Posts Tagged ‘brain’

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Chronic focal brain cooling suppresses seizures during wakefulness

Chronic focal brain cooling suppresses seizures during wakefulness

Neuroscientists from Japan’s Yamaguchi University today reported during the 66th annual scientific meeting of the American Epilepsy Society (AES) that chronic focal brain cooling suppresses seizures during wakefulness and achieves the effect without significantly affecting brain function. Their research, and that of others in the field, provides critical evidence that this approach to seizure control has reached a stage where testing in humans will soon be possible.

Focal brain cooling is well established as an effective method for suppressing seizures. But the technology for creating a practical device with potential clinical application has only recently become available and tested in rodents. More evidence from large animals and humans is needed prior to testing in clinical trials for drug-resistant epilepsy.

The Yamaguchi researchers implanted two feline and two non-human primates with a titanium cooling plate, or heat exchanger. The brain cooling device was placed in contact with the brain surface over cortex areas responsible for movement and sensation. Seizures were then induced in the motor cortex. Brain wave recordings to assess seizure activity and temperature recordings were performed under wakefulness. (Abstract #3.056)

According to Masami Fujii, M.D.,Ph.D., and Takao Inoue, Ph.D., and Michiyasu Suzuki, M.D., Ph.D., who presented the report, seizure discharges were significantly suppressed at 15?C (59?F).

“The results of our study suggest that focal brain cooling has a strong effect to suppress the epileptiform seizures under the awake condition,” Dr. Fujii said. “Moreover, implantation of the device for at least five months did not result in detrimental changes in brain tissue subjected to cooling compared to tissue from a similar site in the opposing hemisphere.”

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121203/Chronic-focal-brain-cooling-suppresses-seizures-during-wakefulness.aspx

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NEURiNFARCT for Predicting Cerebral Infarct Development

NEURiNFARCT for Predicting Cerebral Infarct Development

NEURiNFARCT for Predicting Cerebral Infarct Development

A new approach to the early prediction of the evolution of cerebral infarcts (1) caused by stroke has just been evaluated on nearly 100 patients. The NEURiNFARCT technique yields an estimate of the final extent of brain tissues at risk of infarction for acute stroke patients. This new technique is derived from unprecedented analysis of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) data. The approach results from the collaboration of the Cognitive Neuroscience & Brain Imaging Laboratory of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) (2), the Neuroradiology Department and the Acute Stroke Centre (3) of the Pitié-Salpêtrière General Hospital in Paris France. The results of the study from Charlotte Rosso and her coauthors – which are published online on the Radiology journal web site – demonstrate how this new technique may help predict within minutes the severity of stroke infarcts using a conventional clinical MR scanner.

NEURiNFARCT illustrated.

© Charlotte Rosso, Yves Samson, Didier Dormont, Sylvain Baillet ; CNRS UPR 640-LENA, AP-HP, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière (2008) Cette image est disponible à la photothèque du CNRS, phototheque@cnrs-bellevue.fr

NEURiNFARCT is a new technique for the identification of the “ischemic penumbra”, a region which is rapidly developing within the next few hours after stroke onset and may conduct to severe irreversible brain lesions. Contrarily to the zone of initial infarct, the penumbra region may be saved during the early acute phase of stroke – and therefore the risk of subsequent deficits for the patients may be reduced – using thrombolytic medication, though this treatment has its share of possible secondary hemorrhagic complications. Early evaluation of the severity of stroke could therefore help assist the necessary fast therapeutic decision-making process. This challenge has fostered the research project from which NEURiNFARCT has originated. Existing MRI-based approaches necessitated the injection of a contrast agent, something NEURiNFARCT could make become obsolete as the new technique only necessitates basic routine diffusion MR image sequences. The diffusion data measure the mobility of water molecules in tissues, which is significantly reduced in the core of the infarct lesion and to a much lesser extent, in the ischemic penumbra region. Eye identification of these alterations of the MRI data in the region at risk of infarction is impossible. The new approach therefore proposes an image analysis approach based on a model of the ongoing infarct growth in brain tissues.

The results from the study published in Radiology demonstrate that NEURiNFARCT performs at least as well as alternative approaches using perfusion techniques in MRI or CT scanners, though these latter are conditioned to the delicate intravenous injection of a contrast agent. NEURiNFARCT has the secondary advantages in the context of acute emergency care that it is an automatic and standard procedure.

This approach is likely to significantly contribute to rapid therapeutic decision-making and to faster throughput in the evaluation of new drug molecules by the pharmaceutical industry,

A NEURiNFARCT software prototype is currently contributing to ongoing research studies on treatments against evolving brain infarcts. This is of critical importance in the context of stroke which concerns as many patients as Alzheimer and Parkinson’s diseases. The NEURiNFARCT technique has been internationally patented.

Using an MRI machine French scientists were able to predict the evolution of cerebral infarcts in stroke patients. The collaboration involved researchers from the Cognitive Neuroscience & Brain Imaging Laboratory of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the Neuroradiology Department and the Acute Stroke Centre of the Pitié-Salpêtrière General Hospital in Paris, France.

NEURiNFARCT is a new technique for the identification of the “ischemic penumbra”, a region which is rapidly developing within the next few hours after stroke onset and may conduct to severe irreversible brain lesions. Contrarily to the zone of initial infarct, the penumbra region may be saved during the early acute phase of stroke – and therefore the risk of subsequent deficits for the patients may be reduced – using thrombolytic medication, though this treatment has its share of possible secondary hemorrhagic complications. Early evaluation of the severity of stroke could therefore help assist the necessary fast therapeutic decision-making process. This challenge has fostered the research project from which NEURiNFARCT has originated.

Existing MRI-based approaches necessitated the injection of a contrast agent, something NEURiNFARCT could make become obsolete as the new technique only necessitates basic routine diffusion MR image sequences.

The diffusion data measure the mobility of water molecules in tissues, which is significantly reduced in the core of the infarct lesion and to a much lesser extent, in the ischemic penumbra region. Eye identification of these alterations of the MRI data in the region at risk of infarction is impossible. The new approach therefore proposes an image analysis approach based on a model of the ongoing infarct growth in brain tissues.

The results from the study published in Radiology demonstrate that NEURiNFARCT performs at least as well as alternative approaches using perfusion techniques in MRI or CT scanners, though these latter are conditioned to the delicate intravenous injection of a contrast agent. NEURiNFARCT has the secondary advantages in the context of acute emergency care that it is an automatic and standard procedure.

Source : http://www2.cnrs.fr/en/1311.htm

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NICE recommends Bispectral Index EEG-based monitor for measuring depth of anaesthesia

NICE recommends Bispectral Index EEG-based monitor for measuring depth of anaesthesia

Covidien, a leading global provider of healthcare products and recognized innovator in patient monitoring and respiratory care devices, today announced that the UK-based National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends the use of electroencephalography (EEG)-based monitors, specifically the Bispectral Index (BIS™) monitor, as an option for measuring depth of anaesthesia.

“The NICE assessment and recommendations provide clear guidance to anaesthesia professionals regarding the use of depth of anaesthesia monitoring that will greatly improve patient care and safety for individuals at higher risk for adverse reactions to general anaesthesia”

The recommendation specifies that the BIS monitor should be used with all patients receiving total intravenous anaesthesia and during any type of general anaesthesia with patients considered at high risk of adverse outcomes. This includes patients at high risk of unintended awareness and patients at high risk of excessively deep anaesthesia. The Covidien BIS Brain Monitoring System helps clinicians assess patient consciousness levels through electrical activity in the brain.

The NICE guidance specifically recommends the BIS system as an option in the care of patients at high risk for unintended awareness (consciousness) or excessively deep anaesthesia levels during surgery. Both can lead to serious short- and long-term health risks, including post-traumatic stress disorder, heart attack, and stroke and in older patients, cognitive dysfunction or “brain fog.”

Patients at high risk for unintended awareness include older patients as well as those with morbid obesity, poor cardiovascular function, presence of two or more chronic diseases, high opiate or alcohol use, intravenous anaesthesia techniques and certain types of surgical procedures.

The recommendation for BIS monitoring as an option in patients receiving total intravenous anaesthesia was made because it is cost effective and because it is not possible to measure anaesthetic concentration in these patients.

“The NICE assessment and recommendations provide clear guidance to anaesthesia professionals regarding the use of depth of anaesthesia monitoring that will greatly improve patient care and safety for individuals at higher risk for adverse reactions to general anaesthesia,” said Scott Kelley, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Respiratory and Monitoring Solutions, Covidien. “With BIS brain monitoring technology, anaesthetists, in combination with their other standard practices, can accurately determine consciousness and tailor anaesthesia dosing to ensure optimal patient experience and minimize risks.”

The NICE Diagnostics Guidance is based on extensive clinical evidence and an assessment report prepared by the University of Southampton’s Southampton Health Technology Assessment Centre and input from a number of professional organisations and device manufacturers. Other brain monitoring technologies assessed as part of the clinical research include the GE Healthcare E-Entropy and Schiller Narcotrend-Compact M.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121123/NICE-recommends-Bispectral-Index-EEG-based-monitor-for-measuring-depth-of-anaesthesia.aspx

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Tirofiban effectively prevents strokes in high risk patients

Tirofiban effectively prevents strokes in high risk patients

Scientists may have discovered a new way to prevent strokes in high risk patients, according to research from the University of Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW).

Work by a new research group, led by Professor Donald Singer, Professor of Therapeutics at Warwick Medical School and Professor Chris Imray from UHCW, has now been published in US journal Stroke.

The group is using ultrasound scanning to look at patients with carotid artery disease, one of the major causes of stroke. Clots can form on diseased carotid arteries in the neck. Small parts of these clots can released to form microemboli, which can travel to block key brain arteries and lead to weakness, disturbed speech, loss of vision and other serious stroke syndromes. Standard anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin may not prevent the formation of harmful microemboli.

The scanning process can be used to find patients at very high risk of stroke because microemboli have formed despite prior anti-platelet drugs. Using scanning, the team has found that tirofiban, another anti-platelet drug designed to inhibit the formation of blood clots, can suppress microemboli where previous treatment such as aspirin has been ineffective. In their study, tirofiban was more effective than other ‘rescue’ treatment.

Professor Singer said: “These findings show that the choice of rescue medicine is very important when carotid patients develop microemboli despite previous treatment with powerful anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin. We now need to go on to further studies of anti-microemboli rescue treatments, to aim for the right balance between protection and risk for our patients.”

Professor Imray said: “These findings show the importance of ultrasound testing for micro-emboli in carotid disease patients. These biomarkers of high stroke risk cannot be predicted just from assessing the severity of risk factors such as smoking history, cholesterol and blood pressure.”

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121122/Tirofiban-effectively-prevents-strokes-in-high-risk-patients.aspx

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Tirofiban effectively prevents strokes in high risk patients

Tirofiban effectively prevents strokes in high risk patients

Scientists may have discovered a new way to prevent strokes in high risk patients, according to research from the University of Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW).

Work by a new research group, led by Professor Donald Singer, Professor of Therapeutics at Warwick Medical School and Professor Chris Imray from UHCW, has now been published in US journal Stroke.

The group is using ultrasound scanning to look at patients with carotid artery disease, one of the major causes of stroke. Clots can form on diseased carotid arteries in the neck. Small parts of these clots can released to form microemboli, which can travel to block key brain arteries and lead to weakness, disturbed speech, loss of vision and other serious stroke syndromes. Standard anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin may not prevent the formation of harmful microemboli.

The scanning process can be used to find patients at very high risk of stroke because microemboli have formed despite prior anti-platelet drugs. Using scanning, the team has found that tirofiban, another anti-platelet drug designed to inhibit the formation of blood clots, can suppress microemboli where previous treatment such as aspirin has been ineffective. In their study, tirofiban was more effective than other ‘rescue’ treatment.

Professor Singer said: “These findings show that the choice of rescue medicine is very important when carotid patients develop microemboli despite previous treatment with powerful anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin. We now need to go on to further studies of anti-microemboli rescue treatments, to aim for the right balance between protection and risk for our patients.”

Professor Imray said: “These findings show the importance of ultrasound testing for micro-emboli in carotid disease patients. These biomarkers of high stroke risk cannot be predicted just from assessing the severity of risk factors such as smoking history, cholesterol and blood pressure.”

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121122/Tirofiban-effectively-prevents-strokes-in-high-risk-patients.aspx

Full story

NICE recommends Bispectral Index EEG-based monitor for measuring depth of anaesthesia

NICE recommends Bispectral Index EEG-based monitor for measuring depth of anaesthesia

Covidien, a leading global provider of healthcare products and recognized innovator in patient monitoring and respiratory care devices, today announced that the UK-based National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends the use of electroencephalography (EEG)-based monitors, specifically the Bispectral Index (BIS™) monitor, as an option for measuring depth of anaesthesia.

“The NICE assessment and recommendations provide clear guidance to anaesthesia professionals regarding the use of depth of anaesthesia monitoring that will greatly improve patient care and safety for individuals at higher risk for adverse reactions to general anaesthesia”

The recommendation specifies that the BIS monitor should be used with all patients receiving total intravenous anaesthesia and during any type of general anaesthesia with patients considered at high risk of adverse outcomes. This includes patients at high risk of unintended awareness and patients at high risk of excessively deep anaesthesia. The Covidien BIS Brain Monitoring System helps clinicians assess patient consciousness levels through electrical activity in the brain.

The NICE guidance specifically recommends the BIS system as an option in the care of patients at high risk for unintended awareness (consciousness) or excessively deep anaesthesia levels during surgery. Both can lead to serious short- and long-term health risks, including post-traumatic stress disorder, heart attack, and stroke and in older patients, cognitive dysfunction or “brain fog.”

Patients at high risk for unintended awareness include older patients as well as those with morbid obesity, poor cardiovascular function, presence of two or more chronic diseases, high opiate or alcohol use, intravenous anaesthesia techniques and certain types of surgical procedures.

The recommendation for BIS monitoring as an option in patients receiving total intravenous anaesthesia was made because it is cost effective and because it is not possible to measure anaesthetic concentration in these patients.

“The NICE assessment and recommendations provide clear guidance to anaesthesia professionals regarding the use of depth of anaesthesia monitoring that will greatly improve patient care and safety for individuals at higher risk for adverse reactions to general anaesthesia,” said Scott Kelley, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Respiratory and Monitoring Solutions, Covidien. “With BIS brain monitoring technology, anaesthetists, in combination with their other standard practices, can accurately determine consciousness and tailor anaesthesia dosing to ensure optimal patient experience and minimize risks.”

The NICE Diagnostics Guidance is based on extensive clinical evidence and an assessment report prepared by the University of Southampton’s Southampton Health Technology Assessment Centre and input from a number of professional organisations and device manufacturers. Other brain monitoring technologies assessed as part of the clinical research include the GE Healthcare E-Entropy and Schiller Narcotrend-Compact M.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121123/NICE-recommends-Bispectral-Index-EEG-based-monitor-for-measuring-depth-of-anaesthesia.aspx

Full story

Tirofiban effectively prevents strokes in high risk patients

Tirofiban effectively prevents strokes in high risk patients

Scientists may have discovered a new way to prevent strokes in high risk patients, according to research from the University of Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW).

Work by a new research group, led by Professor Donald Singer, Professor of Therapeutics at Warwick Medical School and Professor Chris Imray from UHCW, has now been published in US journal Stroke.

The group is using ultrasound scanning to look at patients with carotid artery disease, one of the major causes of stroke. Clots can form on diseased carotid arteries in the neck. Small parts of these clots can released to form microemboli, which can travel to block key brain arteries and lead to weakness, disturbed speech, loss of vision and other serious stroke syndromes. Standard anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin may not prevent the formation of harmful microemboli.

The scanning process can be used to find patients at very high risk of stroke because microemboli have formed despite prior anti-platelet drugs. Using scanning, the team has found that tirofiban, another anti-platelet drug designed to inhibit the formation of blood clots, can suppress microemboli where previous treatment such as aspirin has been ineffective. In their study, tirofiban was more effective than other ‘rescue’ treatment.

Professor Singer said: “These findings show that the choice of rescue medicine is very important when carotid patients develop microemboli despite previous treatment with powerful anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin. We now need to go on to further studies of anti-microemboli rescue treatments, to aim for the right balance between protection and risk for our patients.”

Professor Imray said: “These findings show the importance of ultrasound testing for micro-emboli in carotid disease patients. These biomarkers of high stroke risk cannot be predicted just from assessing the severity of risk factors such as smoking history, cholesterol and blood pressure.”

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121122/Tirofiban-effectively-prevents-strokes-in-high-risk-patients.aspx

Full story

Electrophysiology: an interview with Dr Kaylene Young

Electrophysiology: an interview with Dr Kaylene Young

Please could you give a brief introduction to electrophysiology?

Bioelectricity is an essential part of our make-up. All cells in our body communicate by electrical activity. If an electrical charge is applied to one of our muscles it will interpret that electrical activity as a signal telling it to contract. When doctors send patients for an electrocardiogram test, they are measuring the electrical impulses emitted by cells with every heart beat.

Electrophysiology is a technique that uses specialist equipment to measure bioelectrical currents very precisely, allowing scientists to measure the electrical activity, not of an entire organ, but of a single cell, or even a small region of a cell.

What can electrophysiology teach us about cell function?

Each cell has an outer membrane, internal fluid and multiple organelles (cell’s equivalent of organs). While the cell is a contained system, its function is altered by the signals that it receives from other cells, in the form of bioelectricity.

Electrophysiology equipment allows researchers to measure bioelectricity at the individual cell level, in order to understand how cells communicate and respond to stimuli such as drugs or toxins. These measurements of a cell’s function are made in real-time, providing information about which components of the cell respond and how quickly they respond to a stimulus.

Can electrophysiology teach us about the cellular basis of diseases?

Yes, electrophysiology is one of the most suitable techniques for these types of studies. It allows researchers to determine precisely how a disease process is exerting its effect and having a consequence for cell function. This type of information is particularly beneficial when developing suitable therapeutic treatments.

Is electrophysiology also useful for testing drug treatments?

Absolutely! Therapeutic agents often function by activating or blocking channels, pores or transporters on the surface of cells. This effectively changes the electrical activity of the cell. Electrophysiology can be used to directly evaluate how effective a drug is at activating or blocking its target, and how specific the effect is on a variety of cell types.

You have recently been reported as saying that “electrophysiology is rapidly becoming an essential component of neuroscience research”. Why do you think this is the case?

There are multiple neuroscience research groups at UTAS who are eager to use the new electrophysiology equipment, in particular the neuroscience groups of the Menzies Research Institute managed by Dr Kaylene Young, Prof David Small, A/Prof Tracey Dickson and Dr Lisa Foa.

The brain contains billions of nerve cells, yet these cells do not work alone – they form a connected network. Healthy brain function relies on information being sorted and then faithfully transferred to the most appropriate brain region. This information transfer is seen by individual brain cells as an ion flux, which is an electric current.

Some diseases cause brain cells to receive too much or too little electric input from surrounding cells. Either situation can disrupt the cell’s function, and even result in its death and removal from the network. As neuroscientists we are trying to understand the disease process, and intervene to protect and even restore brain function. Therefore it is essential that we understand how brain cells are being electrically stimulated normally, and how this changes as part of a disease’s pathology.

Also, as we better develop cell replacement therapies, and start to implement them, it is going to be very important to ensure that the new replacement cells become correctly wired into the brain network. Electrophysiology allows us to measure all of these things.

Do you think electrophysiology will also become an important component in other research fields?

All of the cells in the body communicate via ion flux (electrical current) – only the size of the current is often larger in nerve cells. Once the equipment is fully operational in the Institute, it is envisaged that the list of users will expand to include other researchers within the Institute, such as the Muscle Diabetes Research Group led by Professor Steve Rattigan, Dr Steve Richards and Dr Michelle Keske.

The University of Tasmania’s Menzies Research Institute has recently been awarded a grant from the Ramaciotti Foundations. Please could you outline how you plan to use this grant?

In conjunction with the Ramaciotti Foundation, Menzies Research Institute Tasmania aims to establish a multi-user, state-of-the-art mammalian cell electrophysiology facility. This will be the first equipment of its kind in Tasmania, and the facility will be available for use by researchers within the University of Tasmania, as well as partner organisations including The Antarctic Division and CSIRO.

What impact do you think this research will have?

The new equipment will be used for various research projects that each aim to improve human health. Four of the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania neuroscience groups plan to use the equipment as soon as it is established in the building.

Dr Young’s laboratory focuses on promoting the generation of new cells within the adult brain, and she will use the equipment to examine the ability of the newly generated cells to electrically integrate into the pre-existing circuitry.

Prof. David Small’s research aims to understand Alzheimer’s Disease pathology and electrophysiology equipment will allow him to better assess how the pathology negatively affects brain cell function.

Research in Dr Foa’s laboratory aims to improve our understanding of the mechanisms that control calcium signalling (calcium ion flux), as this has direct implications for a wide variety of developmental conditions including mental retardation, autism and schizophrenia and also regeneration after injury.

A/Prof. Dickson investigates how the brain responds to trauma and disease, and has a particular interest in developing and testing novel therapeutics to determine how effective they are in preventing or slowing the progression of brain damage.

How do you think the future of research using electrophysiology will progress?

This equipment will allow us to examine aspects of cell function that would have previously gone un-noticed. Researchers are constantly finding new ways to use this technology and new applications for it in investigating what are very small cellular changes, but have very large consequences for how our bodies function.

Would you like to make any further comments?

We would like to thank the Ramaciotti Foundation for their generous support.

Where can readers find more information?

More information about the researchers at Menzies Research Institute Tasmania that will be using this equipment is available on the Institute website.

http://www.menzies.utas.edu.au/article.php?Doo=ContentView&id=698

About Dr Kaylene Young

Kaylene Young BIG IMAGEHONOURS

Dr Kaylene Young was the recipient of a Sir John Monash Science Scholarship, and graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Science (hons) degree in 2000.

PHD

As the recipient of an Australian Postgraduate Award, she was extremely fortunate to pursue her interest in adult brain stem cell biology, by undertaking graduate training in Prof Perry Bartlett’s laboratory, at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (University of Melbourne), where she was co-supervised by A/Prof Elizabeth Coulson.

She spent the final 18 months of her PhD assisting in the successful establishment of the Queensland Brain Institute, at the University of Queensland, where she trained new students and staff to purify brain stem cells and maintain them in culture.

POSTDOC

In 2004 she moved to the United Kingdom to work as a postdoctoral research fellow at University College London (UCL). Her early research in the UK revealed that there are multiple types of stem cells in the mature brain that generate a variety of different types of new nerve cells.

Following this work she was awarded an international Career Development Award in Stem Cell Research, which allowed her to remain at UCL and study a cell type called Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells (OPCs), which are the largest actively dividing cell population in the mature brain. She discovered that OPCs generate significant numbers of new insulating cells for the mature central nervous system, a discovery that is likely to be extremely important for future therapies aimed at treating multiple sclerosis (loss of insulating cells).

GROUP LEADER

In 2011 she was appointed as a research group leader at the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania within the Neurodegeneration Division. Having successfully applied for an international project grant, she spent the eighteen months of this position learning how to make electrical recordings from brain cells, receiving expert training in her collaborator, Prof David Attwell’s laboratory (also UCL).

The Ramaciotti Equipment Grant that was recently awarded to the Menzies Research Institute Tasmania will allow the institute to purchase the equipment that is required to make these recordings. At the Menzies Research Institute they conduct a significant amount of nervous system research. Nerve cells and many other cell types require well regulated electrical activity for their function. The new equipment will be set up as a core facility and Kaylene will be training many of the staff and students to use it. They will measure the electrical activity of cells, determine how this changes as disease symptoms progress, and determine how well potential drug treatments can restore normal electrical activity to those cells.

Kaylene was recently awarded an NHMRC career development award to allow her to build the capacity of her laboratory and pass on her newly acquired expertise to others in the Institute.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121121/Electrophysiology-an-interview-with-Dr-Kaylene-Young.aspx

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CAMH psychiatrist receives Polanyi Prize for university research in Ontario

CAMH psychiatrist receives Polanyi Prize for university research in Ontario

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is extremely proud to announce that psychiatrist Dr. Aristotle Voineskos, Koerner New Scientist and head of CAMH’s Kimel Family Translational Imaging-Genetics Research Laboratory in the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, has been named one of five winners of the prestigious Polanyi Prize for university research in Ontario. The Polanyi Prizes are awarded by the Ontario government in the same categories as the Nobel Prizes (Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Economics, and Physiology/Medicine).

Marking its 25th anniversary this year, the prize was established to honour the achievement of John Charles Polanyi, a 1986 Nobel Prize Laureate in chemistry.

Dr. Voineskos, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, has won for his groundbreaking research in the category of Physiology/Medicine.

Using a lifespan-based approach, Dr. Voineskos’ work combines brain imaging and genetics to improve current diagnostic classification and treatment strategies for people suffering from severe mental illness using innovative combinations of MRI brain imaging techniques and genetics. Populations currently under study include people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as healthy individuals to study healthy aging.

“The goal of the research is to improve the life of people with severe mental illness either by improving their symptoms or delaying or preventing onset illness,” said Dr. Voineskos. “Stigma and discrimination continue to challenge these patients. We need to make the link between these scientific discoveries and improved public policy.”

“This award recognizes the exceptional calibre of Dr. Voineskos’ research, and the important contribution his work is making to our understanding of how the brain functions and how it becomes vulnerable to severe mental illness,” said Benoit H. Mulsant, Physician-in-Chief at CAMH today. “His work and its potential impact offers inspiration to researchers and real hope to patients. We at CAMH couldn’t be prouder.”

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121120/CAMH-psychiatrist-receives-Polanyi-Prize-for-university-research-in-Ontario.aspx

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Neural Probe Stimulates Individual Brain Cells

Neural Probe Stimulates Individual Brain Cells

Neural Probe Stimulates Individual Brain Cells

Düsseldorf, Germany (Compamed) – November 17, 2010 – Imec, together with its partners within the European FP6 Program NeuroProbes, has created a new neural probe enabling electrical and chemical recording and stimulation of single neurons in the brain. Applications of the new technology are vast, ranging from tools for fundamental research on the functioning of the brain, to instruments for more precise diagnosis of brain seizures before brain-surgery.

To discriminate single neurons in the brain, the recording electrode should be positioned very close to the neuron, ideally within 100 micrometers or less. To date, multi-electrode recording probes have relied on trial and error, as it is not possible to mechanically optimize the position of electrodes independently from each other. The new Electronic Depth Control (EDC) technology, introduced by imec and its NeuroProbes partners, enables individual adjustment of the position of the different electrodes without requiring any mechanical displacement. The EDC neural probe has hundreds of electronically switchable electrodes, allowing to scan for the most informative neural signals, to lock onto them, and eventually adjust their position during the course of an experiment.

The new EDC neural probe technology opens the door to dozens of new research tracks, and even promises to refine work currently underway. Next to fundamental brain research, one of the key roles of the EDC technology is pre-operative diagnostics prior to brain surgery for a variety of conditions. “It is known that similar probes have been used for decades to discover the focus of an epileptic seizure, for example,” explains Herc Neves, scientist at Belgium’s imec and coordinator of the NeuroProbes project. “You have a patient that is about to be operated on, and you want to remove as little tissue as possible. By pinpointing where the seizure is generated, you remove only that tissue, resulting in safer and less invasive surgery.”

This work was part of the NeuroProbes project (coordinated by imec), partly funded by the European Commission under Framework Program 6. EDC probes have been validated and used successfully in scientific experiments by neuroscientists at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the University of Parma (Italy). EDC technology is the result of a close collaboration with the Microsystem Materials Laboratory of the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) at University of Freiburg (Germany).

Neural probe with electronic depth control enabling electrical and chemical recording and stimulation of single neurons in the brain.

Caption: Neural probe with electronic depth control enabling electrical and chemical recording and stimulation of single neurons in the brain.

About imec

Imec performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. Imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. Imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1,750 people includes over 550 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2009, imec’s revenue (P&L) was 275 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec.be.

Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a “stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.) and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shangai) Co. Ltd.).

Just a few months ago we reported on the cultivation of individual neurons on a microchip, but now it seems possible to individually study the cells in their natural habitat, i.e. within the brain. Imec, a research institute from Leuven, Belgium, has developed a new neural probe that can sense and stimulate single neurons in the brain. The electrodes of the probe consist of hundreds of small electrodes which can be switched on and off individually. This way it is possible to select unique neurons in the vicinity of the probe for recording and stimulation without having to mechanically move the probe. Potential applications of the probe include fundamental brain research, and also pre- or intraoperative localization of seizure foci for brain surgery.

Source : http://www2.imec.be/be_en/press/imec-news/neuroprobes.html

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