The Promise and the Reality of Stem-Cell Therapies for Neurodegenerative Diseases
Jonathan D. Glass, M.D., is leading a clinical trial testing the safety of using adult stem cells to treat patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease that remains untreatable. This trial, along with others like it, is just the beginning of a time-intensive process necessary to determine whether the benefits of stem-cell treatments—if there prove to be any—outweigh the risks. See also Commentary on this article, by Vassilis E. Koliatsos, M.D., and Leyan Xu, M.D., Ph.D.
Commentary on “The Promise and the Reality of Stem-Cell Therapies for Neurodegenerative Diseases”
Vassilis E. Koliatsos, M.D., and Leyan Xu, M.D., Ph.D., describe the research leading up to Dr. Jonathan Glass' clinical trial, which tests the safety of using stem cells to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. See also Glass's article describing his research.
The Diagnostic DilemmaWhy We Need to Change How We Diagnose Bipolar Disorder in Children
Bipolar disorder diagnosis has been rising dramatically in children for the past decade.In coming years, argues Daniel Dickstein, M.D., recognizing and diagnosing bipolar disorder in children should be based more on biological markers, such as brain structure and the use of neural circuits, than on the inconsistent diagnostic categories laid out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Long-Term MemoriesThe Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Traumatic memories haunt the lives of people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and other illnesses. Fortunately, recent research into the changeability of long-term memories may someday develop into treatments for such individuals. But before this can happen, researchers must determine just how effectively the fear associated with older memories—especially those involved in PTSD—can be reduced and for how long.
The Default NetworkYour Mind, on Its Own Time
Over the last 20 years, researchers have been interested in what the brain does during periods of supposed inactivity. They discovered that when someone appears to be doing nothing at all, a network of brain regions—named the default network—is hard at work, allowing for the rich inner lives inside our heads. Applying what is known about the default network to diseases like Alzheimer’s allows for new possibilities for diagnosis and evaluation of treatments.
Seizing an OpportunityBroader Definitions of Epilepsy May Lead to Better Treatments
There is not just one type of epilepsy. While some forms of the disease are characterized by convulsive seizures, others involve seizures that are barely noticeable. Normal variations in hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, can influence brain activity and therefore influence seizures. By considering the powerful interactions between the brain and the endocrine system, this influence of hormones on seizures can be understood and new treatment options can be considered.
Fear in LoveAttachment, Abuse, and the Developing Brain
Dr. Regina Sullivan explains how her research with rat pups has led to greater understanding of the infant brain, and how negative early experiences can cause long-term genetic, brain, behavioral, and hormonal changes that can affect not only the abuse victim but also the victim’s descendants.
Promoting Brain-Science Literacy in the K-12 Classroom
There are many simple ways to incorporate neuroscience into the K-12 classroom, even when the subject is not explicitly part of the curriculum. Here, Michaela Labriole, a science instructor at the New York Hall of Science, provides tangible examples of how teachers can encourage brain-science literacy in students at a time when growing knowledge of the brain is shaping our understanding of how to best foster learning. A complementary article to "The Brain in Science Education: What Should Everyone Learn?"
The Brain in Science EducationWhat Should Everyone Learn?
Dr. Jo Ellen Roseman and Mary Koppal, from the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), discuss how brain science fits into national classroom curricula. While recommendations from several national organizations include brain-related standards, what students actually learn in the classroom varies greatly from state to state. See also complementary article, "Promoting Brain-Science Literacy in the K-12 Classroom"