Re-opening the Memory Book

Following the completion of the Human Genome Project, much of biology’s focus has been shifted from the raw sequence of genes to their regulation over time and in response to environmental stimuli. Like books on a shelf, genes do not exert effects by their mere presence; rather, the pages of the book (i.e., the chromatin).. read more →

Tsai Lab researchers identify brain cell aberration tied to autism

A gene linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) actually alters individual brain cells’ ability to process information, researchers at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory report in the June 10 advance online edition of Nature Neuroscience. The finding focuses on a faulty molecular mechanism that may underlie ASD’s cognitive impairments. The discovery could lead to.. read more →

Reversing Alzheimer’s gene ‘blockade’ can restore memory, other cognitive functions

Neuroscientists show that HDAC2 enzyme could be a good target for new drugs. MIT neuroscientists have shown that an enzyme overproduced in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients creates a blockade that shuts off genes necessary to form new memories. Furthermore, by inhibiting that enzyme in mice, the researchers were able to reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms. The.. read more →

Unraveling how a mutation can lead to psychiatric illness

MIT neuroscientists show that a gene linked with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder impairs early brain development. In recent years, scientists have discovered several genetic mutations associated with greater risk of psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. One such mutation, known as DISC1 — an abbreviation for “Disrupted in Schizophrenia-1” — was first identified.. read more →