Abnormal fat build-up in the brain accelerates Alzheimer’s disease

Karl Fernandes
Karl Fernandes

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. Continue reading

The effects of cannabis on the male teenage brain

Tomas Paus
Tomas Paus

“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,” Continue reading

Study sheds light on the causes of cerebral palsy

Maryam Oskoui
Maryam Oskoui

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. Continue reading

Brief postnatal blindness triggers long-lasting reorganization in the brain

Olivier Collignon
Olivier Collignon

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. Continue reading

Association between low vitamin D and MS

Brent Richards
Brent Richards

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. Continue reading

Why we’re smarter than chickens

Benjamin Blencowe
Benjamin Blencowe
Researchers at U of T’s Donnelly Centre uncover protein part that controls neuron development.U of T researchers have discovered that a single molecular event in our cells could hold the key to how we evolved to become the smartest creatures on the planet.

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. Continue reading

Scientists identify key gene associated with addiction

Salah El-Mestikawy
Salah El-Mestikawy
A new study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry by a team led by Salah El Mestikawy, Ph.D., researcher at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute (CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’île-de-Montréal), professor at McGill University and head of research at CNRS INSERM UPMC in Paris, opens the field to new understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying addiction in humans. Continue reading

Researchers discover mechanism involved in chronic pain

Zizhen Zhang
Zizhen Zhang

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. Continue reading

Practice doesn’t always make perfect (depending on your brain)

Dr. Robert Zatorre
Dr. Robert Zatorre

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. Continue reading

This is your brain on fried eggs

Stephanie Fulton
Stephanie Fulton

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. Continue reading