Neuroscience 2016 Press Program Features Latest Advances in Brain Science and Health
With more than 30,000 attendees and 15,000 scientific presentations, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience is the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health. Credentialed media receive complimentary registration and access to an on-site press room, top neuroscientists, embargoed press materials, and special events, providing a rich collection of news and feature possibilities.
Media may register for Neuroscience 2016 at: https://www.xpressreg.com/register/sfnx1116/media/start.asp
Humans are social animals and neural networks underpin all emotions and social interactions. Understanding how these networks spur us to console or fear each other, among other things, will open the door to helping people with schizophrenia, autism, and anxiety disorders. Researchers will discuss how a hormone involved in social bonding and a neurotransmitter involved in reward work promote social interaction in mice; how structural differences in the brain may explain a tendency to dread social situations; and how infants’ brains respond to different emotions.
Zika: An Emergent Threat
Long considered a mostly harmless mosquito-borne virus, Zika rapidly emerged from obscurity to dominate headlines. Linked to neurological birth defects in infants, the virus can also afflict adults and is associated with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disorder associated with temporary paralysis. Researchers discuss the newest finding associated with Zika, including how the virus damages neural stem cells, how it promotes the growth of non-neural stem cells, and how “mini-brains” offer a means to study infection and test for new therapeutics.
How Sensory Experience Guides Brain Development
Early sensory experiences profoundly influence the developing brain. Environmental enrichment, sensory stimulation, and sensory deprivation all shape the connections and organization in the brain, in addition to affecting behavior. Scientists discuss animal research exploring how deafness, excessive sensory stimulation, and environmental enrichment may alter the brain and behavior.
All in the Family
DNA sequence is not destiny. The external environment contributes to how the information stored in DNA translates into traits like height and risk for disease. Sometimes, the air we breathe and the food we eat affect not just ourselves, but our offspring as well. Researchers investigate how parents’ experiences — like stress, diet, and drug use — may contribute to their offspring’s risk for various neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and depression.
The damage caused by Parkinson’s disease arises from the accumulation of rogue forms of a protein called alpha-synuclein. Scientists discuss research in animals describing how the misfolded clumps of protein may spread from neuron to neuron and even from gut to brain. Also, new research in animals and humans offers potential therapeutic strategies to treat this common neurodegenerative disorder.
Targeting the Brain’s Cannabinoid System
Targeting cannabinoid receptors — which bind both natural neurotransmitters and the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — may provide some of the therapeutic benefits of marijuana without the side effects. Scientists explore opportunities to tap into the brain’s cannabinoid system in order to develop therapies for difficult conditions like chronic pain, alcoholism, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
New Technology, New Opportunities
Novel technologies and improved methods for common techniques are opening up opportunities for better understanding and potential new treatments for brain disorders. Researchers discuss new techniques for mapping individual neurons and developing new animal models as well as nonsurgical methods for deep brain stimulation and a safer way to edit DNA.
Getting to the Root of Autism
The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder in the U.S. has been increasing — in 2010 and 2012, 1 in 68 children received an autism diagnosis. Researchers here reveal a link between pesticides and autism behaviors in a rat model, explore the role of oxytocin and sociability in mice and prairie voles, and explore the neurobiological basis for social impairment in autistic children.
By 2025, an estimated 7 million people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Despite its prevalence, the underlying causes for most cases of Alzheimer’s disease are currently unknown, and there is no preventative medicine or treatment. Research presented includes the role of circadian rhythms in the risk for Alzheimer’s, evidence for protective mechanisms against Alzheimer’s, and the development of a biomarker for regenerative therapies.
Media are required to register for credentials. Please visit www.sfn.org/media2016 for more information.
The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is an organization of nearly 38,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.