How the brain stays receptive

The channel protein Pannexin1 keeps nerve cells flexible and thus the brain receptive for new knowledge. Together with colleagues from Canada and the U.S., researchers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum led by the junior professor Dr. Nora Prochnow from the Department of Molecular Brain Research describe these results in PLoS ONE.

High-throughput sequencing shows potentially hundreds of gene mutations related to autism

"HTS shows us that there are not just a few mutations, but potentially hundreds of mutations that are linked to autism," said Dr. Buxbaum. "By identifying the many genetic roots of this disorder, we can better understand its biology, which in turn will allow us to develop more tailored treatments for individuals. It is a transformative time for genetic research in autism."

Surprising results from study of non-epileptic seizures

A Loyola University Medical Center neurologist is reporting surprising results of a study of patients who experience both epileptic and non-epileptic seizures.

Non-epileptic seizures resemble epileptic seizures, but are not accompanied by abnormal electrical discharges. Rather, these seizures are believed to be brought on by psychological stresses.

A 3-D light switch for the brain

A new tool for neuroscientists delivers a thousand pinpricks of light to a chunk of gray matter smaller than a sugar cube. The new fiber-optic device, created by biologists and engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, is the first tool that can deliver precise points of light to a 3-D section of living brain tissue. The work is a step forward for a relatively new but promising technique that uses gene therapy to turn individual brain cells on and off with light.

MRI and EEG could identify children at risk for epilepsy after febrile seizures

Seizures during childhood fever are usually benign, but when prolonged, they can foreshadow an increased risk of epilepsy later in life. Now a study funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests that brain imaging and recordings of brain activity could help identify the children at highest risk. The study reveals that within days of a prolonged fever-related seizure, some children have signs of acute brain injury, abnormal brain anatomy, altered brain activity, or a combination.