Neurology News

Explained: Neural networks

14 Apr 2017

Ballyhooed artificial-intelligence technique known as “deep learning” revives 70-year-old idea.

Gene silencing shows promise for treating two fatal neurological disorders

12 Apr 2017

NIH-funded preclinical studies suggest designer drug may treat ALS and spinocerebellar ataxia 2.  In two studies of mice, researchers showed that a drug, engineered to combat the gene that causes spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2), might also be used to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). 

Dementia patients using robots, virtual reality to engage

2 Apr 2017

High-tech tools, like humanoid robots and virtual reality are transforming the lives of people living in Australian dementia care facilities. The technology — used to engage, entertain and encourage social interaction — is bringing the residents out of their shells. In the process, it is dispelling any notion that age and cognitive impairment are a barrier to embracing technology.

"Depression: let’s talk" says WHO, as depression tops list of causes of ill health

30 Mar 2017

Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. According to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people are now living with depression, an increase of more than 18% between 2005 and 2015. Lack of support for people with mental disorders, coupled with a fear of stigma, prevent many from accessing the treatment they need to live healthy, productive lives.

Penn State study shows aphasia may not solely be a language disorder

29 Mar 2017

Aphasia, a language disorder commonly diagnosed in stroke patients, may not be solely a language issue as traditionally believed, according to a Penn State study. The study adds to a growing body of research highlighting other cognitive functions affected by aphasia, and indicates that the consequences of brain damage in aphasia patients may be more extensive than originally thought.

Intensive speech therapy improves everyday communication in chronic stroke patients, finds study

14 Mar 2017

Intensive speech and language therapy can significantly help stroke patients who have been struggling to communicate for six months or more, according to newly published research. The multicentre RCT study – carried out in Germany and published in The Lancet - has for the first time directly demonstrated the superiority of intensive speech therapy to no treatment or treatment at low intensity in chronic post-stroke aphasia.

Updated Epilepsy Classification May Lead to Advances in Diagnosis, Treatment, and Research

9 Mar 2017

It has been nearly three decades since experts published a classification system related to epilepsy. Now, the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) provides an update to systems that includes many types of seizures not captured in the older version, allowing clinicians and patients to make more informed decisions concerning treatment. 

Cerebrospinal fluid shows promise as autism biomarker

6 Mar 2017

Researchers from the UC Davis MIND Institute, University of North Carolina (UNC) and other institutions have found that altered distribution of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in high-risk infants can predict whether they will develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study appears today in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Brain Imaging Can Help Distinguish Between Depression and Cognitive Disorders Like Alzheimer’s

21 Feb 2017

A brain imaging technique called single photon emission computed tomography, or SPECT, can help clinicians differentiate between depression and a cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research. The study, “ Classification of Depression, Cognitive Disorders, and Co-Morbid Depression and Cognitive Disorders with Perfusion SPECT Neuroimaging,” was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

International study suggests Nodding syndrome caused by response to parasitic protein

15 Feb 2017

NIH-funded study also identifies potential new mechanism for some forms of epilepsy. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have uncovered new clues to the link between Nodding syndrome, a devastating form of pediatric epilepsy found in specific areas of east Africa, and a parasitic worm that can cause river blindness. The study, published in Science Translational Medicine, suggests that the mysterious neurological disease may be caused by an autoimmune response to the parasitic proteins.

Blood Test May Help Differentiate Parkinson’s from Similar Diseases

8 Feb 2017

A simple blood test may be as accurate as a spinal fluid test when trying to determine whether symptoms are caused by Parkinson’s disease or another atypical parkinsonism disorder, according to a new study published in the February 8, 2017, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.  

Mitochondrial Energy Processes in Huntington’s May Be Normal After All

2 Feb 2017

Mitochondrial abnormalities may not contribute to the degeneration of neurons in the striatum in patients with Huntington’s disease, according to a study that provides evidence contradicting several earlier findings. The study, “Oxidative metabolism and Ca2+ handling in striatal mitochondria from YAC128 mice, a model of Huntington’s disease,” was published in the journal Neurochemistry International.

Brain-computer interface allows completely locked-in people to communicate

31 Jan 2017

A brain-computer interface that can decipher the thoughts of people who are unable to communicate could revolutionize the lives of those living with complete locked-in syndrome according to a new paper published in PLOS Biology.

Sizing up spaces by ear

25 Jan 2017

Humans can be trained to use echolocation to estimate the sizes of enclosed spaces. LMU researchers now show that the learning process involves close coordination between sensory and motor cortex. Wiegrebe and his colleagues have developed a technique based on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which makes it possible to monitor the process of echolocation by means of self-generated tongue clicks. 

Guidelines Comparing Assessment Techniques Prior To Epilepsy Surgery Published

20 Jan 2017

The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has published new guidelines on mapping of the brain prior to epilepsy surgery, following a systematic review of available evidence.

1