Dana News E-Blast: August

Here are some stories recently posted on www.dana.org:

The Holy Grail of Psychiatry

Photo credit: Shutterstock

by Charles B. Nemeroff, MD, PhD

In 2013, a group led by Helen Mayberg published a groundbreaking paper that sought an answer to one of the most discussed conundrums in psychiatry: Can specific patterns of brain activity indicate how a depressed person will respond to treatment? Our author examines the findings and their potential impact on treatment for a public health problem that affects millions of people worldwide. From Cerebrum, our online magazine of ideas.

Study of Alpha Synuclein ‘Strains’ Deepens Understanding of Parkinson’s and Related Diseases

Findings also hint that “synucleinopathies” may in rare cases be contagious.

ALS: A Mystery Almost Solved?

Scientists seem to be zeroing in on the once-elusive mechanisms of ALS, and are starting to design and test therapies that target those mechanisms. One of our series of Briefing Papers.

Clue to Brain Regeneration Discovered in Certain Lab Mice

Finding hints at future treatment strategy for traumatic brain injury, stroke, and Alzheimer’s.

Axons Help New Neurons Travel During Development

Recent research provides strong evidence that pollutants cause harms, and suggests underlying pathways and mechanisms.

stayingsharpbookStaying Sharp: Successful Aging and the Brain

When is memory loss a sign of dementia? What actions can be taken to help maintain brain health? Our new, free booklet gives answers to these and other memory-oriented questions in easy-to-understand language. (link is direct to PDF)

New Cerebrum Article Looks at Biomarkers for Depression

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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From the Archives: Artists and Scientists Envision Dreaming

Dana Alliance member J. Allan Hobson has long been interested in sleep and dreaming, including classic research on rapid eye movement sleep. After he retired from Harvard, Hobson even built a museum, Dreamstage, on his farm in Vermont. In 1999, he filed a rather playful essay for our Cerebrum journal, “From Angels to Neurons: Artists and Scientists Envision Dreaming.” Collecting and describing science data and great artworks, he invites us to dive into our own impressions of consciousness and dreaming. Here are two bits from the essay:

The Music of the Spheres

15th century etching, artist unknown

15th century etching, artist unknown

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World Cup Reignites Talk of Concussion Safety

We’re going to the finals! Tuesday night, the U.S. women’s soccer team defeated top-ranked Germany to score a place in the Women’s World Cup finals. But national pride and enthusiasm aside, this summer’s tournament has reignited talk about the dangers of concussions and chronic traumatic encephalothopy (CTE) in soccer. Just 28 minutes into Tuesday night’s game, American player Morgan Brian and German player Alexandra Popp’s heads collided on a free kick near the U.S. goal. Both players spent a few minutes writhing on the ground afterwards (Popp with a noticeably bloody head wound), and after a few minutes on the sideline, both were examined by team physicians and returned to the game. FIFA was criticized for not having an independent neurologist on the sideline to evaluate the extent of the head trauma, and the incident prompted a number of articles about player safety.

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Father’s Day in Neuroscience

Every year, on the third Sunday of June, we dedicate the day to showing appreciation for the male figures who have made countless contributions and sacrifices on our behalves. Whether it’s work in an office, at home, in a lab, or elsewhere, it’s important to acknowledge their diligence and commitment to serving others. In most academic disciplines, there are also significant individuals who have dedicated their lives to pursuing particular ideas that eventually led to major breakthroughs in that field.

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