News

Taking it all in: revealing how we sense things

Maurice Chacron

April 24, 2012 – McGill physiology research team sheds light on how the brain processes what we sense

We rely on our senses in all aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, many people suffer from some kind of impaired sensory function. In Canada alone, 600,000 people are visually impaired while almost three million suffer from partial or total hearing loss.

Preventing dementia: new research by VCH and UBC shows the trajectory of cognitive decline can be altered in seniors at risk for dementia

Theresa Liu-Ambrose

April 23, 2012 – Cognitive decline is a pressing global health care issue. Worldwide, one case of dementia is detected every seven seconds. Mild cognitive impairment is a well recognized risk factor for dementia, and represents a critical window of opportunity for intervening and altering the trajectory of cognitive decline in seniors.

Researchers uncover clue to autism mystery

Stephen Scherer

April 13 2012 – Genetic glitch affects boys
Autism researchers have uncovered a clue to the mystery of why autism affects four times as many boys as girls: a genetic glitch that only affects boys.

Cholesterol drug shows benefit in animal study of Alzheimer’s disease

Dr. Edith Hamel

April 5, 2012 – Improvement shown in blood vessel function following drug treatment. A cholesterol drug commonly prescribed to reduce cardiovascular disease risk restores blood vessel function in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study in the April 4 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Why some pain drugs become less effective over time

April 5, 2012 – Researchers at the University of Montreal’s Sainte-Justine Hospital have identified how neural cells are able to build up resistance to opioid pain drugs within hours. “A better understanding of these mechanisms will enable us to design drugs that avoid body resistance to these drugs and produce longer therapeutic responses, including longer-acting opioid analgesics”, lead author Dr. Graciela Pineyro said.

Study suggests new way to treat chronic pain

Dr. Jeffrey Mogil

March 27 2012 – Gene that encodes crucial pain receptor may be key to
individualizing therapy for major health problem

Nearly one in five people suffers from the insidious and often devastating problem of chronic pain.

Collaboration rapidly connects fly gene discovery to human disease

Dr. Bernard Brais

March 22, 2012 – A collaborative study by scientists at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and the Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill University, and published March 20 in the online, open access journal PLoS Biology, has discovered that mutations in the same gene that encodes part of the vital machinery of the mitochondrion can cause neurodegenerative disorders in both fruit flies and humans.

McGill researchers crack degeneration process that leads to Alzheimer’s

Claudio Cuello

Dr. Claudio Cuello

March 8, 2012 – New study points to possible new therapeutic approaches in treatment of AD. A research group led by Dr. A. Claudio Cuello of McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine, Dept. of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, has uncovered a critical process in understanding the degeneration of brain cells sensitive to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, suggests that this discovery could help develop alternative AD therapies.

Open your eyes and smell the roses

Christopher Pack

February 29 2012 – Activating the visual cortex improves our sense of smell. A new study reveals for the first time that activating the brain’s visual cortex with a small amount of electrical stimulation actually improves our sense of smell. The finding published in the Journal of Neuroscience by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro, McGill University and the Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, revises our understanding of the complex biology of the senses in the brain.

Doctors find new way to predict recurrent stroke

Dr. Coutts (right) and patient

Feb 24, 2012 – New research from the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) shows that using a CT (computerised tomography) scan, doctors can predict if patients who have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke, with neurological symptoms such as weakness or speech issues, are at risk for another more severe stroke.

The secret to forming memories

Clayton Dickson

Feb. 14, 2012 – U of A researchers have established that the brain’s ability to rehearse or repeat electrical impulses may be critical in making a newly acquired memory more permanent.

Warning! Collision Imminent!

Christopher Pack

Feb. 6th, 2012 – The brain’s quick interceptions help you navigate the world – When you are about to collide into something and manage to swerve away just in the nick of time, what exactly is happening in your brain? A new study from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro, McGill University shows how the brain processes visual information to figure out when something is moving towards you or when you are about to head into a collision.

A team from Université Laval shed new light on neuron regeneration in the brain

Armen Saghatelyan

Dr. Armen Saghatelyan

Feb. 5 2012 – Researchers at the Robert-Giffard Research Center of Université Laval have just shed new light on the regeneration of brain neurons. The work of Lusine Bozoyan, Jivan Khlghatyan and Armen Saghatelyan, published in the February 1st edition of the Journal of Neuroscience, demonstrates the role played by cells called astrocytes in this mechanism.

Genetic breakthrough for brain cancer in children

Dr. Nada Jabado

Jan. 30, 2012 – Canadian-led research team identifies two mutations in crucial gene involved in deadly pediatric brain tumours

An international research team led by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) has made a major genetic breakthrough that could change the way pediatric cancers are treated in the future.

Study Identifies a New Way Brain Cells Die in Alzheimer’s Disease – Will help lead researchers towards new treatments

Zamponi and Stys

Zamponi & Stys

A new study challenges conventional thinking about how brain cells die in Alzheimer’s disease. The findings demonstrate a previously unknown mechanism by which the cells die and will help lead researchers in new directions for treating the degenerative brain disease. The study by scientists at the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute is published this week in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Defective cell ‘battery’ plays central role in neurodegenerative disease

Peter McPherson

Peter McPherson

Jan. 17, 2012 – A devastating neurodegenerative disease that first appears in toddlers just as they are beginning to walk has been traced to defects in mitochondria, the ‘batteries’ or energy-producing power plants of cells. This finding by a team of researchers, led by investigators from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro- at McGill University, was published in this week’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS).

How do we split our attention?

Dr. Julio Martinez-Trujillo

DEC. 21, 2011 – McGill’s Cognitive Neurophysiology Lab team finds that we are natural-born multi-taskers

Imagine you’re a hockey goalie, and two opposing players are breaking in alone on you, passing the puck back and forth. You’re aware of the linesman skating in on your left, but pay him no mind. Your focus is on the puck and the two approaching players. As the action unfolds, how is your brain processing this intense moment of “multi-tasking”?

A breakthrough in pinpointing protective mechanisms in Multiple Sclerosis

Alexandre Prat

December 1st, 2011 – In an article published today in the prestigious journal Science, a team of researchers led by Dr Alexander Prat and postgraduate fellow Jorge Alvarez at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) sheds light on how the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) works to prevent the incursion of the immune system into the brain.