Breaching the blood-brain barrier to deliver precious payloads

RNA-based drugs may change the standard of care for many diseases, making personalized medicine a reality. So far these cost-effective, easy-to-manufacture drugs haven’t been very useful in treating brain tumors and other brain disease. But a team has shown that a combination of ultrasound and RNA-loaded nanoparticles can temporarily open the protective blood-brain barrier, allowing the delivery of potent medicine to brain tumors.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Scientists reveal how brain cells in Alzheimer’s go awry, lose their identity

Despite the prevalence of Alzheimer’s, there are still no treatments, in part because it has been challenging to study how the disease develops. Now, scientists have uncovered new insights into what goes awry during Alzheimer’s by growing neurons that resemble — more accurately than ever before — brain cells in older patients. And like patients themselves, the afflicted neurons appear to lose their cellular identity.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Simplifying our world

Categorization is the brain’s tool to organize nearly everything we encounter in our daily lives. Grouping information into categories simplifies our complex world and helps us to react quickly and effectively to new experiences. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology have now shown that also mice categorize surprisingly well. The researchers identified neurons encoding learned categories and thereby demonstrated how abstract information is represented at the neuronal level.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

UZH Researchers Find New Measure to Predict Stress Resilience

Researchers at the University of Zurich show that increased sensitivity in a specific region of the brain contributes to the development of anxiety and depression in response to real-life stress. Their study establishes an objective neurobiological measure for stress resilience in humans.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Joyful Screams Perceived More Strongly than Screams of Fear or Anger

The human scream signals more than fear of imminent danger or entanglement in social conflicts. Screaming can also express joy or excitement. For the first time, researchers at the University of Zurich have demonstrated that non-alarming screams are even perceived and processed by the brain more efficiently than their alarming counterparts.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Researchers discover new way to starve brain tumors

Scientists have found a new way to starve cancerous brain tumor cells of energy in order to prevent further growth.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Modern Human Brain Originated in Africa Around 1.7 Million Years Ago

The human brain as we know it today is relatively young. It evolved about 1.7 million years ago when the culture of stone tools in Africa became increasingly complex. A short time later, the new Homo populations spread to Southeast Asia, researchers from the University of Zurich have now shown using computed tomography analyses of fossilized skulls.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Chemo for glioblastoma may work better in morning than evening

An aggressive type of brain cancer, glioblastoma has no cure. Patients survive an average of 15 months after diagnosis, with fewer than 10% of patients surviving longer than five years. While researchers are investigating potential new therapies via ongoing clinical trials, a new study suggests that a minor adjustment to the current standard treatment — giving chemotherapy in the morning rather than the evening — could add a few months to patients’ survival.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

New strategy for fighting brain cancer

Most people relate cholesterol to heart health, but it is also a critical component in the growth and spread of brain cancer. Researchers recently discovered how cholesterol becomes dysregulated in brain cancer cells and showed that the gene responsible for it could be a target for future drugs.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

How insects detect color

The exquisite capability of insects to detect color and to distinguish for instance flowers is crucial for the function of many ecosystems. However, scientists still do not know how the complex task of color vision is accomplished by the tiny brain of insects. A team around Dr. Christopher Schnaitmann and Prof. Dr. Dierk Reiff at the Institute of Biology I in the Faculty of Biology at the University of Freiburg has now presented new insights in the scientific journal Current Biology.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Reactivating Aging Stem Cells in the Brain

As people get older, their neural stem cells lose the ability to proliferate and produce new neurons, leading to a decline in memory function. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now discovered a mechanism linked to stem cell aging – and how the production of neurons can be reactivated.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

A memory without a brain: How a single cell slime mold makes smart decisions without a central nervous system

Having a memory of past events enables us to take smarter decisions about the future. Researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (MPI-DS) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now identified how the slime mold Physarum polycephalum saves memories – although it has no nervous system.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Combination treatment for common glioma type shows promise in mice

Gliomas are common brain tumors that comprise about one third of all cancers of the nervous system. Researchers tested a novel combination treatment approach on mice with tumors with characteristics similar to human astrocytomas and found tumor regression in 60 percent of the mice treated. These encouraging results could be the first step toward developing a treatment for this type of brain cancer.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

New immunotherapy target discovered for malignant brain tumors

Scientists say they have discovered a potential new target for immunotherapy of malignant brain tumors, which so far have resisted the ground-breaking cancer treatment based on harnessing the body’s immune system. The discovery emerged from laboratory experiments and has no immediate implications for treating patients.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Potential new treatment for fatal childhood brain cancer

A new research paper reveals a potential revolutionary drug combination that could become an effective treatment for the incurable brain cancer known as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).

Quelle: Sciencedaily

What’s driving ‘brain fog’ in people with COVID-19

Researchers report an underlying cause of COVID brain: the presence of inflammatory molecules in the liquid surrounding the brain and spinal cord (called the cerebrospinal fluid). The findings suggest that anti-inflammatory drugs, such as steroids, may be useful for treating the condition, but more research is needed.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

New discovery for how the brain ‘tangles’ in Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers have discovered a new ‘seeding’ process in brain cells that could be a cause of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Newly discovered subset of brain cells fight inflammation with instructions from the gut

Astrocytes are the most abundant type of cells within the central nervous system (CNS), but they remain poorly characterized. Researchers have long assumed that astrocytes’ primary function is to provide nutrients and support for the brain’s more closely scrutinized nerve cells; over the years, however, increasing evidence has shown that astrocytes can also actively promote neurodegeneration, inflammation, and neurological diseases.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

A new mechanism protects against cancer cell migration and neuron hyperexcitability

G3BP proteins inhibit the metabolic driver MTOR – a signaling protein that plays a central role in tumor diseases and developmental disorders of the brain. This is reported in this week´s issue of the renowned journal Cell. The study was led by scientists from the University of Innsbruck and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in collaboration with the Medical University of Innsbruck and a Europe-wide research network.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Size of Connections between Nerve Cells Determines their Signaling Strength

Nerve cells communicate with one another via synapses. Neuroscientists at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich have now found that these connections seem to be much more powerful than previously thought. The larger the synapse, the stronger the signal it transmits. These findings will enable a better understanding of how the brain functions and how neurological disorders arise.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Brain cell network supplies neurons with energy

Until recently, oligodendrocytes were primarily thought to be a kind of cellular insulating tape that accelerates the transmission of electrical signals in the brain. A study by the University of Bonn now shows that they are also important for the energy supply of neurons in some brain regions. The findings are published in the journal Cell Reports.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

New approach emerges to better classify, treat brain tumors

A look at RNA tells us what our genes are telling our cells to do, and scientists say looking directly at the RNA of brain tumor cells appears to provide objective, efficient evidence to better classify a tumor and the most effective treatments.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

One in five brain cancers fueled by overactive mitochondria

A new study has found that up to 20% of aggressive brain cancers are fueled by overactive mitochondria and new drugs in development may be able to starve the cancers.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Study identifies exposure to common food-borne pathogen linked to rare brain cancer

A new study suggests a link between toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) infection and the risk of glioma, a type of brain cancer, in adults.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Intelligence deficit: Conclusion from the mouse to the human being

Impaired intelligence, movement disorders and developmental delays are typical for a group of rare diseases that belong to GPI anchor deficiencies. Researchers from the University of Bonn and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics used genetic engineering methods to create a mouse that mimics these patients very well. Studies in this animal model suggest that in GPI anchor deficiencies, a gene mutation impairs the transmission of stimuli at the synapses in the brain. The results are now published in the journal PNAS.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft