Navigation Links
When good habits go bad
Date:2/16/2013

BOSTON, MA -- Learning, memory and habits are encoded in the strength of connections between neurons in the brain, the synapses. These connections aren't meant to be fixed, they're changeable, or plastic.

Duke University neurologist and neuroscientist Nicole Calakos studies what happens when those connections aren't as adaptable as they should be in the basal ganglia, the brain's "command center" for turning information into actions.

"The basal ganglia is the part of the brain that drives the car when you're not thinking too hard about it," Calakos said. It's also the part of the brain where neuroscientists are looking for the roots of obsessive-compulsive disorder, Huntington's, Parkinson's, and aspects of autism spectrum disorders.

In her most recent work, which she'll discuss Saturday morning, Feb. 16 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston, Calakos is mapping the defects in circuitry of the basal ganglia that underlie compulsive behavior. She is studying mice that have a synaptic defect that manifests itself as something like obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Calakos' former colleague Guoping Feng developed the mice at Duke before moving to the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, where he now works. Feng was exploring the construction of synapses by knocking out genes one at a time. One set of mice ended up with facial lesions from endlessly grooming themselves until their faces were rubbed raw. When examining synaptic activity in the basal ganglia of these mice, Calakos' group discovered that metabotropic glutamate receptors, or mGluRs, were overactive and this in turn, left their synapses less able to change. Scientists think overactivity of these receptors can cause many aspects of the autistic spectrum disorder Fragile X mental retardation.

"It's an example of synaptic plasticity going awry," Calakos said. "They're stuck with less adaptable synapses." Calakos is now using the mice to determine whether drugs that inhibit mGluRs can be used to improve their behavior and testing whether the circuit defects are a generalizable explanation for similar behaviors in other mouse models. This work may then lead to new understandings for compulsive behaviors and new treatment opportunities.


'/>"/>

Contact: Karl Leif Bates
karl.bates@duke.edu
919-681-8054
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Author, relationship expert Donna Barnes dishes healthy habits
2. Snoring Mouthpiece by VitalSleep Helps Accomplish New Year’s Resolution to Kick Snoring Habits
3. Old habits die hard: Helping cancer patients stop smoking
4. Many seniors sleep habits are similar to those of young adults, study suggests
5. How the brain controls our habits
6. Study IDs 4 Key Habits of Successful Aging
7. 4 Eating Habits May Help Older Women Maintain Weight Loss
8. Seniors with serious illness find smoking, drinking tough habits to break
9. Preschool TV Habits Linked to 4th-Grade Waist Size, Fitness
10. TV habits predict kids waist size and sporting ability
11. Sleep Habits in U.S. Vary by Race, Native Country: Study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Information about the technology: , Otomagnetics has ... prevention of a major side effect of chemotherapy in children. Cisplatin and carboplatin ... cisplatin, hearing loss is FDA listed on-label as a dose limiting toxicity. Hearing ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... HMP , a leader in healthcare events and education, today ... Digital Award for ‘Best B-to-B Healthcare Website.’ Winners were announced during the Eddie & ... award competition recognizes editorial and design excellence across a range of sectors. This year’s ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... On Saturday, October 21, the Health & ... by Moonlight to raise money for the American Heart Association Heart Walk. Teams of ... will work together to keep their treadmills moving for 5 hours. Treadmills will start ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Health ... interactive health literacy software tool, and the Cancer Patient Education Network (CPEN), an ... education, today announce a new strategic alliance. , As CPEN’s strategic partner, ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Vohra Chief Medical ... to physician colleagues, skilled nursing facility medical directors and other clinicians at various ... Wound Care." , "At many of these conferences we get to educate other ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/4/2017)... Mass. , Oct. 4, 2017 ... of single-use, self-contained, illuminating medical devices, today announced ... National Health Surveillance Agency (or Agência Nacional de ... The first single-use, cordless surgical retractor with integrated ... provides optimal access, illumination and exposure of a ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017  AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, ... formed by Walgreens and pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics ... new brand, which included the unveiling of new signage ... , as well as at a few other company-owned ... new brand to patients, some of whom will begin ...
(Date:9/28/2017)... , Sept. 28, 2017 Hill-Rom Holdings, ... 2017 earnings conference call and webcast on Friday, November ... a.m. (EDT) and ending at approximately 8:30 a.m. (CDT) ... discussing the company,s 2017 financial performance and guidance for ... opportunities, initiatives to enhance operational performance, and long-range financial ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: