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From Stress to Anhedonia: Molecular Processes through Functional Circuits

Converging evidence across species highlights the contribution of environmental stress to anhedonia (loss of pleasure and/or motivation). However, despite a…

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Converging evidence across species highlights the contribution of environmental stress
to anhedonia (loss of pleasure and/or motivation). However, despite a clear link between
stress and the emergence of anhedonic-like behavior in both human and animal models,
the underlying biological pathways remain elusive. Here, we synthesize recent findings
across multiple levels, from molecular signaling pathways through whole-brain networks,
to discuss mechanisms through which stress may influence anhedonia.

Bivariate genome-wide association analysis strengthens the role of bitter receptor clusters on chromosomes 7 and 12 in human bitter taste

Human perception of bitter substances is partially genetically determined. Previously we discovered a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) within the cluster…

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Bivariate genome-wide association analysis strengthens the role of bitter receptor clusters on chromosomes 7 and 12 in human bitter taste

Human perception of bitter substances is partially genetically determined. Previously we discovered a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) within the cluster of bitter taste receptor genes on chromosome 12 that accounts for 5.8% of the variance in the perceived intensity rating of quinine, and we strengthened the classic association between TAS2R38 genotype and the bitterness of propylthiouracil (PROP). Here we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using a 40% larger sample (n = 1999) together with a bivariate approach to detect previously unidentified common variants with small effects on bitter perception. We identified two signals, both with small effects (< 2%), within the bitter taste receptor clusters on chromosomes 7 and 12, which influence the perceived bitterness of denatonium benzoate and sucrose octaacetate respectively. We also provided the first independent replication for an association of caffeine bitterness on chromosome 12. Furthermore, we provided evidence for pleiotropic effects on quinine, caffeine, sucrose octaacetate and denatonium benzoate for the three SNPs on chromosome 12 and the functional importance of the SNPs for denatonium benzoate bitterness. These findings provide new insights into the genetic architecture of bitter taste and offer a useful starting point for determining the biological pathways linking perception of bitter substances.

Intraoperative detection of blood vessels with an imaging needle during neurosurgery in humans

Intracranial hemorrhage can be a devastating complication associated with needle biopsies of the brain. Hemorrhage can occur to vessels located…

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Intracranial hemorrhage can be a devastating complication associated with needle biopsies of the brain. Hemorrhage can occur to vessels located adjacent to the biopsy needle as tissue is aspirated into the needle and removed. No intraoperative technology exists to reliably identify blood vessels that are at risk of damage. To address this problem, we developed an “imaging needle” that can visualize nearby blood vessels in real time. The imaging needle contains a miniaturized optical coherence tomography probe that allows differentiation of blood flow and tissue. In 11 patients, we were able to intraoperatively detect blood vessels (diameter, >500 μm) with a sensitivity of 91.2% and a specificity of 97.7%. This is the first reported use of an optical coherence tomography needle probe in human brain in vivo. These results suggest that imaging needles may serve as a valuable tool in a range of neurosurgical needle interventions.

Humans wiped out mosquitoes (in one small lab test)

An early lab test of exterminating a much-hated mosquito raises hopes, but is it really such a great idea?

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Humans wiped out mosquitoes (in one small lab test)

An early lab test of exterminating a much-hated mosquito raises hopes, but is it really such a great idea?

New study identifies the genes expressed by our largest organ

In a new study, scientists have identified 888 genes that define the various cell types and structures that make up…

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New study identifies the genes expressed by our largest organ

In a new study, scientists have identified 888 genes that define the various cell types and structures that make up the human skin.

Reversal of ApoE4-induced recycling block as a novel prevention approach for Alzheimer’s disease

Lowering endosomal pH through inhibition of sodium-hydrogen exchanger 6 corrects the ApoE4-induced Reelin resistance and restores neuronal glutamate receptor trafficking.

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Lowering endosomal pH through inhibition of sodium-hydrogen exchanger 6 corrects the ApoE4-induced Reelin resistance and restores neuronal glutamate receptor trafficking.