Brain regions ‘tune’ activity to enable attention

Attention deficits in brain injury have been thought of as a loss of the resources needed to concentrate on a task. However, this study shows that temporal alignment of responses in different brain areas is also a very important mechanism that contributes to attention and could be impaired by brain injury.

Tiny proteins have outsized influence on nerve health

The tiny conduits carrying those electrical signals are sodium channels that are vital to our well-being—they trigger action potentials, or spurts of electrical energy that course from body to brain to deliver messages that invoke feelings like pain or temperature sensitivity. When such channels go awry, they contribute to a slew of diseases, one of which is epilepsy.

Brain connections may explain why girls mature faster

The researchers have demonstrated for the first time that the loss of white matter fibres between brain regions is a highly selective process – a phenomenon they call preferential detachment. They show that connections between distant brain regions, between brain hemispheres, and between processing modules lose fewer nerve fibres during brain maturation than expected. The researchers say this may explain how we retain a stable brain network during brain maturation.

Anti-epilepsy drugs can cause inflammations

Physicians at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have been investigating if established anti-epilepsy drugs have anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory properties – an effect for which these pharmaceutical agents are not usually tested. One of the substances tested caused stronger inflammations, while another one inhibited them. As inflammatory reactions in the brain may be the underlying cause for epileptic disorders, it is vital to take the trigger for the disorder under consideration when selecting drugs for treatment, as the researchers concluded.

New genetic cause of Warburg Micro syndrome identified

These findings have implications not only for families affected with Warburg Micro syndrome, but also provide novel information about the genes and molecular pathways essential for human development that is relevant for more common developmental disorders such as epilepsy and autism.