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2009-12-08 17:57:55

Loss of the gene that causes Rett syndrome disrupts the production of neurotransmitters in specific nerve cells, causing the movement and behavioral problems typical of the disease, said a research team led by those at Baylor College of Medicine in a report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Abnormalities in MeCP2 (methyl-CpG binding protein) lead to decreased production of enzymes that control production of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and...

2009-11-12 12:39:58

People constantly make complex decisions, from the more mundane"”which restaurant to go to for dinner or which movie to go see"”to the more profound"”whether to have kids or not. Now, a new study published online on November 12th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, confirms an important role for the brain chemical dopamine in how people make such life choices, by influencing our expectations of the pleasure associated with their outcomes. "Humans make much more...

2009-11-12 12:31:20

Enhancing the effects of the brain chemical dopamine influences how people make life choices by affecting expectations of pleasure, according to new research from the UCL Institute of Neurology. The study, published today in Current Biology, confirms an important role for dopamine in how human expectations are formed and how people make complex decisions. It also contributes to an understanding of how pleasure expectation can go awry, for example in drug addiction. Dopamine is a...

2009-11-03 10:35:31

Researchers at Iowa State University have found an essential key to possibly cure Parkinson's disease and are looking for others. Anumantha Kanthasamy, a distinguished professor of biomedical sciences and W. Eugene and Linda R. Lloyd Endowed Chair in Neurotoxicology at the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine, has been working to understand the complex mechanisms of the disease for more than a decade and thinks he has found hope for the cure. Parkinson's disease sufferers lack a sufficient...

2009-10-26 22:35:28

Mother-child attachments in animals and possible parallels in people When do you first leave the nest? Early in development infants of many species experience important transitions"”such as learning when to leave the protective presence of their mother to start exploring the wider world. Neuroscientists have now pinpointed molecular events occurring in the brain during that turning point. Based on animal studies, the findings may shed light on the strength of attachments in many...

2009-09-10 07:00:45

New research with mice has provided some fascinating insight into how addictive drugs hijack reward signals and influence neural processes associated with learning and memory. The research, published by Cell Press in the September 10th issue of the journal Neuron, helps to explain why and how drug-associated memories, such as the place of drug use, drive and perpetuate the addiction. The neurochemical dopamine, a key player in the brain's reward system, is known to be involved in the process...

2009-08-28 13:23:35

 A common antibiotic can function as an "off switch" for a gene therapy being developed for Parkinson's disease, according to University of Florida researchers writing online in advance of September's Molecular Therapy.The discovery in rats answers an important question "” how can new, therapeutic genes that have been irrevocably delivered to the human brain to treat Parkinson's be controlled if the genes unexpectedly start causing problems?Meanwhile, in a review of Parkinson...

2009-07-27 09:53:55

 Research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior, finds that women who possess genetic modifications associated with low activity of the reward neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain when they imagine eating appetizing foods are more prone to weight gain.  Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scans of brain activity revealed that women...

2009-07-21 08:18:09

Michael Frank, of the Brown Institute for Brain Science, has determined that variations of three different genes in the brain can predict whether individuals will make certain choices. His work,  in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Arizona, will be published in the August 2009 edition of Nature Neuroscience. Researchers at Brown University and the University of Arizona have determined that variations of three different genes in the brain (called single-nucleotide...

2009-07-15 11:43:03

New research demonstrates that single neurons in the reward center of the brain process not only primitive rewards but also more abstract, cognitive rewards related to the quest for information about the future. The study, published by Cell Press in the July 16 issue of the journal Neuron, enhances our understanding of learning and suggests that current theories of reward should be revised to include the effect of information seeking."The desire to know what the future holds is a powerful...


Word of the Day
attercop
  • A spider.
  • Figuratively, a peevish, testy, ill-natured person.
'Attercop' comes from the Old English 'atorcoppe,' where 'atter' means 'poison, venom' and‎ 'cop' means 'spider.' 'Coppa' is a derivative of 'cop,' top, summit, round head, or 'copp,' cup, vessel, which refers to 'the supposed venomous properties of spiders,' says the OED. 'Copp' is still found in the word 'cobweb.'
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