Dana Newsletter: December 2013

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

Migraine and Sleep: New Connections

by Andrew H. Ahn, M.D., Ph.D. and Peter Goadsby, M.D., Ph.D.

“Attack” is often a word associated with migraine, and for good reason. If you suffer from migraine headaches or know someone who does, you are well aware of its crippling nature. New research uncovering an important link between migraine and sleep patterns holds enormous promise of improved care for millions of people who experience migraine and suffer from familial advanced sleep phase syndrome (FASP). From Cerebrum, our online magazine of ideas. See also: Report on Progress: Why Is Sleep So Important?

New Stroke Report Highlights Need for Awareness, Prevention, and Rehabilitative Strategies

Stroke is the No. 1 cause of serious long-term disability in the U.S., and some scientists believe the current guidelines for treatment and rehabilitation can be improved. Based on expert commentary and recent research, this paper addresses the window of treatment for acute stroke, and how therapeutic strategies may be improved. A Dana briefing paper.

A New Way to Fight Neurodegenerative Diseases?

A cell-protecting response that stays active for too long appears to be a significant cause of brain-cell death in mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases — and scientists now want to develop drugs to reverse the process.

Fine-Tuning Deep Brain Stimulation

Interest is high in using DBS to treat a variety of psychiatric diseases, but the surgical technique is young and clunky. Grants from the military and other initiatives will help researchers better pinpoint target areas to help more patients. See also: Q&A: Helen Mayberg on deep brain stimulation research.

Beyond Sentencing: How Neuroscience Has Already Changed the Legal System

Defendants are “blaming the brain” not only to mitigate sentences after conviction, but in their defense, of crimes from homicide to fraud. At the recent Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, Nita Farahany described the types of cases where neuro-evidence is already being used.

Jumping Genes in Brain Evolution, Health and Disease

The number and frequency of cut-and-paste errors in DNA is higher in the brains of people with dementia and some mental disorders, but it’s not yet clear if that is a cause, effect, or neither.

Music Offers a Boost to Education in Low-SES Environments

High-schoolers who had only two years of music training got faster and did better at understanding speech in noise than peers who took a ROTC course instead. These skills are important for reading as well as understanding spoken language.

Past Music Training May Help Compensate for Some Age-Related Declines

People who studied music as children — and stopped when they were children — performed better at some hearing tasks decades later than those who never studied music.

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