Alzheimer’s in adults with Down syndrome focus of multicenter NIH grant

Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are taking part in a multisite study to investigate the biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome. By middle age, nearly all people with Down syndrome show signs of Alzheimer’s disease, and doctors have no way to prevent it or to stop the […]

Uncovering genetic roots of marijuana use disorder

A large study exploring possible genetic influences on cannabis use disorder has identified two regions in our DNA — one newly identified and a second that replicates a past finding — that appear to contribute to one’s risk of becoming dependent on marijuana. The findings — published Oct. 20 in Lancet Psychiatry — stem from […]

Neuroscientist Ponce named a 2020 Packard fellow

Carlos Ponce, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of neuroscience at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received a 2020 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering. Each of the 20 Packard fellows — among the nation’s top early-career scientists — will receive a five-year, $875,000 grant to pursue research. Ponce studies how visual […]

Brain inflammation in Parkinson’s disease focus of $3.2 million grant

Parkinson’s disease usually is thought of as a movement disorder. People with Parkinson’s typically first develop a tremor in one hand, followed by slowed movement, stiffness and loss of balance. But within 10 years of diagnosis, more than three-quarters of Parkinson’s patients also develop cognitive problems such as difficulty with memory and with performing sequential […]

Basis of developmental disabilities focus of $11.3 million in grants

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received a pair of grants totaling $11.3 million to study genetic and environmental factors that contribute to developmental disabilities and to find new ways to improve the lives of children and adults affected by such disabilities. The grants — a five-year award from the […]

Podcast: The making of a fast, accurate saliva test for COVID-19

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials have talked about the need for better, faster and more frequent testing. Recently, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis developed a saliva test that can detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus without inserting a nasopharyngeal swab into the nose or throat. The saliva test […]

Kerschensteiner honored for work with neural circuits, visual system

Daniel Kerschensteiner, MD, a professor of ophthalmology in the John F. Hardesty, MD, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, has received the Cogan Award from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). The annual award recognizes a researcher age 45 or younger who has made important research contributions in ophthalmology and visual science […]

Gutmann receives award from neurological association

David H. Gutmann, MD, PhD, the Donald O. Schnuck Family Professor and vice chair for research affairs in the Department of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received the George W. Jacoby Award from the American Neurological Association for his discoveries on the role of the immune system in brain […]

Podcast: COVID-19, social media and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities

The pandemic is affecting everyone, but the stresses it causes are particularly rough for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Providing effective education to such children and getting services to those who need help in their homes is typically complex, but those issues are even more difficult in the face of COVID-19. […]

Buchman elected president of neurotology society

Craig A. Buchman, MD, the Lindburg Professor and head of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been elected president of the American Neurotology Society, an organization of specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the inner ear and skull base. He first will serve […]

Older people with early, asymptomatic Alzheimer’s at risk of falls

Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries in older adults, causing more than 800,000 hospitalizations and about 30,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. Some risk factors are well-known — advanced age, problems with vision or balance, muscle weakness — but an under-recognized factor is early Alzheimer’s disease. Older people in the earliest stages […]

Imaging agent developed at Washington University spotlights inflammation

Many of the most common diseases — cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and lung disease, and even COVID-19 — have been linked to chronic or excessive inflammation. Blood tests can indicate that some part of a person’s body is inflamed, but doctors don’t have a good way to zero in on the site of inflammation and visualize the […]

College students access eating disorders therapy via phone app

More than 13% of women and 3.6% of men on college campuses have an eating disorder of some kind, but fewer than 20% of those affected ever receive treatment due to lack of available clinicians and the stigma associated with seeking help. New research led by eating disorders experts at Washington University School of Medicine […]

COVID-19 disproportionately affects developmentally disabled

As the nation’s children, teens and college students attempt to start a new school year amidst debate regarding how best to resume education during the COVID-19 pandemic, a segment of the population in desperate need of in-person supports often is overlooked in the decision-making process, according to a group of experts on the topic. “In […]

Cochlear implants should be recommended for adults more often

An international group of hearing specialists has released a new set of recommendations emphasizing that cochlear implants should be offered to adults who have moderate to severe or worse hearing loss much more often than is the current practice. The group hopes the recommendations help increase usage of such devices, potentially improving hearing and quality […]

Washington University develops COVID-19 saliva test

A new saliva test to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been developed by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Results from the COVID-19 diagnostic test are available in a few hours and, ideally, able to be communicated to people tested within a day. Highly sensitive to detecting even tiny levels of […]

African American children with autism experience long delays in diagnosis

Diagnosing autism in children as early as possible is essential to improving their language, social and cognitive skills. But often the diagnosis is made relatively late — even after some children begin elementary school. In the United States, diagnostic delays and barriers in access to developmental therapy for those with autism are particularly pronounced among […]

New center to explore brain, immune system connections

As the brain reigns supreme over the human body, the immune system works 24/7 to defend the body from foreign invaders. For decades, however, the brain and the immune system were thought to operate independently of one another. But a growing body of evidence suggests the two are intimately connected in keeping the body healthy. […]

Gereau honored for mentorship and training in neuroscience research

Robert W. Gereau IV, PhD, the Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Anesthesiology, has received the Landis Award for Outstanding Mentorship from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The award, one of six presented this year, is […]

Immunotherapy-resistant cancers eliminated in mouse study

Immunotherapy has revolutionized cancer treatment by stimulating the patient’s own immune system to attack cancer cells, yielding remarkably quick and complete remission in some cases. But such drugs work for less than a quarter of patients because tumors are notoriously adept at evading immune assault. A new study in mice by researchers at Washington University […]

Boosting immune system a potential treatment strategy for COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim lives around the world, much research has focused on the immune system’s role in patients who become seriously ill. A popular theory has it that the immune system gets so revved up fighting the virus that, after several days, it produces a so-called cytokine storm that results in […]

Alzheimer’s protein in blood indicates early brain changes

Two decades or more before symptoms arise, plaques of a sticky protein called amyloid begin forming in the brains of people later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that levels of a specific protein in the blood rise as amyloid plaques form in the brain. […]

Specific bacteria help explain stunted growth in malnourished children

Many children treated for childhood malnutrition in developing countries never fully recover. They suffer from stunted growth, immune system dysfunction and poor cognitive development that typically cause long-term health issues into adulthood. Now, new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research involving malnourished children […]

5 physician-scientists named inaugural Dean’s Scholars

The newly formed Division of Physician-Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has selected five physicians for its inaugural Dean’s Scholar Program, which provides up to two years of financial support and mentorship to aspiring, early-career physician-scientists, along with dedicated time for conducting laboratory research. The program represents one of the division’s first major […]

Experimental drug shows early promise against inherited form of ALS, trial indicates

An experimental drug for a rare, inherited form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has shown promise in a phase 1/phase 2 clinical trial conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and other sites around the world and sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Biogen Inc. The trial indicated […]

Study to examine social media’s effects on stress during COVID-19 pandemic

The impact of social media on anxiety and stress during the coronavirus pandemic is the focus of a new study led by mental health experts at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and computer scientists at Georgia Tech. The National Science Foundation is funding the pilot study. The researchers plan to use computer […]

Ferguson receives award from blindness-prevention organization

Thomas A. Ferguson, PhD, a professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, has received a Research to Prevent Blindness Stein Innovation Award. Ferguson is an internationally recognized expert on the role of autophagy — the natural, regulated mechanism that helps cells remove unnecessary or malfunctioning components — in the development of eye diseases, such as age-related […]

Schizophrenia, other psychotic disorders focus of new clinic for teens, young adults

The first signs of mental illness involving psychosis — the experience of having hallucinations, delusions or intrusive, disturbing thoughts — often appear during the teen years. There is emerging evidence, however, that early intervention can help such adolescents avoid the extremely serious problems that can derail their educations and disrupt family relationships. With this goal […]

Previously undetected brain pulses may help circuits survive disuse, injury

A neuroscientist’s neon pink arm cast led him and fellow researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to discover previously undetected neuronal pulses in the human brain that activate after an immobilizing illness or injury. The pulses appeared on MRI scans used to measure brain activity of the neuroscientist and, later, two […]

Mokalled receives national early career award

Mayssa H. Mokalled, PhD, an assistant professor of developmental biology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received the 2020 H.W. Mossman Award in Developmental Biology from the American Association for Anatomy. This award recognizes outstanding researchers in developmental biology who, though still in the early stages of their careers, already have […]

$3.7 million aimed at studying effect of manganese exposure on cognitive skills

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received a $3.7 million grant to investigate the link between manganese and cognitive problems. Understanding how the metal harms the brain could lead to better ways to prevent or treat some forms of cognitive impairment, including in Parkinson’s disease. The grant, from the National […]

On the front lines: Jessica Gold

Psychiatrist Jessica Gold, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, talks about the impact the COVID-19 crisis has been having on mental health. This video is part of a series of short videos focusing on how Washington University health-care workers, scientists and students have responded to the coronavirus pandemic. Read more and […]

$13.7 million to further adolescent brain development study

Washington University scientists will receive $13.7 million in additional funding for ongoing research into adolescent brain development. Their work is part of the largest long-term study of brain development ever conducted in the United States. Washington University is one of 21 study sites around the country participating in the project. Launched in 2015, the Adolescent Brain […]

On the front lines: Jay Piccirillo

Otolaryngologist Jay Piccirillo, MD, professor of otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, discusses the loss of smell and/or taste that is sometimes associated with the virus that causes COVID-19. Read more and watch.

Podcast: Global study tests chloroquine to protect health workers from COVID-19

More than 10% of those with serious COVID-19 infections have been front-line health-care workers. Now, an international group led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is launching a trial to see whether the drug chloroquine might help those workers. The drug trial won’t treat doctors, nurses and others after they […]

Global study to test malaria drug to protect health workers from COVID-19

With $9 million in philanthropic support, an international group of physicians and scientists is establishing a research network to evaluate promising therapies for COVID-19. The group, called the COVID-19 Research Outcomes Worldwide Network (CROWN) Collaborative, is testing whether the antimalaria drug chloroquine can prevent COVID-19 infection or decrease its severity in front-line health-care workers. An […]

Flies sleep when need arises to adapt to new situations

Flies that cannot take to the air respond by sleeping more as they learn to adapt to their flightlessness, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The findings, published May 8 in Science Advances, suggest that sleep may be an evolutionary tool that helps animals adapt to challenging new […]

Stroke evaluations drop by nearly 40% during COVID-19 pandemic

The number of people evaluated for signs of stroke at U.S. hospitals has dropped by nearly 40% during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study led by researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis who analyzed stroke evaluations at more than 800 hospitals across 49 states and the District of Columbia. The […]

Gutmann receives Advocate of Hope award

David H. Gutmann, MD, PhD, the Donald O. Schnuck Family Professor and vice chair for research affairs in the Department of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received the Advocate of Hope Award from the national Neurofibromatosis (NF) Network. The NF Network is a nonprofit dedicated to helping people living […]

New targets for childhood brain tumors identified

Children with the genetic condition neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) can develop brain and nerve tumors. If a tumor develops within the optic nerve, which connects the eye and the brain, the child may lose his or her vision. New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that the growth of these […]

Potential biomarker for autism identified in infants

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Stanford University have identified a biomarker in newborns that may signal autism spectrum disorder months or even years before troubling symptoms develop and such diagnoses typically are made. The researchers found that babies diagnosed with autism later in childhood had in their cerebrospinal fluid, […]

Diabetes reversed in mice with genetically edited stem cells derived from patients

Using induced pluripotent stem cells produced from the skin of a patient with a rare, genetic form of insulin-dependent diabetes called Wolfram syndrome, researchers transformed the human stem cells into insulin-producing cells and used the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 to correct a genetic defect that had caused the syndrome. They then implanted the cells into lab mice […]

Podcast: Preserving mental, physical health while isolating at home

The St. Louis region and most of the United States are under stay-at-home orders, meaning that aside from reporting to “essential” jobs that require attendance, and trips to the grocery store, drug store or other necessary errands, most people are spending more time at home than ever before. This week’s podcast features experts in maintaining […]

Podcast: Clinical trials launch to evaluate antimalarial, antidepressant drugs to treat COVID-19

Although anecdotal reports have suggested certain therapies help some patients, there still are no proven treatments for the disorder. In this episode, we discuss repurposing existing drugs to treat COVID-19. One study involves treating hospitalized patients. Another involves providing infected patients with a drug to take at home as a way to prevent them from […]

Study to evaluate antidepressant as potential COVID-19 treatment

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are launching a clinical trial in patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 but who are not sick enough to be hospitalized. The trial is investigating whether the antidepressant medication fluvoxamine, which is currently used to treat patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), can be repurposed […]

Pagliarini named BJC investigator

Dave Pagliarini, PhD, whose studies of the so-called “powerhouses of the cell” have shed light on a set of rare but devastating diseases, has been named a BJC Investigator and will join the Department of Cell Biology & Physiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He will have secondary appointments in the biochemistry and […]

Social distancing has graduate students defending theses online

Across campus, centrifuges have stopped spinning, incubators have been shut off, and lab benches sit empty as graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and technicians at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis obey state and local shelter-at-home orders. Only researchers investigating ways to stop COVID-19 or performing other essential duties are allowed in the usually […]

Insight into Alzheimer’s early stages provides clues to treatment strategies

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting more than 5 million people in the U.S., but doctors have limited advice on how to protect against it. The disease develops silently in the brain for two decades or more before people begin showing the characteristic signs of forgetfulness and confusion. Understanding that silent […]

Richards named head of neuroscience

Linda J. Richards, PhD, recognized internationally for her expertise in brain development and developmental disorders, has been named head of the Department of Neuroscience and the Edison Professor of Neurobiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She will take the helm Jan. 1. Richards is a professor of neuroscience and the deputy director of […]

Medical students lead effort to collect masks, gowns, gloves, eye protection

With cases of the novel coronavirus on the rise in the St. Louis region, Washington University in St. Louis is anticipating shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) — such as masks, gowns, gloves and eyewear — at university-affiliated hospitals and clinics. As work is reduced in university laboratories, medical students are asking researchers to collect […]