Late clamping of the umbilical cord increases the anti-oxidant capacity of mature newborns, and the moderation of inflammatory effects in the case of those born from induced labor

A study conducted by University of Granada scientists (from the Physiology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Departments) and from the San Cecilio Clinical Hospital (Granada) has demonstrated that delaying the cutting of the umbilical cord in newborns by two minutes leads to a better development of the baby during the first days of life.

This multidisciplinary work, published in the prestigious journal Pediatrics reveals that the time in cutting the umbilical cord (also called umbilical cord clampling) influences the resistance to oxidative stress in newborns.

For answers, researchers turned to mice, stem cells and the “tooth fairy”

With the help of mouse models, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and the “tooth fairy,” researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have implicated a new gene in idiopathic or non-syndromic autism. The gene is associated with Rett syndrome, a syndromic form of autism, suggesting that different types of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may share similar molecular pathways.

The findings are published in the Nov. 11, 2014 online issue of Molecular Psychiatry.

Researchers recently found that an immune-system protein called MHCI, or major histocompatibility complex class I, moonlights in the nervous system to help regulate the number of synapses, which transmit chemical and electrical signals between neurons.

When it comes to the brain, "more is better" seems like an obvious assumption. But in the case of synapses, which are the connections between brain cells, too many or too few can both disrupt brain function.

Roles of heritability, mutations, environment estimated – NIH-funded study

Most of the genetic risk for autism comes from versions of genes that are common in the population rather than from rare variants or spontaneous glitches, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have found. Heritability also outweighed other risk factors in this largest study of its kind to date. About 52 percent of the risk for autism was traced to common and rare inherited variation, with spontaneous mutations contributing a modest 2.6 percent of the total risk. “Genetic variation likely accounts for roughly 60 percent of the liability for autism, with common variants comprising the bulk of its genetic architecture,” explained Joseph Buxbaum, Ph.D., of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS), New York City. “Although each exerts just a tiny effect individually, these common variations in the genetic code add up to substantial impact, taken together.”
Posted by Nature

State creates programme to boost neuroscience innovation.

As US science agencies firm up plans for a national ten-year neuroscience initiative, California is launching an ambitious project of its own. On 20 June, governor Jerry Brown signed into law a state budget that allocates US$2 million to establish the California Blueprint for Research to Advance Innovations in Neuroscience (Cal-BRAIN) project. Cal-BRAIN is the first state-wide programme to piggyback on the national Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative announced by US President Barack Obama in April 2013. The national project is backed this year by $110 million in public funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).