CAN 2016 election results CAN Connection August 2016 CAN Social at SfN - Nov 15 6:30 PM - Hard Rock Hotel San Diego Kirsty Duncan visit Miller lab at SickKids Montreal 2017 Matthew Hill is the 2016 CAN Young Investigator CAN Advocacy contest winners impact of neurological disorders in Canada

 

CAN-ACN news

Sick Kids Researchers May Have Finally Figured Out Why We Can Remember Multiple Memories at Once

Have you ever noticed when you remember something from your past, you may also recall other moments from that time. It seems to be even more pronounced when remembering a moving event, such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the demise of the space shuttle Challenger, and more recently, the tragic events of 9/11.
While many of us experience these multiple memories, the mechanism behind their formation has been a biological enigma. For over a century researchers have tried to figure out how these combinations – or co-allocations – of memories occur. Yet successes have been few and far between.

Want To Retain Memories? McGill Researchers Suggest More REM Sleep May Do The Trick

Improving memory is a quest that never seems to end. For centuries, humans have attempted to find the right combination of social actions to better retain what we’ve learned. Over the years, some options have shown promise such as fasting  and strenuous exercise. While effective, they are not particularly popular. Then there’s the odd concept of intranasal injection of insulin. It goes to show that an idea with promise might not be the best idea.

McGill Researchers Have Found A Critical Component To Learning A Language

Acquiring a language is a difficult process. One of the best ways to learn involves the use of a tutor. This one-on-one interaction allows for direct learning as well as interaction without distraction. Usually, the teacher is an expert in that specific language. But when it comes to learning a first language, the most useful tutor happens to be an infant’s parent.

Neuroscience news

High-speed connections

Armen Saghatelyan

Armen Saghatelyan

Researchers find a mechanism that allows the brain to reconfigure connections between neurons in mere minutes.

A team from the Quebec Mental Health Institute – Université Laval has discovered a mechanism that allows the brain to rapidly reconfigure connections between its neurons. According to the researchers, whose findings were published in a recent issue of the journal Nature Communications, this mechanism plays a central role in brain plasticity.

Researchers find new role for cannabinoids in vision

Edward Ruthazer

Edward Ruthazer

Chemicals found to improve low-light vision of tadpoles by sensitizing retinal cells

A multidisciplinary team including researchers from the Montreal Neurological Institute has improved our understanding of how cannabinoids, the active agent in marijuana, affect vision in vertebrates.

Scientists used a variety of methods to test how tadpoles react to visual stimuli when they’ve been exposed to increased levels of exogenous or endogenous cannabinoids. Exogenous cannabinoids are artificially introduced drugs, whereas endogenous cannabinoids occur naturally in the body.

New path of discovery in Parkinson’s disease

Heidi McBride

Heidi McBride

Michel Desjardins

Michel Desjardins

Neuron cell death may be caused by overactive immune system 

A team of scientists led by Dr. Michel Desjardins from the University of Montreal and Dr. Heidi McBride from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (MNI) at McGill University have discovered that two genes associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) are key regulators of the immune system, providing direct evidence linking Parkinson’s to autoimmune disease.

Using both cellular and mouse models, the team has shown that proteins produced by the two genes, known as PINK1 and Parkin, are required to prevent cells from being detected and attacked by the immune system.

Middle-age memory decline a matter of changing focus

Natasha Rajah

Natasha Rajah

Research sheds new light on what constitutes healthy aging of the brain

The inability to remember details, such as the location of objects, begins in early midlife (the 40s) and may be the result of a change in what information the brain focuses on during memory formation and retrieval, rather than a decline in brain function, according to a study by McGill University researchers.

“Big Data” study discovers earliest sign of Alzheimer’s

Alan Evans

Alan Evans

Research underlines importance of computational power in future neurological breakthrough.
Scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital have used a powerful tool to better understand the progression of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD), identifying its first physiological signs.
Led by Dr. Alan Evans, a professor of neurology, neurosurgery and biomedical engineering at the Neuro, the researchers analyzed more than 7,700 brain images from 1,171 people in various stages of Alzheimer’s progression using a variety of techniques including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). Blood and cerebrospinal fluid were also analyzed, as well as the subjects’ level of cognition.

Hummingbird vision wired to avoid high-speed collisions

Douglas Altshuler

Douglas Altshuler

Hummingbirds are among nature’s most agile fliers. They can travel faster than 50 kilometres per hour and stop on a dime to navigate through dense vegetation.

Now researchers have discovered that the tiny birds process visual information differently from other animals, perhaps to handle the demands of their extreme aerial acrobatics.

“Birds fly faster than insects and it’s more dangerous if they collide with things,” said Roslyn Dakin, a postdoctoral fellow in the UBC’s department of zoology who led the study. “We wanted to know how they avoid collisions and we found that hummingbirds use their environment differently than insects to steer a precise course.”