Time until dementia symptoms appear can be estimated via brain scan

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed an approach to estimating when a person who is likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, but has no cognitive symptoms, will start showing signs of Alzheimer’s dementia. The algorithm, available online in the journal Neurology, uses data from a kind of brain scan known […]

Gordon receives Balzan Prize

Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is a recipient of this year’s Balzan Prize for his role in founding the field of human gut microbiome research and revolutionizing the understanding of gut microbes and their roles in human health and disease. Each […]

COVID-19 transmission at school rare for children with disabilities

Studies have determined that in-school transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 is rare when masking, social distancing and other safety protocols are followed. However, little has been known about COVID-19 risks at school for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These students often are unable to mask or maintain social distancing and may have underlying […]

$6.2 million grant to fund Center for Perioperative Mental Health

The average person will undergo nine surgical procedures in his or her lifetime, and the periods before, during and after surgery are considered high risk regarding mental health, particularly among older adults. Depression and anxiety are especially common in older surgery patients; past research has demonstrated that about 40% of older surgical patients have mental […]

Memory disorders after viral infections focus of $8.7 million grant

More than half of the survivors of West Nile virus brain infections are left with memory disorders that make everyday tasks such as remembering the route from home to work challenging. Similar issues can arise in the aftermath of other viral infections, such as the “brain fog” that plagues some people after a diagnosis of […]

Wang receives award to further develop pregnancy imaging system

Yong Wang, PhD, an associate professor of obstetrics & gynecology and of radiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received a 2021 Next Gen Pregnancy Research Grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to biomedical science through research and education. Wang, also an associate professor of electrical […]

Schmidt recognized for contributions to neuropathology

Robert Schmidt, MD, PhD, a professor of pathology & immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received the Meritorious Contributions to Neuropathology Award from the American Association of Neuropathologists. The award recognizes Schmidt’s contributions to the advancement of knowledge of diseases that affect the nervous system. For more than 30 years, […]

Lee named head of Department of Neurology

Jin-Moo Lee, MD, PhD, recognized internationally for his research on the cellular and molecular pathophysiology of brain injury, has been named head of the Department of Neurology and the Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He will begin in his new role Sept. 1. Currently […]

Protein linked to heart health, disease a potential therapeutic target for dementia

Mice prone to developing Alzheimer’s-like brain damage have potentially damaging activated immune cells in their brains (above). Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that high levels of a normal protein associated with reduced heart disease also protect against Alzheimer’s-like damage in mice, opening up new approaches to slowing or stopping brain damage and cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s. (Image: Yang Shi)

By the time people with Alzheimer’s disease start exhibiting difficulty remembering and thinking, the disease has been developing in their brains for two decades or more, and their brain tissue already has sustained damage. As the disease progresses, the damage accumulates, and their symptoms worsen. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis […]

Investigational Alzheimer’s drug improves biomarkers of the disease

Randall Bateman, MD, director of the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network-Trials Unit (DIAN-TU), an ongoing international clinical trial to evaluate experimental Alzheimer’s drugs, speaks with DIAN-TU participant Taylor Hutton. One of the drugs tested in the DIAN-TU, gantenerumab, improved biomarkers of disease despite unclear cognitive effects, prompting study leaders to offer participants the option of continuing to receive the drug and participate in follow-up examinations as part of a so-called open label extension. (Photo: Matt Miller/WUSM)

An investigational Alzheimer’s drug reduced molecular markers of disease and curbed neurodegeneration in the brain, without demonstrating evidence of cognitive benefit, in a phase 2/3 clinical trial led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis through its Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network-Trials Unit (DIAN-TU). These results led the trial leaders to offer the drug, […]

Ravichandran named BJC investigator

Kodi S. Ravichandran, PhD, a world leader in understanding innate immunity, has been named a BJC Investigator as well as director of the Division of Immunobiology in the Department of Pathology & Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. His studies of how dead cells are cleared from the body have shed light on innate immunity […]

Immunologist joins Colonna lab as Pew Latin American Fellow

Brazilian immunologist José Luís Fachi, PhD, will join the laboratory of Marco Colonna, MD, the Robert Rock Belliveau, MD, Professor of Pathology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, as a Pew Latin American Fellow in Biomedical Sciences. The program is designed to promote exchange and collaboration between investigators in the United States and […]

4 physician-scientists named Dean’s Scholars

The Division of Physician-Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has named its second class of physicians for the Dean’s Scholars Program. The awardees will receive up to two years of financial support and mentorship, as well as dedicated lab time to conduct scientific research. The four physicians (from left) are: Mary “Maggie” Mullen, Erica Young, Matthew Shew, and Rong Mei Zhang.

The Division of Physician-Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has selected four physicians for its second class of Dean’s Scholars. The program 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 newly named class includes: Mary “Maggie” Mullen, MD; Matthew […]

Study finds brain areas involved in seeking information about bad possibilities

The term “doomscrolling” describes the act of endlessly scrolling through bad news on social media and reading every worrisome tidbit that pops up, a habit that unfortunately seems to have become common during the COVID-19 pandemic. The biology of our brains may play a role in that. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in […]

Laughing gas relieves symptoms in people with treatment-resistant depression

A single, one-hour treatment that involves breathing in a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide — otherwise known as laughing gas — significantly improved symptoms in people with treatment-resistant depression, according to new data from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Chicago. In a phase 2 clinical […]

Studies reveal skull as unexpected source of brain immunity

The immune system is the brain’s best frenemy. It protects the brain from infection and helps injured tissues heal, but it also causes autoimmune diseases and creates inflammation that drives neurodegeneration. Two new studies in mice suggest that the double-edged nature of the relationship between the immune system and the brain may come down to […]

Tiny implant cures diabetes in mice without triggering immune response

A team of researchers led by diabetes specialists and biomedical engineers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Cornell University has demonstrated that, using a miniscule device, they can implant insulin-secreting cells into diabetic mice. Once implanted, the cells secrete insulin in response to blood sugar, reversing diabetes without requiring drugs to […]

Lang named to national child health advisory council

Catherine Lang, PhD, a professor of physical therapy and associate director of the Movement Science Program in the Program in Physical Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been appointed to serve on the National Advisory Child Health and Human Development Council for the Eunice Kennedy Schriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) […]

Brain tumors caused by normal neuron activity in mice predisposed to such tumors

Seeing, hearing, thinking, daydreaming — doing anything at all, in fact — activates neurons in the brain. But for people predisposed to developing brain tumors, the ordinary buzzing of their brains could be a problem. A study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Stanford University School of Medicine shows […]

For men, low testosterone means high risk of severe COVID-19

Throughout the pandemic, doctors have seen evidence that men with COVID-19 fare worse, on average, than women with the infection. One theory is that hormonal differences between men and women may make men more susceptible to severe disease. And since men have much more testosterone than women, some scientists have speculated that high levels of […]

Cheng honored for work to advance pain relief without adverse effects

Wayland Cheng, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of anesthesiology, has received the 2021 Frontiers in Anesthesia Research Award from the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS). The prestigious $750,000 award, which is given only once every three years to a single awardee, funds projects with an eye toward developing future leaders in the field of anesthesiology. Read more.

Among COVID-19 survivors, an increased risk of death, serious illness

As the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed, it has become clear that many survivors — even those who had mild cases — continue to manage a variety of health problems long after the initial infection should have resolved. In what is believed to be the largest comprehensive study of long COVID-19 to date, researchers at Washington […]

Podcast: Pandemic contributing to uptick of mental health problems in kids

Infections with the virus that causes COVID-19 are not the only cause of pandemic-related hospitalizations. Although children tend to be at lower risk of COVID-19, the number of kids with mental health and behavioral problems has exploded during the pandemic, driving an increase in pediatric hospital admissions nationwide. Stressors associated with remote schooling, fear of […]

Obituary: Michael E. Hughes, assistant professor of pulmonary medicine, 41

Michael Evan Hughes, PhD, a neuroscientist and chronobiologist highly respected for his research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died Tuesday, May 4, 2021, at his home in St. Louis after a six-year battle with brain cancer. He was 41. An assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, […]

Team developing tool to handle big data generated by advanced imaging tool

Light-sheet fluorescence microscopy, an imaging tool that can rapidly produce 3D images of complex cellular structures, gives scientists the power to visualize the myriad miniature dramas unfolding inside living cells and tissues. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are using the technique to watch, in astonishing detail, tiny organelles rearrange themselves […]

Draining brain’s debris enhances Alzheimer’s therapies in mice

Experimental Alzheimer’s drugs have shown little success in slowing declines in memory and thinking, leaving scientists searching for explanations. But new research in mice has shown that some investigational Alzheimer’s therapies are more effective when paired with a treatment geared toward improving drainage of fluid — and debris — from the brain, according to a […]

Stroke-recovery device using brain-computer interface receives FDA market authorization

A first-of-its kind device that helps people disabled by stroke regain significant control over their arm and hand function by using their minds has received market authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The IpsiHand Upper Extremity Rehabilitation System, developed by Neurolutions Inc. – a Washington University in St. Louis startup company – leverages brain-computer interface […]

Anti-aging compound that improves metabolic health in mice improves muscle glucose metabolism in people

A natural compound previously demonstrated to counteract aspects of aging and improve metabolic health in mice has clinically relevant effects in people, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. A small clinical trial of postmenopausal women with prediabetes shows that the compound NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) improved the ability of […]

Gordon study on childhood malnutrition honored for its impact

The Clinical Research Forum, a nonprofit association of top clinical research experts from the nation’s leading academic health centers, has awarded an international interdisciplinary team led by Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, a Distinguished Clinical Research Achievement Award for his study “Integrating Global Health with the Microbiome.” The honor recognizes studies’ creativity, innovation and novel approaches that demonstrate immediate […]

Njoku named director of pediatric anesthesiology division

Dolores B. Njoku, MD, a noted clinician, researcher and mentor, has been named the director of pediatric anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and anesthesiologist-in-chief at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. With the post, she will become the new Rudolph L. and Mary Frances Wise Endowed Chair in Pediatric Anesthesiology. She also has been […]

Consortium to investigate role of neurofilament light chain in neurodegenerative diseases

Clinical scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and University College London are collaborating with pharmaceutical companies AbbVie, Biogen, Bristol Myers Squibb and Roche to investigate the role of neurofilament light (NfL) chain in neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. NfL is a protein […]

Limbrick appointed to St. Louis Regional Health Commission

David D. Limbrick, MD, PhD, the T. S. Park, MD, Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been appointed to the St. Louis Regional Health Commission as the representative from the School of Medicine. The commission is dedicated to ensuring the financial sustainability of the health-care safety net […]

Mice with hallucination-like behaviors reveal insight into psychotic illness

The humble lab mouse has provided invaluable clues to understanding diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes to COVID-19. But when it comes to psychiatric conditions, the lab mouse has been sidelined, its rodent mind considered too different from that of humans to provide much insight into mental illness. A new study, however, shows there are […]

Brain Tumor Center established at Siteman Cancer Center

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Barnes-Jewish Hospital have established the Brain Tumor Center, a multidisciplinary practice of physicians and scientists whose mission is to provide leading-edge, patient-centric care for brain tumor patients while also developing transformative basic, translational and clinical research to develop new therapies and improve patient outcomes. Neurosurgeon and scientist Albert H. Kim, […]

Researchers elected to American Society for Clinical Investigation

Five physician-scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have been elected members of the American Society for Clinical Investigation in recognition of original, creative and independent investigations in the clinical or allied sciences of medicine. The new members will be inducted April 8. Patricia Dickson, MD, is the Centennial Professor of Pediatrics, […]

Podcast: Loss of smell, heart problems common symptoms for long-haulers

In the year since COVID-19 infections first appeared in the United States, a few things have become clear. One is that many who get sick don’t recover quickly. Even those who don’t have to be hospitalized can experience symptoms that linger. Called long-haulers, these individuals suffer from a variety of issues such as shortness of […]

Opioid overdose reduced in patients taking buprenorphine

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, opioid misuse has continued unabated in the United States, with an estimated 2.5 million or more Americans suffering from opioid use disorder. Most people treated for the disorder are given medications, such as buprenorphine, that activate opioid receptors. But there is disagreement about whether it’s safe to prescribe buprenorphine for […]

Electrical signaling in cells focus of $8.8 million grant

The squiggly shapes in the illustration represent proteins that make up different parts of an ion channel in a cell. Ion channels are involved in the conversion of chemical and mechanical messages into electrical signals in cells. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received an eight-year, $8.8 million grant to study ion channels as potential targets for new drugs to treat disorders affecting the brain, heart and muscles. (Image: Chanda lab)

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received an eight-year, $8.8 million grant to study cells’ ion channels as potential targets for new drugs to treat disorders affecting the brain, heart and muscles. Ion channels are found in a variety of cells, where they are involved in the conversion of chemical […]

Holtzman, Karch honored for research into neurodegenerative diseases

Alzheimer’s researchers David M. Holtzman, MD, and Celeste Karch, PhD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, have been recognized by the Rainwater Charitable Foundation for scientific achievements that could lead to new, effective treatments for neurodegenerative diseases associated with the accumulation of tau protein in the brain. Alzheimer’s is the best known such disease. […]

Protein linked to Alzheimer’s, strokes cleared from brain blood vessels

As people age, a normal brain protein known as amyloid beta often starts to collect into harmful amyloid plaques in the brain. Such plaques can be the first step on the path to Alzheimer’s dementia. When they form around blood vessels in the brain, a condition known as cerebral amyloid angiopathy, the plaques also raise […]

Aggressive brain tumor mapped in genetic, molecular detail

Pictured are MRI scans of eight patients with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumor. A new study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has mapped out detailed molecular and genetic schematics of these tumors, opening the door to potential improved therapies. (Image: Albert H. Kim)

Glioblastoma is among the most aggressive and devastating of cancers. While rare compared with other cancers, it’s the most common type of brain cancer. Even with intensive therapy, relatively few patients survive longer than two years after diagnosis, and fewer than 10% of patients survive beyond five years. Despite extensive studies focused on genomic features […]

Obituary: Lawrence Coben, emeritus associate professor of neurology, 94

Lawrence Coben, MD, who with his colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis developed a widely used scale that characterizes and tracks impairment in dementia patients, died of cancer Oct. 7, 2020, in Dedham, Mass. He was 94. Coben was an emeritus associate professor of neurology at the university. He retired in […]

How does the immune system keep tabs on the brain?

Immune cells (yellow and purple) fill a sinus (teal) in the outer layer of the meninges, the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that immune cells stationed in such sinuses monitor the brain and initiate an immune response if they detect a problem.

Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, autism, schizophrenia and many other neurological and psychiatric conditions have been linked to inflammation in the brain. There’s growing evidence that immune cells and molecules play a key role in normal brain development and function as well. But at the core of the burgeoning field of neuroimmunology lies a mystery: How […]

Podcast: Vaccines have arrived but COVID-19 treatments progressing much more slowly

A new episode of our podcast, “Show Me the Science,” has been posted. At present, these podcast episodes are highlighting research and patient care on the Washington University Medical Campus as our scientists and clinicians confront the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 vaccine development has been rapid and successful. Two vaccines that report more than 90% efficacy […]

Common brain malformation traced to its genetic roots

About one in 100 children has a common brain disorder called Chiari 1 malformation, but most of the time such children grow up normally and no one suspects a problem. But in about one in 10 of those children, the condition causes headaches, neck pain, hearing, vision and balance disturbances, or other neurological symptoms. In […]

Garcia to head Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Benjamin A. Garcia, PhD, a noted leader in the field of biochemistry, especially for his work advancing mass spectrometry techniques, has been named head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Garcia, whose appointment tentatively is set to begin July 1, also will become the Raymond H. […]

Novel form of Alzheimer’s protein found in spinal fluid indicates stage of the disease

A novel form of an Alzheimer’s protein found in the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord indicates what stage of the disease a person is in, and tracks with tangles of tau protein in the brain, according to a study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Tau tangles […]

Washington University to offer genetic counseling master’s program

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is offering a new master’s program in genetic counseling, a field that has been growing in importance as genetic testing becomes more common. Patients are gaining access to more and more information about their genes and genetic risk of disease, and consequently, the demand for trained genetic counselors […]

Fitzpatrick named a Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Imaging Scientist

James Fitzpatrick, PhD, a professor of neuroscience and of cell biology & physiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and director of the Washington University Center for Cellular Imaging (WUCCI), is one of 22 researchers worldwide named a Chan Zuckerberg Imaging Scientist by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Modern microscopy techniques can show how molecules fit together […]