From the Archives: Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day just around the corner (put your cards in the mail today!), it’s a good time to revisit what articles from Dana’s archives tell us about mother-child relationships.

Some of the studies highlighted on Dana.org may seem bleak, as they study parenting in situations of abuse and neglect. But they all highlight how important a supportive, caring parent is to a developing child.

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A Fond Farewell to BrainWork

Our final, online-only edition of BrainWork: The Neuroscience Newsletter features the same quality of brain-science reporting and writing that we’ve been printing since 1991—and that you’ll continue to find in all of Dana’s exclusive news and publications. (The name “BrainWork,” meanwhile, will shift to our annual Progress Report on Brain Research the signature publication of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.)

Stories in our Fall issue include:

Gambling among Parkinson’s Patients Raises Questions about Dopamine—A higher rate of compulsive gambling among people taking medication for Parkinson’s disease raises questions regarding the role of the neurotransmitter dopamine, in both diseased and
normal brains.

Ability to Catch Dyslexia Early May Help Stem Its Effects—New educational approaches and advances in brain-based research are making it possible to detect dyslexia even in children too young to read. Though it is not a cure, stepping in early with targeted intervention could prevent reading problems from derailing a child’s education.

Depression Insights Increase as Animal Models Improve—Research
in animals hints at the neurobiology of depression, why antidepressant treatment does not take effect immediately and why some people are more resilient amid stress. It also highlights the importance of using a combination of animal models to study depression.

Prefrontal Cortex Underlies Slips of the Tongue—Thinking
about something we want to avoid saying makes us more likely to say it. Blame the brain’s prefrontal cortex, home to processes involved in developing plans and carrying them out.

And in News from the Frontier: Assessing Risk and Resilience for Bipolar Disorder, For Injured Nerve Fibers, a Sense of Direction, Restoring Capillary Blood Flow after a Stroke, and Obesity May Increase Alzheimer’s Risk.

-Dan Gordon

New in BrainWork

In our Summer issue, stories include: 

Imaging Reveals Alzheimer’s Clues both Before and After Disease DevelopsSigns of Alzheimer’s may be detectable years before symptoms emerge. New brain imaging techniques and other approaches are giving scientists new insight into disease risk and may one day help them start treatment earlier and develop better methods.

Safer than Marijuana, a Natural Chemical Strengthens MemoriesA chemical in the amygdala that stimulates the same receptors as marijuana, but more safely, is involved in shoring up highly emotional memories, evidence shows.

Brain Training May Help Stroke Victims Recover VisionA form of visual therapy that employs computer exercises may help restore some vision to patients who lost sight as a result of stroke. Some researchers are skeptical that the patients were truly blind, however.

‘Neuroeducation’ Emerges as Insights into Brain Development, Learning Abilities GrowAs scientists learn more about how the brain grows and learns, universities are developing programs to translate those insights into practical classroom strategies.

And in News from the Frontier: REM sleep stimulates creativity; an active brain and body help maintain cognitive function; synchronized brain waves focus attention; and an animal model gives insight into antidepressants

BrainWork’s Spring issue arrives

Posted this week in BrainWork:

Effects of Hormone Therapy May Hinge on Timing, Genes

by Sandra A. Swanson

Experts remain divided on the merits of hormone treatment for menopausal women. New evidence lends support to the idea that timing, genetics and the existence of different estrogen receptors in the brain contribute to the effects of estrogen on memory, mood and cognition.

ADHD Studies Target Circuitry, Stimulants' Effects

by Brenda Patoine

Past studies of psychostimulant drugs taken for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder have shown a slowing of cortical growth, but new imaging research reveals that the drugs may normalize development. Researchers still urge caution, however.

Controlling Blood Glucose May Fend Off Cognitive Decline

by Tom Valeo

Elevated blood glucose levels negatively affect a subregion of the hippocampus responsible for forming memories, according to new research. The finding may help explain memory impairment as we age and in people with diabetes. Other studies are looking at whether medications help absorb glucose and improve memory.

Stock Market Success May Stem from Prenatal Hormone Levels

by Scott P. Edwards

Testosterone levels before birth affect financial traders’ success, perhaps by enhancing risk taking, a recent study suggests. The clue lies in the length of traders’ ring fingers relative to their index fingers—longer ring fingers indicate greater testosterone exposure in the womb, and traders with this characteristic made more money than others, on average.

And, in News from the Frontier: Brain response to vision-loss disorder may be swift, break in circadian rhythm may lead to disease, fine-tuning mechanism may hold key to Alzheimer’s disease, and new mechanism for memory consolidation in sleep.

New in BrainWork – Jan/Feb 09

In our January-February issue, dedicated to the 38th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, which took place Nov. 15-19 in Washington, D.C.:

A Slew of Studies Provides Addiction Insight—Addiction doesn’t just affect people’s pleasure centers; it may also short-circuit brain areas responsible for self-awareness and for restraining impulsive behavior, suggests new research looking into why the disease is so difficult to treat.

Researchers Begin to Decode Decision-making Processes—New studies suggest that the brain engages in “probabilistic reasoning” similar to the method the Allies used to crack Nazi Germany’s codes—but that sleep deprivation compromises our ability to assess the future.

New Techniques Link Brain with Machine—Recent advances in “brain-computer interfaces” include a technique that can distinguish individual finger movements.

Lie Detection Services Remain Premature, Neuroethicists Say—Neuroscience-based methods of lie detection already may have passed the test of public acceptance, but whether they work is still an open question in the scientific community.

Neurobiology Affects Love and Attraction—Scientists have found that long-term love appears to leave a distinct signature in the brain and that a specific gene affects courtship behavior—at least in mice.

Dancing Begins with a Cognitive Act for Professionals and Parkinson’s Patients—The challenges of movement reward the minds of dancers both professional and amateur—and, in eight programs across the nation, of people with Parkinson’s disease.

Insights Reveal that Itch Is More Than Skin Deep—An extraordinarily itchy tropical plant has provided new insights into what causes various types of itch, how the sensation is transmitted to the brain and how to better treat this common and vexing medical problem.

And in News from the Frontier:

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