93,245 research outputs found

    Environmental Effects On Drosophila Brain Development And Learning

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    Brain development and behavior are sensitive to a variety of environmental influences including social interactions and physicochemical stressors. Sensory input in situ is a mosaic of both enrichment and stress, yet little is known about how multiple environmental factors interact to affect brain anatomical structures, circuits and cognitive function. In this study, we addressed these issues by testing the individual and combined effects of sub-adult thermal stress, larval density and early-adult living spatial enrichment on brain anatomy and olfactory associative learning in adult Drosophila melanogaster. In response to heat stress, the mushroom bodies (MBs) were the most volumetrically impaired among all of the brain structures, an effect highly correlated with reduced odor learning performance. However, MBs were not sensitive to either larval culture density or early-adult living conditions. Extreme larval crowding reduced the volume of the antennal lobes, optic lobes and central complex. Neither larval crowding nor early-adult spatial enrichment affected olfactory learning. These results illustrate that various brain structures react differently to environmental inputs, and that MB development and learning are highly sensitive to certain stressors (pre-adult hyperthermia) and resistant to others (larval crowding). © 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd

    Insights into brain development and disease from neurogenetic analyses in Drosophila melanogaster

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    Groundbreaking work by Obaid Siddiqi has contributed to the powerful genetic toolkit that is now available for studying the nervous system of Drosophila. Studies carried out in this powerful neurogenetic model system during the last decade now provide insight into the molecular mechanisms that operate in neural stem cells during normal brain development and during abnormal brain tumorigenesis. These studies also provide strong support for the notion that conserved molecular genetic programs act in brain development and disease in insects and mammals including humans

    Plasma cholesterol levels and brain development in preterm newborns.

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    BackgroundTo assess whether postnatal plasma cholesterol levels are associated with microstructural and macrostructural regional brain development in preterm newborns.MethodsSixty preterm newborns (born 24-32 weeks gestational age) were assessed using MRI studies soon after birth and again at term-equivalent age. Blood samples were obtained within 7 days of each MRI scan to analyze for plasma cholesterol and lathosterol (a marker of endogenous cholesterol synthesis) levels. Outcomes were assessed at 3 years using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Third Edition.ResultsEarly plasma lathosterol levels were associated with increased axial and radial diffusivities and increased volume of the subcortical white matter. Early plasma cholesterol levels were associated with increased volume of the cerebellum. Early plasma lathosterol levels were associated with a 2-point decrease in motor scores at 3 years.ConclusionsHigher early endogenous cholesterol synthesis is associated with worse microstructural measures and larger volumes in the subcortical white matter that may signify regional edema and worse motor outcomes. Higher early cholesterol is associated with improved cerebellar volumes. Further work is needed to better understand how the balance of cholesterol supply and endogenous synthesis impacts preterm brain development, especially if these may be modifiable factors to improve outcomes

    Peer victimization and its impact on adolescent brain development and psychopathology

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    Chronic peer victimization has long-term impacts on mental health; however, the biological mediators of this adverse relationship are unknown. We sought to determine whether adolescent brain development is involved in mediating the effect of peer victimization on psychopathology. We included participants (n = 682) from the longitudinal IMAGEN study with both peer victimization and neuroimaging data. Latent profile analysis identified groups of adolescents with different experiential patterns of victimization. We then associated the victimization trajectories and brain volume changes with depression, generalized anxiety, and hyperactivity symptoms at age 19. Repeated measures ANOVA revealed time-by victimization interactions on left putamen volume (F = 4.38, p = 0.037). Changes in left putamen volume were negatively associated with generalized anxiety (t = −2.32, p = 0.020). Notably, peer victimization was indirectly associated with generalized anxiety via decreases in putamen volume (95% CI = 0.004–0.109). This was also true for the left caudate (95% CI = 0.002–0.099). These data suggest that the experience of chronic peer victimization during adolescence might induce psychopathology-relevant deviations from normative brain development. Early peer victimization interventions could prevent such pathological changes

    The labial gene is required to terminate proliferation of identified neuroblasts in postembryonic development of the Drosophila brain

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    The developing brain of Drosophila has become a useful model for studying the molecular genetic mechanisms that give rise to the complex neuronal arrays that characterize higher brains in other animals including mammals. Brain development in Drosophila begins during embryogenesis and continues during a subsequent postembryonic phase. During embryogenesis, the Hox gene labial is expressed in the developing tritocerebrum, and labial loss-of-function has been shown to be associated with a loss of regional neuronal identity and severe patterning defects in this part of the brain. However nothing is known about the expression and function of labial, or any other Hox gene, during the postembryonic phase of brain development, when the majority of the neurons in the adult brain are generated. Here we report the first analysis of Hox gene action during postembryonic brain development in Drosophila. We show that labial is initially expressed in six larval brain neuroblasts, of which only four give rise to the labial expressing neuroblast lineages present in the late larval brain. Although MARCM-based clonal mutation of labial in these four neuroblast lineages does not result in an obvious phenotype, a striking and unexpected effect of clonal labial loss-of-function does occur during postembryonic brain development, namely the formation of two ectopic neuroblast lineages that are not present in wild-type brains. The same two ectopic neuroblast lineages are also observed following cell death blockage and, significantly, in this case the resulting ectopic lineages are Labial-positive. These findings imply that labial is required in two specific neuroblast lineages of the wildtype brain for the appropriate termination of proliferation through programmed cell death. Our analysis of labial function reveals a novel cell autonomous role of this Hox gene in shaping the lineage architecture of the brain during postembryonic development

    The Future of Our Children

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    Christopher Greeley and Robert Sanborn\u27s introduction to Volume 7, Issue 2: The Critical Years: Research and Progress in Early Education and Early Brain Development

    Extraction of features from sleep EEG for Bayesian assessment of brain development

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    Brain development can be evaluated by experts analysing age-related patterns in sleep electroencephalograms (EEG). Natural variations in the patterns, noise, and artefacts affect the evaluation accuracy as well as experts' agreement. The knowledge of predictive posterior distribution allows experts to estimate confidence intervals within which decisions are distributed. Bayesian approach to probabilistic inference has provided accurate estimates of intervals of interest. In this paper we propose a new feature extraction technique for Bayesian assessment and estimation of predictive distribution in a case of newborn brain development assessment. The new EEG features are verified within the Bayesian framework on a large EEG data set including 1,100 recordings made from newborns in 10 age groups. The proposed features are highly correlated with brain maturation and their use increases the assessment accuracy

    Adolescent brain development

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    Adolescence starts with puberty and ends when individuals attain an independent role in society. Cognitive neuroscience research in the last two decades has improved our understanding of adolescent brain development. The evidence indicates a prolonged structural maturation of grey matter and white matter tracts supporting higher cognitive functions such as cognitive control and social cognition. These changes are associated with a greater strengthening and separation of brain networks, both in terms of structure and function, as well as improved cognitive skills. Adolescent-specific sub-cortical reactivity to emotions and rewards, contrasted with their developing self-control skills, are thought to account for their greater sensitivity to the socio-affective context. The present review examines these findings and their implications for training interventions and education
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