INSIGHT & ANALYSIS

The Lancet

Frequently Asked Questions
This is a problem, he said, because you are operating in an environment where there is really very few people around to protect the patient. As much as anybody, he can be credited as well with the creation of the modern computer. Guy Lamming Partner Active in London. Some users of Paxil, for instance, have not been able to metabolize the drug satisfactorily, leading to toxic and sometimes fatal results. Evidence of such trends is already emerging. Kamella started her career as an organiser for the Labour Party in the South West before becoming a national campaigns adviser in Labour HQ in But she began to detect worrying effects.

Our People

Business News

US retail sales rise 0. Stocks continue to rise on hopes for trade war cease-fire Global stock markets are up again on hopes that the United States and China will call time-out in their escalating trade feud. Asian shares continue rally after Wall Street gains Asian shares are mostly higher Friday, continuing their rally after gains on Wall Street and hopes that regional trade tensions may ease.

Fed member sees more interest rates hikes A central banker says he believes growth remains strong despite increasing uncertainty over trade tensions, saying he expects interest rates to Sears sales decline improved in latest quarter; shares soar Sears Holdings Corp. VW to stop making iconic Beetle next summer Volkswagen says it will stop making its iconic Beetle in July of next year. How major US stock indexes fared Thursday U.

Target to hire , for holidays; UPS, FedEx beefing up Target plans to hire more than , people for the busy holiday shopping season, and UPS and FedEx say they're adding workers to handle all that Technology companies lead indexes higher Stocks are closing higher on Wall Street as technology companies rose following a recent bout of weakness.

Average US mortgage rates climb; year at 4. Global oil production hits a new record, led by US and OPEC The world's supply of oil hits a record million barrels a day, another sign of oil's dominance in the energy market.

For homebuyers, mortgages are safer but tougher to come by Now and then: Banks dropped their easy lending ways after racking up billions in losses from mortgages gone bad after the housing bubble burst, What's changed in US financial system since '08, at a glance What has changed in the US financial system since , at a glance.

Safer financial system yet much hasn't changed A decade later: A safer financial system emerged from crisis, yet much hasn't changed. US business leaders with political aspirations A look at some notable US business leaders and entrepreneurs who have had political aspirations.

How fund investing has changed In the decade since the financial crisis, investors have been changing not only what they invest in but how they do so.

In 'golden age' of branded credit cards, shoppers cash in Competition is driving branded credit cards to offer higher rewards for everyday spending. US consumer prices rose an annual 2. World stocks rise on report of US-China trade talks Many global markets are higher following a report that the U. Closed ports, lost power: How storm could hurt area economy Closed businesses, drowned livestock, washed-away cars: Hurricane's likely economic impact.

Asian stocks rise on possible US-China talks amid tensions Asian markets are mostly higher as a report that the U. US 'likely' has taken over as the world's top oil producer US energy agency says the United States has likely passed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world's biggest oil producer. Musk apologizes for snags in Model 3 delivery information Tesla apparently is having trouble informing customers about deliveries of the Model 3 mass-market electric car. Federal regulators OK removal of strict oversight over Zions Federal regulators approve removal of strict government oversight over Zions Bancorp.

Exercise Calms the Nerves. Iacoboni has authored a book on this very subject called Mirroring People: We would point readers to Autism Research for more citations from the prolific Baron-Cohen.

Loneliness Can Spread Like Wildfire. Wired on the Brain The often suggestive but frequently jumbled Wired magazine April , pp. With robots and other systems processes, scientists at the Allen Institute have speeded up the process. Even with improved tools, the brain is proving ever more complicated: Moreover, as the mapping progresses, they learn that each brain is unique, and mapping one is no certain roadmap for another.

So the faster they run, the more the goal recedes. See our initial announcement of the Atlas on Brain Stem. Plasticity Every once in a while editors earn their money.

Usually they are down in the weeds, miss the point, and feed their readers popcorn. The Marco Polo of Neuroscience. Ramachandran , the behavioral neurologist who is the director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California San Diego.

The interrelationship of different parts of the brain to each other and to parts of the body can be changed for therapeutic effect.

As his theory about autism gets more play, there have been increasing efforts to bring plasticity into play in the potential treatments of neurological complaints. Once Mischel began analzying the results, he noticed that low delayers, the children who rang the bell quickly, seemed more likely to have behavioral problems, both in school and at home.

Brain Deterioration Slowed by Nose Drops. As it happens, the vaccine did not progress very fast, as indicated in a Gazette article of October 20, Though it failed in trials, partial results obtained indicated that after just two injections patients' brains were partly cleared of the plaques. The researchers do not mention that their fundamental assumptions may be wrong. All About Obsession Obsession: Economist, November 1, , p.

In a couple of decades, obsessive-compulsive behavior has gone from a rare ailment—one in in to 2 or 3 people in As we have said elsewhere , our understanding of the obsessive compulsive mechanism is not very advanced, nor have we done as much work as we could on harnessing the creativity and focus of obsessives for the benefit of society. Forbes, May 5, , pp. Her work stems from the theory that the brain is plastic and can be reworked to form new connections. Sweet Amnesia Those who are readers of Proust will remember that he had an awfully keen memory.

Those who have lovingly followed his voluminous writing on recapturing the past marvel at the completeness with which he recalled the madeleine of youth such that it kindled all his senses. Ironically, now, we are learning that sugar then and sugar now actually clogs our memories and makes it harder and harder to recall anything.

Since glucose regulation is improved with physical activity , Dr. The Infinite Mind The Infinite Mind is an absolutely foolish name for a radio series, just the sort of thing euphemistic types in public broadcasting like to drum up. Big oceanic names to label small puddles. But it works, and we occasionally take a look at its offerings. On December 10, , at age 37, she had a stroke which more or less shut down her left temporal lobe—and all sorts of functionality—but nonetheless left her feeling great, as if she had discovered Nirvana See the New York Times , May 25, , pp.

Lost, for the moment, was her ability to speak, the capacity to decipher letters and numbers, even the connections to recognize her mother who, incidentally, nursed her back to health. All this she has recounted in her memoir, My Stroke of Insight. Surgery and eight years of recovery were required for her to bring back her whole brain.

The kids in the s were only prophetic when they talked about following their bliss. It is more of a chronicle, than a history, sketchy at best. After we admit that this is lightweight, we can still salute a couple of facets. It provides a short list of seminal 19th-century figures in psychiatry—as well as some flavor of the debates that stalked this field in that period. This is the first time that scientists have associated an anatomical trait with familial risk for the disorder.

These brain changes appear to run in families and may represent a genetic risk factor for developing the condition. The current diagnosis of OCD available to psychiatrists is subjective and therefore knowledge of the underlying causes may lead to better diagnosis and ultimately improved clinical treatments.

We caution readers that plaque seems to be more of a symptom than a part of the disease mechanism, so it remains to be seen if its reduction positively affects the disease itself. We suggest a look at Ghosh publications. Made by an Israeli company called OrNim and slated for trials on patients in U.

The probe, which rests on the scalp, contains three laser light sources of different wavelengths, a light detector, and an ultrasonic emitter.

A British neuroscientist, Adrian Owen, at the University of Cambridge has scanned several dozen people since , sometimes detecting signs of recognition to auditory stimuli. The prognosis, however, with patients suffering from oxygen deprivation is much worse than that of those afflicted by head injuries.

The Age of Indecision An awesome amount of research painfully proves the obvious. The elderly, says a recent body of work, have a hard time making decisions and are prone to poor judgments. Natalie Denberg at the University of Iowa led the research team.

The interesting question, of course, is what keeps seniors in good running condition, and what kinds of things inhibit such deterioration.

Clearly the brain has to be used to keep in tune. Garlic and Brain Cancer? For the first time, those compounds have been identified as effective against glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor equivalent to a death sentence within a short period after diagnosis. In this study, it has been shown that garlic compounds produce reactive oxygen species in rapidly growing brain cancer cells, essentially gorging them to death with activation of multiple death cascades.

Ray said people should cut and peel a piece of fresh garlic and let it sit for fifteen minutes before eating or cooking it. This amount of time is needed to release an enzyme allinase that produces these anti-cancer compounds. Both Ray and Banik caution the public in eating too much garlic, noting that too much of it can cause diarrhea, allergies, internal bleeding, and bad breath and body odor, among other problems, so it is important to monitor garlic consumption.

Please understand that The Economist folks got it exactly backwards here. Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani, a computer scientist at Princeton, and Ronaldo Menezes of the Florida Institute of Technology have tried to capitalize on the tendency of consumers to buy what is perceived as popular. What they do, with scanners, is show each individual consumer how many of his co-shoppers in the store at the moment have bought the product he is looking at.

Fact is, this idea is still in test, although both Wal-Mart and Tesco were slated to give it a whirl. Matthew Salganik, formerly of Columbia University and now at Princeton, has shown that consumers may be inclined to buy or download songs that have been shown to be quite popular. RanKing RanQueen , a convenience chain in Japan, only sells very popular goods, and the rankings are updated weekly.

In general, the key is to get the ranking or popularity of a good communicated to enough people. We have hinted at the importance of swarm intelligence in human beings, animals, and social insects in many places on the Global Province.

We suspect that we should pay closer attention to bee smarts and also the impressive powers of honey, the output of bees at work. Using bees to test for pollution is still in its infancy, but it is not implausible. Other insects have been used to gauge water quality. Brain Institute a Good Idea? We would have to question, of course, whether he will have the power and the will to hammer heads together to achieve some common goals. The American intelligence community, for instance, has nominally had some direction and coordination since the creation of the CIA; but the intelligence units in Government, particularly in the Defense Department, have very much gone their own way.

Chemistry, for instance, has a great deal to do with real progress in neuroscience, yet only a handful of brain scientists can find their way around a molecule. The study, led by former McGill post-doctoral fellow in psychiatry Guillaume Lucas with his supervisor, the late Dr. The findings suggest that feelings of social isolation are linked to alterations in the activity of genes that drive inflammation, the first response of the immune system.

The study provides a molecular framework for understanding why social factors are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, viral infections and cancer. Alzheimer's Drug Effectiveness Jeffrey L. To wit, he indicates this is quite a challenge, since some of the drugs being offered are only affecting symptoms of the disease, and not modifying the structure and mechanism of the disease. Shoring up the Brain Many efforts are afoot to make the brain more resilient.

The key is to weed out potentially destructive forms of iron that generate harmful free radicals while leaving benign forms of iron alone to carry out vital functions in the body. But the presence of excessive amounts of hydrogen peroxide will trigger an unmasking, allowing the phenols to sop up and inactivate the bad iron.

The principle of gene silencing is simple: Not the bountiful, exhilarating variety, but rather the troublesome kind. Often they recapture people who have passed away. The dreaming imagination does not just harvest images from remembered experience, he said.

Kennedy Medical Center in Edison, N. Mouth breathing or warm packs had the opposite effect. Incidentally, studied efforts at brain cooling—such as breathing—seem also to provide relief to sufferers from a variety of neurological ticks such as OCD and ADD, etc.

D1, D4, and D5. However, we do believe this is the correct path for detection and pre-detection of the several complaints of the brain. Plenty of research papers have identified a host of biomarkers for this disease.

Proteome Sciences and Nanosphere are both working the marker problem. A Cornell study has identified some 23 markers for the disease. We would caution readers to take these results with a grain of salt, but nonetheless the trend is unmistakable. Both stress and depression have risen considerably over the last decade, both because of what student populations bring to college and because of the atmospherics at colleges. When we visit college health departments, we find that many have staffed up considerably to handle mental and emotional problems, though we find these mental health activities are not well administered and college administrations are rather divorced from what goes in their health departments.

In the survey the Assessment covered approximately students at schools. Students reported the following feelings at least once during the year: Small, an associate professor of neurology at the Columbia University Medical Center , looked at changes in the brains of volunteers who worked out on exercise equipment.

The researchers were trying to confirm the findings of earlier research they did involving mice. When the mice exercised, blood flow increased to a part of the brain called the hippocampus, and more specifically to the dentate gyrate. In post-mortems, the researchers found evidence of neuron growth in the dentate gyrate. Libby claimed, in defense, that bad memory, not willful intent, caused him to make mistakes in his Grand Jury testimony.

This is a harmless relative of the bugs that cause tuberculosis and leprosy that had, in this case, been rendered even more harmless by killing it. Chris Lowry of Bristol University has further investigated this phenomenon. Experimenting with mice, he found that cytokine levels rose, which in turn could act on sensory cells which in turn release serotonin. This offers the intriguing possibility of treating depression with bacteria and, further, it may explain the rise of certain diseases which may flourish in the absence on myco-vaccae.

See Journal of N euroscience. Many researchers have been working this problem, wondering about their effectiveness, costs, and risks. Some believe second-generation drugs demonstrate more dangerous side effects. Some of the NIH studies emphasize that the newer drugs inflict huge costs without any commensurate upside. Separately, of course, it has been noted that no really good drug for schizophrenia has come on the market, and that a whole raft of supportive treatment mechanisms are still state of the art for its treatment.

Kenneth Jobson had already paved the way with some successes on medication regulation. Herbert Meltzer of Vanderbilt joined the effort. A new Web-based tool is now available to help clinicians determine the best medication for patients with schizophrenia. An international team led by Meltzer completed the new algorithms, or step-by-step protocols, in late to provide clinicians with help on their treatment decisions.

Further it was thought that controlling polypharmacy would improve patient outcomes. The literature, however, continues to reveal problematic results with schizophrenia drug treatments. Learning While You Sleep Max Planck researchers in Heidelberg are investigating communication between memory areas during sleep. Their study offers the hitherto strongest proof that new information is transferred between the hippocampus, the short term memory area, and the cerebral cortex during sleep.

It has been difficult up to now to use experiments to examine the brain processes that create memory. The scientists in Heidelberg developed an innovative experimental approach especially for this purpose.

They succeeded in measuring the membrane potential of individual interneurones neurones that suppress the activity of the hippocampus in anaethetised mice.

At the same time, they recorded the field potential of thousands of nerve cells in the cerebral cortex. This allowed them to link the behaviour of the individual nerve cells with that of the cerebral cortex. The researchers discovered that the interneurones they examined are active at almost the same time as the field potential of the cerebral cortex. There was just a slight delay, like an echo. In the present study, Dr. But the two new genes, as well, look more generally to be a pathway to mental retardation.

But it turns out that multi-tasking is pretty darn hard for everybody. Their research revealed that the central bottleneck was caused by the inability of the lateral frontal and prefrontal cortex, and also the superior frontal cortex, to process the two tasks at once.

Both areas have been shown in previous experiments to play a critical role in cognitive control. See Neuron , vol. Research on the insula, funded by the NDA, was led by Dr. Antoine Bechara at the University of Southern California. See WSJ , January 26, , p. Son of William Shawn, longtime editor of the New Yorker , and brother of Wallace Shawn, the actor, Shawn attributes some of his tortures to separation from his autistic sister Mary at an early age.

In a January 19 column in the WSJ , she does a column of snippets from the new book. The Dalai Lama wondered if the reverse were true. That is, in addition to the brain giving rise to thoughts and hopes and beliefs and emotions that add up to this thing we call the mind, maybe the mind also acts back on the brain to cause physical changes in the very matter that created it.

If so, then pure thought would change the brain's activity, its circuits or even its structure. For instance, certain synthesized speech can alter the auditory cortex of dyslexic kids in a way that lets their brains hear previously garbled syllables; intensely practiced movements can alter the motor cortex of stroke patients and allow them to move once paralyzed arms or legs.

The kind of change the Dalai Lama asked about was different. It would come from inside. The antidepressant raised activity there. The drug lowered activity there. With cognitive therapy, says Dr. If a skill becomes so routine you can do it on autopilot, practicing it will no longer change the brain. And if you take up mental exercises to keep your brain young, they will not be as effective if you become able to do them without paying much attention.

Eleanor McGuire and her associates at the Wellcome Trust have long been exploring this very territory. Our findings provide compelling support for the idea that memory and future thought are highly interrelated and help explain why future thought may be impossible without memories.

Although the frontal lobes play a well-documented role in carrying out future-oriented executive operations, such as anticipation, planning and monitoring, the spark for these activities may well be the very process of envisioning oneself in a specific future event, an activity based within and reliant upon the same neurally distributed network used to retrieve autobiographical memories.

Second, within this neural network, patterns of activity suggest that the visual and spatial context for our imagined future often is pieced together using our past experiences, including memories of specific body movements and visual perspective changes—data stored as we navigated through similar settings in the past.

Sharon Begley, author of one of the better columns in the Wall Street Journal , has touched on this and, lately, has delivered two salvos making this point, both on November 17 and November Orthodoxy also stifles research on other culprits.

David Gladstone Institutes, San Francisco. She goes on to mention a few of the enzyme and gene theories that may shed some light on the disease. What she makes clear and what we should understand is that standard orthodoxy has slowed discovery on this fast-spreading disease. We are particularly aware of research that has been shoved aside in the Boston medical community, but a similar lack of open-mindedness has shut down innovative thinking in many other ports of call.

The Economist July 29, , pp. By … that number will have trebled. As we have mentioned many times, researchers have tended to focus on one simple gene or explanation in trying to discover the key to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, autism, and a host of neurological diseases. Our suspicion is that the disease mechanism in each instance is infinitely more complicated than investigators can imagine, and that researchers have not even perceived the correct disease model that would help lead to advances.

Alzheimer's research is now trying to see whether the focus should be amyloids or not. What seems evident to us is that amyloid is one of many wastes, which also includes metallic outputs, that the system cannot process. The disease condition, in our view, is evidence that the system is not ridding itself of sundry excretions.

Rats, it is revealed, grow thousands of brain cells every day, but only retain them if used; otherwise, they die off in a couple of weeks. For the longest while scientists thought that we did not grow new cells—that we only had those with which we came to this party.

But now they know we grow a lot, many in the hippocampus, the center for remembering events. Tracey Shors of Rutgers and her colleagues found that neurons are retained if used, and, maturing, get wired into networks if they are involved in complex learning chores.

For more on this, see the vita of Dr. There is still considerable dispute, however, as to what extent brain exercise helps deteriorating brains. C hemo Hurts We are intimately familiar with cancer survivors who say that their brains are very, very cloudy for about a year after their last intravenous feed by the oncologists.

Now researchers have come along to prove the obvious. Existing remedies only help half of all depression patients and often have unpleasant side effects. They target neurotransmitters, acting on proteins from only about 20 of the approximately 15, genes in the brain. Cortisol may damage nerve cell connections and prevent nerve growth. Targacept is studying mecamylamine, a blood pressure drug it got from Merck, seeing whether it will block receptors and control mood fluctuation.

As usual, there is the threat of side effects, particularly to the liver. CBS is out with a new TV drama about—of all things—brain surgeons. It stars the fabulous Stanley Tucci, but it already may be terminal. Hanson Tucci is brainy, talented, and, of course, fouled up. He suffers from hallucinations, but we think the writers are just projecting their own complaint onto their main character.

Seger, against each other with diametrically opposed philosophies about how to approach their patients. At least the writers have infused the drama with a touch of humor to break up all the staring at brain x-rays.

The entire neurological wing of the hospital is decorated with the pattern of nerves that map the brain. It makes for a busy background. Too bad CBS tarted it up. Cognitive Decline Sharon Begley points out that we can get rather muddled about what produces brain decline Wall Street Journal , April 28, , p. Many think that those in brain-active jobs ward off dementia; more likely, says Ms.

Begley, they have well-fortified brains in the first place, and that they are armored against decline. Mental exercise does not necessarily correlate with mental preservation, despite the games dreamed up by neurologists and others to keep you humming—many of which are mentioned on Global Province.

They only seem to help the brain along if you keep upping the ante, challenging the mind with tougher and tougher mental exercises. Begley notes that other forms of training—cardiovascular fitness exercise, for instance—do seem to tune up the brain at the same time.

See the Wall Street Journal , October 17, , pp. The drug targets an enzyme, called gamma secretase, that is believed to play a role in the build-up of amyloid. Narcolepsy Either one gets too much sleep or no sleep at all. We are just beginning to take a look at Narcolepsy. But they have baked brains.

We find its historical material a little useful, though we are not able to evaluate its focus on hypocretins. We would, of course, like to see more research on the site from other institutions. It probably helps to look at the Narcolepsy Network in order to get a wider scan of the field. Chez Scaruffi You cannot be in the brain business and fail to look at Piero Scaruffi. He is perhaps most renowned for his music site but Thymos is a must for anyone who wants to think about cognition.

We have just begun to explore it. Perhaps a good starting point is his Annotated Bibliography of the Mind , which covers a fair patch of the literature on consciousness.

If you need to get away from his catalog of cognition, visit his cluster of other sites and strands. If this pruning cannot take place, the organ becomes less and less efficient, and dire consequences result. This is a rare brain disorder that is caused by an autoimmune response which destroys the human equivalents of ion channels that are affected in the mutant fruit fly. Eventually, this extreme sleep deprivation kills them. See the Economist , June 18, , pp.

Elizabeth Gould of Princeton did research in this specific area, and allied research has been done by Craig Kinsley at University of Richmond. See Nature , 24 August , pp. E lectro-Shock Electric shock treatments are being selectively revived.

See the Economist , June 3, , pp. Its effects are reported to be long lasting. It builds on the idea of deep-brains stimulation which is a more complicated procedure, the vagus insert being much easier to do.

It does, however, require a fairly long course of treatment—at least 3 months-for the palliative effects to take hold. The Defense Department has put a blanket on its staff, preventing it from commenting on the issue. It is our understanding that Senators Dick Durban and George Allen are separately plumping for a richer budget. Stuttering We receive reports of some modest progress on stuttering.

Like autism and many other neurological complaints, it is no longer regarded as an environmentally induced form of behavior, but instead is taken to be genetic and neurological in nature. D1 and D6, various hypotheses and possibilities are forwarded. Maguire, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Irvine, wants to cure the ailment that afflicts him and an estimated three million Americans.

Stutterers, on the other hand, show an unusually large amount of right brain activity. Maguire has also done small trials with two schizophrenia drugs, Risperdal and Zyprexa. Apparently, the post-op animal exhibited the same personality and a minimal reduction in intelligence.

One of his oldest patients had the surgery in his thirties. Bradley Schlaggar, a pediatric neurologist and a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, told me about an experiment that he conducted for his Ph. Once the second rat had grown up, Schlaggar took a look at its brain and discovered that the transplanted chunk of visual cortex was functioning as a somatosensory cortex. Rejecting Bettleheim, who tended to think autistic children were the products of untoward parenting, he recognized it as a specific brain disorder.

More importantly, we think, he developed the TEACCH program in North Carolina which, starting in , helped parents and caregivers by understanding that autistics did not learn in traditional ways but could develop, especially with carefully designed interventions by parents and others.

George Huntington was the first to describe the disease in his paper On Chorea, which was published in Although cystamine treatment rescued neuron loss in the striatum of the HD animal model, motor function did not improve. However, gene silencing was able to restore motor recovery without rescuing striatal neuron loss. These results indicate that the abnormalities of motor function seen in HD are due to neuronal dysfunction, and not necessarily neuron loss.

Wallis was 19 when he suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him briefly in a coma and then in a minimally conscious state, in which he was awake but uncommunicative other than occasional nods and grunts, for more than 19 years. Deja Vecu A variant of déjà vu has given researchers a more complex understanding of the memory mechanism. Canadian psychologist Endel Tulving had previously broken memories into two categories—episodic and semantic. Semantic broadly relates to the idea of recalling a piece of data we have committed to memory.

Episodic memories are more complex, using different parts of the brain, to conjure up memory but also to interpret it as something we have experienced. Chris Moulin at Leeds University and, earlier, David Schacter of Harvard both had reported on individuals who felt strongly familiar with people, newspaper accounts, and other subject matter with which they had no possible connection.

Moulin and Conway concluded that … the deja vecu of their patients was similarly located in the temporal lobes…. Presented with a visual illusion, chronic schizophrenics could see much more clearly than a control group of normally functioning people.

Yet despite this miniscule number, the auditory system is the fastest of the five senses. Researchers credit this discrepancy to a series of lightning-fast calculations in the brain that translate minimal input into maximal understanding.

The condition is linked to the same factors—high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, diabetes—that play a role in many heart attacks. Just like in the heart, the condition causes narrowing or blockage in brain blood vessels. The review of the book by William Grimes in the Times is not terribly profound, and it more or less suggests that brain surgery is no less, no more complicated than other forms of surgical endeavor.

It does make clear that Firlik is a fairly vivid writer who can communicate about her world in terms the layperson can surely understand. Molecular layer of the cerebellar cortex in a case of dementia praecox S. Central nervous system of the Hirudo medicinalis G.

One hundred years ago Santiago Ramón y Cajal and Camillo Golgi were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their work on revealing the structure of the brain. This will be a permanent exhibition, but it will also tour other cities in Spain and around the world. The early period, commencing with a detailed study of the nervous system, and containing contain drawings of some of the most important pioneers in neuroscience, including Cajal, Golgi, Retzius, Nissl, Dogiel and Alzheimer.

Hippocampus of a Brainbow mouse J. Adult stem cells from human brain N. Mapping the Mind—in Detail Julie H. See Forbes , November 14, , pp. There are a dozen or so labs looking at neural circuitry of fruit flies, but Simpson is working a wider canvas than most. Most are looking at a narrow brain function: Researchers at MIT, the University of Hong Kong, and others cut a channel in the optic nerve of 53 newly born hamsters.

These short amino acids are capable of creating a molecular scaffold that can bridge such gaps. This was again tried with adult hamsters, and significant vision returned to them. Also see the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. T eacher Education in Finland The Finnish education system, whatever its dilemmas, gets the very highest marks when compared with the offerings of other nations in Europe and around the world. For this reason it is stimulating to see what has been going on there in teacher education.

Current Trends and Future Scenarios. The author notes that even insular Finland must, like every other country, take account of a rapid changing society which means adding strategic and tactical flexibility to its processes in order for the nation to keep up with the times.

This contrasts, for instance, with the practices of several U. It is noted that the Finnish teacher understands that he or she must be committed to a life-long pattern of re-education. Apparently, as in the U. There still is stability in teacher employment in the primary grades.

The history of education in almost every country, however, is littered with tales of intractable systems that fail to change at a rate that will keep up with the transformation society is undergoing: Finland, today, has the same complaint. This is reinforced by the fact that central government controls so much of what is going on: Disappointingly, the article does not come to terms with the high stress atmosphere that characterizes schools every where today.

That has led to a rash of student depression and even sporadic outbreaks of suicide. In the most recent test, which focused on science, Finland's students placed first in science and near the top in math and reading, according to results released late last year. Parents of newborns receive a government-paid gift pack that includes a picture book.

Some libraries are attached to shopping malls, and a book bus travels to more remote neighborhoods like a Good Humor truck.

There are fewer disparities in education and income levels among Finns. All year-old students took the PISA test. Even with the potential risks that inhibitors may pose, researchers are moving forward a host of drugs that may slow and stop amyloid development: High doses of gamma-secretase inhibitors cause severe toxic effects in mice as a consequence of disrupting the Notch signal, raising serious concerns about this potential therapy.

Nevertheless, a drug candidate developed by pharmaceutical maker Eli Lilly has passed safety tests in volunteers. This kind of test is called a phase I clinical trial. Moreover, researchers have identified molecules that modulate gamma-secretase so that A-beta production is blocked without affecting the cleavage of Notch.

In Dale B. Schenk and his colleagues at Elan Corporation in South San Francisco made a groundbreaking discovery: Other researchers are pursuing nonimmunological strategies to stop the aggregation of A-beta.

Several companies have identified compounds that interact directly with A-beta to keep the peptide dissolved in the fluid outside brain neurons, preventing the formation of harmful clumps.

Neurochem in Quebec is developing Alzhemed, a small molecule that apparently mimics heparin, the natural anticoagulant. In blood, heparin prevents platelets from gathering into clots, but when this polysaccharide binds to A-beta, it makes the peptide more likely to form deposits. Of course, less physical and social activity on the part of the aged, and the less challenging environments oldsters live in, impair production of neurons and maintenance of neural circuitry.

The evidence seems to point to the fact that older brains can be retrained through pertinent exercises to retain their functionality. When the ear is attentive and working hard, it funnels clearer information to brain centers that handle memory and perception. Merzenich claims his software enables the brain, according to cognitive testing, to perform as if it were ten years younger.

There is a host of research on plasticity, but this whole area of exploration is still quite controversial, and investigators still do not know how long the effects of brain training, even when effective, endure. Also, she notes that challenged people tend to have better sustained brain function than people who have cashed in their chips and become too laid back. We remember well a chap we knew in the early 80s who, nearing retirement, got a grant from the Ford Foundation and became the oldest freshman at Harvard.

He thought, wrongly we think, that you cannot do much about the body, but that you can recharge the brain. He, incidentally, had never gotten a college education, but had paid for his kids to go to the best universities in the land, so he thought he deserved his chance at bat. It was a bizarre experience, since the grad students and teachers were fixated on getting ahead, and his fellow students were fastened on getting grades.

Only he had the luxury of trying to get an education. For the Ford Foundation, he only had to write a paper about the experience. In the early stages the honorees were involved with basic research that tried to describe the disease mechanism. With the turn of the century, researchers are looking more closely at treatments, trying to do something to at least stall the dementia progress.

We have been impressed at the wide swathe of institutions represented by the winners: Flexing Your Brain The literature is now littered with hypotheses that say the brain can be stretched and be rewired, overcoming the deterioration of age and other mental defects, even surging beyond the capabilities that were apparent there at birth. But we think the Japanese are really onto something. Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day. Having studied test subjects in his lab, Nintendo programmers have devised a hand-held game that includes drills that stimulate the brain most.

Nintendo has definitely penetrated older segments of its home market, well beyond teen age enthusiasts. The revive-your-brain market is open for the taking. But the company has turned things on end. People are clamoring for it not just for games, but also to keep a household budget, play the guitar, and study the Buddhist scripture Heart Sutra.

Since its introduction in , the DS, which responds in writing and speech, has spurred software makers to fill the Japanese market with an eclectic array of reference guides, digital books and study tools. See The Boston Globe , March 10, No less than students are enrolled.

But with such an enormous course enrollment, Tal D. Their studies show that rewiring of the brain involves the formation and elimination of synapses, the connections between neurons. The technique offers a new way to examine how learning can spur changes in the organization of neuronal connections in the brain.

To study those kinds of changes in a living animal, Svoboda and his colleagues started with transgenic mice that were engineered to produce green fluorescent protein within neurons in a portion of the brain that processes tactile sensory inputs from the whiskers. To observe changes in these neurons at high resolution, the scientists constructed a 2-photon laser scanning microscope. Importantly, it helps us understand that the brain is constantly remaking itself, often due to external stimulus.

In back-to-back papers published online, Rockefeller University scientists established possible new targets for drugs. First, PLD1 regulates the shuttling of beta-amyloid precursor protein beta-APP , a large molecule produced naturally in the body and found in many different cells, including brain cells. It covers a variety of needs and interests.

In general they now suspect that the affliction is really a host of conditions that tend to look alike at the macro level. But it probably stems from a host of causes, the brain having taken multiple assaults from external forces. And the wiring foul ups that cause it vary so widely that scans and other technical devices may show circuitry in far different parts of the brain are amiss from patient to patient.

The brain works as a unit. Everything is connected to everything else, and what we really need to be looking at more is abnormality in the circuitry level. As much as anybody, he can be credited as well with the creation of the modern computer. He worked with the great theoretical physicist John von Neumann and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, an Austrian star at Cambridge.

As we are discovering now in our neurological investigations, it is researchers such as Turing who can cross over many disciplines that best illuminate the complexities of the brain.

The chemical connections between neurons, called synapses, are thought to be critical to the formation of those networks and hence the laying down of memories. In a group led by Thomas Arendt of the University of Leipzig in Germany showed that the number of synapses in the hippocampus, a brain structure crucial for learning and memory, falls during hibernation. At the end of hibernation this protein clears away, and it is possible that the understanding of its comings and goings in the human brain would be helpful to understanding various disease mechanisms.

This site, and the sites it links to, also provide a reasonable picture of the organization of the brain. Is Singularity Upon Us? In Ubiquity , Ray Kursweil speculates that a better brain is close at hand: A thousand dollars of computation will equal the 10, trillion calculations per second that I estimate is necessary to emulate the human brain by The software side will take a little longer.

In order to achieve the algorithms of human intelligence, we need to actually reverse-engineer the human brain, understand its principles of operation. And there again, not surprisingly, we see exponential growth where we are doubling the spatial resolution of brain scanning every year, and doubling the information that we're gathering about the brain every year.

Most objective observers realize that we really do not have a clue as to how anti-depressants work, that they do not work very well, and that they are very crude drugs that are used promiscuously. The side effects are uncharted, and we have long been puzzled as to why it takes so long for them to kick in beneficially, although negative side effects often show up quickly.

Now we are finally getting some hints as to how serotonin really gets activated:. The energy levels of the fields were six times smaller than that of conventional cell phones and unlikely to harm healthy cells, the researchers say.

The fibrils subsequently dissolved and remained dissolved for at least one week after being irradiated, indicating that the treatment was not only effective at breaking up the fibrils but also resulted in a lower tendency of the proteins to re-aggregate, according to the researchers.

Autopsies, however, show an amazing reduction in plaque. Schneider began to get her life back. Electrodes were surgically inserted in her brain and attached by wires to two pacemakers implanted in her chest…. Within eight weeks Ms. Movement disorders can result from a variety of stimuli, ranging from diseases to oxygen starvation to drug side effects.

Perceptions here can be manipulated by expectations suggestions. Hypnosis has a long history, to include its uses for medical problems, but nobody quite ever has known how it works. The subjects are primarily Dominicans, many from the Washington Heights neighborhood where the Taub is located. Late-onset is complex, stemming from a combination of genes, only one of which has been identified. Mayeux is involved with a host of neurological activities at Columbia as well.

Such genius has long been associated with serious mental illness, especially schizophrenia and drug abuse. Drugs and Brain Rot To some extent, Nancy Andreasen works hard at telling us what we already sort of know.

Last Fall in the Times September 16, , p. That is, many conditions in the brain and elsewhere are due to accelerated deterioration. And drugs, by implication, are given out much too promiscuously. Andreasen had told us that she had moved her focus to creativity, but it is clear that she still has a hand in the schizophrenia game.

Airport screeners may miss target items when they are surrounded by other very similar items. As well, they also easily miss targets with slight variances from what they have in mind: Sadly, the site does not provide information on current research nor on how a lay person should evaluate the several medications being ladled out rather freely for such problems.

More restraint in their use seems to be indicated. Born Dualists Yale has many Blooms, but not many Roses. Paul Bloom is a Yale cognitive psychologist who believes that we come into this world making with a epistemological structure that distinguishes between body and soul from the get-go.

Even if, in his own belief, they are just a continuum, not separate and alien parts of the human make-up. Says Bloom in Edge:. In the domain of bodies, most of us accept that common sense is wrong. We concede that apparently solid objects are actually mostly empty space, consisting of tiny particles and fields of energy.

Perhaps the same sort of reconciliation will happen in the domain of souls, and it will come to be broadly recognized that our dualist belief system, though intuitively appealing, is factually mistaken. But I am skeptical. The notion that our souls are flesh is profoundly troubling to many, as it clashes with religion. Dualism and religion are not the same: You can be dualist without holding any other religious beliefs, and you can hold religious beliefs without being dualist.

But they almost always go together. And some very popular religious views rest on a dualist foundation, such as the belief that people survive the destruction of their bodies. If you give up on dualism, this is what you lose. The Anti-Depressants Not one peer-reviewed article really can link serotonin deficiency to any mental disorder.

When you witness the hit and miss ways pharma-psychiatrists administer these drugs, you become aware that we are plagued with questions about drug effectiveness, side effects, and long term impact.

Xia Zhang at the University of Saskatchewan notes, however, that more research would be needed to see whether it could someday be used to treat depression in human beings. See SFN release on marijuana-like compounds , October 26, Nicotine may, in some instance, improve memory and counter certain diseases. In some experiments with rats, those treated with nicotine perform better on certain functions than a control group. His research established that hormones secreted from the brain's pituitary gland promote growth.

Walter Dandy, who succeeded Cushing, figured out in that air could be used to enable X-rays of the brain. His technique remained the best way to see into the skull to identify brain tumors and other problems until the invention of computer aided tomography CAT in Another 78 Hopkins faculty have secondary or joint appointments in neuroscience, including two dozen or so whose primary appointments are in the departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery or Psychiatry.

In the Department of Neurology, there are roughly 75 primary faculty, in the Department of Neurosurgery, The Department of Psychiatry, founded almost years ago, boasts full-time faculty with primary appointments. Participants conduct simple mathematical calculations and read aloud passages from novels—activities that stimulate their frontal cortex and can prevent dementia.

There are several efforts to test the efficacy of such elder age projects. Many people from ARF have moved over to this new endeavor. Somehow it seems ironic to read about a Schizophrenia social at a recent meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, but, one when gets over chuckling, one can only rejoice that this young group has a clear sense of community that will serve as a catalyst for the researchers it is abetting.

We are looking forward to getting on top of schizophrenia research trends. The researchers knew this because they had introduced a radioactive tracer that selectively binds to the same type of receptor in the brain, the mu-opioid variety, as the endorphins.

More of the tracer was floating around unbound, suggesting the receptor sites were occupied by the endorphins. Mrazek, chairman of psychiatry at Mayo. Gualberto Ruaho, president of Genomas , a company working on genetic tests for drug use. Some users of Paxil, for instance, have not been able to metabolize the drug satisfactorily, leading to toxic and sometimes fatal results.

Mrazek of the Mayo Clinic said he used the tests to help choose antidepressants, particularly for children. There has been concern that some children can turn suicidal or aggressive on antidepressants…. Few offer such genetic tests though the pharmacogenomics laboratory at the University of Louisville performed to in the last year. We propose a research strategy to achieve this goal, and discuss its potential impact. The effects of developmental variations or abnormalities, traumatic brain injury, or neurodegenerative disease can all be captured as specific structural variants of the human connectome.

As a physician and scientist, he had minutely researched the mechanical aspects of running and developed training procedures built around his knowledge of the body.

Read about his training methods at Nevada Track Stats. On the fiftieth anniversary of his run, the BBC asked him if the victory was the most significant event of his life.

He withdrew from private practice and limited himself to research after a serious auto accident which also ended his running. This was in , the year in which Queen Elizabeth knighted him.

His other books include Fair Play. Psychiatry and the Auto-Immune System Serguei Fetissov of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has tied the auto-immune system to anorexia nervosa and bulimia. There is the suspicion that a host of mental disorders can arise from autoantibodies, which have gone astray and attacked human tissue. Of course, it has become awfully popular to blame a host of ailments on wayward immunity systems, another trend that is a bit overdone. Fetissov suggests that melanocortins that carry messages between nerve cells in the brain suffer from the assault.

Such fits can currently be controlled only by drugs. And, once bursting is suppressed this way, the neurons revert rapidly to normal behaviour. See The Economist , February 5, , p. All sorts of electro-simulative therapies are gaining currency. Toys to Diagnose Autism? In particular autistic children will gaze quite differently at robots than normal children.

Robots for Stroke Victims MIT scientists have created a group of machines that help stroke victims regain mobility by retraining limbs and stimulating brain activity.

Professors Hogan and Krebs first introduced a machine in to help arm and shoulder movement. Interactive Motion Technologies Inc. See the Wall Street Journal , August 21, , p. Asthma and Stress Richard J. Subjects under stress demonstrated greater inflammation when inhaling allergens; brain scans suggest the stimulus may come from a specific part of the brain.

See the New York Times , September 6, , p. T he Brain Marches on Two genes linked to brain size have evolved substantially over the last 60, years.

The finding is discussed by Bruce T. Lahn of the University of Chicago in Science. Apparently the report on these genes microcephalin and ASPM , known as alleles, also implies that their development has led to increased brain function, a claim generating much controversy.

In fact, it is not entirely clear that the genes relate either to brain size or cognitive function, and there may be other genes related to size in certain populations lacking these particular genes. See the New York Times , September 9, , p. Seeing, Hearing, and Smelling the World The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has cleverly put a simple little primer about the senses on its website www.

Other foundations and government agencies should take note, particularly those involved with neuroscience. This is an outstanding way to bring an out-of-the-way institution to the notice of the general public.

See Biospectral Index technology at www. We are not entirely clear how well the Society for Neuroscience, created in to knit together neurologists in the States, meshes its activities with the global body. Spices and Rotten Odors Kensaku Mori and colleagues at the University of Tokyo have deciphered how spices cover up the smell of spoiled foods with neural help from the brain. Apparently both the rotten foods and the spices activate the same olfactory bulb—at least amongst the rats with which they experimented.

The average human nose can detect nearly 10, distinct scents, a feat that requires about 1, olfactory genes, or roughly 3 per cent of the human genome. If that works, they plan to use future, more powerful computers to link such simulated columns together into something that mimics a brain. Pierce Laboratory, and University of Dresden … got 11 volunteers to lie inside magnetic brain scanners with separate straws leading to the fronts of their noses … and the back above the palate.

Dana Small of the Yale team said it suggested that the brain changed smell perceptions based on eating…. See the New York Times , August 23, , p. See The Economist , July 30, , p. Of course, now the thesis has to be proven. H eart and Mind The things you do to avoid heart disease and cancer also help keep your brain in high gear. Her nostrums include eating right, staying socially connected, and keeping mentally active: The close interrelationship between the two suggests that brain mood can strongly affect digestion, and, in turn, the digestive process has side effects in brain process.

Langley, a British physician who believed that it was one of three parts … of the automatic nervous system, which controls involuntary behaviors like breathing and circulation. Gershon revived his thinking and was widely mocked at first. To learn about Langley and receptors, see www. In this case, it is too much serotonin rather than too little. Centralization in computerdom not only creates overload but it makes the system very vulnerable to attacks from outside agents.

You are here