Dana Newsletter: May 2014

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

Rich Man, Poor Man: Socioeconomic Adversity and Brain Development

by Kimberly G. Noble, M.D., Ph.D.

With the widening economic gap between the haves and the have-nots in mind, our author examines new research that ties family income level and other factors to helping children develop the language, memory, and life skills that tilts the odds in their favor later in life. From Cerebrum, our online magazine of ideas.

See also: “Welcome to the Machine,” Jerome Kagan’s review of Michio Kaku’s book, The Future of the Mind.

Glia: Earning Some Respect

Either as “handmaidens to neurons” or as actors in their own right, researchers find glial cells show powerful effects in mouse models of disease.

Neuroimaging Offers Potential for Early Diagnosis of Neurodegenerative Disorders

Using DTI, researchers find brain “biomarkers” that identify who has the at-risk variation of a gene for a late onset fragile X-associated syndrome. Others are using PET scanning to track the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s years before symptoms show.

Gene Variants May Help Predict Recovery from TBI and PTSD

Researchers investigating the gene that directs the building of protein BDNF find that people with one variation seem to recover more slowly and less well than those with other variations.

Glycotoxicity: A New Risk Factor for Alzheimer’s?

Advanced glycation end-products from high-temperature cooking have already been linked to diabetes and heart disease, and scientists are now looking at their effects on the brain.

Protein May Offer Insights into Regenerating Brain Function After Injury

A single gene in the fruit fly does double duty, spurring neuron connections at larval stage and then again into mature fly. This gene is in humans, as well, but we don’t see a similar effect. Might we learn to reignite this gene’s regrowth properties to help injured people?

Don’t Give Up!

Much progress has been made when it comes to dealing with patients in minimally-conscious states, offering more hope than in the past, says Guy McKhann, professor of neurology and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University.

Acquiring Taste and Smell

Speakers at a Neuroscience and Society event explained why certain foods and aromas appeal to us. From the Dana blog.

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