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:2/19/2017)... ... February 19, 2017 , ... Braun Industries will be participating as an ... event will take place February 23-25, 2017 at the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace ... with three new ambulances on display. , “JEMS is a leader ...
(Date:2/19/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Orbita, Inc., a leading provider ... Healthwise ® at HIMSS 2017 to showcase a breakthrough in remote ... technology and services, will demonstrate a voice-powered knowedge assistant based on Orbita ...
(Date:2/18/2017)... ... ... Butler Mobility invited Ken Matthews to visit its manufacturing facility and showroom to ... with the safety and reliability of the Stannah Stairlift as well as with the ... by Ken Matthews can be heard on News Radio WHP 580 weekdays from 3:00 ...
(Date:2/18/2017)... ... February 18, 2017 , ... ProParagraph ... Pixel Film Studios ’ ProParagraph Fashion Volume 2 for all multi-line FCPX project ... Users can pick and choose from hand-crafted trend-setting designs with smooth animations ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... Murfreesboro, TN (PRWEB) , ... February 17, 2017 ... ... EHR mobility has not kept pace. Enovate Medical has introduced an innovative workstation ... 20 years of supporting nurses, the Encore Mobile EHR Workstation offers a lightweight, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/17/2017)... AMSTERDAM , Feb. 17, ... connected health offerings at the  ...  (NYSE: PHG,AEX: PHIA), a global ... a broad range of population ... personal health solutions, fully integrated in a ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... 2017 Absorption Systems, a global leader in ... pleased to announce that its Chief Operating Officer, ... winner of the 2017 Executive Management Award. The award ... driven executives for their creative management vision, leadership philosophy, ... and celebration is on March 8, 2017 at the ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... , Feb. 16, 2017 The global preparative ... 7.88 billion by 2021 from USD 5.49 billion in ... On the basis of type, the preparative and process ... chromatography. In 2016, the process chromatography segment is expected ... preparative and process chromatography. Growth in this segment can ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: