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Epigenetics research opens potential door to prevent neurodevelopmental disorders

Sai Ma, for­mer Vir­ginia Tech bio­med­ical engi­neer­ing Ph.D. stu­dent, and Chang Lu, the Fred W. Bull pro­fes­sor of Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing at Vir­ginia Tech. Cred­it: Vir­ginia Tech

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Epi­ge­net­ic Changes Guide Devel­op­ment of Dif­fer­ent Brain Regions (Dana Foun­da­tion):

It’s one of the great­est stand­ing mys­ter­ies in neu­ro­science: Giv­en that each cell in the human body con­tains the same DNA, how, exact­ly, does the brain devel­op into dis­tinct func­tion­al regions, sup­port­ed by dif­fer­ent cell types? And how might that devel­op­men­tal pro­gram go awry, result­ing in neu­rode­vel­op­men­tal dis­or­ders like schiz­o­phre­nia or autism? The answers may be the epigenome Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Psychedelics can promote neural plasticity in the prefrontal cortex and expand pathways for mental health

– Cred­it: Cell Reports 2018 23, 3170–3182DOI: (10.1016/j.celrep.2018.05.022). Copy­right © 2018 The Authors

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Psy­che­delics in Neu­rol­o­gy: Poten­tial for Improv­ing Neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty (Neu­rol­o­gy­Times):

Back in the 1950s, research was prov­ing that psy­che­del­ic agents could be effec­tive in the treat­ment of var­i­ous neu­ropsy­chi­atric dis­or­ders. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, just as sci­ence was explor­ing their ben­e­fi­cial effects, the coun­ter­cul­ture was explor­ing and embrac­ing their effects. Slow­ly but sure­ly, psy­che­delics were asso­ci­at­ed with rebel­lious youth and the tumul­tuous anti-war move­ment. As a result, the gov­ern­ment shut down most of the research.

The 1990s saw renewed inter­est in psy­che­del­ic com­pounds as a means to address neu­ropsy­chi­atric dis­or­ders. Research explored the ben­e­fits of MDMA and ket­a­mine to treat mood dis­or­ders and post­trau­mat­ic stress dis­or­der. Now, a new study sheds even more light on the promise these agents might pro­vide. Read the rest of this entry »

Trend: Growing research on the relationship between sleep and Alzheimer’s Disease

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The brain may clean out Alzheimer’s plaques dur­ing sleep (Sci­ence­News):

Bendlin’s stud­ies are part of a mod­est but grow­ing body of research sug­gest­ing that a sleep-deprived brain might be more vul­ner­a­ble to Alzheimer’s dis­ease. In ani­mal stud­ies, lev­els of plaque-form­ing A-beta plum­met dur­ing sleep. Oth­er research sug­gests that a snooz­ing brain runs the “clean cycle” to remove the day’s meta­bol­ic debris — notably A-beta — an action that might pro­tect against the dis­ease Read the rest of this entry »

Meta-analysis finds value in teaching the science of neuroplasticity, especially for math achievement among at-risk students

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The ‘Brain’ in Growth Mind­set: Does Teach­ing Stu­dents Neu­ro­science Help? (Edu­ca­tion Week):

Teach­ing stu­dents the sci­ence of how their brains change over time can help them see intel­li­gence as some­thing they can devel­op, rather than innate and unchange­able, finds a new analy­sis of 10 sep­a­rate stud­ies online in the jour­nal Trends in Neu­ro­science and Edu­ca­tion.

Teach­ing stu­dents the con­cept of neuroplasticity—the abil­i­ty of the brain to make new neur­al con­nec­tions as a result of experience—is a com­mon tac­tic in help­ing stu­dents devel­op a so-called “growth” rather than “fixed” mind­set … on aver­age, such inter­ven­tions improved stu­dents’ moti­va­tion, they par­tic­u­lar­ly ben­e­fit­ed stu­dents and sub­jects which pri­or stud­ies have shown are at high risk of devel­op­ing a fixed mind­set. Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Brain training games could be used to assess cognitive abilities, replace the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE)

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The Use of Mobile Games to Assess Cog­ni­tive Func­tion of Elder­ly with and with­out Cog­ni­tive Impair­ment (Jour­nal of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease):

Abstract: In the past few years numer­ous mobile games have been devel­oped to train the brain. There is a lack of infor­ma­tion about the rela­tion between the scores obtained in these games and the cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties of the patients. The aim of this study was to deter­mine whether or not mobile games can be used to assess cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties of elder­ly. Twen­ty healthy young adults, 29 old patients with cog­ni­tive impair­ments (Mini-Men­tal State Exam (MMSE) Read the rest of this entry »

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