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Head Imaging News

Scientists Discover More Clues to Stuttering

Posted 1 hour 24 minutes ago by

MONDAY, Dec. 5, 2016 – A blend of brain circuits are altered in people who stutter, new research indicates. Using an imaging technique that looks at brain cell metabolism, scientists learned that changes in areas involved in speech, attention and emotion are all linked to stuttering. Stuttering is characterized by involuntarily repeating certain sounds, syllables or words when speaking. The imaging method used for the study is known as proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). "It is a fundamental measure of the density of [nerve] tissue in these circuits that seem to not have developed properly," said study author Dr. Bradley Peterson. He's director of the Institute for the Developing Mind at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "Moreover, the [extent] of the abnormalities seems to relate to the severity of stuttering as well," he added. "This provides an important road map to ... Read more

Related support groups: Diagnosis and Investigation, Head Imaging

Brain Harm May Last Long After College Football Players' Final Game

Posted 3 days ago by

FRIDAY, Dec. 2, 2016 – Brain tissue thinning is still evident in former college football players several years after they stop playing, a new study finds. University of Cincinnati researchers conducted MRI scans of 11 former college players and found they had significantly less cortical thickness in parts of the frontal and temporal cortex of the brain, compared with former track-and-field athletes. "The former football players showed, on average, lower cortical thickness across prefrontal and temporal brain regions – areas of the brain involved in sustained attention, memory and executive abilities – cognitive domains critical to long-term professional and social function," said co-principal investigator Dr. Cal Adler. He is vice chair for clinical research in the department of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the university. In many areas of the brain, there was a link ... Read more

Related support groups: Head Injury, Head Injury with Intracranial Hemorrhage, Diagnosis and Investigation, Head Injury w/ Intracranial Hemorrhage and Loss of Consciousness, Head Imaging, Head Injury with Loss of Consciousness

Researchers Explore Way to Detect Brain Injury in NFL Players

Posted 7 days ago by

MONDAY, Nov. 28, 2016 – Researchers say they've discovered a new way to detect and track brain injury related to repeated concussions in National Football League (NFL) players. Brain imaging scans in 14 current or former NFL players revealed elevated levels of a protein related to the body's immune response for brain injury, said lead researcher Dr. Jennifer Coughlin. She is an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The NFL players, who had gone an average of seven years since their last self-reported concussion, showed high levels of the protein in eight of 12 brain regions examined, Coughlin said. If this new test is proven to work, it could provide a cornerstone for tracking the effects of repeated concussions on the human brain, Coughlin and her colleagues concluded. "We anticipate this technology is going to be useful ... Read more

Related support groups: Head Injury, Head Injury with Intracranial Hemorrhage, Diagnosis and Investigation, Head Injury w/ Intracranial Hemorrhage and Loss of Consciousness, Head Imaging, Head Injury with Loss of Consciousness

Some Elderly With Alzheimer's Brain Plaques Stay Sharp

Posted 14 Nov 2016 by

MONDAY, Nov. 14, 2016 – In a discovery that challenges conventional thinking, researchers report that several people over the age of 90 had excellent memory even though their brains showed signs that they had Alzheimer's disease. The meaning of the findings isn't entirely clear. The elderly people, whose brains were studied after their deaths, may have been in the early stages of Alzheimer's, although the researchers said they doubt this. It's also possible that something about these people – or their brains – could have kept dementia symptoms in check. "The implication is that factors protect some elderly people" from the brain-clogging proteins that are thought to cause Alzheimer's, said study author Changiz Geula. He is a research professor of cognitive neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. "Investigation of these factors is crucial if we are ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Diagnosis and Investigation, Head Imaging

PTSD May Affect Boys, Girls Differently, Brain Scans Show

Posted 11 Nov 2016 by

FRIDAY, Nov. 11, 2016 – Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects the brains of girls and boys in different ways, a new study suggests. Researchers used MRI scans to examine the brains of 59 children, aged 9 to 17. The participants included 30 kids with PTSD and 29 without the disorder (the "control" group). Girls and boys in the control group had no differences in brain structure, the researchers said. But among those with PTSD, girls and boys showed differences in one part of the insula – an area of the brain involved in emotion and empathy. This brain area was larger in boys with PTSD than in other boys, and was smaller in girls with PTSD than in the control group girls, according to researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California. The findings, published online Nov. 11 in the journal Depression and Anxiety, are believed to be the first of their kind, ... Read more

Related support groups: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Head Imaging

Brain Scans May Improve Dementia Diagnosis, Treatment

Posted 8 Nov 2016 by

TUESDAY, Nov. 8, 2016 – Tens of millions of people worldwide suffer from memory loss and mental impairment due to dementia. While there's no cure, medication may temporarily improve some symptoms. Proper treatment, however, depends on identifying the type of dementia and early detection. A new study shows that MRI brain scans can help doctors tell which people with certain thinking and memory problems might go on to develop dementia with Lewy bodies rather than Alzheimer's disease. The researchers found that scans from people who eventually developed Lewy body dementia showed a lack of shrinkage in a portion of the brain related to memory, known as the hippocampus. "Identifying people with mild cognitive impairment at risk for dementia with Lewy bodies is critical for early interventions with the potential treatments emerging in the field," said study author Dr. Kejal Kantarci. She's a ... Read more

Related support groups: Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Arteriosclerotic Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, Alcoholic Dementia, Drug-Induced Dementia, Head Imaging, Dementia with Depressive Features

New Tool Gauges Likely Survival After Gunshot to the Head

Posted 27 Oct 2016 by

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 26, 2016 – A new tool may help doctors determine a patient's chances of survival after a gunshot wound or other penetrating injury to the brain, researchers report. Based on their work, the researchers say two factors strongly predict survival: how well a patient's pupils respond to light and how well a patient can move in response to stimuli, such as withdrawing from pain or obeying commands. "Gunshot wounds are the number one cause of penetrating traumatic brain injuries," said study author Dr. Susanne Muehlschlegel, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. "Much of our knowledge about surviving such injuries comes from the battlefield, not from shootings among civilians. Being better able to determine the average person's chance of survival could help doctors and families make important decisions about medical treatment," she explained. The researchers ... Read more

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Mouse Study Hints at Damage Zika May Cause to Adult Brain

Posted 25 Oct 2016 by

TUESDAY, Oct. 25, 2016 – Certain brain cells in adults may be vulnerable to damage from Zika infection, research with mice suggests. These stem cells replace lost or damaged neurons throughout adulthood. And they are believed to be critical to learning and memory, according to the scientists at The Rockefeller University in New York City and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology in California. "This is the first study looking at the effect of Zika infection on the adult brain," said Joseph Gleeson, head of the Laboratory of Pediatric Brain Disease at Rockefeller. "Based on our findings, getting infected with Zika as an adult may not be as innocuous as people think," he said in a La Jolla Institute news release. Another one of the researchers agreed. "Zika can clearly enter the brains of adults and can wreak havoc," said Sujan Shresta, an associate professor of inflammation ... Read more

Related support groups: Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Diagnosis and Investigation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection, Head Imaging

Childhood PTSD May Leave Imprint on Brain

Posted 25 Oct 2016 by

TUESDAY, Oct. 25, 2016 – The brains of children with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have structural differences not seen in the brains of typical kids, a new study finds. PTSD is a mental health problem that occurs in some people who've lived through a shocking or dangerous event. The damaging effects associated with childhood trauma can lead to lasting changes in brain function, the Chinese researchers said. The researchers used MRI to compare brain structure in 24 children with PTSD and 23 without the disorder. All had experienced the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in south central China that killed nearly 70,000 people and injured more than 370,000. The two groups of children had significant differences in the network of neural connections in the brain, according to the study. "The PTSD group had changes suggestive of decreased local and global network efficiency due to damage or ... Read more

Related support groups: Anxiety, Anxiety and Stress, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Diagnosis and Investigation, Head Imaging

Brain Changes Seen in Kids After One Season of Football

Posted 24 Oct 2016 by

MONDAY, Oct. 24, 2016 – Just one season of competitive football may cause changes in some young players' developing brains, even if they don't get a concussion during play, a small study found. Using imaging scans, researchers spotted "microstructural" changes in the white brain matter of 25 male athletes aged 8 to 13 after a season of football. They also found that players experienced more significant brain changes if they took a greater number of hits and stronger hits to the head, said lead researcher Dr. Christopher Whitlow. He's chief of neuroradiology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C. "We're seeing some associations between the amount of change in the brain and the amount of exposure to head impacts," Whitlow said. "The more exposure they've had, the more change you see." However, Whitlow was quick to add that these changes are imperceptible to the naked ... Read more

Related support groups: Head Injury, Head Injury with Intracranial Hemorrhage, Head Injury w/ Intracranial Hemorrhage and Loss of Consciousness, Head Injury with Loss of Consciousness, Head Imaging

Brains of 'Super-Agers' Look Decades Younger

Posted 14 Sep 2016 by

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 14, 2016 – Memory loss and muddled thinking may not be an inevitable part of getting older. New research shows that key brain regions in mentally sharp "super-agers" are similar to those of people much younger. A team of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigated how some older people avoid age-related memory loss, appearing to retain the thinking abilities and brain circuitry of people significantly younger. The study, supported by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, involved 17 super-agers. These super-agers were between the ages of 60 and 80. They scored as well on memory tests as adults who were 40 to 50 years younger, the investigators found. The study also included 23 people aged 60 to 80 who had normal scores or performed as expected on memory tests. Additionally, 41 younger adults, aged 18 to 35, were included in the study. "Previous ... Read more

Related support groups: Mild Cognitive Impairment, Diagnosis and Investigation, Head Imaging

Scientists Zero in on Brain Area Linked to 'Parkinson's Gait'

Posted 12 Aug 2016 by

FRIDAY, Aug. 12, 2016 – The brain's prefrontal cortex may play a role in walking difficulties that afflict Parkinson's disease patients, new research suggests. The prefrontal cortex is involved in cognitive function, which includes thinking, reasoning and remembering. This new finding is a new approach in understanding these walking problems and may lead to new treatments, according to the researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel. Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive movement disorder. Patients often walk with a shuffle, their steps alternately slow and fast. Sometimes, they freeze in place. Together, these symptoms are known as "Parkinson's gait." Along with reducing patients' mobility, impaired walking can lead to dangerous falls. Parkinson's patients were asked by the researchers to walk and do a mental task – such as naming fruits or doing subtraction – at the same ... Read more

Related support groups: Parkinson's Disease, Parkinsonian Tremor, Diagnosis and Investigation, Parkinsonism, Head Imaging, Parkinson's Disease Psychosis

Scientists Spot 15 Regions of Human DNA Linked to Depression

Posted 1 Aug 2016 by

MONDAY, Aug. 1, 2016 – Researchers say they've identified 15 regions of human DNA associated with depression. These regions may contain genes that increase the risk of depression, said the researchers, although the study does not prove these genes cause depression. "Identifying genes that affect risk for a disease is a first step towards understanding the disease biology itself, which gives us targets to aim for in developing new treatments," said corresponding study author Dr. Roy Perlis. He's with the Center for Human Genetic Research at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "More generally, finding genes associated with depression should help make clear that this is a brain disease, which we hope will decrease the stigma still associated with these kinds of illnesses," he said in a hospital news release. The researchers analyzed data from more than 300,000 people of European ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymia, Diagnosis and Investigation, Head Imaging

Could Slight Brain Zap During Sleep Boost Memory?

Posted 28 Jul 2016 by

THURSDAY, July 28, 2016 – Stimulating a targeted area of the brain with small doses of weak electricity while you sleep may enhance your ability to remember what you learned the night before, new research finds. The new procedure is called transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS). "We work with the brain, that's really unique about what we do. We listen in to brain activity and can boost what the brain already wants to do," said the study's senior author, Flavio Frohlich. He's an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Neuroscience Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. While you sleep your brain is not idle, but is actively storing things you learned during the day for later use. Stimulating the brain enhances what the brain is already doing naturally, Frohlich said. During sleep, electrical brain activity oscillates, and can be seen as waves on an ... Read more

Related support groups: Sleep Disorders, Insomnia, Fatigue, Sleep Apnea, Shift Work Sleep Disorder, Obstructive Sleep Apnea/Hypopnea Syndrome, Diagnosis and Investigation, Jet Lag, Head Imaging, Alcohol-Induced Sleep Disorder

What Happens When You're Hypnotized?

Posted 28 Jul 2016 by

THURSDAY, July 28, 2016 – Skeptics view hypnosis as a little-understood parlor trick, but a new study reveals real changes occur in the brain when a person enters an hypnotic state. Some parts of the brain relax during the trance while others become more active, said study senior author Dr. David Spiegel, associate chair of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine. "I hope this study will demonstrate that hypnosis is a real neurobiological phenomenon that deserves attention," Spiegel said. "We haven't been using our brains as well as we can. It's like an app on your iPhone you haven't used before, and it gets your iPhone to do all these cool things you didn't know it could do." Hypnosis was the first Western form of psychotherapy, but little is known about how it actually works, the authors say. Hoping to learn more, Spiegel and his colleagues selected 57 people for ... Read more

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