In the news / Brain

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A team led by Dr. Philipp Gutruf are creating new tools for a method called optogenetics, which shines light at specific neurons in the brain to excite or suppress activity. The goal is to better understand how the brain works, allowing scientists to develop and test potential cures for illnesses such as neurodegenerative diseases.
 
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Despite slowdowns in research suffered by universities around the world due to the pandemic, the University of Arizona has experienced solid growth in the commercialization of university inventions. In the last fiscal year alone UArizona received 274 invention disclosures and launched 17 startups.
 
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Scientists continue to investigate how COVID-19 affects our senses and changes the way we interact with society. Dr. Katalin Gothard says the isolation that comes with COVID-19 especially impacts our sense of touch. She is also studying how COVID-19 is changing our brain chemistry.
 
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Dr. Roberta Brinton shares her inspiration for her work with Alzheimer's and her perspective on the need for specific research for women's brains and the future that lies ahead.
 
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Hormone therapy is the most effective treatment for the symptoms of menopause, which can include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, weight gain, and depression. During the study, Dr. Roberta Brinton led a team to examine the effects of individual U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved hormone therapy medications, including estrogens and progestins, and combination therapies on neurodegenerative disease and found that using natural steroids estradiol or progesterone resulted in greater risk reduction than the use of synthetic hormones.
 
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Dr. Fei Yin, of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science, the institute headed by Dr. Roberta Brinton, has received a $1.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to determine the role of an Alzheimer’s risk-factor gene in regulating the brain energy production system.
 
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Green spaces have clear potential to reduce stress and improve health and wellbeing, prior to The Green Road, little research had been conducted to examine their effects in military installations. Joining a group of scientists, Dr.
 
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A team of University of Arizona researchers are changing the way we prevent and treat heart disease. Dr. Chris Glembotski discovered a compound shown to be effective in reducing severity and recurrence of heart attack, even limiting the damage to the brain during stroke.
 
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There is a new treatment for Alzheimer's, after 20 years, now approved by the FDA, a drug called Aducanumab. This drug targets beta-amyloid plaques in the brain and removes some of those plaques.
 
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The mentoring relationship between two University of Arizona faculty members is advancing research for patients with brain damage at any stage in life. One of those research leaders, Dr. Roberta Brinton, founding director of the UArizona Center for Innovation in Brain Science and BIO5 member, has discovered that regenerative therapeutics may help pediatric and aging populations. This research out of UArizona Health Sciences may help both premature babies and patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
 
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Sleep is a big deal, and we’re not getting enough. An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans are affected by poor sleep and it’s having an impact on both our mental and physical health.

 
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The new Center for Innovation in Brain Science requires a team of diverse experts – the brightest minds specializing in aging, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and ALS, and experts in bioenergetics of the brain, immunology, stem cell biology, big data and computational systems biology. Lead by Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton, is leading the way in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases that affect millions of people worldwide, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
 
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Dr. Michael Grandner, director of the UArizona Sleep and Health Research Program and BIO5 member, explains the biology behind a good night's sleep and gives suggestions for adjusting your sleep schedule. Dr. Grandner traces our decline in daytime napping to the start of the industrial revolution, which solidified the monophasic sleep pattern (sleeping in one bout per night) that’s most common today.
 
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"We hope to be able to continue to not only understand the pathways that go wrong in these degenerating neurons but maybe taking this information and figuring out ways to stop the progression of the disease and improve the lives of patients,” Zarnescu said.
 
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Dr. Roberta Brinton, the director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at the University of Arizona and BIO5 member discovered the disparities in how women are more likely to develop brain diseases and autoimmune conditions such as Alzheimer's and Multiple Sclerosis.
 
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With the help of headsets and backpacks on mice, scientists are using light to switch nerve cells on and off in the rodents' brains to probe the animals' social behavior, a new study shows.
 
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Seven graduating University of Arizona seniors will be honored for their extraordinary accomplishments during a series of graduation ceremonies to celebrate the class of 2021. Nominated by faculty and peers, this year's seven student award winners were selected based on their integrity, notable achievements and positive contributions to their families and communities. Among these honorees are Alyssa Jean Peterson, Akshay Nathan, and Daniel Weiland, successful undergraduate researchers in the labs of BIO5 faculty, and all planning to continue their studies in STEM.
 
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Emily Merritt, who is pursuing a doctorate in immunobiology, was one of the first students to participate in the Infection and Inflammation as Drivers of Aging, a program funded by a National Institutes of Health T32 training grant, which supports four graduate or post-doctoral students annually. She and four other students presented their research virtually at the inaugural Infection and Inflammation as Drivers of Aging symposium in January. The research topics ranged from chronic inflammatory response to ischemic stroke and tracking antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in aging individuals. Merritt presented on Toxoplasma gondii, a single-celled parasite she studies under the guidance of Dr. Anita Koshy, professor of neurology and BIO5 member.