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Neurological

A natural enzyme called catalase may prove hugely significant in treating neurological disorders such as Parkinson's. These extremely potent antioxidants can tackle neuron-killing inflammation with an effectiveness unparalleled by small molecule drugs. But there's a problem, they are big. So big that getting them through the blood-brain barrier for delivery straight to the brain is nearly impossible. But researchers have now discovered that loading them into tiny, naturally occurring bubbles allows them to sneak past the brain's defenses, pointing to the possibility of improved treatments for such conditions.

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Researchers have identified a promising new target in the battle against certain neurological diseases. A protein known as TREM2 has been proven effective in clearing away unwanted debris in the brain, the unchecked buildup of which can lead to both Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis (MS). Read More
A European group headed by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain, is in the process of trialling a cutting edge system with the potential to greatly improve the quality of life for those suffering from Parkinson's disease. The system, known as REMPARK, utilizes a small waist-worn module and headset controlled by a smartphone that will allow doctors to observe and manage the symptoms of Parkinson's in real time. Read More
Transplanting a human head onto a donor body may sound like the stuff of science fiction comics, but not to Italian doctor Sergio Canavero. He has not only published a paper describing the operation in detail, but also believes that the surgery could be a reality as early as 2017. Read More
Many who have tried to kick the sweet white crystals will tell you that "sugar addiction" is very real, and there are indeed neurological underpinnings that back them up. MIT researchers have now discovered that the pathways of the brain responsible for sugar addiction may differ from those which govern drug addiction and healthy eating, which could be a boon for studies and treatment of compulsive eating and obesity. Read More
Tasting lemons when they see a number seven, regarding a certain letter as being yellow in color. Not a great deal is known about why some people experience an overlapping of the senses, a phenomena known as synesthesia. But a new study conducted at the University of Sussex has suggested that specific training of the mind can induce the effects of the condition. The study even suggests that such training can boost a person's IQ. Read More
Mountain climbers facing extreme climatic conditions, patients affected by schizophrenia or neurological disorders and athletes facing severe exhaustion have all reported experiencing feeling an invisible and yet persistent "presence" that is often felt just outside their field of view. Researchers at EPFL have now recreated the same sensations in perfectly healthy subjects, inducing ghostly hallucinations in a matter of minutes. Read More
Injuries from a blow to the head are a two-stage affair, with the primary injury caused by the initial impact being followed by a secondary injury that develops in the subsequent hours and days. We have seen the development of devices like the Jolt Sensor that are designed to detect the severity of the initial impact, but there is currently no drug treatment for the secondary injury, which is largely responsible for a patient sustaining mental and physical disabilities. Now scientists at Imperial College London have found that xenon gas shows promise as such a treatment. Read More
While they may not be quite as well-known as migraines, cluster headaches are even more painful, and can occur several times a day. There's presently no cure, although a new "neurostimulator" is claimed to help control them. A US clinical trial of the device has just begun, with a test subject recently having had one implanted beneath his cheekbone. Read More
Earlier this year, we heard about how DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) was setting up its new Biological Technologies Office. The goal of that division is to "merge biology, engineering, and computer science to harness the power of natural systems for national security." This week, the agency released details of one of the office's key projects, called Restoring Active Memory. It's aimed at using implantable "neuroprosthetics" to help army veterans and other people recover from memory deficits caused by brain injury or disease. Read More
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