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brain health

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Researchers in North Texas have identified more than 100 genes linked to memory in the human brain. 

Dr. Genevieve Konopka of UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas talks about her team's research — and how it could help develop new therapies for patients who have epilepsy or memory disorders. 

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A lot of us think rushing from task to task and packing our schedules is a necessary evil. It turns out being busy might be good for your brain. That’s the conclusion of a new study led by North Texas researchers in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

National Institutes of Health / Kuhn and Rossmann research groups, Purdue University

The news about the Zika virus has accelerated this week. A newborn in the Houston area tested positive for Zika-related microcephaly. Doctors are also trying to figure out how an elderly Utah man was infected without transmission through sex or mosquito bites. These developments come as a new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center finds that Zika can infect brain cells and hide itself from the immune system.

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Epilepsy affects about three million people in the U.S. alone. But while people associate seizures with the disorder, a lot of myths persist about epilepsy. 

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In June 2014, Julian Pinto kicked the first ball of the World Cup. He isn’t a soccer star or a celebrity, but his kick attracted quite a bit of attention—because it signified a major breakthrough in brain-interface technology. Confused? Well, Pinto is paralyzed from the waist down, and he kicked the ball with his mind, using a robotic exoskeleton. If you think it sounds like something from a science fiction novel, you’re not alone: even Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, who headed the research, once had his doubts.

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Although nearly four million people a year sustain concussions, there’s still a lot doctors don't know about them, including Dr. Munro Cullum.  The neuropsychologist is one of the researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center leading a study of several hundred people to eventually come up with better treatment for concussion. 

Center for BrainHealth

This week, the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas is starting construction on a new institute – and it’s shaped like a brain.

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144,000 Texans sustain a traumatic brain injury each year—that’s one every 4 minutes. For those who survive there’s often cognitive and psychological difficulties, like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

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About 17,000 people are diagnosed with cancer that began in or next to the brain every year in the United States. These are called primary brain cancers.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

It’s state softball playoff season, and some girls are gearing up with face masks.

Softball is one of the safest high school sports in Texas. But serious injuries do happen – especially at positions like third base or pitcher, where screaming line drives can do major damage. At least one North Texas school district, Richardson, is requiring all girls who play third to wear face masks in the field.

UT Dallas

You could try and improve your memory by spending hours online memorizing lists of obscure vocabulary words, but new research shows you might be better off picking up a challenging, new hobby – like digital photography or quilting.

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Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and its progression largely focuses on plaque buildup in the brain. But researchers at U-T Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Presbyterian think they’ve hit on another possibility: The role the immune system may play in both Alzheimer’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. Dr. Nancy Monson, an immunologist at UT Southwestern, explains in this week’s edition of KERA’s Vital Signs.

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Its symptoms suggest a number of ailments, but doctors have been diagnosing more cases of Chiari (pronounced kee-AH-ree) malformation — a condition where the brain intrudes on the spinal column. In this installment of KERA’s Vital Signs, Dr. Sabatino Bianco, a neurosurgeon with of Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, talks about the two most common forms of Chiari.

Steve Fisch / Stanford

This week’s Nobel Prizes had a distinct twang. Three North Texas universities had small roles in the project that won the physics medal – and the winner of the Nobel for Medicine spent 25 years at UT Southwestern in Dallas. Dr. Thomas Südhof took a break in his whirlwind week for our Friday Conversation.

BJ Austin / KERA

The brain of a middle school child is a mystery. If you’re a parent, you may have found yourself saying “What were you thinking?” or “Use your brain”.  That’s just what 6th, 7th and 8th graders in West Dallas are going to do at a brain-training boot camp. Nine language arts teachers at Edison Middle School and Learning Center are using a new program to teach kids critical thinking, starting today.

Courtesy of Taylor Roth

Two years ago, a 21-year-old Baylor student from Plano learned she had a brain tumor. Taylor Roth thought she had only a year to live. But new technology at UT Southwestern showed her prognoses was actually much better. She not only returned to school, but made it all the way to TV’s Jeopardy!

President Obama has announced an ambitious plan to explore the mysteries of the human brain.

In a speech Tuesday, Obama said he will ask Congress for $100 million in 2014 to "better understand how we think and how we learn and how we remember." Other goals include finding new treatments for Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury.

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It’s the fourth leading cause of death in the country behind heart disease, chronic lung disease and cancer. Stroke occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. It’s sometimes called a brain attack, but stroke is often preventable. In this KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked about this with Dr. Dion Graybeal. He’s Medical Director of the Stroke Program at Baylor Medical Center.