Disorganized Patches in the Brain Suggest Prenatal Origin of Autism

The architecture of the autistic brain is speckled with patches of abnormal neurons, according to research partially funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. Recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study suggests that brain irregularities in children with autism can be traced back to prenatal development [1].

Patch-like areas of disrupted neurons

Chronic Sleep Loss May Lead to Loss of Brain Cells

In today’s hectic, fast-paced world, all too often we hear people say they haven’t gotten enough rest and plan to “catch up” on sleep over the weekend. However, new research suggests chronic sleep loss may be more serious than previously thought and may even lead to loss of brain cells [1].

Loss of brain cells

Study Identifies Skin Biomarker for Parkinson’s Disease

Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) report in the October 29th issue of the journal Neurology that elevated levels of the protein alpha-synuclein can be detected in the skin of Parkinson’s disease patients [1]. The finding offers a potential biomarker to enable doctors to identify and diagnose Parkinson’s before the disease has reached an advanced stage.

Parkinsons disease biomarker in skin

Ambitious Project Seeks to Map Brain Activity

At the convergence of biotechnology and nanotechnology, a new project to map the active human brain may eventually lead to an understanding of human perception and consciousness, as well as therapies for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and autism.

Brain Activity Map project

Testing for Parkinson’s Disease Over the Phone

This week is Brain Awareness Week (BAW), an annual observance dedicated to raising public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. Coordinated by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the European Dana Alliance for the Brain, every March, BAW unites the efforts of partner organizations around the world in a week-long celebration of the brain.

Baw2013