LiveScience: Dreams and Brain Disease: REM Sleep Cells Linked to Disorders

LiveScience: Dreams and Brain Disease: REM Sleep Cells Linked to Disorders

Where do dreams come from? Researchers now say they know: A specific group of cells in the brain stem is responsible for controlling dreaming sleep, also called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, a new study says.

New York Times: New Electrical Brain Stimulation Technique Shows Promise in Mice

New York Times: New Electrical Brain Stimulation Technique Shows Promise in Mice

Pulses of electricity delivered to the brain can help patients with Parkinson’s disease, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and possibly other conditions. But the available methods all have shortcomings: They either involve the risks of surgery, from implanting electrodes deep within the brain, or they stimulate from the skull’s surface, limiting the ability to target electricity to the right brain areas.

MedPage Today: “In major study, mortality among patients with PD was “only moderately increased compared with the general population”

MedPage Today: “In major study, mortality among patients with PD was “only moderately increased compared with the general population”

Excerpt:  "This is a very well done epidemiological study," David Standaert, MD, PhD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told MedPage Today in an email. The finding that the risk of death from PD has not changed in 30 years in Minnesota's Olmsted County is "worth noting," said Standaert. "It suggests that while newer treatments may be improving the quality of life for PD patients, they are not making them live longer."

LA Times: Does Parkinson’s disease begin in the gut? New research suggests it does

LA Times: Does Parkinson’s disease begin in the gut? New research suggests it does

They say that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” But this is definitely not true of the vagus nerve, which wanders from the stomach to the brain, passing through the heart, esophagus and lungs along the way. A new study offers fresh support for an intriguing theory about the vagus nerve’s role in Parkinson’s disease, a neurological disorder that causes tremors, gait difficulties and sometimes dementia in roughly 1 million Americans and as many as 10 million people worldwide.

Scientific American: “Parkinson’s Disease at 200”

Scientific American: “Parkinson’s Disease at 200”

Todd Sherer, from the Michael J. Fox Foundation, authored a blog post on the Scientific American website in April.  He writes:  "Two centuries after its discovery, it's still incurable—but research is accelerating, with major help from citizen scientists in the patient community."

STAT News: Before you send your spit to 23andMe, what you need to know

STAT News: Before you send your spit to 23andMe, what you need to know

Here's a very helpful article from yesterday's STAT News about what 23andMe's genetic reports can and cannot show.

New York Times: F.D.A. Will Allow 23andMe to Sell Genetic Tests for Disease Risk to Consumers

New York Times: F.D.A. Will Allow 23andMe to Sell Genetic Tests for Disease Risk to Consumers

On April 6, the New York Times reports that the FDA will allow 23andMe to sell genetic tests for disease risk to consumers.  According to the article, customers have to specifically ask to be tested for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's risk.

EurekAlert! “Journal of Parkinson’s Disease celebrates key breakthroughs”

EurekAlert! “Journal of Parkinson’s Disease celebrates key breakthroughs”

From the shaking palsy to alpha-synuclein, the stories behind the science from many of the researchers who played key roles in achieving significant milestones are published.

New York Times: Hunched Over a Microscope, He Sketched the Secrets of How the Brain Works

New York Times: Hunched Over a Microscope, He Sketched the Secrets of How the Brain Works

Some microscopes today are so powerful that they can create a picture of the gap between brain cells, which is thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair. They can even reveal the tiny sacs carrying even tinier nuggets of information to cross over that gap to form memories. And in colorful snapshots made possible by a giant magnet, we can see the activity of 100 billion brain cells talking.

PNT: 25% of Parkinson’s Patients Fall in First Year — a Surprising Finding

PNT: 25% of Parkinson’s Patients Fall in First Year — a Surprising Finding

It’s widely recognized that falling poses a significant risk for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), but most scientists thought patients tended to fall in later stages of the disease. Researchers in Norway have found that 25 percent of Parkinson’s patients fell in the first year of their diagnosis.