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
$3.59M NIMH Grant Awarded to Serena Spudich, MD
A new, five-year, $3.59M grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) was awarded to Principal Investigator Serena Spudich, MD, Gilbert Glaser Professor of Neurology at Yale, along with co-PI, Joshua Cyktor, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh.
Bedside point-of-care MRI appears convenient and accurate
In one of the first deployments of a point-of-care MRI scanner, Dr. Kevin Sheth of Yale School of Medicine discussed the application of low-field POC MRI, outlining the constraints of conventional MRI and advantages of MRI at the bedside.Source: AuntMinnie.com
AAN 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting: Highlights
Each year, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) hosts a meeting wherein neurologists nationwide convene to present on their latest research findings and to learn from their peers. The following members of Yale Neurology presented abstracts at the 2021 virtual annual meeting:
CELLO Study to Explore Early Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
Yale University announced today the initiation of a multicenter study aimed at treating early stage multiple sclerosis (MS). Supported by and in collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, the study, known as “CELLO,” will investigate whether short-term treatment with ocrelizumab in patients with MRI lesions consistent with early MS without clinical disease—known as radiologic isolated syndrome—prevents the onset of symptoms.
A new treatment may halt cluster headaches. But some say psychedelic drugs are the real answer.
There are few successful treatment options for cluster headache, a rare, misunderstood, and intensely painful neurologic condition. However, new research suggests that psychedelic drugs may provide relief.Source: The Washington Post
Chronic Headache Disorders & Toxic Exposure: A Policy Panel Discussion
Right now, over 230,000 veterans have joined VA’s Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry which documents self-reported health impacts. While much is still unknown, veterans exposed to burn pits report unexplained chronic illnesses, cancers, and respiratory conditions. For many veterans, that means living with debilitating headaches and chronic migraines. Currently, over one million veterans seeking care at VA are diagnosed with a headache disorder and 22 percent of veterans deployed with duties involving burn pits report functional limitations due to migraines. We have a responsibility to care for all those who have borne the battle-- we cannot leave these veterans behind. I’ve made addressing toxic exposure a top priority this Congress, and I am committed to moving forward comprehensive legislation to ensure all of our veterans exposed to toxic substances during their service can access the care and benefits they’ve earned—regardless of where or when they served.Source: Headache & Migraine Policy Forum