New research conducted in the laboratory of Louis-Éric Trudeau at the Université de Montréal helps explain why some neurons in the brain are specifically affected and die in Parkinson’s disease. His team found that the death of neurons affected by Parkinson’s, including some found in regions called the substantia nigra (literally “the black substance”), the locus ceruleus and the dorsal nucleus of the vagus nerve, may be caused by a form of cellular energy crisis in neurons that require unusually high quantities of energy to carry out their job of regulating movement.
A new study by Karl Fernandes, a researcher at the CRCHUM and a professor at Université de Montréal linking abnormal fast deposits in the brain and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. “We found fatty acid deposits in the brain of patients who died from the disease and in mice that were genetically modified to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Our experiments suggest that these abnormal fat deposits could be a trigger for the disease”, said Karl Fernandes.
“Our study shows the importance of understanding environmental influences on the developing brain in early life” says Dr Tomas Paus, of the University of Toronto’s department of psychiatry. “Given the solid epidemiologic evidence supporting a link between cannabis exposure during adolescence and schizophrenia, we investigated whether the use of cannabis during early adolescence (by 16 years of age) is associated with variations in brain maturation as a function of genetic risk for schizophrenia,”
Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common cause of physical disability in children. Every year 140 children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy in Quebec.
It has historically been considered to be caused by factors such as birth asphyxia, stroke and infections in the developing brain of babies. In a new game-changing Canadian study, a research team from The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) has uncovered strong evidence for genetic causes of cerebral palsy that turns experts’ understanding of the condition on its head.
A brief period of postnatal visual deprivation, when early in life, drives a rewiring of the brain areas involved in visual processing, even if the visual restoration is completed well before the baby reaches one year of age, researchers at the University of Trento, McMaster University, and the University of Montreal revealed today in Current Biology.
Having low levels of vitamin D doubles the risk of developing multiple sclerosis, an association that researchers conclude supports a causal relationship.
Low levels of vitamin D significantly increase the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study led by Dr. Brent Richards of the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital, and published in PLOS Medicine.
Professor Benjamin Blencowe and his team at the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research have determined that a small change in a protein called PTBP1 spurred the creation of neurons and fuelled the evolution of mammalian brains to become the largest and most complex among vertebrates.
Chronic pain is one of the most common reasons people visit their doctor, and basic scientists have long been trying to understand it. In Canada, chronic pain costs more than heart disease, HIV and cancer combined. New animal research, published online in Cell Reports on July 23, out of the Cumming School of Medicine has made a discovery that provides more insight into the mechanisms of pain.
Study fuels nature versus nurture debate
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? New research on the brain’s capacity to learn suggests there’s more to it than the adage that “practise makes perfect.” A music-training study by scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital -The Neuro, at McGill University and colleagues in Germany found evidence to distinguish the parts of the brain that account for individual talent from the parts that are activated through training.
High-fat feeding can cause impairments in the functioning of the mesolimbic dopamine system, says Stephanie Fulton of the University of Montreal and the CHUM Research Centre (CRCHUM.) This system is a critical brain pathway controlling motivation. Fulton’s findings, published in Neuropsychopharmacology, may have great health implications.
New research released today in Nature Neuroscience reveals for the first time that pain is processed in male and female mice using different cells. These findings have far-reaching implications for our basic understanding of pain, how we develop the next generation of medications for chronic pain—which is by far the most prevalent human health condition—and the way we execute basic biomedical research using mice.
Scientists at McMaster University have discovered how to make adult sensory neurons from human patients simply by having them roll up their sleeve and providing a blood sample.
Specifically, stem cell scientists at McMaster can now directly convert adult human blood cells to both central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) neurons as well as neurons in the peripheral nervous system (rest of the body) that are responsible for pain, temperature and itch perception. This means that how a person’s nervous system cells react and respond to stimuli, can be determined from his blood.
Towards a better understanding of the mechanisms of depression
A new study published by the team of Naguib Mechawar, Ph.D., a researcher with the McGill Group for Suicide Studies (MGSS) of the Douglas Institute (CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île de Montréal) and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, sheds new light on the disruption of astrocytes in depression. Astrocytes, a class of non-neuronal cells, have previously been implicated in depression and suicide. However, it was not known whether these cells were affected throughout the brain or only in certain regions.
Huntington’s disease is caused by a mutation in the Huntington’s disease gene, but it has long been a mystery why some people with the exact same mutation get the disease more severely and earlier than others. A closer look at the DNA around the Huntington’s disease (HD) gene offers researchers a new understanding of how the gene is controlled and how this affects the disease. These findings set the stage for new treatments to delay or prevent the onset of this devastating brain disease.
Your genes may influence how sensitive you are to emotional information, according to new research by a UBC neuroscientist. The study, recently published in The Journal of Neuroscience, found that carriers of a certain genetic variation perceived positive and negative images more vividly, and had heightened activity in certain brain regions.
Chewing, breathing, and other regular bodily functions that we undertake “without thinking” actually do require the involvement of our brain, but the question of how the brain programs such regular functions intrigues scientists. A team lead by Arlette Kolta, a professor at the University of Montreal’s Faculty of Dentistry, has shown that astrocytes play a key role.
Dr. Jeffrey Mogil from McGill University led an important study published recently in Science Translational Medicine showing that expression levels of the α6 subunit of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR), is highly associated with allodynia, a prominent symptom of chronic pain.
A study on a protein that helps maintain the blood-brain barrier and ameliorated the effects of a multiple sclerosis-like disease in an animal model.
Researchers at the IRCM led by Artur Kania, Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Université de Montréal, uncovered the critical role in pain processing of a gene associated with a rare disease. Their breakthrough, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, paves the way for a better understanding of chronic pain conditions.
“A big challenge in treating stroke is understanding how other health conditions affect recovery,” says Craig Brown, a neuroscientist in UVic’s Division of Medical Sciences “Many diseases increase the chances of having a stroke, and they also limit recovery. Diabetes is one of these diseases, affecting millions in Canada. Much like a five-card poker hand, the unique collection of health concerns a patient holds in their hand likely dictates how they should be treated.”
A team of researchers at the IRCM led by Michel Cayouette, PhD, identified one of the genes responsible for producing a type of cell required for vision. The breakthrough, published in the scientific journal Neuron, could eventually help overcome obstacles associated with treatments to prevent blindness.