Dana newsletter: January

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.


deutch-rop-jan2017-80pFinding Clues to Schizophrenia Outside Neurons

by Ariel Y. Deutch, Ph.D.

The recent discovery of key roles of non-neuronal cells such as microglia in the development of schizophrenia opens the door to the development of new types of therapies for an illness for which we need far better treatments. One in our series of scientists’ Reports on Progress.

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Progress in BRAIN Initiative Research

brain_obama_robotics

President Barack Obama fist-bumps the robotic arm of Nathan Copeland during a tour at the White House Frontiers Conference at the University of Pittsburgh, Oct. 13, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In the less than three years since the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative was announced, researchers have made measurable progress towards creating new tools and sharpening existing ones to study the brain. Though its goals are long-term, in a few cases this progress already has shown promise in helping people.

These tools “allow us to do things that, in the past, were unimaginable,” said Nora Volkow of the National Institute of Drug Abuse during the third annual BRAIN Initiative investigators meeting, held in Bethesda, Md., this week. For example, imaging tech such as fMRI and PET have enabled us to make maps of brain activity and create a brain atlas of the concentration of serotonin transporters and receptors. But to reach goals as ambitious as characterizing the many types of neurons and other cells in the brain—or even to get a good count of how many types there are—we need to improve both the speed and the resolution of our tools.

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Dana Newsletter: October

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.

cere_0716_articleimage_contThe Evolving View of Astrocytes

by Philip G. Haydon, Ph.D.

Scientists have found that one type of glial cell that is prevalent in the cortex—the astrocyte—may play a role in sleep, learning, and memory.  From Cerebrum, our online magazine of ideas.

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Brain Game Setback

cere_110114_article_featTwo years ago we published a Cerebrum article, “The Brain Games Conundrum: Does Cognitive Training Really Sharpen the Mind?” Complicating the issue for our co-authors, Walter R. Boot and Arthur F. Kramer—both neuroscientists who had spent years studying cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and aging—were two open letters to the neuroscience community from more than one-hundred scientists, one objecting to effectiveness claims made by brain-game companies and the other a rebuttal saying brain training has a solid scientific base.

Near the end of a Q&A with Boot and Kramer following the article’s publication, Boot predicted that “maybe in ten years we might know enough to make more definitive recommendations.”

Boot’s prediction was reaffirmed earlier this week with the publishing of a comprehensive evaluation of the scientific literature on brain games in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest. Seven scientists, including Boot, reviewed more than 130 studies of brain games and other forms of cognitive training. The evaluation included studies of products from industry giant Lumosity.

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Dana Newsletter: August

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

eblast augMaking Mental Health a Global Priority

by  Patricio V. Marquez, ScM., and Shekhar Saxena, M.D.

The World Bank Group and the World Health Organization are leading an initiative to find solutions to a mental health problem of global proportions. From Cerebrum, our online magazine of ideas.

eblast aug 2Center Stage for Targeting Migraine and its Treatment

Migraine is not a fatal disorder but can ruin a life and a family, writes Michael Moskowitz, M.D. Clinically, migraine varies from patient to patient and reflects a highly choreographed interplay between brain and the environment.  Here is the latest on what now is understood about migraine and what are becoming effective drug targets for treatment.One of our series of Reports on Progress.

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