By isolating cells from patients’ spinal tissue within a few days after death, researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have developed a new model of the paralyzing disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). They found that during the disease, cells called astrocytes become toxic to nerve cells — a result previously found in animal models but not in humans. The new model could be used to investigate many more questions about ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Key cells in the brain region known as the hippocampus are formed in the base of the brain late in fetal life and undertake a long journey before reaching their final destination in the center of the brain shortly after birth, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The largest and most rigorous twin study of its kind to date has found that shared environment influences susceptibility to autism more than previously thought.
The study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, found that shared environmental factors — experiences and exposures common to both twin individuals — accounted for 55% of strict autism and 58% of more broadly defined autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Genetic heritability accounted for 37% of autism and 38% of ASD. Random environmental factors not shared among twins play a much smaller role.
Mental health experts are calling for a greater world focus on improving access to care and treatment for mental, neurological, and substance use (MNS) disorders, as well as increasing discoveries in research that will enable this goal to be met.
The Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health Initiative, led by the National Institutes of Health and the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases, has identified the top 40 barriers to better mental health around the world. Similar to past grand challenges, which focused on infectious diseases and chronic, noncommunicable diseases, this initiative seeks to build a community of funders dedicated to supporting research that will significantly improve the lives of people living with MNS disorders within the next 10 years.
New videos to help people make lifestyle changes and cope with the demands of diabetes were announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP). The series of three-to five-minute videos, which can be found at www.YourDiabetesInfo.org/HealthSense, address topics such as setting goals to improve health, living with diabetes, finding the support you need, as well as segments on diabetes prevention and physical activity.