Neurology & Brain Health | KERA News

Neurology & Brain Health

n this Nov. 6, 2015 file photo, an elderly couple walks down a hall in Easton, Pa.
Associated Press

Many older American adults may inaccurately estimate their chances for developing dementia and do useless things to prevent it, new research suggests.

Brain Scan
Liz Henry / flickr

We often hear men are inherently more violent or that a woman’s brain makes her a deeper thinker, but are those stereotypes based in science? 

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Communicating through your thoughts alone is possible — with a little technical assistance.

Scientists have found a way to transform brain signals into spoken words and sentences.

The approach could someday help people who have lost the ability to speak or gesture, a team from the University of California, San Francisco reported Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Last year, 33-year-old Walker Hughes — who has autism and is minimally verbal — was rushed to the hospital after he tried a new medication that made him agitated.

"We're driving at rush hour and my sweet guy is screaming and grabbing me and we're just scared to death," Walker's mom, Ellen Hughes, now 69, said in a StoryCorps interview recorded in February. "This is not the guy I know at all."

The claim was extraordinary.

More than 20 U.S. diplomats in Cuba had "suffered significant injuries" in a series of attacks that seemed to target the brain. Or at least that's what State Department officials told reporters during a briefing in September 2017.

A couple of weeks later, President Trump went even further. "I do believe Cuba is responsible," he said during a Rose Garden news conference.

Researchers in San Antonio are recruiting people with mild cognitive impairment for a nationwide study to see if nicotine improves symptoms.

The study is called the MIND study -- Memory Improvement Through Nicotine Dosing.

The holiday season is all about cute. You've got those ads with adorable children and those movies about baby animals with big eyes.

But when people encounter too much cuteness, the result can be something scientists call "cute aggression."

Texas Requires Large Schools To Report Concussions Suffered By High School Athletes

Oct 23, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Texas officials are requiring that the state's largest schools report concussions suffered by high school athletes in a move seen as the nation's biggest effort to track brain injuries among young athletes.

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Various medications and therapies can provide relief, but the FDA has approved the first in a new class of drug aimed at heading off migraine headaches before they start. 

LM Otero / AP

To help combat the mental stress that police officers face on the job, the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas has developed a program to help police in Dallas make better decisions.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

Fourth- and fifth-graders are gathered inside a cool, dark conference room. They take turns wearing headsets and face a computer screen. Calming, electronic music plays in the background.

The objective: to paint. But this isn’t exactly the kind of painting you’d imagine.

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Physical fitness, diet and mental stimulation all contribute to good brain health. But you also need water — and lots of it.

On average, the human body contains about 60 percent water. Nearly all bodily systems depend on it, including the brain.

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Some things will decline as we get older — that’s inevitable.

Physical strength, balance and endurance erode, our eyesight worsens, women quickly lose bone mass after menopause, and male testosterone levels drop.

Radiological Society of America

The horror stories about football and brain damage keep flowing out of the NFL, but surprisingly, little is known about how the sport affects the brains of young players. 

1 In 5 Teens Reports A Concussion Diagnosis

Sep 26, 2017

Concussions have gotten a lot of attention in recent years, especially as professional football players' brains have shown signs of degenerative brain disease linked with repeated blows to the head. Now, a new analysis confirms what many doctors fear — that concussions start showing up at a high rate in teens who are active in contact sports.

UT Southwestern Medical Center / YouTube

Researchers in North Texas have identified more than 100 genes linked to memory in the human brain. 

Dr. Genevieve Konopka of UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas talks about her team's research — and how it could help develop new therapies for patients who have epilepsy or memory disorders. 

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A lot of us think rushing from task to task and packing our schedules is a necessary evil. It turns out being busy might be good for your brain. That’s the conclusion of a new study led by North Texas researchers in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

National Institutes of Health / Kuhn and Rossmann research groups, Purdue University

The news about the Zika virus has accelerated this week. A newborn in the Houston area tested positive for Zika-related microcephaly. Doctors are also trying to figure out how an elderly Utah man was infected without transmission through sex or mosquito bites. These developments come as a new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center finds that Zika can infect brain cells and hide itself from the immune system.

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Epilepsy affects about three million people in the U.S. alone. But while people associate seizures with the disorder, a lot of myths persist about epilepsy. 

Texas Christian University

Last week, the NFL admitted for the first time that football is linked to brain damage. It’s something researchers have documented for years. Now, a new study conducted at Texas Christian University shows a component of fish oil could help reduce the brain-damaging effects of head trauma.

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Millions of Americans suffer from memory loss - it could be from Alzheimer’s disease, a traumatic brain injury from the battlefield – or even a car wreck. UT Southwestern Medical Center is working with several universities on an ambitious project to stop memory loss

Marcel Oosterwijk, flickr

In June 2014, Julian Pinto kicked the first ball of the World Cup. He isn’t a soccer star or a celebrity, but his kick attracted quite a bit of attention—because it signified a major breakthrough in brain-interface technology. Confused? Well, Pinto is paralyzed from the waist down, and he kicked the ball with his mind, using a robotic exoskeleton. If you think it sounds like something from a science fiction novel, you’re not alone: even Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, who headed the research, once had his doubts.

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Although nearly four million people a year sustain concussions, there’s still a lot doctors don't know about them, including Dr. Munro Cullum.  The neuropsychologist is one of the researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center leading a study of several hundred people to eventually come up with better treatment for concussion. 

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Many often associate concussion with contact sports like football. But Dr. Benjamin Newman, a neurosurgeon with Methodist Health System, says a blow to the head in almost any activity can lead to a concussion - even kids riding those new bikes they got for Christmas.

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Doctors across the country will be trying out a new treatment for traumatic brain injury. UT Southwestern, the National Institutes of Health and other partners announced today that they’ll study a new drug that could help stop bleeding in the brain.

Center for BrainHealth

This week, the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas is starting construction on a new institute – and it’s shaped like a brain.

ra2 studio / Fotolia.com

144,000 Texans sustain a traumatic brain injury each year—that’s one every 4 minutes. For those who survive there’s often cognitive and psychological difficulties, like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

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About 17,000 people are diagnosed with cancer that began in or next to the brain every year in the United States. These are called primary brain cancers.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

A healed body doesn’t always mean a healed brain.

Nearly half of all reported sports concussions occur during high school football. And even when a student is ready to get back on the field, they might not be ready to return to class.

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