Chronotype influences cognitive functions and basic parameters of human brain physiology

Scientists at the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors in Dortmund (IfADo) are exploring the connection between chronotype physiological processes in the human brain. The latest findings have now been published in Nature Communications. The result: Chronotypes influence human brain functions from basic physiological mechanisms to higher cognitive functions, such as perception, learning, remembering and thinking.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Mapping of Genetic Control Elements in the Cerebellum

The mammalian cerebellum is key to motor control and contributes to many of the higher brain functions. In close collaboration with Prof. Dr Stefan Pfister of the Hopp Children’s Cancer Center Heidelberg, an international research team led by Prof. Dr Henrik Kaessmann from the Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University has now decoded the genetic programmes that control the development of cerebellar cell types before and after birth.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More than just walking: a new role for core brain region

For decades, a key brain area has been thought to merely regulate locomotion. Now, a research group at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, and the Friedrich Miescher Institut for Biomedical Research (FMI) has shown that the region is involved in much more than walking, as it contains distinct populations of neurons that control different body movements. The findings could help to improve certain therapies for Parkinson’s disease.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Investigational magnetic device shrinks glioblastoma in human test

Researchers shrunk a deadly glioblastoma tumor by more than a third using a helmet generating a noninvasive oscillating magnetic field that the patient wore on his head while administering the therapy in his own home. The 53-year-old patient died from an unrelated injury about a month into the treatment, but during that short time, 31% of the tumor mass disappeared. The autopsy of his brain confirmed the rapid response to the treatment.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Taking the brain out for a walk

A recent study shows that spending time outdoors has a positive effect on our brains.
If you’re regularly out in the fresh air, you’re doing something good for both your brain and your well-being. This is the conclusion reached by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and the Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). The longitudinal study recently appeared in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Structures discovered in brain cancer patients can help fight tumors

Researchers have discovered lymph node-like structures close to the tumor in brain cancer patients, where immune cells can be activated to attack the tumor. They also found that immunotherapy enhanced the formation of these structures in a mouse model. This discovery suggests new opportunities to regulate the anti-tumor response of the immune system.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

The evolution of vinegar flies is based on the variation of male sex pheromones

Max Planck researchers decipher the chemical language underlying mating in 99 species of the genus Drosophila. By analyzing the genomes of 99 species of vinegar flies and evaluating their chemical odor profiles and sexual behaviors, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology show that sex pheromones and the corresponding olfactory channels in the insect brain evolve rapidly and independently.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Unknown role – ATR protein regulates neuronal activity

The ATR protein plays an important role in the response to replication stress as a regulator of the DNA damage response (DDR) and controls cell viability. Mutations of ATR in humans lead to, among other pathologies, neurological defects; indicating a yet unknown role for ATR in non-dividing cells. Researchers from the Leibniz Institute on Aging (FLI) in Jena and the Section of Neuroimmunology of Jena University Hospital have shown that ATR deletion in neurons does not affect brain development and formation, but amplifies neuronal activity and increases susceptibility to epilepsy. This study identifies a physiological function of ATR, beyond its DDR role, in regulating neuronal activity.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

To fear or not- how does the brain switch? Neuroscientists investigate in the amygdala if and how we fear or not.

Which neurons in the brain mediate fear responses – and how do they flip the switch when the danger is over? The research team of Prof. Ingrid Ehrlich at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomolecular Systems (IBBS), Department of Neurobiology studies these questions. Their latest results obtained in collaboration with scientists at the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel (Switzerland), the National Institute of Health (USA), and Innsbruck Medical University (Austria) are now published in Nature und eLife.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Blood stem cells make brain tumors more aggressive

Scientists have discovered stem cells of the hematopoietic system in glioblastomas, the most aggressive form of brain tumor. These hematopoietic stem cells promote division of the cancer cells and at the same time suppress the immune response against the tumor. This surprising discovery might open up new possibilities for developing more effective immunotherapies against these malignant brain tumors.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Sleeper cells: Newly discovered stem cell resting phase could put brain tumors to sleep

Biomedical engineering researchers developed a new cell classifier tool that takes a higher-resolution look at the life cycle of neuroepithelial stem cells, which led to the discovery and exploration of a new resting phase called Neural G0. This knowledge could help scientists to better understand glioma brain tumors and develop new methods of treatment.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

A call for help from the brain

How immune cells are lured to the brain in encephalitis

Certain viruses can cause inflammation of the meninges or even the entire brain, so-called viral encephalitis. In addition to the rabies virus and the West Nile virus, these also include the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) in the mouse model. The immune cells needed to fight the infection must first reach the brain from the periphery of the body. To do this, the immune system produces messenger substances as attractants. Scientists from the Institute for Experimental Infection Research at TWINCORE have now been able to show that this signalling chain in the VSV infection has its starting point in the infected nerve cells themselves.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Nature article: Researchers detect inflamed brain cells in patients with severe COVID

Many patients who have survived a severe COVID-19 infection suffer from neurological abnormalities, such as impaired speech, memory loss or depression. So far little is known about what impact the coronavirus has on the human brain. A team of researchers from Saarland University and Stanford University has discovered that in patients with severe COVID-19, the SARS-CoV-2 virus can activate immune and barrier cells in the brain. The gene expression patterns found by the research team exhibit features similar to those found in individuals with cognitive disorders, schizophrenia and depression. The study has now been published in the world-renowned science journal ‘Nature’.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Study sheds light on treatment options for devastating childhood brain cancer

Research suggests that children with average risk medulloblastoma can receive radiation to a smaller volume of the brain at the end of a six-week course of treatment and still maintain the same disease control as those receiving radiation to a larger area. But the dose of preventive radiation treatments given to the whole brain and spine over the six-week regimen cannot be reduced without reducing survival.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

New glial cells discovered in the brain: Implications for brain repair

Neurons, nerve cells in the brain, are central players in brain function. However, a key role for glia, long considered support cells, is emerging. A research group at the University of Basel has now discovered two new types of glial cells in the brain, by unleashing adult stem cells from their quiescent state. These new types of glia may play an important role in brain plasticity and repair.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Nose2Brain – Active substances without detour through the nose into the brain

Effective drugs for the treatment of diseases of the central nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis, do exist. However, the blood-brain barrier, which protects the brain as the body’s control center, makes it especially difficult for therapeutic biomolecules to pass through. Thus, researchers from an international consortium coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB have spent the last four and a half years developing a novel system in the EU project “N2B-patch” that can be used to bypass this barrier. The new approaches will be presented at a virtual international final symposium on June 17, 2021.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Tiniest of moments proves key for baby’s healthy brain

The new findings identify a potential contributor to microcephaly, a birth defect in which the head is underdeveloped and abnormally small.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Face to face

The human brain remembers faces better after a personal meeting than by looking at photos or videos, according to findings by neuroscientists at Friedrich Schiller University Jena. In the current issue of the “Journal of Neuroscience”, the research team led by Prof. Gyula Kovács and Dr Géza Gergely Ambrus have published EEG data which show that the familiarity of a face is anchored measurably more strongly in the brain of the observer if the face is seen in person.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Defective Gene Slows Down Brain Cells

Scientists at IST Austria discover how a high-risk gene for developing autism spectrum disorder affects brain development. Study published in Nature Communications.

Although many forms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are thought to have genetic causes, the cellular and molecular functions of the identified genes remain unclear. Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria studied a high-risk gene and discovered its important role during a critical phase of brain development.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Targeting abnormal cell metabolism shows promise for treating pediatric brain tumors

Two experimental drug approaches that target vulnerabilities in cancer cell metabolism may extend survival and enhance the effectiveness of standard chemotherapies for a highly aggressive type of pediatric brain cancer.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Neutrons show a connection between depression and lithium concentration in the brain

Depressive disorders are among the most frequent illnesses worldwide. The causes are complex and to date only partially understood. The trace element lithium appears to play a role. Using neutrons of the research neutron source at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), a research team has now proved that the distribution of lithium in the brains of depressive people is different from the distribution found in healthy humans.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

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