Brain

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Delicious research

Can drinking cocoa make you smarter?

Increased consumption of flavanols – a group of molecules which occur naturally in fruit and vegetables – can increase your mental agility, according to new research. A team at the University of Birmingham has found that people given a cocoa drink containing high levels of flavanols were able to complete certain cognitive tasks more efficiently than when drinking a non-flavanol enriched-drink.

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White matter hyperintensities

High blood pressure puts the brain at risk

Higher than normal blood pressure is linked to more extensive brain damage in the elderly, according to a new study published in the European Heart Journal. In particular, the study found that there was a strong association between diastolic blood pressure (the blood pressure between heart beats) before the age of 50 and brain damage in later life, even if the diastolic blood pressure was within…

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Deep learning applied to MRI scans

Glioblastoma: Using AI to improve prognosis and treatment

In the first study of its kind in cancer, researchers have applied artificial intelligence to measure the amount of muscle in patients with brain tumours to help improve prognosis and treatment. Dr Ella Mi, a clinical research fellow at Imperial College London (UK) will tell the NCRI Virtual Showcase, that using deep learning to evaluate MRI brain scans of a muscle in the head was as accurate and…

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treatment sensitivity

Single brain region links depression, anxiety and heart disease

Over-activity in a single brain region called the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sgACC) underlies several key symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders, but an antidepressant only successfully treats some of the symptoms. A new study suggests that sgACC is a crucial region in depression and anxiety, and targeted treatment based on a patient's symptoms could lead to better outcomes.

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POCT for the head

New device detects traumatic brain injury 'on the spot'

A method for detecting traumatic brain injury at the point of care has been developed by scientists at the University of Birmingham. Using chemical biomarkers released by the brain immediately after a head injury occurs, researchers are able to pinpoint when patients need urgent medical attention. This saves time in delivering vital treatment and avoids patients undergoing unnecessary tests where…

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Overheard at AAIC 2020

Exciting Alzheimer's findings: ’flu vaccines and P-tau217

More than 32,000 people from over 160 countries registered for The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC 2020) in July. This largest and most influential international conference on dementia science had to be held virtually this year, when important highlights were aired. The ability to identify individuals at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), or at early…

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Origins of the disease(s) explained

Parkinson's: not one, but two diseases?

Although the name may suggest otherwise, Parkinson's disease is not one but two diseases, starting either in the brain or in the intestines. Which explains why patients with Parkinson’s describe widely differing symptoms, and points towards personalised medicine as the way forward for people with Parkinson's disease. This is the conclusion of a study which has just been published in the leading…

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The network remembers

Brain-inspired memory abilities to make AI less 'forgetful'

Artificial intelligence (AI) experts at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Baylor College of Medicine report that they have successfully addressed what they call a “major, long-standing obstacle to increasing AI capabilities” by drawing inspiration from a human brain memory mechanism known as “replay.” First author and postdoctoral researcher Gido van de Ven and principal…

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Memory formation

Unlocking the mysteries of the brain

A Canadian research team highlights the mechanisms underlying memory and learning capacity – specifically, how our brains process, store and integrate information. How does our brain store information? Seeking an answer, researchers at CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital and Université de Montréal have made a major discovery in understanding the mechanisms underlying learning and memory formation.…

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Neuronal disorder

Tracking the onset of ataxias

“Spinocerebellar ataxias” are diseases of the nervous system associated with a loss of motor coordination. A European research alliance headed by the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the University of Bonn has now registered whether and how symptoms of ataxia developed over the years in around 250 persons at risk, who initially did not show symptoms. This is the first…

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Neuroradiology

Alzheimer’s research: A lost century

Lack of understanding around Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has significantly slowed advances in the treatment of this incurable condition. Imaging has proved to be reliable in differentiating between AD and other forms of dementia, and its contribution will continue to help develop profiling, an increasingly interesting approach for the development of new and more efficient drugs, according to Sven…

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Neuro-oncology

Challenges in brain tumour segmentation

Neuroradiologist Dr Sofie Van Cauter described the challenges to brain tumour image segmentation during the European Society of Medical Imaging Informatics (EuSoMII) annual meeting in Valencia. She also outlined how, when clinically validated, AI could help tackle such problems. The WHO classification of brain tumours has come a long way since first introduced in 1979. The 2016 classification was…

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Corona in radiology

Revealing COVID-19-related brain injury in MRI and CT imaging

Injuries in the nervous system of patients with severe COVID-19 are revealed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT). In a study of 185 patients, researchers at Karolinska Institutet (KI) and Karolinska University Hospital show an affection of microscopic blood vessels and inflammation in the brain, meninges and nerves. The results are published in Radiology.

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Brain tumor treatment network

'Federated learning' AI approach allows hospitals to share patient data privately

To answer medical questions that can be applied to a wide patient population, machine learning models rely on large, diverse datasets from a variety of institutions. However, health systems and hospitals are often resistant to sharing patient data, due to legal, privacy, and cultural challenges. An emerging technique called federated learning is a solution to this dilemma, according to a study…

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Neurology research

Calcium channel subunits play a major role in autistic disorders

The ability of the human brain to process and store information is determined to a large extent by the connectivity between nerve cells. Chemical synapses are very important in this context as they constitute the interface for the transmission of information between individual nerve cells. Abnormalities in the formation of synapses cause many neurological disorders such as autism. Neurobiologists…

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Prevention research

These 10 risk factors must be tackled to prevent Alzheimer's

There are at least 10 risk factors that appear to have a significant impact on a person’s likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease that could be targeted with preventative steps, new research suggests. Focusing on these factors, which include cognitive activity, high body mass index in late life, depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure, could provide clinicians with an evidence…

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From the MS Experts Summit

An update on MR imaging in Multiple Sclerosis

This year’s ”MS Experts Summit” sees 18 clinicians and researchers convene online for seven sessions during this summer. Under the motto “People with MS: 360º evidence-based daily management” international speakers with expertise in various domains of multiple sclerosis (MS) exchange their latest advances in managing patients suffering from this disease. In his talk “MRI imaging in…

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Immune system overreaction

Sepsis can cause long-term damage in the brain

Infections can trigger a particularly strong immune reaction of the body (termed sepsis). In such a sepsis the immune system reacts so strongly that not only the pathogens but also tissues and organs are damaged. In a study with mice, researchers from the Technische Universität Braunschweig were able to show that sepsis can have long-term effects on the brain and learning behaviour even after…

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high-density EEG

A deeper look inside the brain

Understanding the source and network of signals as the brain functions is a central goal of brain research. Now, Carnegie Mellon engineers have created a system for high-density EEG imaging of the origin and path of normal and abnormal brain signals.

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Multiple sclerosis MRI imaging

Software finds white matter damage in brain tissue

Random Walk Imaging (RWI), a company developing novel software solutions for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), announced positive data from a study in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients using its proprietary scanning method and software protocol. Data from the study, which was conducted at the Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre, demonstrated a…

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Neurodegeneration

Alzheimer research: Noise-inducing neurons shut down memories

Neurons that are responsible for new experiences interfere with the signals of neurons that contain memories and thereby disturb the recall of memories – at least in mice. The research group of Martin Fuhrmann of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) reports this phenomenon in the scientific journal “Nature Neuroscience“. The results of this study potentially shed new…

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