AANN Neuroscience News
July 21, 2011

Doctors make breakthrough in epilepsy treatment
It's being described as a breakthrough in the way doctors treat people with epilepsy. Texas Children's Hospital says it's the first hospital in the world to use laser brain surgery on epileptics. The doctors use an MRI to guide the laser. The procedure offers smaller surgical incisions and shorter hospital stays than traditional surgery. The hospital says it takes about a year to see the impact of the laser surgery. Now that enough time has passed, the doctors who performed them are trumpeting the new approach. More

Clinical recognition and management of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: The nurse's role
Journal of Neuroscience Nursing
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, causes a progressive wasting and loss of the upper and lower motor neurons that facilitate the movement of body parts. At onset, ALS patients may show symptoms such as muscle weakness, atrophy, hyperreflexia, or bulbar symptoms such as dysphagia or dysarthria. Deterioration progresses rapidly, and the later stages of ALS are characterized by severely limited mobility and respiratory failure, which is the primary cause of death. Nurses play a critical role in the clinical management of ALS and may be involved in coordinating the activities of the team, facilitating treatment, and helping patients and caregivers in making informed treatment and end-of-life decisions.More

Traumatic brain injuries may double dementia risk
Internal Medicine News
Traumatic brain injury may double the risk of developing dementia, according to findings from a study of more than 280,000 U.S. veterans. The risk of dementia over seven years was 15.3 percent in 4,902 veterans who had a traumatic brain injury diagnosis in 1997-2000, compared with 6.8 percent in those without a TBI diagnosis. The comparison yielded a hazard ratio of 2.3 for those with any TBI diagnosis after adjustment for age, sex, race, and multiple medical and psychiatric conditions.More

Minimally invasive procedure successfully treats brain aneurysms
Called endovascular coiling, the procedure uses tiny coils to block blood flow into the aneurysm, effectively sealing it off. The coils are inserted using a catheter that is threaded through the groin up into the artery, with no cutting required. Coiling is less invasive than surgical clipping, the traditional method for treating an aneurysm. During the clipping procedure, the surgeon must cut open the skull to place a small metal clip on the neck of the aneurysm to stop the blood flow. More

Does meditation boost brain health?
U.S. News & World Report
Following up on previous research showing that people who have practiced meditation for a long time have more gray matter in their brains, a small new study finds that their brains also shrink less as they age and they have stronger connections in the brain itself. This means that brain cells may better relay electrical signals.More

Stem cells restoring cognition
Ivanhoe Newswire
Studies show that stem cell therapy may be the diagnosis in restoring cognition for patients with brain cancer. Some patients who suffer from brain cancer experience functional learning and memory loss often associated with radiation treatment. Although radiation therapy has been the standard of care for patients with brain cancer, it can have severe and devastating side effects.More

New Jersey Congressman unveils bill to streamline care for children with brain injuries
New Jersey Congressman Leonard Lance has introduced legislation that seeks to establish a standardized system of care that will be more easily accessible to families of children who have suffered brain injuries. Appearing alongside advocates for pediatric brain injury survivors and their families in the new Caregiver's Center at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J., Lance unveiled the national Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan Act.More

Football brain-injury data may show evidence of sport's long-term risks
Football players may be cognitively impaired at a younger age, a study showed, adding evidence to the theory that the head trauma viewed as a natural part of the game may have long-term harm. The study, presented by Christopher Randolph of Loyola University in Chicago, found that athletes who play American football showed symptoms of mild brain dysfunction at an earlier age than nonplaying peers. In addition, there was more illness among the retired athletes than in those who were about the same age.More

Study shows new evidence of age-related decline in the brain's master circadian clock
UCLA Newsroom
A new study of the brain's master circadian clock — known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN — reveals that a key pattern of rhythmic neural activity begins to decline by middle age. The study, whose senior author is UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, may have implications for the large number of older people who have difficulty sleeping and adjusting to time changes.More

Tocotrienol could help reduce stroke damage
Preventive supplementation with a natural form of vitamin E called tocotrienol could help reduce brain damage caused by strokes, researchers reported today at the 2nd International Conference on Tocotrienols and Chronic Diseases. The scientists also found evidence that tocotrienol may trigger genes that alter blood vessel structure to help bypass a blockage, and may help prevent a repeat stroke, which occurs in about 200,000 people each year.More