Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hot off the presses! Dec 01 Nat Rev Neurosci

The Dec 01 issue of the Nat Rev Neurosci is now up on Pubget (About Nat Rev Neurosci): if you're at a subscribing institution, just click the link in the latest link at the home page. (Note you'll only be able to get all the PDFs in the issue if your institution subscribes to Pubget.)

Latest Articles Include:

  • - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):701 (2011)
  • Gene expression: The dynamics of the brain transcriptome revealed | PDF (377 KB)
    - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):703 (2011)
    The tight regulation of gene expression in space and time is key to understanding how the complexity and variation within and between organisms can arise from a relatively simple DNA blueprint. Until now, few studies had been able to characterize the temporal dynamics of gene transcription in the human brain with the depth reported in two recent papers published in Nature.
  • Neurodegenerative disease: CRF is the culprit | PDF (183 KB)
    - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):704 (2011)
    Some evidence suggests that there is a link between stress and Alzheimer's disease, but whether the classical stress hormone cortisol plays a crucial part in this link has been controversial. Now, Carroll et al.
  • Ignoring the bad news... | PDF (85 KB)
    - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):704 (2011)
    The phenomenon of 'unrealistic optimism' is a common human trait. A new functional MRI study, led by Raymond Dolan from University College London, UK, shows that extreme optimists have a reduced ability to adjust their predictions when they receive negative information that challenges their beliefs — an effect mediated by the right inferior prefrontal gyrus of the prefrontal cortex.
  • Synaptic plasticity: Tuning electrical synapses | PDF (170 KB)
    - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):705 (2011)
    Much is known about the conditions under which neuronal activity can alter the strength of chemical synapses between pairs of neurons. Despite some evidence that activity may alter the strength of gap-junctional (electrical) synapses, a link between changes in strength and specific forms of activity in coupled neurons has not yet been described.
  • Learning and memory: CA1 triggers the trace | PDF (223 KB)
    - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):705 (2011)
    According to a popular theory, memories are encoded and temporarily stored in the hippocampus, and eventually transferred to the cortex. Indeed, many lesion studies suggest that the hippocampus is not involved in the retrieval of remote memories.
  • Dendrites: There's a NAK to branching out | PDF (413 KB)
    - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):706 (2011)
    The mechanisms underlying higher-order dendrite growth remain unclear. Yang et al.Drosophila melanogaster, numb-associated kinase (NAK) promotes higher-order dendrite aborization by regulating endocytosis.
  • Neurodegenerative disease: A pathogenic role for ARC? | PDF (114 KB)
    - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):706 (2011)
    Amyloid-β, which is implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, is generated from the sequential cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β- and γ-secretase, aprocessthatisbelievedtooccurinendosomes. Neuronalactivitycanincreaseamyloid-β generationbuttheunderlyingmechanismisunclear.

  • - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):706 (2011)

  • - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):706 (2011)

  • - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):706 (2011)
  • Linking neurodevelopmental and synaptic theories of mental illness through DISC1
    - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):707 (2011)
    Recent advances in our understanding of the underlying genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders has blown away the diagnostic boundaries that are defined by currently used diagnostic manuals. The disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) gene was originally discovered at the breakpoint of an inherited chromosomal translocation, which segregates with major mental illnesses. In addition, many biological studies have indicated a role for DISC1 in early neurodevelopment and synaptic regulation. Given that DISC1 is thought to drive a range of endophenotypes that underlie major mental conditions, elucidating the biology of DISC1 may enable the construction of new diagnostic categories for mental illnesses with a more meaningful biological foundation.
  • Neurovascular pathways to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease and other disorders
    - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):723 (2011)
    The neurovascular unit (NVU) comprises brain endothelial cells, pericytes or vascular smooth muscle cells, glia and neurons. The NVU controls blood–brain barrier (BBB) permeability and cerebral blood flow, and maintains the chemical composition of the neuronal 'milieu', which is required for proper functioning of neuronal circuits. Recent evidence indicates that BBB dysfunction is associated with the accumulation of several vasculotoxic and neurotoxic molecules within brain parenchyma, a reduction in cerebral blood flow, and hypoxia. Together, these vascular-derived insults might initiate and/or contribute to neuronal degeneration. This article examines mechanisms of BBB dysfunction in neurodegenerative disorders, notably Alzheimer's disease, and highlights therapeutic opportunities relating to these neurovascular deficits.
  • Principles of sensorimotor learning
    - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):739 (2011)
    The exploits of Martina Navratilova and Roger Federer represent the pinnacle of motor learning. However, when considering the range and complexity of the processes that are involved in motor learning, even the mere mortals among us exhibit abilities that are impressive. We exercise these abilities when taking up new activities — whether it is snowboarding or ballroom dancing — but also engage in substantial motor learning on a daily basis as we adapt to changes in our environment, manipulate new objects and refine existing skills. Here we review recent research in human motor learning with an emphasis on the computational mechanisms that are involved.
  • Virtual reality in neuroscience research and therapy
    - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):752 (2011)
    Virtual reality (VR) environments are increasingly being used by neuroscientists to simulate natural events and social interactions. VR creates interactive, multimodal sensory stimuli that offer unique advantages over other approaches to neuroscientific research and applications. VR's compatibility with imaging technologies such as functional MRI allows researchers to present multimodal stimuli with a high degree of ecological validity and control while recording changes in brain activity. Therapists, too, stand to gain from progress in VR technology, which provides a high degree of control over the therapeutic experience. Here we review the latest advances in VR technology and its applications in neuroscience research.
  • Brains on video games
    - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):763 (2011)
    The popular press is replete with stories about the effects of video and computer games on the brain. Sensationalist headlines claiming that video games 'damage the brain' or 'boost brain power' do not do justice to the complexities and limitations of the studies involved, and create a confusing overall picture about the effects of gaming on the brain. Here, six experts in the field shed light on our current understanding of the positive and negative ways in which playing video games can affect cognition and behaviour, and explain how this knowledge can be harnessed for educational and rehabilitation purposes. As research in this area is still in its early days, the contributors of this Viewpoint also discuss several issues and challenges that should be addressed to move the field forward.
  • Correspondence: Engaging, not excluding: a response to Walsh et al.
    - Nat Rev Neurosci 12(12):769 (2011)
    Although we warmly welcome efforts to outline the ethical challenges raised by the search for autism biomarkers, the recent Perspective article by Walsh et al. (In search of biomarkers for autism: scientific, social and ethical challenges.Nature Rev. Neurosci.12, 603–612 (2011)

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