New research on the Zika virus

  Further evidence is linking the Zika virus to fetal brain damage and now to serious neurological disease in adults. In the first paper researchers performed brain scans on 23 babies born to mothers thought to be infected with Zika. The scans revealed a majority of the babies had severe brain malformation and scar-like lesions […]

Restoring movement to a quadriplegic patient

Researchers have successfully restored some movement to the fingers, hand, and wrist of a quadriplegic patient by using recorded signals from his motor cortex, allowing him to perform daily living activities such as pouring from a bottle and stirring the contents. Systems that work by translating neural activity into signals for robotic devices, such as […]

Use ‘em or lose ‘em – The case for teaching navigational skills

Schools should teach navigational and map reading skills to ensure future generations do not lose their innate ability to navigate in the world, so says Roger McKinlay, former president of the Royal Institute of Navigation in the United Kingdom. In this commentary, the author argues that turning to technology erodes our innate ability to orientate, […]

Stop screening for developmental delay

The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care recommends against using a screening test to identify developmental delay in young children who show no apparent signs of delayed development. The recommendation applies to children aged one to four years old who have no visible signs, or whose parents have no concerns, of delay. Developmental delay […]

Shared semantic structure between human languages

Human languages share a common semantic structure regardless of the regional environment in which a language evolved, according a study of 81 languages. The authors believe concepts expressed in language may arise from universal properties of human cognition. Examining how words are related to other words in a language revealed a universal semantic network. For […]

A video showing the swelling of the brain and the formation of the folds is available on YouTube. (Video credit: Tuomas Tallinen, Jun Young Chung, and L. Mahadevan. Uploaded by NPG Press to YouTube).

Why the brain has its folds

The folds  on the surface of the human brain exist because of physics, not biology, according to a new study using 3D printing. The researchers believe their results suggest that physical forces play a crucial role in neurodevelopment, and may provide insights into diagnosing and treating some neurological disorders. The study proves a model from […]

Imaging studies showed C4 (in green) located at the synapses of primary human neurons. (Image credit: Image courtesy of Heather de Rivera [McCarroll lab])

Genetically mapping the cause for schizophrenia’s synaptic loss

Mapping genetic variations has allowed researchers to identify a potential mechanism to explain the onset of schizophrenia. The authors hope this will provide insights into the risk of developing schizophrenia as well as the neurobiology of the disease. Variations in the genetic code controlling the production of C4, a protein known for the role it […]

Studying autism with genetically modified monkeys

Genetically modified monkeys showing autism-like behaviours could help the development of strategies to treat the symptoms of autism disorders, according to researchers. Currently one of the major challenges for researchers studying autism spectrum disorders is the lack of animals models that reproduce symptoms typically found in human patients. These monkeys, and their offspring, show behavioural […]

Language changes brain patterns

Very early language experience will influence how a child’s brain processes a new language later in life, according to a study in Nature. Researchers examined three groups of children, all of whom were fluent in French. One group had no exposure to Mandarin, another was fluent in Mandarin, and the last third group had been […]

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Teaching a paraplegic to walk

For the first time a person with complete paralysis in both legs (paraplegia), arising from a spinal cord injury, was able to walk without relying on manually controlled robotic limbs. The results show that brain-controlled walking can be restored after a complete spinal cord injury. After undergoing mental training, and physical rehabilitation to restore the […]

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