PATHS helps students from underrepresented backgrounds realize med school dreams
Nelson Perez Catalan discovered he was interested in pursuing science while working at a student job at the University of Oregon cleaning glass in the labs. He found himself drawn to research around the brain, and thought about pursuing an MD/PhD, but there was no medical school at his university and as a transplant from Chile, he says much of the U.S. college process was mystifying to him. Then he learned about PATHS, or Program to Advance Training in Health and Sciences at Yale School of Medicine.
The Departments of Anesthesiology and Neurology Host: “Perivascular Spaces in the Brain & Contributions to Pathology of Cerebral Small Vessel Disease” on March 24
The purpose of this Yale mini-symposium is to highlight the huge unmet clinical need to understand the pathophysiology of small vessel disease to inform future therapeutic efforts to reduce the burden of this illness due to cognitive impairment and dementia. In particular the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie diffuse white matter disease and small vessel disease in the brain, the relationships between them, and how they may contribute to cognitive impairment and dementia.
Barrier Function: TREM2 Helps Microglia to Compact Amyloid Plaques
New research bolsters the case that brain-derived microglia need TREM2 to essentially wall off amyloid plaques, but exactly how they do that remains up for debate. As reported in the May 18 Neuron, scientists led by Jaime Grutzendler at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, used confocal and super-resolution microscopy to show that TREM2-positive microglia surround and encase amyloid fibrils, protecting neurons in the process. Yet TREM2 itself appears to lend little support to phagocytosis of Aβ. The technical caliber of the work and the quality of the microscopy led researchers in the AD field to call the study “stunning.” It comes on the heels of another paper, in the April 18 Journal of Experimental Medicine, which suggests the microglia that surround plaques are brain-derived, not peripheral myeloid cells as others had suggested previously.Source: Barrier Function: TREM2 Helps Microglia to Compact Amyloid Plaques
Immune cells may act as ‘trash compactors, protecting against Alzheimer’s
In the battle against Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation may be an ally, not a foe, a new study has found. Immune cells in the brain previously blamed for Alzheimer’s actually protect against the disease by corralling the damage-causing amyloid plaques, according to the Yale University study, published Wednesday in the journal Neuron. The findings suggest that inflammation byproducts of these immune cells, known as microglia, probably don’t cause Alzheimer’s, nor are they as effective as previously believed at “gobbling up” the plaques, both of which have been hypothesized, said Jaime Grutzendler,associate professor of neurology and neuroscience and the study’s lead author. Rather, he said, the cells act as a physicalbarrier that encloses the spiky plaques, preventing outward expansion and making them less toxic. “They’re sort of like garbage compactors,” he said. “They tightly surround the plaques and make them inert and less damaging . . . by creating a capsule.”
Research in the news: Hyperactive neurons may be culprit in Alzheimer’s
A long-term reduction in neuronal activity reduces amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Yale University researchers have found. The study, using mouse models of Alzheimer’s, found the opposite is also true — triggering an increase in neuronal activity spurs creation of plaques and toxic amyloid beta peptides believed to trigger the disease.
Immune cells are an ally, not enemy, in battle against Alzheimer’s
In Alzheimer’s disease (AD), β-amyloid plaques are tightly enveloped by microglia but the significance of this phenomenon is unknown. Here the authors used confocal and in vivo two-photon imaging in AD mouse models and revealed that microglia constitute a physical barrier that prevents the formation of neurotoxic hotspots of protofibrillar β-amyloid and shields adjacent neurons and synapses from the toxic effect of amyloid plaques
Christine Gummerson, MD Honored as Consultant of the Year
The Department of Emergency Medicine has honored Christine Gummerson, MD, a PGY4 resident in the Department of Neurology, with the Consultant of the Year Award. By voting for her to receive this award, the residents in the Departmtent of Emergency Medicine have specifically acknowledged Dr. Gummerson not only for her outstanding dedication to her myriad responsibilities as a consultant, but also for her unwavering professionalism and commitment to improving the lives of her patients.
Cyprien Rivier, MD, MSc Wins ESOC Young Research Investigator Award in Stroke
Postdoctoral Research Fellow Cyprien Rivier, MD, MSc wins the Young Research Investigator Award in Stroke at the European Stroke Organisation Conference. Dr. Rivier was recognized as an outstanding early-career researcher whose research makes significant contributions to our understanding of stroke.
Soumya Yandamuri, MSE, PhD Wins 2023 Yale Mentoring Award
Postdoctoral Fellow Soumya Yandamuri, MSE PhD is one of five recipients of the 2023 Yale Mentoring Award. The award recognizes Dr. Yandamuri's exceptional dedication to mentoring undergraduates and graduates in the O'Connor Lab, as well as graduate students in the Women in Science at Yale program.
NeurologyLive® Clinician of the Month Spotlight: Jason J. Sico, MD, MHS
Yale's Jason Sico, MD, MHS is NeurologyLive's Clinician of the Month for June. In this interview, Dr. Sico, a neurologist with additional clinical training in headache, brain injury medicine, and stroke, describes his myriad responsibilities as a neurologist and his dedication to improving lives through evidence-based therapies, particularly the veteran community.Source: NeurologyLive
Raising Awareness for World Multiple Sclerosis Day
In honor of World MS Day on May 30, 2023, Yale Department of Neurology Chair and neuro-immunologist David Hafler, MD spoke with NBC Connecticut on the importance of early detection of MS, advances in effective therapies, and improvements in prognosis over the last 30 years.Source: NBC Connecticut
Study Suggests Retina Represents System for Investigating Therapeutic Approaches in Neurodegenerative Diseases
The findings provide evidence that the retina, the site of damage in advanced macular degeneration—the leading cause of blindness in elderly patients—is also a source for knowledge about treating neurodegenerative diseases.
A Staring Spell
Hal Blumenfeld, MD, PhD, Yale School of Medicine professor of neurology and director of the Yale Clinical Neuroscience Imaging Center, describes the journey of validating an animal for measuring behavioral response during absence epilepsy, understanding the neuronal basis for the condition, and the path toward identifying targeted therapies.Source: Yale Scientific
Study Finds Sleeping Pill Can Reduce Proteins Linked to Alzheimer's Disease
A recent study in "Annals of Neurology" suggests that sleeping pill, suvorexant (Belsomra), may decrease the levels of two key proteins linked with Alzheimer's disease. While the study is promising, Yale's Amran Fesharaki-Zadeh, MD, PhD notes that further clinical trials are needed to understand this connection.Source: healthline
Nowak Receives Impact Award
The Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA) has awarded its Impact Award to Richard Nowak, MD for his exceptional leadership, collaboration, innovation, and dedication to advancing the mission of the MGFA. Dr. Nowak was formally recognized at the 2023 MGFA National Patient Conference in New Orleans, La.
Migraine: A Neurological Condition That's Not Just in Your Head
In this video, Associate Professor of Neurology Jason Sico, MD, MHS describes the unique symptoms that set migraine apart as not being a “normal” headache and as a condition that profoundly affects quality of life. Dr. Sico also notes new developments in medications and other treatment options, and not only encourages patients to speak openly with their doctor, but also for doctors to take migraine seriously.Source: Yale Medicine YouTube