New grants through President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative will allow University of Minnesota researchers to dive deeper into the brain, developing new imaging technology with the potential to map and study neural activity to much greater detail.
Sleep is critical to the overall growth and development of infants, children and teens. But how much sleep is enough? The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recently released a set of guidelines that outlines how much sleep children should be receiving at different ages.
Opioid addiction is a crippling problem in society, with an estimated 9 percent of Americans abusing opiates at some point in their life. In Minnesota, opiate overdose deaths have more than tripled since 2000.
Overcoming addiction is extremely challenging, and the risk of relapse persists. A new study from the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Neuroscience identified a potential target for preventing morphine relapse in mice, which brings researchers closer to providing a way for recovering addicts to stay drug-free.
An estimated 3 million Americans have epilepsy, but most of the fundamental questions about the condition have yet to be answered. In fact, up to 40 percent of epilepsy patients don’t achieve seizure control with traditional treatment using medication.
UMN expert Esther Krook-Magnuson, Ph.D., has taken a targeted approach to studying epilepsy. She uses a technique called optogenetics, which uses light to alter brain activity, and could be used to stop seizures.
“Fear initiates our fight-or-flight response,” says William Engeland, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Neuroscience in the University of Minnesota Medical School. “When you’re exposed to a new and potentially frightening situation, our brain perceives it as a threat, and activates an automatic physical response.”
So what is the response? How does the body react to fear?
About 100,000 people worldwide undergo deep brain stimulation to treat Parkinson’s disease, dystonia and tremor when traditional medications or treatments fail to provide symptom improvement or relief. It is also being explored as a treatment for other neurological and psychiatric disorders for which medical therapy has not been effective in alleviating symptoms.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) involves stimulating portions of the brain through a small implanted device. After the device is implanted, a clinician programs the device to target each patient’s individual symptoms. They establish settings that determine how much stimulation is needed to improve symptoms, a process called programming.