Dana Newsletter: July

Below is the latest Dana email newsletter, sent yesterday. You can sign up to receive this (and other Dana email alerts and/or print publications) by going here.

A Future Without Chronic Pain

by David Borsook, M.D., Ph.D.

Chronic pain affects 1.5 billion people worldwide, an estimated 100 million of whom live in the United States, yet we currently have no effective treatment options. Fortunately, researchers are teasing out some of the ways in which chronic pain changes the brain, and have developed several research areas that could lead to better treatments. Dr. David Borsook recommends steps to facilitate these new treatments, including establishing integrated clinical neuroscience centers, to bridge the gap between bench and bedside. From Cerebrum, our online magazine of ideas.

Gene Mutation Strongly Protects Against Alzheimer’s

Icelandic study suggests powerful benefits from reducing amyloid beta production in elderly people.

Aging, Neurodegeneration Reset the Brain’s Internal Clock

Researchers find suggestions that sleep problems can signal later whole-brain problems. Could better sleep habits solve or prevent disease?

If Addictions Can Be Treated, Why Aren’t They?

Why are effective medications being withheld from alcoholics and patients addicted to other drugs despite scientific evidence of their value? When the disease does so much damage to so many people suffering from addiction and to their families, why are most patients not even given a trial of medication in most respected treatment programs? The answer may involve bias, habit, and economics, suggests researchers Charles P. O’Brien. One of our series of Reports on Progress.

See also: Ignorance and the Undertreatment of Addiction: Lessons from Prison – 2011 Q&A with Charles P. O’Brien

A New Class of Culprit in Neurodegeneration

Tiny, gene-regulating molecules known as non-coding RNAs may play roles in multiple neurodegenerative diseases.

The Ethics of Unconsciousness

As technology advances to the point where doctors can communicate to some extent with minimally conscious patients, what should they be asking? Simply, “Do you need another pillow?” Or, “Do you want to die?”

Visualizing Hearing

A known imaging technique is used in a new context, as a diagnostic tool to improve cochlear implants in deaf children. Dana grantee, John Oghalai, M.D., shares his team’s progress and what the new use of this technology may mean for children with cochlear implants.

Two Remarkable Achievements in Neuroscience

A tribute to Sir Andrew Huxley and an analysis of the latest success in mind-to-movement technology, from Guy McKhann, professor of neurology and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University.

See also: Brain in the News — scientifically vetted stories from around the Web, updated weekly


Brain Oddities: No Joke

People with a disorder known as Witzelsucht routinely tell inappropriate and poor jokes and are unaware of their condition.

From the Dana blog.

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