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:1/24/2017)... ... January 24, 2017 , ... “The Octagon of Spiritual Balances”: ... Spiritual Balances” is the creation of published author, Pastor Bernard J. Weathers, pastor of ... a bachelor degree in religious education and a master degree in theology. , ““The ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... ... January 23, 2017 , ... ... on Friday, January 20, with the bipartisan original co-sponsorship of nearly one-quarter of ... January 12. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) strongly backs the ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... ... 23, 2017 , ... Texas Home Health, an AccentCare, Inc. ... care service companies: Padre Home Health in Corpus Christi, Texas, and Royalty Personal ... regarded in their respective markets, these two agencies align with Texas Home Health’s ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... , ... January 24, 2017 , ... The National Council ... for drug and alcohol awareness, have worked with communities to designate the last full ... January 23-29, 2017, the theme is “Shatter the Myths.” As a community, we ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... ... January 23, 2017 , ... Ultimate Medical Academy ... Summit to be held March 23-25, 2017 in Tampa, and reminded educators and ... The keynote speakers include Dr. Michelle R. Weise, executive director of the Sandbox ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/23/2017)... SANTA CLARA, Calif. , Jan. 23, 2017 ... hand protection market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Ansell, ... 2016 Global Frost & Sullivan Company of the ... strong customer-centric approach, and a wide global footprint ... eminence in the hand protection market. The Company,s ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... Jan. 23, 2017 MouthWatch LLC announced today that ... ranked as the best intraoral camera on DentalCompare,s list of ... spot overall. The #1 product was the CollaPlug Absorbable ... intraoral camera was "…incredibly popular because it is by far ... a small sticker price, it doesn,t sacrifice quality imaging." ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... Jan. 23, 2017 Direct-to-consumer ... devices sold and 65% increase in consumable sales, quarter-over-quarter ... Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO ), a leader in ... of the Dario™ Blood Glucose Monitoring System, an all-in-one ... mobile app-based and minimally invasive smart diabetes management solution. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: