Product News: New Research Presented at Neuroscience 2013: Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease & Epigenetics

19 Nov 2013

SelectScience reviews research presented at Neuroscience 2013, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN): from the impact of diet on cognitive brain function, to new potential treatments for Multiple Sclerosis, and new findings about the role of epigenetics in memory storage.

Our Relationship with Food: What drives us to Eat and New Insights into Eating Disorders

Findings presented at Neuroscience 2013 demonstrate the impact of diet on brain function, the connection between Marijuana and obesity, and the identification of patterns of brain activity associated with eating disorders such as binge eating and purging. Read more on the SfN website.

Highlighted research:
A new study presented by Samantha Gardener, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia, demonstrates Mediterranean diet to be associated with less decline in executive function, highlighting the importance of eating a healthy diet with respect to reducing risk for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. See paper.
Research Reveals New Understanding, Warning Signs and Potential Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis

MS is a severe autoimmune disease caused by the body’s immune system attacking the nervous system and currently has no cure. The presented research revealed that scientists are gaining a new level of understanding of multiple sclerosis (MS) that may lead to new treatments and approaches to controlling the chronic disease. Read more on the SfN website.

Highlighted research:
Yukio Takeshita, MD, PhD, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, presented a new model that aids the understanding of how antibodies bypass the protective blood-brain barrier to attack the optic nerves, spinal cord, and brain, causing the symptoms of neuromyelitis optica, a rare disease similar to MS. The new model could provide new approaches to treating the disease. See paper.

Studies Explore Potential Origins of Addiction and Treatments

New studies presented suggest promising novel treatments for nicotine and heroin addiction, and a further understanding of pathological gambling and heroin abuse in those suffering chronic pain. Read more on the SfN website.

Highlighted research:
A lecture presented by George Koob, PhD, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, USA, highlighted the role for the brain systems mediating in the disease of addiction. See paper.

Research Reveals Roles for Exercise and Diet in Aging and Depression

New research focused on the effects of mind/body awareness, exercise, and diet underscores the potential impact of healthy lifestyle choices in treating depression, the effects of aging, and learning. Read more on the SfN website.

Highlighted research:
Research by Yong Tang, MD, PhD, Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China, suggests that exercise may help reduce memory loss associated with age by increasing blood vessels in the white matter.

Nurture Impacts Nature: Experiences Leave Genetic Mark on Brain and Behavior

New epigenetics research demonstrates how experiences impact genes that influence behavior and health, providing new insights into how experience might produce long-term brain changes in behaviors like drug addiction and memory formation. Read more on the SfN website.

Highlighted research:
Work by Eric Kandel, MD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York, presents an activity-dependent, piRNA-mediated, mechanism for DNA methylation of specific loci that can translate transient signals into long-term synaptic changes underlying memory storage. See paper.

Studies Pinpoint Specific Brain Areas and Mechanisms Associated with Depression and Anxiety

More than 350 million people worldwide suffer from clinical depression and between 5 and 25 percent of adults suffer from generalized anxiety, according to the World Health Organization. Research released at Neuroscience 2013 revealed new mechanisms and areas of the brain associated with anxiety and depression, presenting possible targets to understand and treat these debilitating mental illnesses. Read more on the SfN website.

Highlighted research:
Research presented by Georgia Hodes, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, New York, identifies that the inflammatory cytokine IL-6 can be used to predict how animals might react to social stress. The research highlights a possible role for IL-6 as a biomarker for stress sensitivity and a potential target for treating depression and related disorders.

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