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Brain Briefs
Brain Briefs
blaze-ing the trail

‘Blaze’-ing the Trail

Researchers in the Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute are among the first to capture 3D images of brain cells using a powerful new microscope known as the ‘Miltenyi Ultra Microscope Blaze.’

Unlike traditional microscopes, the Blaze offers a large field of illumination by using a sheet of light rather than a point of light. Such advanced imaging allows allows neuroscientists to image and rotate and entire mouse or rat brain yet zoom in to the level of single cells and their connections. Ultimately, these visualizations assist in understanding how diseases impact the brain, in an effort to find cures.

Breaking Myths for Older Adults

Older adults from diverse backgrounds need more than knowledge and guidance of traditional clichés about exercise to start or sustain physical activity, according to a new study published in the journal Geriatrics.

The study was led by Ruth Tappen, Ed.D., professor in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, and member of the FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute and FAU Institute for Human Health and Disease Intervention. It shows that more African

Americans with a decline in physical activity, were related to health issues, especially pain or fatigue, and lack of time, interest or motivation. The declines were more prevalent in the African American participants than in European American or Afro-Caribbean participants. Assistance in identifying meaningful, personal reasons to remain active and addressing pain and fatigue may help older adults to sustain physical activity.

predicting new drug emergences

Predicting New Drug Emergences with the Virtual World

It’s possible that online forums and social media platforms, like Reddit, could be used as an early warning system of impending emergences of novel drugs, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy.

Synthetic or designer drugs, known as novel psychoactive substances, are created to mimic the effects of controlled substances. Due to their increasing potency and unexpected biological effects compared to their predecessors, they continue to present growing challenges for the scientific, medical and interventional communities.

“The psychoactive substance landscape changes rapidly and information about novel substances and their effects is scarce,” said Elan Bareholtz, Ph.D., senior author, associate professor of psychology and member of the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, and FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute. “There is a significant time lag in the percolation of information from groups or individuals who experiment with psychoactive substances (sometimes referred to as “psychonauts”) and the broader scientific and healthcare communities.”

Barenholtz, his team at FAU and other collaborators found that there are early signals that are detectable in certain social media data streams that can be harvested in order to detect and even predict broader novel trends much earlier than was previously possible.

This research is part of the National Early Drug Warning System, funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Computer Training Relaxes Preteens

Researchers in the department of psychology, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, recently found that a completely remote training program helps mitigate negative emotions in preadolescents.

The study, published in the journal Applied Neuropsychology: Child, examined the relationship between anxiety, regulation of inhibition and natural impulses and the brain in preteens from ages 8 to 12, a critical age range for social and emotional development. The results reveal that when a preteen uses a computer to train their regulatory abilities, depression and anxiety are reduced significantly.

Collaborators include Nancy Aaron Jones, co-author, Ph.D., an associate professor College of Science, and a member of the FAU Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute.

computer training relaxes preteens

this is your brain on cardio

This is Your Brain on Cardio

Increased exercise in older adults results in better brain health, possibly leading to a decreased risk in cognitive decline, according to a recent study led by Henriette van Praag, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, and a member of the Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute.

Results from the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology, show that six months of treadmill enhanced exercise increases a biomarker (myokine Cathepsin B) implicated in learning and memory.

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