July 8-12, 2006
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DAILY PRESS RELEASE
July 11th, 2006

SUMMARY OF PRESS RELEASES

 ALL PRESS RELEASES ARE EMBARGOED UNTIL DATE AND TIME SHOWN

TUESDAY 11 JULY, 00.01
FROM A WHISPER TO A JET ENGINE – HOW THE BRAIN DECIPHERS NOISES
Research carried out in the UK has recently shown for the first time how the brain adapts to different
sound intensities. The research is a significant step towards understanding hearing disorders.

Prof David McAlpine, University College London , UK

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TUESDAY 11 JULY, 00.01
BRAIN'S OWN MARIJUANA-LIKE SUBSTANCE OFFERS CLUE TO NEW TREATMENT FOR ALZEHIMER'S Scientists in Italy are a step closer towards finding drugs that protect brain cells from damage caused by disease, such as Alzheimer's, based on endocannabinoids – marijuana-like substances that occur naturally in the brain.

Dr Vincenzo di Marzo, National Research Council, Italy

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TUESDAY 11 JULY, 11.30 LOCAL TIME, 10.30 BST
MIGRATING BIRDS USE A MAGNETIC COMPASS TO NAVIGATE
Migrating birds use a magnetic compass in their brain for orientation at night. Researchers in Germany have shown that the birds perceive the direction of the magnetic field by specialised light sensitive molecules of the retina, which enable them to perceive the magnetic field as visual patterns.

Dr. Henrik Mouritsen, University Oldenburg , Germany

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TUESDAY 11 JULY, 11.30 LOCAL TIME, 10.30 BST
SENSE OF SMELL COULD GET SEABIRDS OFF THE HOOK
The discovery of the albatross' and petrel's sense of smell to find food in the vast ocean could be a key feature in the conservation of seabirds and other sea animals, a Californian neurobiologist said today.

Dr Gabrielle Nevitt, University of California , USA

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TUESDAY 11 July, 13.00 LOCAL TIME, 12.00 BST
SURVIVAL STRATEGY FOR NEONATES: Learning to tolerate abuse
The infant brain is designed to maximize attachment to the care-giver regardless of the quality of maternal care. US scientists present studies with rat pups explaining how the pups learn about their mother and become attached to them, even when they are abused.

Prof. Regina Sullivan, University of Oklahoma , USA

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TUESDAY 11 July 13.00 LOCAL TIME, 12.00 BST
STRESS AND DEPRIVATION INTERFERES WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE EMOTIONAL BRAIN
Early life emotional experiences can interfere with the establishment and maintenance of neuronal networks in the developing brain, especially in the amygdala, the part of the brain controlling emotional reactions. Researchers in Germany provide evidence that brain changes are associated with the stress and deprivation-induced chemical and hormonal changes in the brain.

Prof. Katharina Braun, Otto von Guericke University, Germany

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 TUESDAY 11 July 13.00 LOCAL TIME, 12.00 BST
HAPPY MICE IN KINDERGARDEN
Italian researchers show that mice reared in a communal nesting environment display a social role, either dominant or subordinate, earlier in life, compared to mice reared by a mother on her own. This result suggests that, during early life, social behavior becomes tuned, through experience.

Prof. Igor Branchi, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy

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previous releases:


SATURDAY 8 JULY 00.01
NEWLY DISCOVERED PROTEINS PROVIDE LANDSCAPE FOR DISCOVERY INTO THE MYSTERIES OF COGNITION
The discovery of around 1000 proteins at the junction where nerve cells communicate with each other is transforming research into cognition, say Cambridge scientists. The studies have shown that a mutation in the genes that form the protein network can lead to learning disorders.

Prof Seth Grant, Wellcome Trust Sanger Centre, UK

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SUNDAY 9 JULY, 00.01
THE JENNIFER ANISTON CELL: ONE CONCEPT = ONE NEURON?
A team of US neuroscientists has discovered that individual brain cells are capable of recognising a single concept. One woman who took part in the study even had a specific brain cell that seemed to recognise the concept of ‘Jennifer Aniston'. This discovery may be able to shed light on the mysteries of memory and even consciousness.

Dr Christof Koch, Caltech , USA

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 SUNDAY 9 JULY 00.01
OLD BRAINS CAN LEARN NEW TRICKS WHEN IT COMES TO LANGUAGE
Older people process grammar in a different way from the young. Cambridge scientists have been examining language in the brain using functional MRI and have discovered that this change preserves our ability to understand grammar despite the degeneration of the relevant parts of the brain due to ageing.

Prof Lorraine Tyler , Cambridge , UK

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SUNDAY 9 JULY 00.01
IT'S NOT JUST WHAT IS SAID, IT IS WHO SAYS IT
New research in the Netherlands has shown how important the speaker's identity is to the way our brains interpret what they say. The same language interpretation mechanisms in the brain that construct meaning based on just the words heard also take into account the speaker's identity.

Dr Jos van Berkum, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands 

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SUNDAY 9 JULY 00.01
TEACHING NERVES HOW TO WORK AGAIN
The spinal cord can be made to reconfigure itself after injury if activity training is used to treat patients. A special kind of physiotherapy can cause the damaged spinal cord to reorganise itself, and can also reduce the side effects of spinal cord injury such as involuntary muscle movements.

Dr Susan Harkema of the University of Louisville , USA

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SUNDAY JULY 9 13.00 LOCAL TIME/12.00 BST
CANADIAN SCIENTISTS DISCOVER GENE FOR DEPRESSION
Canadian scientists have identified a gene that makes some people susceptible to major depressive disorders which is a major advance in psychiatry and will have major implications for diagnosis and the development of new anti-depressant treatment.

Prof Nicholas Barden, CHUL Research Centre , Quebec , Canada

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SUNDAY 9 JULY, 13.00 LOCAL TIME, 12.00 BST
HOPES FOR NEW RAPID REACTION TREATMENT FOR DEPRESSION
A new hormone-based treatment for psychotic depression appears to work more quickly than existing anti-depressants, and reverse some of the adverse changes that occur in the brain during stress and depression, according to Dutch scientists.

Dr Paul Lucassen, University of Amsterdam

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SUNDAY, 9 JULY, 13.00 LOCAL TIME, 12.00 BST
HOW TO ERASE MEMORY OF PAIN IN THE BRAIN
Researchers provide evidence for new strategies to reverse hyperalgesia (increased sensitivity to painful stimuli) after surgery, trauma or inflammation. They use special forms of electric nerve stimulation or drug treatments to turn down the pain amplifier in the spinal cord.

Prof. Jürgen Sandkühler, University of Vienna

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SUNDAY, 9 JULY, 13.00 LOCAL TIME, 12.00 BST
TRAINING PATIENTS TO FORGET THEIR CHRONIC PAIN
Functional reorganisation in the brain as a result of chronic pain may be viewed as pain memories that influence the processing of both painful and non-painful signals. Researchers in Germany show that pain memories can be modified by behavioral interventions. They are also examining the synergistic effects of behavioral and pharmacological interventions as well as the potential of brain-computer interfaces or transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Prof. Herta Flor, University of Heidelberg , Germany


MONDAY 10 JULY, 00.01
HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN BRAIN CELLS
It may soon be possible to create stem cells from adult brain tissue to be used in treating brain disorders. US researchers have found a way to make adult brain stem cells behave like younger stem cells. These cells can be made to produce large numbers of new brain cells.

Dr Dennis Steindler, University of Florida , USA

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MONDAY 10 JULY, 00.01
MEAL TIMES CAN RESET BODY CLOCK
Our internal body clock that measures time can be reset by meal times, new research in France shows. The body clock is sensitive to metabolic input – input relating to the way our bodies process food and produce the chemicals we need to live.

Dr Etienne Challet, Louis Pasteur University , Strasbourg , France

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 MONDAY 10 JULY 00.01
HOW YOUR BODY CLOCK CAN MAKE YOU ILL
Problems such as high blood pressure, insulin resistance and even obesity may in some sufferers be caused by a defect in the brain's internal clock. Problems with our internal body clock may cause metabolic syndrome.

Dr Ruud Buijs, the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research

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MONDAY 10 July, 11.30 LOCAL TIME, 10.30 BST
GETTING ADDICTED: What happens in the brain?
US researchers shows that an imbalance between two separate neural systems in the brain is the cause of addictive behaviour. If the amygdala (a region of the brain involved in emotion) shows abnormal activity this results in exaggerated processing of the incentive values of drugs. Abnormal activity in the prefrontal cortex, the system for signaling the positive or negative prospects of the future, leads to loss of ability to control and inhibit the urge to seek drug reward.

Prof. Antoine Bechara, University of Southern California , and University of Iowa , Iowa City , USA 

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MONDAY 10 JULY 11.30 LOCAL TIME, 10.30 BST
When Behaviour become a Drug: Getting addicted to computer games
Researchers have found that excessive computer game playing seems to parallel the mechanisms of development and maintenance of addiction. The scientists studied the reaction of excessive computer game players and casual players to game-associated. Excessive players showed stronger physiological and psychological reactions than casual players .

Dr Ralf Thalemann, Univ. Med. Charité , Berlin , Germany

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MONDAY 10 JULY, 13.00 LOCAL TIME, 12.00 BST
NUMERICAL COMPETENCE IN MONKEYS
Humans and animals share the capacity to estimate numerical quantity without verbal symbols. Researchers studied the enumeration processes in the brains of monkeys. The results show that numerical quantity is an ongoing spatial or temporal enumeration process, represented by separate populations of neurons.

Dr. Andreas Nieder, Dept. Cognitive Neurology, Tuebingen , Germany 

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MONDAY 10 July, 13.00 LOCAL TIME, 12.00 BST
HOW NUMBERS ARE REPRESENTED IN THE BRAIN
Numbers are represented spatially, represented along a mental number line, left to right, with low numbers on the left and higher numbers on the right. Italian researchers show for the first time that patients with hemispatial neglect (as if their left side of space did not exist) fail to process numbers that lie on the left side of the mental number line. The research might help to understand the cause hemispatial neglect and dyscalculia (the inability to learn and understand arithmetic) and how it can be treated.

Prof. Carlo Umiltà, University of Padua , Italy 

>>READ MORE


FENS Press Office at the Austria Centre Vienna from 8 – 12 July only tel:+43 (0) 1 26069 2025

Notes to Editors

FENS 2006 is hosted by the Austrian Neuroscience Association and the German Neuroscience Society and will attract over 5,000 international delegates. The Federation of European Neuroscience Societies, founded in 1998, aims to advance research and education in neuroscience, representing neuroscience research in the European Commission and other granting bodies. FENS is the European partner of the American Society for Neuroscience. FENS represents a large number of national European neuroscience societies and has around 16000 members. http://forum.fens.org/2006


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