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
Veronica Santini, MD Elucidates Autonomic Dysfunction at Parkinson’s Disease Webinar
On November 22, the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) Connecticut Chapter featured Veronica Santini, MD, who presented “Autonomic Dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease” for the Association’s Summer/Fall 2022 Parkinson’s Education Series. This important webinar shed light on some of the more insidious symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) that often go undetected and undertreated. The pathophysiology, signs and symptoms, and available treatments were comprehensively reviewed for the virtual audience, which included people with PD, caregivers, advocates, and healthcare professionals.
Cedarbaum Presents on Current Research, Technological Advancements for Parkinson’s Disease
Jesse Cedarbaum, professor adjunct of neurology and psychiatry at Yale, presented in the American Parkinson Disease Association September webinar series, “Preventing Parkinson’s Disease: The Long and Winding Road that Leads to YOUR Door." Dr. Cedarbaum gave an overview of current and future research in Parkinson's disease, as well as developments in technology designed to manage syptoms in patients.
"Fitness Counts" Unites Parkinson’s Disease Researchers and Activists
The Yale Movement Disorders Division joined forces with the Parkinson’s Foundation at an event entitled “Fitness Counts” on October 14, 2022. The event featured remarks by Yale's Veronica Santini, Sule Tinaz, and Christine Gummerson, as well as Beat PD Today founder Michelle Hespeler.
Research Applies Machine Learning/AI to Predict Consciousness for Driving in People with Epilepsy
A new study published in September 2022 in Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology may guide doctors in how to proceed when they observe SWDs on EEG, but are unclear of the patient’s neurological capacity for driving. Led by Principal Investigator Hal Blumenfeld, MD, PhD, researchers have harnessed the power of machine learning/artificial intelligence (AI) to address the shortcomings of traditional testing.
Testing assumptions about cardiovascular health in underrepresented groups
Julian Acosta, MD, Guido Falcone, MD and MD/MHS Student Audrey Leasure study the correlation between cardiovascular disease prevalence and populations underrepresented in medicine by using the All of Us dataset.Source: National Institutes of Health All of Us Research Program
Le Zhang, PhD Wins Avenir Award for Research on Substance Use Disorders and HIV/AIDS
Assistant Professor Le Zhang, PhD was recently awarded a DP2 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), entitled “Immune Network Dysregulation of the Central Nervous System with HIV Persistence and Opioid Abuse.” The grant, which amounts to more than $2.5 million, began on May 15, 2022 and lasts for four years.
Long COVID and Cognitive Dysfunction: Searching for Answers
Gilbert H. Glaser professor of Neurology and chief of the Division of Neurological Infections and Global Neurology Serena Spudich, MD shares her knowledge of cognitive dysfunction in long-COVID patients, research conducted in her COVID Mind Study and Yale program, and what treatment options are currently available.Source: TheBodyPro
Natalia Szejko, MD, PhD Wins 2022 ESOC Young Research Investigator Award for Stroke Research
During the 2022 European Stroke Organisation Conference (ESOC) held from May 4-6, Natalia Szejko, MD, PhD a postdoctoral fellow in the Falcone Lab was awarded the ESOC Young Research Investigator Award in Stroke for her submitted abstract, “Epigenetic Age and Ischemic Stroke: Findings from the Health and Retirement Study.”
Philanthropist Nancy Davis Opens Up About Life with Multiple Sclerosis and Her Mission to Help Others
Philanthropist Nancy Davis tells her story of living with multiple sclerosis, from her diagnosis after a ski accident to how she eventually found the treatment plan that was right for her. Yale Neurology Chair David Hafler, MD also speaks about how far research into the autoimmune disease has come and what the most effective treatment strategies are.Source: People