Studies have long suggested that oxytocin — a hormone that can also act as a neurotransmitter — regulates prosocial behavior such as empathy, trust and bonding, which led to its popular labeling as the “love hormone.” Mysteriously, oxytocin has also been shown to play a role in antisocial behaviors and emotions, including reduced cooperation, envy and anxiety. How oxytocin could exert such opposite roles had largely remained a mystery, but a new UC Davis study sheds light on how this may work.
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Working with California mice, UC Davis researches showed that the “love hormone” oxytocin can sometimes have antisocial effects depending on where in the brain it is made. (Mark Chappell/UC Riverside)
While most oxytocin is produced in an area of the brain known as the hypothalamus, some oxytocin is produced in another brain area known as the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, or BNST. The BNST is known
In a new study, published in Current Biology, researchers from the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine reveal how subanesthetic ketamine, which is used for pain management and as an antidepressant in humans, is effective in treating adult amblyopia, a brain disorder commonly known as “lazy eye.”
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“Our study, demonstrates how a single-dose of subanesthetic ketamine reactivates adult visual cortical plasticity and promotes functional recovery of visual acuity defects resulting from amblyopia,” explained Xiangmin Xu, PhD, a professor of anatomy and neurobiology and director of the Center for Neural Circuit Mapping at the UCI School of Medicine.
Subanesthetic ketamine, commonly used to treat depression and pain, evokes rapid and long-lasting antidepressant effects in human patients. There was evidence that ketamine may control how the nervous system makes structural changes in response to internal and external demands, a process called neural plasticity. But, how the drug worked remained elusive,
It saved lives in past epidemics of lung-damaging viruses. Now, the life-support option known as ECMO appears to be doing the same for many of the critically ill COVID-19 patients who receive it, according to a new international study.
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The 1,035 patients in the study faced a staggeringly high risk of death, as ventilators and other care failed to support their lungs. But after they were placed on ECMO, their actual death rate was less than 40%. That’s similar to the rate for patients treated with ECMO in past outbreaks of lung-damaging viruses, and other severe forms of viral pneumonia.
The new study published in The Lancet provides strong support for the use of ECMO — short for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — in appropriate patients as the pandemic rages on worldwide.
It may help more hospitals that have ECMO capability understand which of their COVID-19 patients might benefit from the