Scientists cure disorders in mice by resetting their brains

A team of scientists has cured a brain disorder in adult mice by rebooting the rodents’ brains and allowing them to rewire themselves.

The research demonstrates that certain features of young brains can be recreated in mature brains, even in parts of older brains that scientists believed were impervious to change.

It could also pave the way for treating a variety of developmental disorders that begin relatively early in life.

 

Air pollution ‘can cause changes in the brain seen in autism and schizophrenia’

Comment:    Once again, environmental influences can trigger severe cognitive disorders.

 
Early exposure to air pollution causes harmful changes in the brain seen in autism and schizophrenia, research has shown.

The findings in mice follow previous research linking traffic pollution and higher rates of autism in children.

As in humans, it was mostly male mice that were affected.

Besides suffering physical damage to their brains, they performed  poorly in tests of short-term memory, learning ability and impulsivity.

 

Study: Cat Parasite Tied To Schizophrenia, Mental Illnesses

Coming into close contact with cats can spread a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) – also dubbed the “cat poop parasite” – which are linked to schizophrenia and other mental disorders that affect humans. The cat-carried parasite is the most common in developed countries and can infect any warm-blooded species, according to the Schizophrenia Bulletin. Although most humans don’t suffer any symptoms from the widespread parasite, it can cause the illness T. gondii, which is linked to weeks of flu-like symptoms, blindness and even death, CBS News reports. “Cat ownership in childhood has now been reported in three studies to be significantly more common in families in which the child is later diagnosed with schizophrenia or another serious mental illness,” write study authors E. Fuller Torrey of the Stanley Medical Research Institute and Dr. Robert H. Yolken of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

 

Casual marijuana use linked with brain abnormalities

For the first time, researchers at Northwestern University have analyzed the relationship between casual use of marijuana and brain changes – and found that young adults who used cannabis just once or twice a week showed significant abnormalities in two important brain structures.

The study’s findings, to be published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience, are similar to those of past research linking chronic, long-term marijuana use with mental illness and changes in brain development.

Dr. Hans Breiter, co-senior study author, said he was inspired to look at the effects of casual marijuana use after previous work in his lab found that heavy cannabis use caused similar brain abnormalities to those seen in patients with schizophrenia.

 

Early exposure to air pollution causes harmful changes in the brain

Editorial:    Once again, environmental influences can trigger severe cognitive disorders.

The findings in mice follow previous research linking traffic pollution and higher rates of autism in children.  As in humans, it was mostly male mice that were affected.  Besides suffering physical damage to their brains, they performed poorly in tests of short-term memory, learning ability and impulsivity.  Exposure to air pollution causes harmful changes in the brain seen in autism and schizophrenia.

 

Scientists find genetic ties to schizophrenia

Scientists have linked more than 100 spots in our DNA to the risk of developing schizophrenia, casting light on the mystery of what makes the disease tick.  Such work could eventually point to new treatments, although they are many years away. Already, the new results provide the first hard genetic evidence to bolster a theory connecting the immune system to the disease.