Mental Health

How Psychedelics Could Help Treat Depression with Neuroscience Ph.D. Student Lindsay Cameron

How Psychedelics Could Help Treat Depression with Neuroscience Ph.D. Student Lindsay Cameron by Greg Watry

Ask most people about the neurochemical origins of depression and you’ll likely hear how low serotonin levels are the cause. But today’s scientists know depression’s roots are more tangled and complex. One area of interest to them is the brain’s prefrontal cortex, a region responsible for motivational and goal-directed behavior. For those with depression, this region’s neurons are unhealthy, their connections, called synapses, withering like rotten roots.

Mice made with CRISPR usher in new era of autism research

Researchers have debuted two mouse models of autism made using the gene-editing tool CRISPR. Both strains lack one functional copy of CHD8, a gene with strong ties to autism.

CRISPR allows researchers to quickly and efficiently insert specific mutations into single-cell mouse embryos. Several teams have used the method to make mouse models for other conditions, including Rett syndrome, an autism-related condition. The new mice represent the first use of the method to make models expressly for autism.

Why are Alzheimer’s Rates So High Among Latinos?

Latinos are California’s fastest-growing ethnic group. They’re also among the most likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. A new five-year study out of UC Davis will investigate why.

The study grew out of a $14.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. It will involve nine other universities and last for five years.

Rates of dementia in Latino adults are about 1.5 times higher than rates in white adults. They are slightly lower than the rates in the African American community.

UC Davis to co-lead $14.7 million study of dementia in U.S. Hispanics

A UC Davis neurology researcher will share the lead in a $14.7 million, multiyear study examining the causes of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia among Latinos in the United States, university officials announced Tuesday. The work is being funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Charles S. DeCarli, director of the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center, will serve as co-principal investigator along with Hector M. Gonzalez, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Michigan State University.