Type 2 Diabetes Accelerates Brain Aging-Related Neurocognitive Decline

Vignesh Subramanian ’24 Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a chronic metabolic disease characterized by dysfunctions relating to hyperglycemia, the state of high glucose levels in the bloodstream. Such excessive blood sugar is typically the combinatory result of inadequate secretion of insulin (a hormone that directs cells and the liver to take up glucose for energy and long-term storage, respectively), uncontrolled secretion of glucagon (an … Continue reading Type 2 Diabetes Accelerates Brain Aging-Related Neurocognitive Decline

Thalamocortical Associated Brain Injuries May be Linked to Behavioral Changes

Sooraj Shah ’24 The discussion of brain injury, particularly in contact sports such as boxing or football, has grown in importance as more and more former athletes speak out on the lingering effects years after retirement. The discovery of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in 2002 marked the beginning of increased attention and research into traumatic brain injuries (TBI). While CTE was found to spread throughout … Continue reading Thalamocortical Associated Brain Injuries May be Linked to Behavioral Changes

Loss of NG2 Glia Implicated in Emergence of Depression Symptoms

Vignesh Subramanian ’24 Glia are non-neuronal cells that host and provide a number of homeostatic ancillary functions in both the central (CNS) and peripheral (PNS) nervous systems. Though only recently discovered and characterized, glial cells vastly outnumber neurons and provide them with structural support and insular protection, driving their myelination (the process of forming coverings known as myelin sheaths that coat neurons’ signaling axons), facilitating … Continue reading Loss of NG2 Glia Implicated in Emergence of Depression Symptoms

Stabilization of BBB Junction Protein Attenuates Epileptic Brain Activity

Vignesh Subramanian ’24 Epilepsy is a chronic central nervous system disorder characterized by abnormal neuronal activity in the brain that triggers repeated, spontaneous seizures. Treatment-resistant epilepsy has previously been linked to disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), a semipermeable network of close-packed endothelial (border) cells and capillaries that controls the influx of solutes circulating in the bloodstream into the extracellular fluid of the brain. The … Continue reading Stabilization of BBB Junction Protein Attenuates Epileptic Brain Activity

Brawn Before Brains in Early Mammalian Development

Zhifei Zeng ’23 Of all vertebrates, mammals have the largest brains in terms of absolute size and relative to body size. Significant encephalization (an increase in brain size relative to body size) has been observed in the placenta of extant mammals. However, until recently it has not yet been determined when mammalian brains began to increase in size and how they evolved to their current … Continue reading Brawn Before Brains in Early Mammalian Development

Music-Based Sensory Therapy Alleviates Symptoms of Anxiety

Vignesh Subramanian ’24 Anxiety disorders are mental health conditions involving excessive nervousness and fear, which are often characterized by distinct phobias, restlessness, and panic attacks. Many conditions spanning the spectrum of anxiety disorders are diagnostically linked to early stressful life events (ELS) in an individual’s development, which compound the stresses of traumatic or rapidly transformational experiences and negatively rewire signaling patterns in key neural pathways. … Continue reading Music-Based Sensory Therapy Alleviates Symptoms of Anxiety

MRI Brain Mapping of Glymphatic System May Inform AD Diagnostic

Vignesh Subramanian ’24 Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder and form of dementia that causes progressive loss of memory, critical thinking skills, and behavioral capabilities. Among other pathophysiological mechanisms, the disease is characterized by disruptions in the glymphatic system, which is responsible for the facilitation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and interstitial fluid (ISF) exchange driving macroscopic waste and solute clearance. Breakdowns in this clearance … Continue reading MRI Brain Mapping of Glymphatic System May Inform AD Diagnostic

Square Dancing can Improve Cognitive Performance in Older Women

Yukta Kulkarni ’22 It is a well-known fact that exercise has many physical and psychological benefits. For example, persistent exercise is associated with increased muscle strength, a better metabolism, and even improving mood. Amidst common forms of exercise such as weight lifting and running, other activities such as dancing can fall into this category. Previous studies have shown that dancing offers advantages such as improvements … Continue reading Square Dancing can Improve Cognitive Performance in Older Women

Conditioned Taste Aversion Depends on Long-Term Depression of Neuronal Signaling

Vignesh Subramanian ’24 Conditioned taste aversion (CTA) is a learned association, made by humans as well as other animals, between the taste of food consumed and a subsequent period of illness assumed to be caused by said consumption. This period of illness is paired with an aversive stimulus, such as gastrointestinal malaise, and produces visceral distress that encourages the animal to avoid the food in … Continue reading Conditioned Taste Aversion Depends on Long-Term Depression of Neuronal Signaling

Post-Stroke Neuroplasticity May Alter Artistic Skills Compensation

Vignesh Subramanian ’24 A stroke, or cerebrovascular accident, is a medical emergency in which blood flow to the brain is interrupted or reduced. Strokes are the result of either an ischemic (arterial obstruction) or hemorrhagic (arterial rupture) event and are associated with the arrest of neuronal activity in the brain. However, various regions of the central nervous system (CNS) have demonstrated a capacity for recovering … Continue reading Post-Stroke Neuroplasticity May Alter Artistic Skills Compensation

Music-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Improve Test Anxiety

Yukta Kulkarni ’22 From the ages of five to eighteen, school is a major part of a child’s life. A great deal of growing, making memories, and nurturing relationships are experienced during the hours a child is in school. However, education, with a focus on test performance, is considered the most important aspect of attending school. Unfortunately, many children suffer from test anxiety, something that … Continue reading Music-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Improve Test Anxiety

Analysis of Female Pupillary Response as a Potential Reflection of “Cuteness”

Ayesha Azeem ’23 Observing something “cute” facilitates communication, as perceiving cuteness narrows perceptual attention and makes it difficult to focus on peripheral vision. Previous research has indicated that female reproductive hormones allow women to be more sensitive and attuned to perceiving cuteness. Because women have historically played the role of primary caregiver, evolutionary psychology suggests that cuteness motivates people to raise a child, which may … Continue reading Analysis of Female Pupillary Response as a Potential Reflection of “Cuteness”