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

Figure 1. Mammalian brains can be influenced by non-genetic and Allele-Specific expression

Mammalian Brain Affected by Non-Genetic and Allele-Specific Expression

By Rideeta Raquib ’19 The brain is a complex organ that is constantly being impacted by genetic and epigenetic factors. Mental illness patients are usually heterozygous in terms of inheriting one mutant allele. The random inactivation of the X-chromosome and genomic imprinting influences brain architecture and risk of disease. Studies on neuropsychiatric disorders uncovered a spectrum of data regarding the epigenetic dynamics of such dysfunction. … Continue reading Mammalian Brain Affected by Non-Genetic and Allele-Specific Expression

Figure 1. Human skin cells can be converted into homing neural stem cells that deliver treatment directly to brain tumors.

Homing Neural Stem Cells Deliver Direct Cancer Treatment

By Patrick Yang ’20 With average survival for glioblastoma patients at approximately 12-15 months, speed is of essence for glioblastoma cancer treatment. Currently, promising stem cell research has found that neural stem cells naturally migrate towards the chemical signals released by glioblastoma cells. If these neural stem cells are engineered to contain cytotoxic agents, they can deliver cancer treatment directly to cancer cells. However, the … Continue reading Homing Neural Stem Cells Deliver Direct Cancer Treatment

Blunted Neural Response to Rewards as a Prospective Predictor of the Development of Depression in Adolescent Girls

    By Ericka Berman Previous studies have shown that during adolescence, rates of depression increase markedly, and girls tend to have rates of depression twice as high as boys. Depressed adults were also shown to exhibit a decreased behavioral response to a reward and less brain activity in regions associated with reward processing in comparison to healthy adults. Dr. Brady Nelson and his team … Continue reading Blunted Neural Response to Rewards as a Prospective Predictor of the Development of Depression in Adolescent Girls

Efficacy of Quetiapine Monotherapy in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial

          Ericka Berman Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating illness affecting approximately 7.8% of people in the U.S. over the course of their lifetime. As of now, two medications are approved in the U.S. to treat PTSD, but both treatments have limited success. Characteristics of the antipsychotic medication quetiapine suggest it may be helpful in treating PTSD symptoms of re-experiencing … Continue reading Efficacy of Quetiapine Monotherapy in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial

NeuroGrids for Minimally Invasive Diagnosis

    By Richard Liang Monitoring the electrophysiological signals in the brain is critical for diagnosing and treating neurological diseases. The closer a sensor is to the neurons, the more accurate and precise the readings of neuronal activity can be. While sub-dural electrodes can be placed on the surface of brain tissue, issues like local tissue damage, hemorrhages, and infections can be detrimental to patient … Continue reading NeuroGrids for Minimally Invasive Diagnosis

Genetic Vulnerability in Alzheimer’s Disease

by Richard Liang ’18   Alzheimer’s disease is a major neurodegenerative condition, with individuals usually developing symptoms at ages above 65. Symptoms include impaired memory, speech, and other mental functions. Alzheimer’s has shown a correlation with increasing aggregates of Amyloid-β plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). However, it is difficult to predict whether and at what time these plaques and tangles will be expressed in an individual. … Continue reading Genetic Vulnerability in Alzheimer’s Disease

Self-Control Beyond the Prefrontal Cortex

by Richard Liang ’18   The human brain affects almost everything aspect of existence, from locomotion and speech to feeling. Decision making and self-control are also affected by parts of the brain, specifically the prefrontal cortex. However, a recent study led by Alexander Soutscheck in the Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research of the University of Zurich has shown that there could also be another … Continue reading Self-Control Beyond the Prefrontal Cortex

Scientists Discover Postnatal Migratory Neurons

by Patrick Yang   The cerebral cortex is the outermost layer of the brain and is responsible for advanced processes, such as complex emotion, that distinguish humans from other animals. A key component in cortex development is prenatal neural migration, the movement of neurons before birth, which begins early on in the embryo. These migratory neurons, or Arc neurons, originate near areas of initial development … Continue reading Scientists Discover Postnatal Migratory Neurons