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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Brain Research: Our brain's secrets to success? ♦ Tools for illuminating brain function make their own light ♦ Chimpanzee personality linked to anatomy of brain

Vaccination on the horizon for severe viral infection of the brain Researchers reveal possible new treatment methods for a rare, usually fatal brain disease. Thanks to their discovery that specific antibodies play a key role in combating the viral infection, a vaccine against the disease 'progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy' could now be developed.
Tools for illuminating brain function make their own light Researchers have developed tools that could allow neuroscientists to put aside the fiber optic cable, and use a glowing protein from coral as the light source instead. A variant on the optogenetics technique gives neuroscientists the choice of activating neurons with light or an externally supplied chemical.
Our brain's secrets to success? We owe our success -- both as a species and as individuals -- to features of our brain that are just now beginning to be understood. One new study suggests how our primate brain's outer mantle, or cortex, was able to expand as much as 1,000-fold through evolution. Other links personal success -- such as high education and income levels and life satisfaction -- to increased chatter between key brain areas when we're not doing anything in particular.
Chimpanzee personality linked to anatomy of brain structures Chimpanzees' personality traits are linked to the anatomy of specific brain structures, according to researchers. The researchers studied 107 chimpanzees' brains using magnetic resonance image (MRI) scans and also assessed each chimpanzee's personality by using a 41-item personality questionnaire. They found chimpanzees who were rated as higher for the personality traits of openness and extraversion had greater gray-matter volumes in the anterior cingulate cortex in both hemispheres of the brain
Disruption of brain-blood barrier might influence progression of Alzheimer’s More and more data from preclinical and clinical studies strengthen the hypothesis that immune system-mediated actions contribute to and drive pathogenesis in Alzheimer’s disease. New insights suggest that A? indeed induces a strong inflammatory response, thereby destroying an important but often neglected brain barrier, called the blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier. Disruption of this blood-CSF barrier disturbs brain homeostasis and might negatively affect disease progression. Strikingly, these effects could be blocked in the presence of a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor

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