Brain’s ‘insulation’ continues to form throughout life
Myelin acts as insulation for millions of brain cells, allowing for swift and efficient transmission of signals across brain regions. Despite its crucial role, little is known about how stable this structure is in the adult brain and what impact aging has on its maintenance. Yale neurologists Robert Hill, Alice Li, and Jaime Grutzendler devised techniques to track and precisely image myelin throughout the lifetime of the mouse. They discovered that myelin continues to form and restructure in the adult brain — indicating the potential for lifelong change. They also learned that during aging, myelin begins to deteriorate and myelin debris accumulate over time.
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
Grant Will Help Yale Team Develop Diagnostic Tool to Evaluate Tumors
The Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI) has awarded a research pilot award to an interdisciplinary team of Yale researchers for a project titled, “Utilizing Machine Learning to Model the Volumetric Growth of Vestibular Schwannomas.”
Study: Alzheimer's Drug Shows Modest Success Slowing Declines in Memory, Thinking
Christopher Van Dyck, MD, professor of psychiatry and director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Unit, spoke about an experimental drug for Alzheimer's disease patients at the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer's Disease meeting in San Francisco in November.Source: NPR
Provision of Mental Health Services in the Veterans Health Administration: A Nationwide Comparison With Other Providers
On average, Veterans Health Administration (VHA) mental healthcare facilities offer significantly more treatment modalities, specialized services, and dedicated treatment programs than non-VHA facilities, according to a new study by Yale Psychiatry researchers published online in Psychiatric Services.
Yale Study Seeks to Understand Neurobiology Underlying Bipolar Disorder Vs. Major Depressive Disorder
Yale scientists, including Sophie Holmes, PhD; Ruth Asch, PhD; and Irina Esterlis, PhD, used positron emission tomography to understand the neurobiology underlying bipolar disorder versus major depressive disorder. The findings were published in Biological Psychiatry.Source: Biological Psychiatry
Cook, Simiola Awarded PCORI Grant
Joan Cook, PhD, professor of psychiatry, and Vanessa Simiola, research assistant, have been awarded a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute grant to implement written exposure therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder in six civilian health care systems across the United States.Source: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute
Federal Grant Will Fund PRCH's 'Recovery Finance' Project
Researchers from the Yale Department of Psychiatry’s Program for Recovery and Community Health (PRCH), including Annie Harper, PhD, associate research scientist in psychiatry; and Chyrell Bellamy, PhD, professor of psychiatry and director of PRCH, have been awarded a $1.675 million grant by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health.
Collaboration on NIH grant between Sullivan, Nez Henderson will create program to help Indigenous women experiencing domestic violence quit smoking
Tami Sullivan, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, and Patricia Nez Henderson, MD, MPH, vice president for the Black Hills Center for American Indian Health (BHCAIH) and the first Indigenous woman to graduate from Yale School of Medicine, have been awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to pilot a mindfulness-based, culturally-tailored smoking cessation intervention for Indigenous women who experience intimate partner violence (IPV).