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Magnetic Brain 'Zap' Shows Promise Against Severe Depression

Intensifying a standard form of brain stimulation may bring relief to people with hard-to-treat depression, a preliminary study suggests.

The study involved just 21 patients, but the treatment sent 90% into remission within a few days. That's a success rate that has never been seen in early testing of other therapies for severe depression, the researchers said.

The thera...

How Ritalin Works in the Brain

A new study dispels a common belief about how stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall work in the brain.

The drugs are usually prescribed to people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but are sometimes used by otherwise healthy people to boost their thinking.

Many assume these drugs improve focus, but researchers found that they actually get the brain to e...

Dirty Air Might Raise Your Odds for Dementia

Smog drives up dementia risk, particularly for older men and women with heart disease, according to a new Swedish study.

For more than a decade, researchers tracked exposure to air pollution and dementia cases among nearly 3,000 Stockholm residents aged 60 and up.

Lead author Dr. Giulia Grande noted that exposure to dirty air has long been linked to an increased risk for lun...

Daily Aspirin Won't Stop Dementia, Study Finds

Millions of Americans pop a low-dose aspirin each day to help ward off heart issues, but a new study finds that protection may not extend to dementia.

Although the anti-inflammatory effects of aspirin have been touted as protection against thinking and memory (or "cognitive") problems from Alzheimer's and other dementias, a large, randomized trial suggests aspirin won't slow mental de...

Could Sleep Apnea Put You at Risk for Alzheimer's?

New research out of France suggests that untreated sleep apnea could raise your odds for developing Alzheimer's disease.

Evidence linking the two is based on a series of neurological assessments, brain scans and sleep analyses conducted between 2016 and 2018.

"This is further support of Alzheimer's as a lifestyle chronic condition that results from a lifetime of experiences,...

Study Ties Brain Inflammation to Several Types of Dementia

Brain inflammation may be more of a factor in dementia than previously believed, a new British study suggests.

"We predicted the link between inflammation in the brain and the buildup of damaging proteins, but even we were surprised by how tightly these two problems mapped on to each other," said co-author Thomas Cope of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Ca...

Special Helmets, Safety Training Prevent Head Injuries in Youth Football: Study

Padded helmets and safe tackling and blocking techniques can reduce the chance of head injuries for middle school football players, a new study finds.

Young athletes make up 70% of America's amateur and pro football players. As head injuries in older athletes have been linked to a slew of brain injuries, attention is now turning to the safety of the younger players.

Robe...

Will a Jolt of Java Get Your Creative Juices Flowing?

Your morning cup of coffee may help your focus and problem-solving skills, but it won't kick-start your creativity, a new study says.

"In Western cultures, caffeine is stereotypically associated with creative occupations and lifestyles, from writers and their coffee to programmers and their energy drinks, and there's more than a kernel of truth to these stereotypes," said study first ...

ACL Surgery Can Do Real Damage to Your Brain: Study

Your knee might never be the same after undergoing surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and the reason is in your head, a small, new study suggests.

It turns out ACL reconstruction causes changes in the structure of your brain, a University of Michigan (U-M) team found. That's why even after ACL reconstruction and physical therapy, your joint function might never get b...

Brain Cancer Research Could Help Dogs -- and the Humans Who Love Them

Few heartbreaks are as devastating as when a beloved family dog falls ill with cancer.

But a new research paper could spur development of more and better treatments for a canine companion who has a brain tumor -- because it's possible that those same therapies will help human kids, too. Dogs' brain cancers are genetically akin to those found in children, a new study in the journal ...

Even a Little Activity Keeps Aging Brains From Shrinking, Study Shows

Take a walk, weed your garden, go for a swim or dance -- it could keep your brain from shrinking as you age, a new study suggests.

Being physically active may keep your brain four years younger than the rest of you, which might help prevent or slow the progression of dementias like Alzheimer's disease, researchers say.

"We recently published a paper using information of bo...

Healthy Heart in Your 20s,  Healthier Brain Decades Later

A healthier heart in early adulthood could mean fewer thinking and memory problems later in life, a new study suggests.

"These results indicate that people need to pay close attention to their health even in their early 20s," said study author Dr. Farzaneh Sorond, of Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago.

Sorond and her team conducted a 30-year study of 189 p...

Wearable 'Brain Stimulator' May Boost Stroke Recovery

A noninvasive magnetic brain stimulation device worn less than an hour a day can increase activity near stroke-injured areas of the brain, a small, preliminary study suggests.

Those improvements in brain activity might then lead to increased motor function in people who have had a stroke, the researchers said.

"We were excited to see a strong hint of improved motor functio...

Brain Stent Could Cut Odds for a Second Stroke

For decades, artery-opening stents have helped prevent heart attacks, and new research suggests they might also help prevent strokes in the brain.

In a new study, the self-expanding, intracranial Wingspan brain stent seems effective over the long term in reducing stroke patients' risk of a subsequent stroke and death.

Intracranial stents are tiny mesh tubes that are permanen...

AHA News: Diabetes, Alzheimer's Together Might Increase Stroke Severity

Bleeding strokes are the deadliest type of stroke and the hardest to treat. What might make matters worse is having both diabetes and Alzheimer's disease versus either condition alone, new research shows.

The study looked at 2,071 adults in the Kentucky Appalachian Stroke Registry who had a hemorrhagic stroke. The researchers reviewed each patient's health records to look for a previ...

More Aggressive Surgery Can Extend Survival From Brain Cancer: Study

Adults with glioblastoma -- the most common and deadly type of brain tumor -- could survive more than twice as long if surgeons removed surrounding tissue as well as the tumor, a new study finds.

That involves cutting out "non-contrast-enhancing tumor" -- which doesn't light up on an MRI when a contrast agent is injected -- as well as contrast-enhancing tumor.

"Traditionally...

Gene Variation May Protect Against Alzheimer's: Study

A breakthrough study has identified a class of natural gene variants that may protect against Alzheimer's disease.

For the study, researchers at University College London analyzed DNA from more than 10,000 people -- half with Alzheimer's and half without. The investigators found that these gene variants reduce the functioning of proteins called tyrosine phosphatases.

These p...

Young-Onset Parkinson's May Start in the Womb, New Research Suggests

People who develop Parkinson's disease at a younger age (before age 50) may have malfunctioning brain cells at birth, according to a study that also identified a drug that may help these patients.

At least 500,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Parkinson's each year. Most are 60 or older at diagnosis, but about 10% are between 21 and 50.

Parkinson's is ...

Lab Discovery Offers Promise for Treating Multiple Sclerosis

A new discovery could lead to better treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune diseases, such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, researchers report.

MS occurs when immune cells get into the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), causing nerve damage that results in neurological problems. However, the cause is unclear.

Studies in a mouse mo...

High-Tech 'Exoskeleton' Can Give Mobility Back to People With MS

Most people take the ability to move for granted, but not Kathy Miska.

Miska has had multiple sclerosis for two decades now, and her ability to get around has deteriorated steadily.

Now, a new robotic exoskeleton is giving her an opportunity to regain some of the mobility she's lost to the degenerative nerve disease.

"You can definitely tell when you get out of the suit....

Many Moms-to-Be Are Stressed, and it Might Affect Baby's Brain

Many mothers-to-be feel overwhelmed by stress, and it might have implications for their babies' brain development in the womb, a new study suggests.

The researchers found that even in a group of highly educated, healthy pregnant women, stress and anxiety were common. More than one-quarter reported higher-than-average levels of "perceived stress," while a similar number had anxiety sym...

Diets Rich in Fruits, Veggies Could Lower Your Odds for Alzheimer's

Older adults who regularly consume a group of antioxidants called flavonols may have a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, a new study suggests.

The compounds exist in many fruits and vegetables, with the richest sources including green vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli, apples and tea.

The researchers found that of over 900 older adults they followed ...

Psychedelic Drug Eases Cancer Patients' Distress Long Term

A single dose of the psychedelic ingredient in "magic mushrooms" may bring long-lasting relief to cancer patients who suffer anxiety and depression, a new, small study suggests.

Researchers found that of 15 patients who'd received a one-time treatment with psilocybin, most were still showing "clinically significant" improvements in anxiety and depression four years later.

Th...

Gene Test Might Spot Soccer Players at High Risk for Brain Trouble

A gene mutation implicated in the risk for Alzheimer's disease might also impair memory in soccer players who head the ball a lot, a new study suggests.

The finding could have implications for young athletes in contact sports where the head can take hits during play.

Among soccer players who headed the ball the most, those with the gene mutation called the apolipoprotein E ...

Does Size Matter? Volume of Brain Area Not Always Tied to Memory, Thinking

When it comes to parts of your brain, bigger isn't necessarily better.

Experts long believed that a bigger hippocampus meant better memory. But new research finds that the size of this seahorse-shaped structure deep in the brain doesn't always predict learning and memory abilities.

Researchers looked at more than 330 older adults in Germany and found that a larger hippocampu...

Blacks, Hispanics More Likely to Have Better Outcome After 'Bleeding' Stroke

After a hemorrhagic stroke, often called a "bleeding" stroke, young black and Hispanic people are less likely than white people to be disabled or die within the following three months, a new study finds.

Hemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel ruptures, causing bleeding in the brain. This type of stroke is less common than ones caused by blood clots, but harder to treat and mor...

Rare Disease Put This Young Mom in a Coma for 7 Months

Kertisha Brabson's mom rushed to the hospital after being told her adult daughter was acting out of her mind.

"She was talking out of her head, dancing like she was at a concert," recalls Kertease Williams. "She was trying to get out of the room. They had to have a nurse in her room around the clock because she would try to leave."

Neither woman could know it, but this incid...

When Dementia Harms Speech, Native Language Matters

Dementia patients may develop distinct speech and reading problems depending on their native language, a new study finds.

The study included 20 English-speaking and 18 Italian-speaking patients with primary progressive aphasia (PPA), a neurodegenerative disorder that affects language areas in the brain. It is often associated with dementia.

The patients had a type of PPA cha...

Brain Waves Offer Insight Into Autism-Linked Sleep Struggles

Shallower-than-normal brain waves may play a role in serious sleep problems in children with autism, a new study suggests.

Previous research has shown that between 40% and 80% of children with autism have sleep issues, such as trouble falling asleep or waking frequently during the night and rising early. These problems can be significant challenges for the children and their f...

How Mom-to-Be's Worry Over Birth Defects Can Harm Baby

Hearing that your unborn baby has congenital heart disease can be traumatic, but now new research suggests that if you experience stress, anxiety or depression afterward it could affect your baby's brain development.

Congenital heart disease (structural problems with the heart) is the one of the most common birth defects.

"We were alarmed by the high percentage of pregnant w...

Severe Deprivation in Childhood Has Lasting Impact on Brain Size

Severe deprivation in childhood can lead to a smaller-than-normal brain, lower IQ and attention deficits in early adulthood, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed MRI brain scans of 67 young adults, ages 23 to 28, who were institutionalized as children in Romania during the Communist regime. They had spent between 3 and 41 months in institutions, where they were often malnourishe...

Even 1 Night's Bad Sleep Can Raise Levels of a Brain 'Marker' for Alzheimer's

Poor sleep has been linked to the development of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and now a new study suggests a possible reason why.

A small group of young, healthy men deprived of just one night of sleep had higher blood levels of tau protein than when they had a full and uninterrupted night of rest, researchers reported in a study published online Jan. 8 in Neurology.

...

AHA News: Worried About Dementia? Check This Blood Pressure Number

The top number on a blood pressure test is widely viewed as the best gauge of a person's overall risk for heart disease. But the bottom number could be important when it comes to evaluating the chance of a person having scars on their brain that could be an indicator for dementia, stroke or falls.

Researchers in a new study looked at the link between blood pressure scores and the num...

Study Might Point Alzheimer's Research in Whole New Direction

A new brain scanning technique is shaking up what researchers thought they knew about Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers now say they can predict with reasonable accuracy which brain regions will wither and atrophy in Alzheimer's by identifying the places where tau protein "tangles" have built up.

"You could really predict which brain regions were going to get damaged just on ...

Yoga May Bring a Brain Boost, Review Shows

Looking for a way to improve your memory, gain control over your emotions, and boost your ability to multitask?

A new brain scan study may be just the incentive you need to put yoga at the top of your New Years' to-do list.

The review of 11 published studies found a link between yoga's movements, meditation and breathing practices and an increase in the size of key brain are...

More Doubt That Plaques in the Brain Cause Alzheimer's

For decades, scientists have known that Alzheimer's disease is accompanied by the buildup of clumps of amyloid protein between brain cells. Could these plaques be causing the disease?

That's been a prevailing theory driving Alzheimer's research for years. But a new study suggests the strategy could be wrong.

Researchers reporting Dec. 30 in the journal Neurology have...

Could Brain Scans Spot Children's Mood, Attention Problems Early?

Children's mental health issues are hard to predict until they're causing problems, but researchers may have found a way to use brain scans to spot which kids are at risk for depression, anxiety and attention problems.

"We're facing a tremendous epidemic with teen anxiety and depression, and we wanted to find an early marker that predicted the development of anxiety, depression and a...

Brain Damage Changes Over Time in Boxers, MMA Fighters

Brain damage occurs in boxers and mixed martial arts fighters alike, but it unfolds differently as these athletes age, a new study finds.

Among current fighters, the loss of brain volume results from tearing of nerve fibers as the brain moves inside the skull. Among former fighters, brain loss is from progressive diseases such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) or Alzheimer's,...

Cancer Drug Shows Promise for Parkinson's Patients

A drug used to fight chronic myeloid leukemia might also relieve symptoms of Parkinson's disease, a new study finds.

In a phase 2 clinical trial, researchers found that the drug nilotinib (brand name: Tasigna) increased production of dopamine and halted decline in motor function. It was well-tolerated by most participants.

"We found that nilotinib is reasonably safe using d...

Differences Found in Brains of Kids Born to Depressed Parents

The brains of kids who have a high risk of depression because they have parents with depression are structurally different from other kids' brains, a new study finds.

Depression often first appears during adolescence. Having a parent with depression is one of the biggest known risk factors. Teens whose parents have depression are two to three times more likely to develop depression th...

Could Obesity Alter a Child's Brain Structure?

Childhood obesity may be linked to changes in brain structure that might result in impulsive kids who struggle with problem-solving, a new study reports.

Overweight and obese children tend to have a thinner prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain associated with decision-making and problem-solving. These same kids performed more poorly on games designed to evaluate those skills, said l...

Playing Sports Might Sharpen Your Hearing

Playing sports may improve the brain's ability to process sounds, a finding that could lead to new therapies for people who struggle with hearing, researchers report.

"No one would argue against the fact that sports lead to better physical fitness, but we don't always think of brain fitness and sports," said study senior author Nina Kraus. She's a professor of communication sciences a...

Antarctic Study Shows Isolation, Monotony May Change the Human Brain

Antarctica is one of the loneliest places on Earth.

Endless expanses of white give way to almost complete darkness during the long winter months. Companionship is largely limited to those who've joined you in these achingly cold wilds.

That overwhelming isolation is so great that it appears to cause physical and functional deterioration in the human brain, a new study shows....

Ski Your Way to a Healthier Aging Brain

Cross-country skiing may be good for your brain, a new study suggests.

Previous research found that participants of the Vasaloppet, a popular long-distance, cross-country skiing race in Sweden, have a lower risk of heart attack, but potential brain benefits have been unclear.

This new research compared the brain health of about 200,000 who took part in the Vasaloppet between...

Birth Control Pill May Alter Part of Women's Brains

A small, preliminary study suggests that a brain area called the hypothalamus appears to be about 6% smaller in women who use birth control pills.

But exactly what that means isn't yet clear. In this study, women on the pill had statistically significant increases in anger. Researchers also found a possible link with depression symptoms.

The good news: They didn't see ...

Babies May 'See' Light While in the Womb

Though fetuses spend nine months in a dark womb, they may detect light by the second trimester, a new study in mice suggests.

That's when light-sensing cells develop in the retina, and it may set up the day-night rhythms that the infant will follow, the researchers said.

These cells talk with each other and the brain, giving the retina greater light sensitivity than once be...

Cards, Board Games Could Be a Win for Aging Brains

Playing cards and board games like chess, bingo and Scrabble might be the mental workout you need to keep your wits as you age, Scottish researchers suggest.

People in their 70s who regularly play board games score higher on tests of memory and thinking skills than those who don't. And 70-somethings who step up their game-playing are more likely to maintai...

Ultrasound Treatment Might Ease Parkinson's Tremors

Ultrasound may provide lasting relief from the involuntary muscle movements that are so debilitating to people with Parkinson's disease and another condition called "essential tremor," a small study concludes.

The treatment is still scarce, but it appears to deliver significant and lasting tremor relief, Italian researchers report.

It's called "focused ultrasound." Though ch...

Obesity May Change the Teen Brain, MRI Study Shows

Obese teenagers can have certain brain differences from their thinner peers -- changes that might signal damage from inflammation, a new, preliminary study suggests.

Using advanced MRI techniques, researchers found that obese teenagers tended to have signs of decreased "integrity" in the brain's white matter. White matter contains the fibers that connect different areas of the brain.<...

Opioid Exposure in Womb Alters the Infant Brain

Exposure to opioids in the womb may affect an area of the newborn brain that regulates emotions, a new study shows.

Researchers used MRIs to assess brain activity in 16 full-term infants while they slept, specifically focusing on connectivity in a region called the amygdala, which is responsible for emotions such as anger, fear, sadness and aggression.

Eight of the infants...

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