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AAU Universities: Researching the Brain, Seeking Cures

Main Feature Brain Research 4 

The brain is perhaps humankind’s greatest mystery. How do those 100 billion neurons in our heads work together to make us live, think, and act as we do? Yet even as we marvel at the human brain, we also know the terrible toll on individuals and society of ailments like Alzheimer’s, autism, addiction, and traumatic injury.

“We’ve only just scratched the surface in understanding how [the brain] works – or, unfortunately, doesn’t quite work when disorders and disease occur,” said National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins when the Obama Administration announced its BRAIN Initiative.

Understanding and addressing ailments that affect the brain requires many approaches, and AAU universities are helping lead the way. Their faculty and student researchers are studying the myriad aspects of the brain and seeking treatments and cures for debilitating diseases and conditions. This page highlights just a small fraction of the research taking place.

Much of the research is funded by such federal agencies as the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

This is the third in a series on AAU university research that addresses major societal issues. The first two topics were Helping Solve the Fresh Water Puzzle and Helping Safeguard the Connected World.

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Addiction - Alzheimers - Autism - Brain Injury - Brain Tumors - Depression & Schizophrenia - Parkinson's & Epilepsy - Research Tools


A Protein is Found to Regulate Cocaine-craving After Withdrawal University at Buffalo-SUNY
Penn Research: An FDA-approved Alzheimer’s Drug Could Help Smokers Quit, University of Pennsylvania
The Brain on Cocaine: Study Shows Drug's Role in Cell Death, Points to Possible Treatment The Johns Hopkins University
New Drug Could Be Safer, Non-addictive Alternative to Morphine Tulane University
Sex Differences Found in Brain Mechanisms Important for Learning Cornell University
Researchers Close Gap Between Psychiatric Symptoms, Brain Mechanisms Princeton University
Medication May Help Stop Drug and Alcohol Addiction The University of Texas at Austin
New Tools Could Help Prevent Relapse Behavior in Opioid Addict University of Minnesota, Twin Cities


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University of Florida Discovery Could Slow Brain Deterioration from Alzheimer's University of Florida
UVA Discovery Connects Brain & Immune System University of Virginia
Committed to Memory University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Discovery Puts Designer Dopamine Neurons Within Reach University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
Emory Seeks Alzheimer's Answers From a Family's Curse Emory University
Iowa State Researchers Describe Copper-induced Misfolding of Prion Proteins Iowa State University
PET Scans Reveal Key Details of Alzheimer’s Protein Growth in Aging Brains University of California, Berkeley
Vanderbilt Study Shows People with Alzheimer's Have Lower Ability to Perceive Pain Vanderbilt University
The Gene Hunter: Searching For The Disease’s Genetic Roots Boston University
Alzheimer’s: It’s Not What You Think University of California, Irvine
Drug Used to Treat Cancer Appears to Sharpen Memory Rutgers University
Lost Memories Can Be Found Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Manipulation of Specific Neurons Helps to Erase Bad Memories, Enhance Good Ones Stony Brook University, The State University of New York
Carnegie Mellon Develops New Method for Analyzing Synaptic Density Carnegie Mellon University
Vascular Brain Injury Is Evident in People in Their 40s University of California, Davis


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Stanford Research Shows That Different Brain Cells Process Positive and Negative Experiences Stanford University
Untapped region in brain cell offers goldmine of drug targets for new autism treatments University of California, Los Angeles
UT Game Changers: Autism and Developmental Disabilities University of Texas, Austin
Training by Repetition Actually Prevents Learning for Those With Autism Carnegie Mellon University
Trio of Autism-linked Molecules Orchestrate Neuron Connections Duke University
New Insight Into How Brain Makes Memories Vanderbilt University
Discovery of a New Drug Target Could Lead to Novel Treatment for Severe Autism The Pennsylvania State University
Can Telehealth Fill Gap in Autism Services? Michigan State University
A Brain Link to Autism Harvard University
Neuroscientists Illuminate Role of Autism-Linked Gene Massachusetts Institute of Technology
UCI researchers Find Biomarker for Autism That May Aid Diagnostics University of California, Irvine


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NYU Devises Smarter Stroke Rehab New York University
Michigan State Creates Impact-Sensing Headband Michigan State University
UCLA Electric Patch Could Aid PTSD University of California, Los Angeles
Not Quite PTSD: Still Quite a Mental Health Problem Yale University
BU's Head Examiner Flags Sports Injuries Boston University
Univ. of Illinois Tiny Implants Monitor Brain Injury, Then Melt Away University of Illinois
New Invention: Impact-Sensing Headbands Michigan State University
New Finding on Elusive Brain Receptor Sheds Light on What May Kill Neurons After Stroke University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
Stanford Scientists Seek to Map Origins of Mental Illness and Develop Noninvasive Treatment Stanford University
Long-term Galactic Cosmic Ray Exposure Leads to Dementia-like Cognitive Impairments University of California, Irvine
Tiny Electronic Implants Monitor Brain Injury, Then Melt Away University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rice University Robotics Expert Showcased Research on Capitol Hill Rice University
Pilot Study Successfully Uses DNA Sequencing to Diagnose Brain Infections Johns Hopkins University
Heading Off Brain Injuries University of California, Irvine
Device Allows Paralyzed Man to Swipe Credit Card, Perform Other Movements Ohio State University
Genetics Affects Concussion Recovery The Pennsylvania State University
UA-Built Concussion App in NCAA Competition The University of Arizona
Electric Patch Holds Promise for Treating PTSD University of California, Los Angeles
New Tech Promises Fast, Accurate Stroke Diagnosis Cornell University
Controlling a Robotic Arm With a Patient’s Intentions California Institute of Technology
Traumatic Brain Injury and Adult Epilepsy: Is the Immune System to Blame? Texas A&M University


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Laser Treatment May Boost Effectiveness of Brain Tumor Drugs University of Florida
Walk-DMC Aims to Improve Surgery Outcomes for Children with Cerebral Palsy University of Washington
New Brain Catheter’s Microneedles Spread Like Branches on a Tree University of Texas at Austin


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Schizophrenia Simulator: When Chemistry Upends Sanity's Balance Georgia Institute of Technology
Combating Depression Is UCLA’s Second Grand Challenge University of California, Los Angeles
Study Opens Gate to Understanding Depression Michigan State University & Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A Little Jolt Helps the Brain Get Back on Track Vanderbilt University
Social Media and Depression in Young Adults University of Pittsburgh


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The Cost of Efficiency University of California, Santa Barbara
Calming the Storm: Reducing Epileptic Seizures Emory University
Harvard Duo Finds Strength in Love, Hope in Science Harvard University
Discovery Puts Designer Dopamine Neurons Within Reach University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
These Days, Fecal Transplantation Is No Joke Vanderbilt University
Future Brain Therapies for Parkinson’s Possible with Stem Cell Bioengineering Innovation Rutgers University
At-Home Cognitive Remediation for MS Symptom Relief New York University
Human Stem Cells Target Huntington's Disease University of California, Davis
Deep Brain Stimulation Helps UW Prof Live With Parkinson’s University of Washington
They’ll Have to Rewrite the Textbooks University of Virginia
Study Opens New Door for ALS Drug Discovery University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


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Washington University Provides New Map of the Brain Washington University
Stanford "Tricorder" Might Spot Tumors Growing Stanford University
Yale Scientists Apply New Imaging Tool to Common Brain Disorders Yale University
UC Irvine Flips Reality for Future Brain Cures University of California Irvine
An Accessible Approach to Making a Mini-brain Brown University
New Technology May Help Surgeons Save Lives University of Arizona
New Approach Discovered for Brain Repair The Pennsylvania State University
ISU Scientists Develop Nanomachines to Diagnose Illness Iowa State University
Predicting Neural Toxicity University of California, Santa Barbara