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News Updates: Research

NIH Jumpstarts the Future of Neuroscience with the BRAIN Initiative

Posted by Kerrie Denner

On April 2, President Barack Obama announced a proposal for an ambitious new neuroscience research initiative called the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. In addition to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the BRAIN Initiative will also include participation from the Department of Defenses’ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and private foundations including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

Giving Gaze Instability a New Look

Posted by Kerrie Denner

By the time Mary Wisniewski came to Johns Hopkins for treatment, she’d already been through the medical wringer. Five years earlier, she had surgery to remove a tumor growing on her acoustic nerve, which was affecting her hearing. That was followed by another operation to repair leaking cerebrospinal fluid. Later, she had to have a shunt inserted to relieve fluid accumulating around her brain. Through all of this, she complained to her doctors many times that she was having problems with balance and dizziness, but her symptoms were continually discounted.

Giving Gaze Instability a New Look

Posted by Kerrie Denner

By the time Mary Wisniewski came to Johns Hopkins for treatment, she’d already been through the medical wringer. Five years earlier, she had surgery to remove a tumor growing on her acoustic nerve, which was affecting her hearing. That was followed by another operation to repair leaking cerebrospinal fluid. Later, she had to have a shunt inserted to relieve fluid accumulating around her brain. Through all of this, she complained to her doctors many times that she was having problems with balance and dizziness, but her symptoms were continually discounted.

Acute Migraines More Apt to Turn Chronic With Poor Treatment

Posted by Kerrie Denner

People who receive inadequate treatment for acute migraine headaches are more likely to develop chronic migraines, according to a new study.

Researchers looked at data from more than 4,600 people with episodic migraines (14 or fewer migraine days per month) and found that 48 percent of them received poor or very poor treatment.

Helping to restore balance after inner ear disorder

Posted by Kerrie Denner

Many disorders of the inner hear which affect both hearing and balance can be hugely debilitating and are currently largely incurable. Cochlear implants have been used for many years to replace lost hearing resulting from inner ear damage. However, to date, there has not been an analogous treatment for balance disorders resulting from inner ear disease. One potential new treatment is an implantable vestibular prosthesis which would directly activate the vestibular nerve by electrical stimulation. This prosthetic treatment is tested in a new study by Christopher Phillips and his colleagues from the University of Washington in Seattle, USA. Their findings are published in the Springer journal Experimental Brain Research.

Researchers Discover Two-Step Mechanism of Inner Ear Tip Link Regrowth: Mechanism Offers Potential for Interventions That Could Save Hearing

Posted by Kerrie Denner

A team of NIH-supported researchers is the first to show, in mice, an unexpected two-step process that happens during the growth and regeneration of inner ear tip links. Tip links are extracellular tethers that link stereocilia, the tiny sensory projections on inner ear hair cells that convert sound into electrical signals, and play a key role in hearing. The discovery offers a possible mechanism for potential interventions that could preserve hearing in people whose hearing loss is caused by genetic disorders related to tip link dysfunction. The work was supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), a component of the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers Find Diminished Balance In Those With Poor Vision

Posted by Kerrie Denner

UC Davis Health System Eye Center research has found that visually impaired individuals and those with uncorrected refractive error — those who could benefit from glasses to achieve normal vision but don’t wear glasses — have a significantly greater risk of diminished balance with their eyes closed on a compliant, foam surface than individuals with normal vision.

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