Yearly Archives: 2018

Source: [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office, November 27, 2018] Snippets of RNA that accumulate in brain cells could interfere with normal function. As we age, neurons in our brains can become damaged by free radicals. MIT biologists have now discovered that this type of damage, known as oxidative stress, […]

Biologists discover an unusual hallmark of aging in neurons

Source: [by Rosalind Picard, Ognjen Rudovic | Spectrum, Opinion, November 13, 2018] In science-fiction movies such as “Star Wars” and “WALL-E,” futuristic robots engage in smooth social interaction and even fall in love. These Hollywood depictions remain a fantasy, but a growing number of robots with limited skills, from Roomba vacuum […]

Intelligent robots could prove to be a boon for autism ...

Source: [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office, November 7, 2018] Neuroscientists discover a circuit that helps redirect attention to focus on potential threats. Imagine a herd of deer grazing in the forest. Suddenly, a twig snaps nearby, and they look up from the grass. The thought of food is forgotten, […]

Dopamine primes the brain for enhanced vigilance

Source: [Anne Trafton | MIT News Office, October 22, 2018] Technique could be used to detect light or electrical fields in living tissue. Researchers commonly study brain function by monitoring two types of electromagnetism — electric fields and light. However, most methods for measuring these phenomena in the brain are very […]

Monitoring electromagnetic signals in the brain with MRI

Source: [Spectrum, Alla Katsnelson | 20 August, 2018] The absence of several interacting genes underlies the developmental problems seen in people missing a segment of chromosome 16, a new study in fruit flies suggests1. People lacking this segment, 16p11.2, have varied features, including intellectual disability, an enlarged brain, seizures, obesity and autism. In the […]

Mutant flies reveal key gene interactions within autism deletion

School of Science appoints eight faculty members to named professorships Source: [MIT News, School of Science | July 23, 2018] The School of Science announced that eight of its faculty members have been appointed to named professorships. These positions afford the faculty members additional support to pursue their research and […]

Rebecca Saxe and Steven Flavell are among eight faculty members ...

Source: [Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, David Orenstein | June 22, 2018] Our brains are famously flexible, or “plastic,” because neurons can do new things by forging new or stronger connections with other neurons. But if some connections strengthen, neuroscientists have reasoned, neurons must compensate lest they become overwhelmed […]

MIT scientists discover fundamental rule of brain plasticity

Source: [Spectrum, Jessica Wright| April 26, 2018] About 1 in 59 children in the United States has autism, according to data released today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Four times as many boys as girls have the condition, according to the report1. The data are […]

New report shows slight uptick in autism prevalence

Source: [Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, David Orenstein | March 20, 2018] In a new study of one of the most common genetic causes of autism, neuroscientists at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory have identified a specific molecular mechanism that appears to undermine the ability of neurons […]

Study IDs important role for specific gene in 16p11.2 deletion ...

Polina Anikeeva explores ways to make neural probes that are compatible with delicate biological tissues. Source: [MIT News Office, David L. Chandler | February 18, 2018] Polina Anikeeva was born in Leningrad, USSR, but grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia; the city’s name reverted to its original form after the […]

Seeking materials that match the brain

Prize recognizes contributions to biomedical research made by immigrant scientists. Source: [McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Julie Pryor | February 1, 2018] Polina Anikeeva, the Class of 1942 Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and associate director of the Research Laboratory of Electronics, and Feng Zhang, the […]

Polina Anikeeva and Feng Zhang awarded 2018 Vilcek Prize

Source: [Spectrum, Hannah Furfaro | January 26, 2018] The drug rapamycin, which is in clinical trials for tuberous sclerosis (TSC), exacerbates features of fragile X syndrome, another condition related to autism, a new study suggests1. Rapamycin increases anxiety, shortens sleep and worsens social skills in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome, the […]

Drug in trials for one autism-linked condition may worsen another