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May 19th

Neuroscience – SciPol Daily, 19 May 2017

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Ars Technica – A single mutation may explain why Zika exploded in the Americas

A single mutation may explain why Zika suddenly erupted from obscurity to become the alarming re-emerging infectious disease it is today, researchers report in Nature. According to researchers from Texas and China, the mutation boosts Zika’s ability to hop into feasting mosquitoes that can then shuttle the virus to more victims. Based on archived viral strains, the mutation popped up sometime between the virus’ low-profile outbreaks in Southeastern Asia (which took place in 2007 and 2012) and Zika’s explosive emergence in the Americas beginning in 2015.

EurkeAlert! – Flies the key to studying the causes of dementia

A research team has studied two structurally-similar proteins in the adult brain and have found that they play distinct roles in the development of dementia. The understanding and knowledge gained from this study could lead to effective therapies for dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Forbes – Hopes -- And Questions -- Are Raised By Study Of French Biotech's ALS Drug

A new drug developed by a small French biotechnology company appears to slow amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, by 27%, providing another new weapon against the deadly neurodegenerative disease, two weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first new medicine for the disease in 22 years. “This looks like another positive result for the ALS community,” says Nathan Staff, an ALS expert at the Mayo Clinic. If only the story could stay that simple. 

Immuno-Oncology News – Vaccines Based on Immunotherapies Being Tested in Phase 2 Trials in Brain Cancer

Immunomic Therapeutics has entered an exclusive licensing agreement with Annias Immunotherapeutics for the rights to use Annia’s intellectual property regarding an immunotherapy based on antigens of cytomegalovirus (CMV). Both companies are developing new approaches for generating vaccines for cancer.

Labiotech.eu – Oral Vaccine for Brain Tumors Made of Live Bacteria Passes Phase I

Vaximm has announced positive Phase I results for its lead immunotherapy in the treatment of glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Vaximm is a Swiss-German biotech that develops bacterial strains modified to act as vaccines for cancer. The company just announced positive results for its lead candidate in a Phase I trial in patients with glioblastoma. The results, which will be presented in detail at the ASCO Annual Meeting in June, are so good that the company has decided to expand the study to include an additional patient cohort.

Medical Xpress – Optical method links individual neurons and network activity to behaviour in zebrafish

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried have developed a method that allows them to identify nerve cells involved in a specific motor command. For the first time, it is now possible to evoke behaviour of a small fish by artificially activating just a handful of neurons. Understanding the core components of a neural circuit is a key step for deciphering the complex code underlying even elementary brain functions.

National Institutes of Health – Researchers connect brain blood vessel lesions to intestinal bacteria

A study in mice and humans suggests that bacteria in the gut can influence the structure of the brain’s blood vessels, and may be responsible for producing malformations that can lead to stroke or epilepsy. The research, published in Nature, adds to an emerging picture that connects intestinal microbes and disorders of the nervous system. 

New York Daily News – Opinion: Real concern of a superstar like Tom Brady hiding concussions — how many lesser-known players are doing the same?

If Brady is overlooking head injuries to remain in the game, then what is a fifth-round rookie safety with a chance of a lifetime to make a name for himself doing if he feels nauseous after taking a shot to the head? What about a 27-year-old corner or wide receiver looking for one more big contract? If it’s good enough for a five-time Super Bowl champ, then why not me?

Scientific American – Could Magnetic Brain Stimulation Help People with Alzheimer’s?

On the heels of one failed drug trial after another, a recent study suggests people with early Alzheimer’s disease could reap modest benefits from a device that uses magnetic fields to produce small electric currents in the brain.

The New York Times – New Advice to Move More After a Concussion

Restricting all forms of activity after a concussion is known as “cocooning.” But now new guidelines, written by an international panel of concussion experts and published this month in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, question that practice. Instead of cocooning, the new guidelines suggest that most young athletes should be encouraged to start being physically active within a day or two after the injury.

The Times of Israel – Cannabis could treat traumatic brain injury, Israeli researchers say

Our body’s cannabinoid receptor system may play a part in protecting our nervous system following trauma, Israeli researchers believe. A team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has found that rats and mice subjected to traumatic brain injury (TBI) showed significantly better recovery when treated with cannabinoid compounds, possibly opening the way for clinical trials in the near future.

Voice of America – Cuba Says Zika Tally Rises to Nearly 1,900 Cases

Cuba said on Thursday 1,847 residents had so far contracted the mosquito-borne Zika virus, warning that certain provinces on the Caribbean island still had high rates of infestation despite a series of measures to stave off the epidemic. At the start of the global Zika outbreak, Cuba managed for months to fend off the virus that can cause microcephaly in babies as well as Guillain-Barre syndrome, even as neighboring territories like Puerto Rico were hard hit.