It’s important to stay well-informed when it comes to neurological diseases and disorders, not only for those inflicted but also for their families, caregivers, and friends. While the internet provides us with a wealth of knowledge, oftentimes it can be difficult to decipher whether or not certain information is trustworthy.
Below is yesterday’s Dana News email blast. You can sign up to receive this (and other Dana email alerts and/or print publications) by going here.
In July 2014, an international consortium of schizophrenia researchers mounted the largest biological experiment in the history of psychiatry. Now, with many more avenues for exploring the biological underpinnings of schizophrenia available to neuroscientists, hope may be on the way for the estimated 1 in 100 people worldwide affected by the illness. From Cerebrum, our online magazine of ideas. Also check out a Q&A with Dr. Sullivan.
“What makes us human?” asks Barbara Culliton in the Foreword of the new Cerebrum: Emerging Ideas in Brain Science 2014, an anthology of the articles and book reviews featured each month during 2014 on the web. As the editor of Cerebrum, the online journal published by the Dana Foundation, I’m confident in saying that this year’s stories strive to answer that question from a neuroscience perspective.
The book’s twelve articles and five book reviews cover the science behind the much-hyped cognitive training and brain games industry; the latest in brain-machine interfaces, the role that socioeconomic status plays in brain development, and individual sex differences in the human brain. From understanding induced pluripotent stem cells to the causes and effects of spatial awareness, the latter written by last year’s Nobel prize winners Edvard and May-Britt Moser, the goal of Cerebrum is to take complex research and explain the importance in simple and understandable language.
guest post by Kayt Sukel
With today’s headlines awash with tales of measles and the Ebola virus, it can be easy to forget that malaria, an infectious disease caused by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum, remains one of the most deadly diseases on the planet. According to the World Health Organization, more than 600,000 people died of malaria in 2012—the majority attributed to the most severe form of the disease, cerebral malaria. One of malaria’s biggest mysteries is why some people develop the cerebral form of the disease, in which the malarial parasites invade the blood vessels around the brain, and then recover, while others with this form, many of them young children, will die of the infection.
In 2008, I spoke with Terrie Taylor, DO, about her clinical work with cerebral malaria patients in Malawi. She explained how cerebral malaria is a “tricky disease,” but was optimistic that researchers would have a clearer picture of how Plasmodium falciparum occupy the brain’s blood vessels in five to ten years. One of her most important goals was to understand what might be different in the brains of those who died of the disease from those who survived. Now, eight years after my Cerebrum story “Cerebral Malaria: A Wily Foe” was published, Taylor and colleagues have published a groundbreaking neuroimaging study in the New England Journal of Medicine highlighting one of those key differences.
Brain Awareness Week (BAW)—March 16-22—is nearly a month away, and brain advocates across the planet are busy gearing up for the excitement. From the snow banks in Boston to the beaches in Brazil to the mountains in Bosnia and Herzegovina, BAW Partners, including hospitals, universities, schools, senior centers and other institutions, are getting ready for their brain bees, brain fairs, brain lectures, brain lab tours, brain dissections, brain art exhibits, brain performances, brain Jell-O’s, brain hats and brain…well, you get the picture.