From the Archives: Paul Glimcher and Decision-Making

paulglimcher2013

Paul Glimcher at Neuroscience 2013, in San Diego. Photo: Nicky Penttila

Our latest Report on Progress is a clear and accessible review of the field of neuroeconomics. “Understanding Human Decision-Making: Neuroeconomics” is by Dana Alliance member Paul Glimcher, Ph.D. Glimcher embodies the Alliance’s commitment to sharing brain science information and discoveries with all—science-curious, science-committed, and even intrigued sports fans.

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A Bayesian Approach to the Brain

The July Report on Progress, by Florent Meyniel, Ph.D., explores the Bayesian concept of the brain, a mathematical theory to neuroscience.

According to the article, Bayesian concepts are appealing to many researchers in fundamental and applied research, including neuroscience. Bayesian tools, part of probability theory, are useful whenever quantitative analysis is needed, such as in statistics, data mining, or forecasting. However, Bayesian concepts have much further reaching implications in neuroscience. They are essential to the way we think about the brain.

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Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month

It’s not a common household word, or a name that spends a lot of time in the limelight, but myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune neuromuscular disorder that affects approximately 20 out of 100,000 people in the US. According to experts at the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA), this disease is “considered under-diagnosed and the prevalence is thought to be much higher.” With June being Myasthenia Gravis Awareness month, our goal is to help inform the public about the disease by sharing verified facts and resources for further information.

The name myasthenia gravis, which is Latin and Greek in origin, literally means “grave muscle weakness.” It is often referred to as “the snowflake disease” because no two cases are identical. The degree of muscle weakness and general symptoms vary greatly from patient to patient, but common signs include drooping of the eyelid, blurred or double vision, slurred speech, and difficulty chewing or swallowing. The neuromuscular disorder is caused by a breakdown in the normal communication between nerves and muscles, and muscle weakness tends to worsen as the affected muscle is used repeatedly. While MG can affect people at any age regardless of gender or ethnicity, women most commonly experience first symptoms in their 20s and 30s while men are generally affected later in their 70s or older. Avoiding stress and having a well-balanced diet can help improve conditions.

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June Report on Progress: Stroke Treatment

This month’s Report on Progress focuses on advances in stroke treatment and therapy. Strokes can have a variety of neurological effects on the body like difficulty speaking, loss of consciousness and sudden death. The article, written by Xuefang Ren, M.D., and James W. Simpkins, Ph.D., discusses current treatments, explains how strokes occur, and underscores the need to develop more effective therapies.

Stroke, the most common medical emergency, is a cerebrovascular accident that can cause death and long-term disability. Over 80 percent of all strokes are ischemic strokes, when a clot lodges in an artery supplying blood to the brain and the blood flow is reduced or blocked. A small percentage, caused by rupture of brain blood vessels, are called hemorrhagic strokes. Stroke risk factors are well known and include high blood pressure, elevated lipids, diabetes, smoking, heavy drinking, coronary artery disease, heart diseases, etc.

To read the full article, please click here.

World Teachers’ Day 2015

For the past twenty-one years, October 5 has remained a significant date dedicated to teachers everywhere, acknowledging their efforts in making education accessible, understandable, and essential for growth. This year’s World Teachers’ Day slogan is: Empowering teachers, building sustainable societies.

Education does not have to be limited to the confines of a classroom; for students who are eager to learn, a good teacher is invaluable. According to UNESCO, “It is recognized that teachers are not only a means to implementing education goals; they are the key to sustainability and national capacity in achieving learning and creating societies based on knowledge, values and ethics.”

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