Disturbances in Circadian Clock Linked to Increased Susceptibility of Brain Tumors

Simran Kaur ‘20 All living organisms have circadian rhythms, an approximately twenty-four cycle that ensures the appropriate timing of important physiological functions such as digestion and sleep. Glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) that are involved in the formation of aggressive brain tumors are stimulated by altered circadian clocks. Clock genes are responsible for the oscillation of gene expression within the day and can behave as both … Continue reading Disturbances in Circadian Clock Linked to Increased Susceptibility of Brain Tumors

New Chemical Compound to Reduce the Adverse Side Effects of Neural Implants

Jorge Pincay ’20 Over the years research in neuroscience has led to the development of brain implants, called microelectrodes that can help restore essential motor and sensory functions. This technology has become beneficial for those that suffer from head injury and neurodegenerative disease. The limitations of this technology lie within the immunological response that comes about shortly after implantation. This immune response, which is governed … Continue reading New Chemical Compound to Reduce the Adverse Side Effects of Neural Implants

Neurons that Help Us Forget

Nicole Zhao ’20 Imagine having the ability to never forget. This would come in handy if one needed to memorize a textbook or lecture slides for an exam. However, being able to remember every single moment of your life in snapshots does have its drawbacks. This is exactly what happened to a man known as subject S. who was known for his unforgettable memory in … Continue reading Neurons that Help Us Forget

New Role for Bardet-Biedl Syndrome Proteins in Neuronal Function Loss

Priyanshi Patel ’22 Bardet-Biedl Syndrome (BBS) is a rare genetic condition that causes retinal degeneration, kidney failure, obesity, and cognitive impairment. BBS is a genetically heterogeneous, autosomal recessive disorder that is characterized by early-onset retinal degeneration, obesity, and cognitive impairment. In a recent investigation, scientists from the University College London and the University of Vienna were able to investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms that … Continue reading New Role for Bardet-Biedl Syndrome Proteins in Neuronal Function Loss

A Future for Paralysis Patients: Nerve Transfer

Shrey Thaker ‘22 Many years ago, the thought of paralysis was bleak and often had negative consequences for the patient’s mental state. However, because of the research of Dr. van Zyl and her group, young adult patients may have a hope of regaining their lost motor abilities. Often times, paralysis is caused by a severe infraction on spinal integrity, leading to a loss of nerve … Continue reading A Future for Paralysis Patients: Nerve Transfer

Mapping the Network of Biology: Connectomics

Shrey Thaker ‘22 Since the discovery of DNA and its structure, a common goal of many scientists has to unravel and explore biology through manipulation of its inherent maps. At one point, mapping the human genome was considered  key to understanding human life. However, the driving force behind a human being’s unique existence is their extraordinary neural capabilities. Today, the cartography of science strives further: … Continue reading Mapping the Network of Biology: Connectomics

Molecular Differences in Alzheimer’s Disease Between Male and Female Patients

By Nicole Zhao ‘20  Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes memory, cognitive  and behavioral problems (1). In the United States, approximately 5.5 million people live with Alzheimer’s with two-thirds being women (2). Although  Alzheimer’s treatments are heavily researched, the impact of sex on the molecular level of the disease has not been explored. In this article, sex refers to the physiological and biological … Continue reading Molecular Differences in Alzheimer’s Disease Between Male and Female Patients

Targeted Neurotechnology Can Restore Walking in Humans With Spinal Cord Injuries

By Allan Mai ‘20 Spinal cord injury continues to be a leading cause of paralysis in humans. Depending on the location of the injury, complete or partial paralysis can occur. Fortunately, we live in an age in which advanced neurotechnology such as epidural stimulation is being developed to reverse this condition. In this study, the University of Lausanne’s Dr. Fabien B. Wagner and his team … Continue reading Targeted Neurotechnology Can Restore Walking in Humans With Spinal Cord Injuries

Figure 1. Lutein is a naturally occurring pigment found within foods such as kiwifruits. A study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggests that an intake of lutein can reduce cognitive decline in adults.

The Effects of Carotenoids on Cognitive Ability

By Caleb Sooknanan ’20 Lutein — a carotenoid or pigment from green foods such as spinach and kiwifruit — can be quantified in central nervous system tissue, making it a useful way of evaluating diet’s effect on the brain. However, scientists are still determining whether higher lutein amounts yield cognitive ability improvements. Doctor Naiman A. Khan and researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign … Continue reading The Effects of Carotenoids on Cognitive Ability

Figure 1: The auditory cortex of the brain highlighted with mapping of sound frequencies.

Restoring Auditory Cortex Plasticity in Adults

By Anna Tarasova ’19 Being able to form, maintain, and strengthen neural connections within the auditory cortex is an important part of language acquisition. Neural plasticity, or the ability of the brain to establish new connections, is especially high in childhood, but decreases with age. A discovery made by Dr. Jay Blundon and his colleagues at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has the potential … Continue reading Restoring Auditory Cortex Plasticity in Adults

Figure 1: Music cues can be utilized for motor learning and can alter brain structure

Music Affects Brain Structure

By Rideeta Raquib ’19 Whether it be going out for a jog or driving a car, our day-to-day physical movements are often coordinated with music. Recently, researchers have harnessed music and employed auditory cues in response to musical stimuli to enhance movement learning and rehabilitation. Previous studies have shown that musicians tend to have a higher fractional anisotropy (FA) values than non-musicians. FA is a … Continue reading Music Affects Brain Structure

Figure 1: Studying, even in older individuals, helps improve cognitive reserves.

Sending Your Grandparents to University Increases Cognitive Reserve: The Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project

Ericka Berman   One way to decrease the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease is by increasing cognitive reserves (CR). Research supports the idea that education, intelligence, and cognitively stimulating activities modify the risk for dementia. CR is a theoretical construct, so it is measured indirectly. Dr. Megan Lenehan and her team of researchers used data from 459 participants ages 50-79 from the Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project … Continue reading Sending Your Grandparents to University Increases Cognitive Reserve: The Tasmanian Healthy Brain Project