The neuronal mechanism behind motivation

Our actions are motivated by the goals we want to achieve. However, little is known about the mechanism in our brains that allow us to make the right decisions to reach our goals. Researchers at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) and the University of Basel now identified the sequence of events taking place in a mouse brain when the mouse behaves in a certain way to obtain a reward, and how it can adapt its behavior when the reward is not the one expected.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

CBD reduces glioblastoma’s size, supportive environment in experimental model

Inhaled CBD shrinks the size of the highly aggressive, lethal brain tumor glioblastoma in an animal model by reducing the essential support of its microenvironment, researchers report.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Research breakthrough could see HIV drugs used to treat low-grade brain tumors

Drugs developed to treat AIDS and HIV could offer hope to patients diagnosed with the most common form of primary brain tumor. The breakthrough is significant because, if further research is conclusive, the anti-retroviral drugs could be prescribed for patients diagnosed with meningioma and acoustic neuroma brain tumors (also known as schwannoma).

Quelle: Sciencedaily

The origin of neuronal diversity

Our brain is extremely complex, performing countless complicated processes that allow us to think, move and feel. This is only possible because of the enormous diversity of different cell types in the brain, each with a very specific function. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, together with an international team, investigated how this diversity arises. They established a method to analyze the developmental relationships of cell types in the mouse brain. Their results show that similarities in cell types are not a measure for the degree of relationship: Cells of similar cell types are often unrelated. Conversely, cells of very different types can share the same origin.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

How organic neuromorphic electronics can think and act

The human brain works differently than a computer – while the brain works with biological cells and electrical impulses, a computer uses silicon-based transistors. Scientists led by Paschalis Gkoupidenis, group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, have now combined the two worlds in a large-scale research collaboration. They have equipped a toy robot with a smart and adaptive electrical circuit made of soft organic materials, similarly to the biological matter. With this bio-inspired approach, they were able to teach the robot to navigate independently through a maze using visual signs for guidance.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Scientists identify malfunctioning brain cells as potential target for Alzheimer’s treatment

Scientists have identified a rare population of potentially toxic senescent cells in human brains that can serve as a target for a new Alzheimer’s disease treatment.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

How matrix recycling keeps the brain flexible

Scientists of the Cluster of Excellence Multiscale Bioimaging describe a new mechanism that supports synaptic plasticity in the adult brain. Published in Nature Communications.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Which glioblastoma patients will respond to immunotherapy?

Scientists have discovered a new biomarker to identify which patients with brain tumors called glioblastomas — the most common and malignant of primary brain tumors — might benefit from immunotherapy. The treatment could extend survival for an estimated 20% to 30% of patients. Currently, patients with glioblastoma do not receive this life-prolonging treatment because it has not been fully understood which of them could benefit.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Balancing fear

Fear is essential for survival, but must be well regulated to avoid harmful behaviors such as panic attacks or exaggerated risk taking. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology have now demonstrated in mice that the brain relies on the body’s feedback to regulate fear. The brain’s insular cortex strongly reacts to stimuli signaling danger. However, when the body freezes in response to fear, the heartbeat slows down leading to attenuated insular cortex activity. Processing these opposing signals helps the insular cortex to keep fear in balance. The body’s reactions are thus actively used to regulate emotions and are much more than passive emotional responses.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Using T cells to target malignant brain tumors

Doctors and scientists have successfully tested a neoantigen-specific transgenic immune cell therapy for malignant brain tumors for the first time using an experimental model in mice.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Team engineers new way to get medication past blood-brain barrier

A team of researchers has developed a new technique to open the blood-brain barrier temporarily to deliver medication to the brain. Getting medication past the brain’s unique and protective blood vessels, known as the blood-brain barrier, is one of the biggest challenges in treating brain and central nervous system diseases, according to researchers. The technique uses light and nanoparticles to pry open temporarily these barriers — called tight junctions — to allow medication to reach its target.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Noninvasive brain biopsy shows improved sensitivity in tumor detection

A team of researchers has developed a noninvasive diagnostic method that may one day replace the biopsy with a simple blood test.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Arginine, an inexpensive oral drug, could enhance radiation therapy for cancer

Treatment with arginine, one of the amino-acid building blocks of proteins, enhanced the effectiveness of radiation therapy in cancer patients with brain metastases, in a proof-of-concept, randomized clinical trial.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Researchers detect a diffusion barrier inside fly brain

A team of researchers led by Nicole Pogodalla and Prof. Dr. Christian Klämbt from the Institute of Neuro- and Behavioral Biology at University of Münster now demonstrated for the first time an internal diffusion barrier in the brain of fruit flies – in addition to the already known blood-brain barrier.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Combining two ‘old therapies’ packs a powerful punch against pediatric brain tumors

Copper has been clinically improving the lives of people since about 1500 BCE, when an Egyptian physician first recorded its use as a treatment for inflammation. Some 35 centuries later, researchers have provided solid evidence that the first metal used medicinally may now have a new role — helping save children from a devastating central nervous system cancer known as medulloblastoma.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

New test to diagnose aggressive childhood brain tumors

Researchers have developed a new test to more easily diagnose medulloblastoma, the most common malignant childhood brain tumor. The test — which can distinguish between extremely high-risk medulloblastoma cases that need radiation therapy from those that are lower-risk and do not need radiation — could help pave the way for personalized treatment options for children suffering from the disease. It relies on an antibody-based technique called immunohistochemistry which is widely available in clinical laboratories around the world.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Cancer biomarker important for human brain development

Neuronal migration is a fundamental step in the development of the central nervous system. Specific cells, so called basal progenitors (BPs), in humans contribute to neuronal expansion. The exact molecular and cellular processes of this expansion are poorly understood. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry discovered a new important role for the cancer biomarker protein LGALS3BP in this process. This gene is enriched in human neural progenitors (NPCs).

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Disordered brain activity in Rolandic epilepsy can be influenced by brief sounds during sleep

Tübingen research team develops approach for reducing epileptic activity in children

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Under arrest: Using nanofibers to stop brain tumor cells from spreading

Researchers have used high-density nanofibers that mimic the microenvironment of the brain to capture tumor cells, opening doors to novel therapeutic solutions for aggressive brain cancer.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Neuroinflammation protein linked to worse survival in men with glioblastoma

Scientists have discovered a new link that could bring the scientific and medical community closer to understanding why glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor, is deadlier in males than females.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Charting hidden territory of the human brain

Neuroscientists at Technische Universität Dresden discovered a novel, non-invasive imaging-based method to investigate the visual sensory thalamus, an important structure of the human brain and point of origin of visual difficulties in diseases such as dyslexia and glaucoma. The new method could provide an in-depth understanding of visual sensory processing in both health and disease in the near future.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Common diabetes drug promising against rare childhood brain tumor in laboratory studies

Metformin, a drug commonly prescribed against diabetes, holds promise against a rare type of childhood brain tumor in laboratory studies, an international team of researchers.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

How the brain tricks itself into perceiving unambiguous depth

Stereogram experiments confirm that higher visual areas use feedback to censor conflicting visual cues.

Li Zhaoping of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen uses stereograms to test how different brain areas interact when they process visual data. Her new study, now published in Vision Research, shows how certain conflicting visual cues for perceiving depth will be censored by the brain if given enough time. The findings provide algorithmic details for a longstanding hypothesis about how different visual areas in the brain interact with each other.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Cancer chemotherapy drug reverses Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice

A drug commonly used to treat cancer can restore memory and cognitive function in mice that display symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, new research has found. The drug, Axitinib, inhibits growth of new blood vessels in the brain — a feature shared by both cancer tumors and Alzheimer’s disease. This hallmark represents a new target for Alzheimer’s therapies. Mice that underwent the therapy not only exhibited a reduction in blood vessels and other Alzheimer’s markers in their brains, they also performed remarkably well in tests designed to measure learning and memory.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Powerful technique details brain tumors’ formidable resiliency

A team led by researchers  has profiled in unprecedented detail thousands of individual cells sampled from patients‘ brain tumors. The findings, along with the methods developed to obtain those findings, represent a significant advance in cancer research, and ultimately may lead to better ways of detecting, monitoring and treating cancers.

Quelle: Sciencedaily