testing video games as treatments for mental illness
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit1, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Lorenzo Gritti for NPR

Dozens of games and apps claim to improve your memory or make you smarter or reduce stress. But do they really? In October 2014, 75 scientists signed a letter to the brain training industry, criticizing companies for exaggerating claims and preying on the anxieties of customers. Now game developers say the next step is clinically valid poof of cognitive gains, and one developer (also a neuroscientist) is looking for the best proof he can get — FDA approval — and he’ll start with his game NeuroRacer which already has results published in the journal Nature.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Disgust Diet: Can you train your brain to recoil at high-calorie foods?
Posted on August 7, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: MD Lesson3-3, MD Lesson3-4, MD Unit3, ND Final Project, ND Unit1, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Flickr

In a new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a psychologist says there could be a simple way to make calorie-packed foods like French fries or ice cream seem unappealing, even a bit disgusting. Others are less sure.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: The autism-GI link: Inflammatory bowel disease found more prevalent in ASD patients
Posted on August 6, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Source

Reports from parents and a growing number of studies over the past 10 to 15 years suggest that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), especially more severe ASD, are prone to gastrointestinal disorders. In a new study in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Disease, researchers crunched three large databases to create what they believe is the largest study to date of the link between autism spectrum disorder and inflammatory bowel disease.

Read more at ChildrensHospital.org.

News & Views: Science headlines, can you trust them?
Posted on August 4, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: MD Final Project, MD Unit5, Metabolic Disease, ND Final Project, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Zoran Ivanovich/iStockphoto

The path from scientific discovery to media sound bite can be perilous, says commentator Tania Lombrozo, and it should be traversed with care. Take for example how the media is covering a recent paper published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease about the risks and benefits of coffee consumption.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Neuroscientists are looking for ways to decrease prejudice
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit1, ND Unit4, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Mary McLain/NPR

You are probably at least a little bit racist and sexist and homophobic. Most of us are. And before you get offended, try taking one of the popular Implicit Association Tests. They measure people’s unconscious prejudice. These tests find that most people trust men or women, white people over minorities, and straight people over queer people.

So, what are we to do? Scientists are working on ways to train our brains away from deeply held prejudices — including hacking your subconscious while you sleep. Yes, it sounds like a scam, but the results, published in the journal Science, show that it’s possible.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Snail venom yields potent painkiller, but delivering the drug is tricky
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit1, ND Unit3, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Courtesy of Jeanette Johnson and Scott Johnson

The drug derived from the venom of cone snails must be injected into the spinal column to get beyond a patient’s blood-brain barrier and bring relief. But scientists think they may have a workaround. The scientists explain how in the journal Scientific Reports.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Scientists discover a 6th taste, and it’s quite a disgusting mouthful
Posted on August 3, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: MD Lesson1-5, MD Unit1, Metabolic Disease, ND Final Project, ND Lesson1-4, ND Unit1, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Francisco Seco/AP

To the ranks of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami, researchers have added a sixth: “oleogustus,” or the taste for fat. But nutrition scientist Rick Mattes says it’s far from delicious. Found in rancid food, it’s often an unpleasant warning. The finding was announced in the journal Chemical Senses last month.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: The placebo effect works even when you know you are taking a placebo
Posted on July 28, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit1, ND Unit3, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Okawa Somchai/Shutterstock

The placebo effect is already known to be pretty bizarre, but a new study has ramped up the weirdness factor. Researchers have found that people can be trained to believe in a placebo so much, it still works even when they’re told it isn’t real medicine.

Read more at iflscience.com.

News & Views: Can ‘sleeping on it’ really be the best way to solve a problem?
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Lesson4-1, ND Lesson4-2, ND Lesson4-3, ND Lesson4-4, ND Unit4, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Karramba Production/Shutterstock

Have you ever struggled to finish a level of Candy Crush or complete a Sudoku puzzle in the evening but breezed through it the following morning? The reason may please anyone who’s been told they spend too much time in bed asleep. A new study suggests that ‘sleeping on it’ can improve problem solving.

Read more at iflscience.com.

News & Views: The Gene for Sweet: Why we don’t all taste sugar the same way
Posted on July 27, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: MD Unit1, Metabolic Disease, ND Final Project, ND Lesson1-4, ND Unit1, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Ryan Kellman/NPR

We know that a gene can determine how strongly we experience bitter flavors. Scientists wanted to know if this was also true for sweet. Their study shows genetics may affect our taste for sugar, too.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: A scientists deploys light and sound to reveal the brain
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Lesson1-3, ND Unit1, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Geoff Story/Courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis

Try to look inside the brain and you’re not going to get very far. But photoacoustic imaging may be a solution for the shortcomings of conventional imaging. It uses lasers to make the brain sing.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: How walking in nature changes the brain
Posted on July 24, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit1, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Getty Images

A walk in the park may soothe the mind and, in the process, change the workings of our brains in ways that may improve our mental health, according to an interesting new study of the physical effects on the brain of visiting nature.

Read more at NYTimes.com.

News & Views: A teenager develops a test that can diagnose Alzheimer’s before symptoms
Posted on July 23, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Lesson2-5, ND Unit2, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

sfam_photo/Shutterstock

A teenager from the U.K. has designed what could be a minimally invasive test that offers an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Grammar school student Krtin Nithiyanandam from Surrey is one of 90 regional finalists in the 2015 Google Science Fair.

Read more at iflscience.com.

News & Views: Could boredom cause addiction?
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Lesson5-1, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Emily Strange

Mice given even brief opportunities to solve puzzles are less likely to become addicted to cocaine, a study has found. The research adds to an increasing body of work suggesting that addiction is in large part a reaction to living in an intellectually and emotionally unsatisfying environment, and indicates that intellectual stimulation could be more lasting than has been realized.

Read more at iflscience.com.

News & Views: Younger adults with Alzheimer’s are key to drug search
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Lesson2-5, ND Unit2, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Courtesy of Tal Cohen

A very rare genetic mutation causes some people to develop Alzheimer’s in their 30s. It also makes these people the ideal candidates for tests of potential Alzheimer’s drugs.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Prozac in the yogurt aisle: Can ‘good’ bacteria chill us out?
Posted on July 22, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

iStockphoto

In recent years, a body of research has shown that beneficial microbes play a critical role in how our bodies work. And it turns out there’s a lot of communication between our gut and our brain.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Genetic tweaks are restoring hearing in animals, raising hopes for people
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Lesson1-4, ND Unit1, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Roy Scott/Ikon Images/Corbis

The latest accomplishment for gene therapy involves mice with inherited deafness. Meanwhile, the drugmaker Novartis is conducting the first trial of gene therapy for people with hearing loss.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Trying to remember multiple things may be the best way to forget them
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit1, Neurological Disorders, Uncategorized | | Add comment |

Leigh Wells/Ikon Images/Getty Images

When you have to remember many things at once, you might try to juggle all those to-do items in your head simultaneously. But new scientific research published in the journal Nature suggests there might be a better approach.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Screaming for Science: The secrets of crying babies and car alarms
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit4, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Simone Golob/Corbis

Why do screams demand our attention like no other sound? The answer seems to involve an acoustic quality called roughness that triggers fear circuits in the brain.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Alzheimer’s drugs in the works might treat other diseases, too
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Lesson2-5, ND Unit2, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Thomas Deerinck/NCMIR/Science Source

By targeting the process that creates toxic clumps of protein in brain cells, scientists hope to help not just Alzheimer’s patients, but perhaps also people with Lewy body dementia and Parkinson’s.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Scientists say they can read your mind, and prove it with pictures
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit1, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Source

Scientists say they can now download signals from your brain — and translate them back into a picture that you saw. The images aren’t crystal clear, but you can make out what’s going on.

Listen to the story at NPR.org.

News & Views: Women’s brains appear more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s than men’s
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Lesson2-5, ND Unit2, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Lizzie Roberts/Getty Images/Ikon Images

Researchers at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference say there’s growing evidence that women are more likely than men of the same age to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: What the textbooks don’t tell you about Phineas Gage
Posted on July 6, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Lesson1-1, ND Unit1, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Photograph by Jack Wilgus of a daguerreotype of Phineas Gage in the collection of Jack and Beverly Wilgus.

Thanks to painstaking historical analysis of primary sources (by Malcolm Macmillan and Matthew Lena) – much of it published between 2000 and 2010 – and the discovery during the same time period of new photographic evidence of post-accident Gage (see image, right), it is now believed that Gage made a remarkable recovery from his terrible injuries. He ultimately emigrated to Chile where he worked as a horse-coach driver, controlling six horses at once and dealing politely with non-English speaking passengers. The latest simulations of his injury help explain his rehabilitation – it’s thought the iron rod passed through his left frontal lobe only, leaving his right lobe fully intact.

Read more at BPS Research Digest.

News & Views: How your brain remembers where you parked the car
Posted on July 2, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit1, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

David Williams/Illustration Works/Corbis

When people saw photos that linked a famous person with a famous place, it changed the behavior of certain neurons in their brains. And it changed their memories, too.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Living in a former meth house can cause health problems
Posted on July 1, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Barbara Brosher/WFIU

The residue from meth labs can cause health problems, but people aren’t always told that the house they’re buying is contaminated. An Indiana law requires disclosure but not mandatory testing.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory function in mice
Posted on June 26, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Lesson2-5, ND Unit2, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Source

Researchers have come up with a non-invasive ultrasound technology that clears the brain of neurotoxic amyloid plaques, which are the structures that are responsible for memory loss and decline in cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients. Of the mice that received the treatment, 75 percent got their memory function back, according to the study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine earlier this week.

Read more at ScienceAlert.com.

News & Views: Can the bacteria in your gut explain your mood?
Posted on June 23, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Source

The rich array of microbiota in our intestines can tell us more than you might think.

Read more at NYTimes.com.

News & Views: Gut bacteria might guide the workings of our minds
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Illustration by Benjamin Arthur for NPR

Anxious mice calm down when they get an infusion of gut microbes from mellow mice. That has scientists wondering if gut microbes play a role in the human brain, too. Research on that is only just beginning. But it’s intriguing to think there could be a real truth to the phrase “gut feelings.”

Listen to the story, read more, and watch a video at NPR.org.

News & Views: A lifesaving medicine that my patient didn’t get in time
Posted on June 22, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Mel Evans/AP

Drug overdoses — many from opioid painkillers — cause more deaths in the U.S. than car crashes, shootings or alcohol. But stigma keeps many addicts from an antidote that could quickly save them.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: More evidence that parents’ ages could influence autism risk
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

iStockphoto

A large, international study found that kids born to older parents had higher rates of autism. Having a teen mom or parents with a large gap between their ages also increased the autism odds.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: To ease pain, reach for your playlist instead of popping a pill
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit3, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Music can energize, soothe or relax us. And it can also help reduce pain. Researchers found that listening to a favorite song or story helped children manage pain after major surgery.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Are some teens brains hardwired to make risky choices?
Posted on June 18, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Lesson2-3, ND Unit1, ND Unit2, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Illustration Works/Corbis

Some young people are especially prone to making rash, risky decisions about sex, drugs and alcohol. Individual differences in the brain’s working memory — which allows people to draw on and use information to make decisions — could help explain why some adolescents are especially impulsive when it comes to sex, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Child Development.

Read more at NPR.org.

Online Summer Course
Posted on June 16, 2015 by Jane Newbold | Categories: Neurological Disorders, News | | Add comment |

Banner for online summer course on Neurological Disorders starting June 22nd or July 20th offered jointly by Great Diseases and the Virtual High School; use offer code 'Tufts25' for $25 off

Great Diseases: Neurological Disorders is an exciting new online summer course offered in partnership with the Virtual High School. The course focuses on how our brains work and how diseases and the choices we make can alter our brains. Students will explore how their brains sense and interpret the environment, uncover the molecular details of neuronal transmission, visualize how diseases like epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and addiction impact the brain, and consider how factors such as sleep and pain affect brain function.

To enroll or for more information please go to VHS Collaborative’s Summer Course Offerings. Use offer code ‘Tufts25′ for $25 off!

News & Views: To beat insomnia, try therapy for the underlying cause instead of pills
Posted on June 15, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit4, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Ikon Images/Corbis

A review of the medical evidence finds that therapy can break the cycle of chronic sleeplessness by addressing the anxieties that cause many people to stay awake.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Scientists investigate what makes us itch
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit1, ND Unit3, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Source

Scientists found a molecule crucial to perceiving the sensation of itching. It affects how the brain responds to serotonin, and may explain why anti-depressants that boost serotonin make some itch.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: When it comes to depression, serotonin isn’t the whole story
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit1, ND Unit3, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Paul S. Howell/Getty Images

The antidepressant Prozac selectively targets the chemical serotonin. When the drug was introduced in the 1980s, it helped solidify the idea in many minds that depression was the result of a chemical imbalance. But the real story is far more complicated.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Drinking too much? One-third of Americans say yes
Posted on June 8, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

iStockphoto

Lots of people say they’re having trouble with alcohol. Native Americans and young, college-educated white men are most apt to be at risk. And most people don’t get any help cutting back.

Read more at NPR.org.

New & Views: Sleep like a baby (minus the night terrors) with good vibrations
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Lesson4-2, ND Unit4, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Courtesy of Lully

A startup has developed a method the firm says will put to bed kids’ night terrors, a sleep disorder that can impact a family’s quality of life. The device uses app-controlled timed vibrations that rouse a child into a lighter sleep stage and prevent night terrors, which occur during deep non-REM sleep.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Thoughts Can Fuel Some Deadly Brain Cancers
Posted on May 15, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: Ca Unit1, Cancer, ND Final Project, ND Unit1, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Scott Camazine/Science Source

A doctor-scientist’s long quest to help children with a rare form of brain cancer has led to the discovery that high levels of brain activity can make glioma tumors grow faster.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Why do we need sleep?
Posted on May 14, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Lesson4-1, ND Lesson4-2, ND Unit4, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Russell Foster.James Duncan Davidson/TED

What do we know about one of our most basic needs: sleep? Not a lot, says circadian neuroscientist Russell Foster. We know we need to do it to stay alive, but much about it remains a mystery.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Why not start addiction treatment in the ER?
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Lesson5-5, ND Lesson5-6, ND Lesson5-7, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Doctor at patient bedside.iStockphoto

Like asthma or diabetes, opioid addiction is a chronic condition. Could treatment that begins when people show up in the ER get them on the right road faster? New studies suggest it could.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Your tough job might help keep you sharp
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit1, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Engaging work is better for the brain.iStockphoto

In an eight-year study of older people, those who held mentally demanding, stimulating jobs tended to retain their mental agility better than people whose work was less stimulating.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Concussions can be more likely in practices than in games
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit1, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

High school football team charges the field.iStockphoto

A new study finds long hours in practice might account for the higher concussion risk in high school and college football. Some schools are retooling practice to reduce the number of hits.

Read more at NPR.org.