The night gardeners: Immune cells rewire, repair brain while we sleep

Science tells us that a lot of good things happen in our brains while we sleep — learning and memories are consolidated and waste is removed, among other things. New research shows for the first time that important immune cells called microglia — which play an important role in reorganizing the connections between nerve cells, fighting infections, and repairing damage — are also primarily active while we sleep. Continue reading “The night gardeners: Immune cells rewire, repair brain while we sleep”

Chemicals in consumer products during early pregnancy related to lower IQ, especially in boys

Exposure during the first trimester of pregnancy to mixtures of suspected endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in consumer products is related to lower IQ in children by age 7, according to a study by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Karlstad University, Sweden, published in Environment International in October. This study is among the first to look at prenatal suspected endocrine-disrupting chemical mixtures in relation to neurodevelopment. Continue reading “Chemicals in consumer products during early pregnancy related to lower IQ, especially in boys”

Consuming alcohol leads to epigenetic changes in brain memory centers

Triggers in everyday life such as running into a former drinking buddy, walking by a once-familiar bar, and attending social gatherings can all cause recovering alcoholics to “fall off the wagon.” About 40 to 60 percent of people who have gone through treatment for substance abuse will experience some kind of relapse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. But what drives the biology behind these cravings has remained largely unknown. Continue reading “Consuming alcohol leads to epigenetic changes in brain memory centers”

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