Sleep deprivation accelerates Alzheimer’s brain damage

Study in mice, people explains why poor sleep linked to Alzheimer’s From the WashU Newsroom… Poor sleep has long been linked with Alzheimer’s disease, but researchers have understood little about how sleep disruptions drive the disease. Now, studying mice and people, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that sleep […]

Blood test detects Alzheimer’s damage before symptoms

Test also may identify neurodegeneration in other brain diseases, injuries From the WashU School of Medicine News… A simple blood test reliably detects signs of brain damage in people on the path to developing Alzheimer’s disease – even before they show signs of confusion and memory loss, according to a new study from Washington University […]

New hope for old disease

Doctors may soon be able to predict, prevent Alzheimer’s disease From the WashU Outlook Magazine… Caring for an aging relative with Alzheimer’s disease, watching memories slowly slip away, is an exhausting and heartbreaking ordeal. For those with the condition, modern medicine can offer little in the way of treatment as the disease inexorably strips away […]

Decreased deep sleep linked to early signs of Alzheimer’s disease

Toxic brain protein tau elevated in older people who sleep poorly From the WashU School of Medicine News… Poor sleep is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. People with the disease tend to wake up tired, and their nights become even less refreshing as memory loss and other symptoms worsen. But how and why restless nights […]

Mice sleeping fitfully provide clues to insomnia

Genetically engineered mice mimic common sleep problems From the WashU School of Medicine News… Mice that sleep fitfully could help researchers unravel the mystery of insomnia. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis studied mice genetically modified to mimic the genetic disease neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), which is associated with sleep problems. […]

Racial differences in Alzheimer’s disease unveiled

Findings suggest possible race-linked variations on how disease arises, develops From the WashU School of Medicine News… African-Americans may be twice as likely as Caucasian Americans to develop Alzheimer’s disease, but nobody knows why because studies investigating the underlying causes of illness have historically drawn from a nearly all-white pool of research participants. Consequently, little […]

People who act out dreams needed for study

Phenomenon linked to Parkinson’s, dementia, other serious neurodegenerative diseases From the WashU School of Medicine News… Picture this: A soccer referee, dreaming he’s on the pitch, flings his arm up with an imaginary red card and accidentally smacks his sleeping partner in the face. Funny? Maybe on TV. In real life, acting out dreams is […]

Regrowing damaged nerves hinges on shutting down key genes

Injured neurons temporarily revert to immature state From the WashU School of Medicine News… Neurons in the brain and spinal cord don’t grow back after injury, unlike those in the rest of the body. Cut your finger, and you’ll probably be back to using it in days or weeks; slice through your spinal cord, and […]

$6.3 million for center to develop new tracers for PET scans

Could improve early diagnosis, precision medicine for cancer, atherosclerosis, other diseases From the WashU Newsroom… PET scans can reveal subtle signs of diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and atherosclerosis not detectable through other imaging tools. The technology holds enormous promise for improving early diagnosis, monitoring the effectiveness of treatment, and tailoring therapy to each individual’s […]

MRI scans shows promise in predicting dementia

Brain changes evident in scans before memory, cognitive decline From the WashU School of Medicine News… One day, MRI brain scans may help predict whether older people will develop dementia, new research suggests. In a small study, MRI brain scans predicted with 89 percent accuracy who would go on to develop dementia within three years, […]

Mind’s quality control center found in long-ignored brain area

From the WashU Newsroom… The cerebellum can’t get no respect. Located inconveniently on the underside of the brain and initially thought to be limited to controlling movement, the cerebellum has long been treated like an afterthought by researchers studying higher brain functions. But researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis say overlooking […]

Bonni, Diamond elected to National Academy of Medicine

Membership is one of highest U.S. honors in health and medicine From the WashU School of Medicine News… Neuroscientist Azad Bonni, MD, PhD, and virologist and immunologist Michael S. Diamond, MD, PhD, both of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, a part of the National Academy […]

Implantable, biodegradable devices speed nerve regeneration in rats

Pulses of electrical stimulation help heal injured nerves From the WashU Newsroom… Car accidents, sports injuries, even too much typing and texting can injure the peripheral nerves, leaving people with numbness, tingling and weakness in their hands, arms or legs. Recovery can take months, and doctors have little to offer to speed it along. Now, […]

Viruses in blood lead to digestive problems

Mouse study provides clues to sudden onset of digestive woes From the WashU Newsroom… While studying viruses best known for infecting the brain, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis stumbled upon clues to a conundrum involving a completely different part of the anatomy: the bowel, and why some people possibly develop […]

Mysteries explored: Pioneering neurologist Marcus Raichle, MD, opened up the human brain to scientific investigation

From the WashU School of Medicine’s Outlook Magazine… In a 1987 expedition, neurologist Marcus Raichle, MD, climbed 18,000 feet above sea level, scaling the icy Karakoram Mountains of Pakistan. There, amidst heavy snow and high winds, Raichle and 18 researchers injected themselves with radioactive xenon. A crude scanner measured the gas as it diffused through […]

Overlooked signal in MRI scans reflects amount, kind of brain cells

Data may aid diagnosis of brain conditions, shed light on brain development From the WashU School of Medicine News… An MRI scan often generates an ocean of data, most of which is never used. When overlooked data is analyzed using a new technique developed at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, they surprisingly […]

Gurnett named director of pediatric and developmental neurology

Physician-scientist specializes in epilepsy, neurodevelopmental disorders From the WashU School of Medicine News… Christina Gurnett, MD, PhD, a professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named director of the Division of Pediatric and Developmental Neurology at the School of Medicine and neurologist-in-chief at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “Dr. […]

Washington People: Robyn Klein

Neuroimmunologist promotes diversity in science From the WashU School of Medicine News… In 2016, as Robyn Klein, MD, PhD, and Jessica Williams, PhD, then a postdoctoral fellow in Klein’s lab, looked over the program for an upcoming international neuroimmunology meeting they were planning to attend, one thing jumped out at them: Only 13 of the 85 […]

Lasers help fight deadly brain tumors

Therapy increases survival in grim diagnosis From the WashU Newsroom… People diagnosed with the aggressive brain cancer glioblastoma face a grim prognosis. Half die within 14 months of diagnosis. Even if initial treatment with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy is successful, such brain tumors typically recur, leaving patients with few options. Now, a research team at […]

Many Faces of Neurofibromatosis

Art installation at School of Medicine depicts humanity of NF patients From the WashU School of Medicine News… Large, glossy oil paintings of people enjoying the small pleasures of everyday life – reading, practicing martial arts, scooping ice cream – line the hallways in the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center at Washington University School of […]

Brain tumors occur often in kids with common genetic syndrome

Analysis of MRI scans identifies some unexplained bright objects as tumors From the WashU Newsroom… The frequency of brain tumors has been underestimated in children with the common genetic syndrome neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), according to a new study. This disorder is characterized by birthmarks on the skin and benign nerve tumors that develop in […]

New ALS therapy in clinical trials

Drug extends survival, reverses some neuromuscular damage in animals From the WashU School of Medicine News… About 20,000 people in the United States are living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The invariably fatal disease kills the nerve cells that control walking, eating and breathing. Few people survive more than […]

Can fasting improve MS symptoms?

Study to evaluate effects of fasting on immune system, gut bacteria From the WashU School of Medicine News… People with multiple sclerosis (MS) can find an abundance of conflicting advice suggesting that special diets – everything from avoiding processed foods to going low-carb – will ease their symptoms. But the evidence is scanty that dietary […]

Decades of dedication lead to drug trial for rare, fatal illness

Old cancer drug may treat devastating blood vessel disease From the WashU School of Medicine News… When Kim Morey was a young girl, a mysterious illness affected her family, striking relatives one by one at around the age of 40, she recalled. “My dad’s grandmother had it, and then his mother and her sisters,” Morey […]

Racette joins NIH environmental health advisory council

Physician-scientist is environmental manganese exposure expert From the WashU School of Medicine News… Brad Racette, MD, the Robert Allan Finke Professor of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named to the National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council. His term began in May and will continue through the end of November […]

Drugs that suppress immune system may protect against Parkinson’s

People who take immunosuppressants less likely to develop the disease From the WashU School of Medicine News… People who take drugs that suppress the immune system are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The findings, published May 31 in Annals of Clinical and […]

Lee named Stupp Professor of Neurology

Physician-scientist recognized for work on stroke recovery From the WashU Newsroom… Stroke neurologist Jin-Moo Lee, MD, PhD, has been named the Norman J. Stupp Professor of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He studies how the brain “rewires” itself after injury to find ways to enhance recovery. Lee was installed as the […]

Ances installed as inaugural Brennan Professor

Research focuses on Alzheimer’s diagnosis, treatment From the WashU Newsroom… Beau M. Ances, MD, PhD, has been named the inaugural Daniel J. Brennan, MD, Professor of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Using state-of-the-art imaging techniques, he works to develop diagnostic tools and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. He was installed by […]

Miller receives Essey award from neurological society

Recognized for advancing research into ALS From the WashU Newsroom… Timothy Miller, MD, PhD, the Clayson Professor of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received the 2018 Sheila Essey Award from the American Academy of Neurology. The award includes $50,000 to support his work on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly […]

Brain scans may help diagnose neurological, psychiatric disorders

Study shows that brain networks reliably track individuals over time From the WashU Newsroom… There are no laboratory tests to diagnose migraines, depression, bipolar disorder and many other ailments of the brain. Doctors typically gauge such illnesses based on self-reported symptoms and behavior. Now, a new study shows that a kind of brain scan called […]

Slow, steady waves keep brain humming

Such rhythmic waves linked to state of consciousness From the WashU Newsroom… If you keep a close eye on an MRI scan of the brain, you’ll see a wave pass through the entire brain like a heartbeat once every few seconds. This ultra-slow rhythm was recognized decades ago, but no one quite knew what to […]

Antibiotic use increases risk of severe viral disease in mice

Killing gut bacteria with drugs weakens immune response From the WashU Newsroom… People infected with West Nile virus can show a wide range of disease. Some develop life-threatening brain infections. Others show no signs of infection at all. One reason for the different outcomes may lie in the community of microbes that populate their intestinal […]

Antibody removes Alzheimer’s plaques, in mice

From the WashU Newsroom… Years before people start showing characteristic symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, sticky plaques begin forming in their brains, damaging nearby cells. For decades, doctors have sought ways to clear out these plaques as a way to prevent or treat the disease. The sticky clumps, known as amyloid plaques, are composed primarily of a […]

Link between 2 key Alzheimer’s proteins explained

Targeting tau production may lead to treatment From the WashU Newsroom… It’s a paradox of Alzheimer’s disease: Plaques of the sticky protein amyloid beta are the most characteristic sign in the brain of the deadly neurodegenerative disease. However, many older people have such plaques in their brains but do not have dementia. The memory loss […]

Cancer weapon

Zika virus kills glioblastoma stem cells in early research From WashU’s Outlook Magazine… While Zika virus causes devastating damage to the brains of developing fetuses, it one day may be an effective treatment for glioblastoma, a deadly form of brain cancer. New research from Washington University School of Medicine and the University of California San […]

Stroke recovery improved by sensory deprivation, mouse study shows

Trimming animals’ whiskers activates brain to rewire damaged circuits after stroke From the WashU Newsroom… Temporarily shutting off neuronal signals to a healthy part of the brain may aid stroke recovery, according to new research in mice. The findings, from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, are published Jan. 31 in Science […]

Holy named Wolff Professor of Neuroscience

Recognized for illuminating neural circuits underlying behavior From the WashU Newsroom… Timothy E. Holy, PhD, has been named the inaugural Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Professor of Neuroscience at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. His research has provided valuable insight into how chemical cues are used for social communication. He was installed […]

Major Alzheimer’s study aims to predict who will develop the disease

$10.3 million also funds efforts to establish disease timeline From the WashU Newsroom… Adults with an aging parent diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are at elevated risk of developing the disease themselves. But doctors still don’t know enough yet to predict which of these adult children will go on to develop Alzheimer’s. Nor can they predict at […]

Memory loss from West Nile virus may be preventable

Study in mice paves way to treatments From the WashU Newsroom… More than 10,000 people in the United States are living with memory loss and other persistent neurological problems that occur after West Nile virus infects the brain. Now, a new study in mice suggests that such ongoing neurological deficits may be due to unresolved inflammation […]

Lack of sleep boosts levels of Alzheimer’s proteins

Study shows sleepless night taxes brain’s waste-disposal abilities From the WashU Newsroom… Have you resolved to take better care of yourself in the new year? Here’s a relatively painless way to do it: Catch a few more zzz’s every night. A third of American adults don’t get enough sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control […]

Van Essen receives Glass Brain Award

Recognized for lifetime achievement in mapping brain connections From the WashU Newsroom… David C. Van Essen, PhD, the Alumni Endowed Professor of Neuroscience at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received the 2017 Glass Brain Award from the Organization of Human Brain Mapping. The award recognizes lifetime achievement in using neuroimaging to advance […]

Medical School faculty named to National Academy of Inventors

Achilefu, Holtzman, Leuthardt honored for innovation From the WashU Newsroom… Noted innovators Samuel Achilefu, PhD, David Holtzman, MD, and Eric Leuthardt, MD – faculty members at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis – have been named fellows of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). The 2017 class of NAI fellows was announced Tuesday. They are recognized as fellows […]

Alzheimer’s damage in mice reduced with compound that targets APOE gene

APOE is major Alzheimer’s risk gene From the WashU Newsroom… People who carry the APOE4 genetic variant face a substantial risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a compound that targets the APOE protein in the brains of mice and protects against damage induced by […]

Seven faculty are 2017 AAAS Fellows

From the WashU Newsroom… Seven faculty members at Washington University in St. Louis are among 396 new fellows selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society. Michael G. Caparon Jr.; Graham A. Colditz, MD, DrPH; John A. Cooper, MD, PhD; Michael S. Diamond, MD, PhD; Susan K. Dutcher; Timothy J. Eberlein, MD — all […]

In autism, too many brain connections may be at root of condition

Learning, social issues may reflect neuronal miscommunication From the WashU Newsroom… A defective gene linked to autism influences how neurons connect and communicate with each other in the brain, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Rodents that lack the gene form too many connections between brain neurons and have […]

Penny-wise, pound-foolish decisions explained by neurons’ firing

Spending decisions influenced by adaptation in neural circuits From the WashU Newsroom… The British have a pithy way of describing people who dither over spending 20 cents more for premium ice cream but happily drop an extra $5,000 for a fancier house: penny wise and pound foolish. Now, a new study suggests that being penny wise […]

$3.7 million to help research neurological disorders linked to manganese

Focus in South Africa, where most manganese found From the WashU Newsroom… Manganese – found in smoke from steel production and coal fires – has been linked to a range of neurological problems often seen with Parkinson’s disease: slowness, stiffness, tremors, anxiety, depression, cognitive changes, and difficulty walking and speaking. Decades ago, federal environmental and public […]

Alzheimer’s gene poses both risk — and benefits

Study suggests role of inflammation in brain disease is complicated From the WashU Newsroom… Scientists drilling down to the molecular roots of Alzheimer’s disease have encountered a good news/bad news scenario. A major player is a gene called TREM2, mutations of which can substantially raise a person’s risk of the disease. The bad news is that […]

Antibody protects against both Zika and dengue, mouse study shows

Treating pregnant women before infection may protect fetuses from Zika From the WashU Newsroom… Brazil and other areas hardest hit by the Zika virus – which can cause babies to be born with abnormally small heads – are also home to dengue virus, which is spread by the same mosquito species. A new study led by […]

Newly ID’d role of major Alzheimer’s gene suggests possible therapeutic target

Blocking ApoE4 in brain may prevent nerve cell death, inflammation From the WashU Newsroom… Nearly a quarter century ago, a genetic variant known as ApoE4 was identified as a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease — one that increases a person’s chances of developing the neurodegenerative disease by up to 12 times. However, it was never […]