Years ago, children were warned that smoking could stunt their growth, but now a major study by an international team including the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University and the University of Edinburgh shows new evidence that long-term smoking could cause thinning of the brain’s cortex.
Brain cancer patients may live longer thanks to a new cancer-detection method developed by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro, at McGill University and the MUHC, and Polytechnique Montréal. The collaborative team has created a powerful new intraoperative probe for detecting cancer cells.
Canadian researchers have completed an international randomized controlled trial showing that a clot retrieval procedure, known as endovascular treatment (ET), can dramatically improve patient outcomes after an acute ischemic stroke. The study, led by researchers at the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI), shows a dramatic improvement in outcomes and a reduction in deaths from stroke. The results of this study were published in the Feb. 11 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
Psychopathic violent offenders have abnormalities in the parts of the brain related to learning from punishment, according to an MRI study led by Sheilagh Hodgins and Nigel Blackwood. “One in five violent offenders is a psychopath. They have higher rates of recidivism and don’t benefit from rehabilitation programmes. Our research reveals why this is and can hopefully improve childhood interventions to prevent violence and behavioural therapies to reduce recidivism,” explained Professor Hodgins of the University of Montreal and Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal.
Researchers from McMaster’s Offord Centre for Child Studies have found that preschool children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) differed from each other in symptom severity and adaptive functioning at the time of diagnosis and some of these differences appeared to increase by the age of six.
Recent research into brain control of liver lipid production could cause break in obesity and diabetes treatment.
Ways of keeping the heart healthy has widened, with the discovery that the brain can help fight off hardening of the arteries.
Atherosclerosis—hardening and narrowing of the arteries—can be caused by fat build up that causes plaque deposits, and is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease.
A new study led by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) turns scientific prediction on its head. Contrary to what was expected, researchers found that siblings with autism spectrum disorder often carry very different genetic mutations.
This study, published in the Jan. 26 online edition of Nature Medicine, is the largest whole genome sequencing study in autism and one of the largest on any disorder to date.
Dr. Robert Koenekoop, director of the McGill Ocular Genetics Laboratory at The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC, co-led this research.
Finding genes for retinal degenerations has immediate benefits for people living with blindness and vision loss, their families, and their physicians. Establishing a genetic cause confirms the clinical diagnosis at the molecular level, helps predict the future visual prognosis, suggests therapies, and allows some patients to join clinical trials. While more than 200 genes for retinal degenerations have been identified, approximately 40-50% of cases remain a mystery.
Min Zhuo is a professor in the department of physiology at U of T and the Canada Research Chair in Pain and Cognition. Zhuo and his lab recently published a paper in the journal Neuron that showed how neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to physically re-organize itself in response to experience – can spur the interplay between chronic pain and anxiety. They also showed that a drug they developed for chronic pain can limit anxiety.
Study sheds new light on link between salt intake and blood pressure
On the upcoming Super Bowl Sunday, a lot of us will be playing arm-chair quarterback. After the snap, we might use our eyes to track a wide receiver as he runs toward an opening, all the while remembering the location of the star running back in case he breaks through on a rushing play. This natural ability to track one moving player but be ready to quickly look back toward another one sounds simple.
Humans and other primates have an extraordinary ability to voluntarily and efficiently focus attention on important information while ignoring distraction. For decades it has been hypothesized that this ability relies on the evolutionary expansion of the lateral prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain located in the lateral convexity of the frontal lobe, that reaches its highest level of complexity in primates.
“We were amazed by the extent to which microexons are misregulated in people with autism,” says Professor Benjamin Blencowe
Very small segments of genes called “microexons” influence how proteins interact with each other in the nervous system, say scientists at the University of Toronto.
A research team led by Valerie Verge at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) has discovered an important molecular worker in the repair shop of the body’s nervous system, a finding that brings them a step closer to new treatments for debilitating nerve injuries.
The molecule in question is called Luman, a nerve cell (neuron) protein discovered by Vikram Misra in the Western College of Veterinary Medicine while investigating the common cold sore virus.
Dr. Fang Liu, senior scientist in CAMH’s Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute and professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, and her team published their results online in the journal Neuron.
How neurons communicate with each other is central to our understanding of the nervous system. Since the times of Golgi and Cajal, the roles of electrical vs. chemical forms of transmission have been much debated. While it is now well established that both electrical and chemical forms of transmission co-exist throughout the mammalian nervous system, gap junction-mediated electrical signals are found to be extremely weak compared to their chemical counterparts
People affected by a common inherited form of autism could be helped by a drug that is being tested as a treatment for cancer, according to researchers from the University of Edinburgh and McGill University.
Fragile X Syndrome is the most common genetic cause of autism spectrum disorders. It affects around 1 in 4,000 boys and 1 in 6,000 girls. Currently, there is no cure.
Study has far-reaching implications for unconscious role of infant experiences on adult development
An infant’s mother tongue creates neural patterns that the unconscious brain retains years later even if the child totally stops using the language, (as can happen in cases of international adoption) according to a new joint study by scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – The Neuro and McGill University’s Department of Psychology. The study offers the first neural evidence that traces of the “lost” language remain in the brain.
MUHC-led study identifies new player in brain function and memory
Is it possible to change the amount of information the brain can store? Maybe, according to a new international study led by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC). Their research has identified a molecule that puts a brake on brain processing and when removed, brain function and memory recall is improved. Published in the latest issue of Cell Reports
Information is transferred from one neuron to another via synapses. This communication is mediated by neurotransmitters packaged into vesicles. These structures seem identical on electron microscopic images. However, recordings of electrical activity between neurons show that synapses operate under multiple modes of neurotransmitter release depending on the level of activity.
Findings contribute to baseline knowledge of minute-to-minute healthy brain activity.
Examining the brain when it is healthy is essential in order to understand how and why things go wrong when they do. Interested in the brain in its healthy state, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute investigators from the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health’s (DMCBH) Dr. Brian MacVicar Lab asked novel research questions about communication between the brain’s neurons and microglia, its immune cells.
Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine have shown why anesthetics can cause long-term memory loss, a discovery that can have serious implications for post-operative patients.
Congratulations to Brenda Milner who won the 2014 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience. More details on the Kavli Prize website.
Read our latest news in CAN connection: CAN Connection – Fall 2014