Recent events at home and abroad foreshadow a more divided and closed world. As such, the Canadian Association for Neuroscience wants to state their position that science can and must remain a builder of bridges between the peoples of all nations, regardless of differences in political views, religious beliefs or country of origin. Scientists around the world share a desire to advance knowledge in ways that benefit all humans.
Imagine a fender bender at an intersection. It’s a common occurrence and, usually, someone is at fault. But ask any police officer and you’ll find the blame may not be all that easy to determine. The stories from the drivers involved often oppose one another and eye-witness reports also may reveal striking differences in how the accident unfolded.
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”
At one time or another, everyone experiences moments of social isolation, when there is no one around and the world is confined to one’s own existence. In short bursts these moments of solitude can be therapeutic and may lead to moments of emotional regeneration or creativity. Yet when loneliness becomes chronic, the effects may be deleterious to one’s emotional health.
Alzheimer’s disease is growing in Canada at an unprecedented rate. At the moment, over half a million people suffer from this debilitating condition but that number is expected to nearly double over the next generation. The effects of this illness are tragic, such as memory loss as well as changes in behaviour, judgement, and normal daily function. For this reason, understanding this disease and finding meaningful treatments are considered a priority.
As Alzheimer’s progresses, a protein, known as amyloid-β, begins to clump together, forming what is officially called a plaque. As this happens, the neurological landscape changes as neurons begin to die off. Despite decades of research, the mechanism behind this loss remains, for the most part, a mystery.
Scientists at the University of British Columbia have genetically engineered a mouse that does not become addicted to cocaine, adding to the evidence that habitual drug use is more a matter of genetics and biochemistry than just poor judgment.
The mice they created had higher levels of a protein called cadherin, which helps bind cells together. In the brain, cadherin helps strengthen synapses between neurons – the gaps that electrical impulses must traverse to bring about any action or function controlled by the brain, whether it’s breathing, walking, learning a new task or recalling a memory.
Research determines how the brain recognizes what’s important at first glance.
Researchers at the Centre for Neuroscience Studies (CNS) at Queen’s University have discovered that a region of the brain – the superior colliculus – contains a mechanism responsible for interpreting how visual input from a scene determines where we look. This mechanism, known as a visual salience map, allows the brain to quickly identify and act on the most important information in the visual field, and is a basic mechanism for our everyday vision.
Scientists identify mechanism for brain dysfunction following seizures and drugs that prevent this impairment from occurring.
Six years ago, Cam Teskey, PhD, decided to follow a hunch. Armed with an advanced new tool designed to measure oxygen levels in tissues, he wanted to look at the brains of rats to see what was happening during seizures.
Have you ever met someone who just wasn’t into music? They may have a condition called specific musical anhedonia, which affects three-to-five per cent of the population.
Researchers at the University of Barcelona and the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University have discovered that people with this condition showed reduced functional connectivity between cortical regions responsible for processing sound and subcortical regions related to reward.
Drug shown to reduce new attacks/symptom progression in some patients
In separate clinical trials, a drug called ocrelizumab has been shown to reduce new attacks in patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), and new symptom progression in primary progressive MS.
Three studies conducted by an international team of researchers, which included Amit Bar-Or and Douglas Arnold from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University, have discovered that ocrelizumab can significantly reduce new attacks in patients with relapsing MS, as well as slow the progression of symptoms caused by primary progressive MS.
Intellectual disability is characterized by significant impairment of cognitive and adaptive functions and affects 1-3 in 100 individuals worldwide. A few years ago, scientists at CHU Ste.Justine reported for the first time that genetic mutations in the gene SYNGAP1 cause a form of intellectual disability, which is often associated with autism spectrum disorders and epilepsy. Since then, DNA sequencing of SYNGAP1 in several groups of individuals with intellectual disability in Canada, the US and Europe has revealed that pathogenic mutations in SYNGAP1 are one of the most common cause of genetic intellectual disability.