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Do Motor Neuron Firing Rates Rise, Then Crash, in ALS?
January 23, 2015

Early on in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis motor, neurons fire like machine guns, but then they run out of ammo and go silent, according to a paper in the January 12 Nature Communications. Researchers from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland saw this pattern in motor neurons expressing TDP-43 mutations or C9ORF72 expansions, two genetic causes of ALS...

Earliest ALS Defects Said to Start in Disparate Places
January 21, 2015

Researchers have identified some of the earliest known defects in mouse models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, according to two papers in the January 14 Journal of Neuroscience. Signs of something amiss emerge within just a few weeks of birth in an aggressive model of ALS, report researchers...

Genentech Strikes Deal with 23andMe to Study Parkinson’s Genomes
January 15, 2015
In trouble with the FDA, the personal genomics company 23andMe stopped sharing genotype information with its customers back in 2013, but by then it had already amassed a fortune in genetic gold. Now that treasure trove of DNA is paying off, and Parkinson’s patients stand to benefit. On January 6, the Mountain View, California, company signed a deal with Genentech to share genomic and phenotypic data from 12,000 volunteers who have PD. ..

When Frontotemporal Dementia Leads to Crime - Prosecution or Protection?
January 13, 2015
For some, it starts with stealing candy. For others, it’s a reckless car crash, or a sudden penchant to urinate in public. The type of incident varies, but according to a study published January 5 in JAMA Neurology, more than a third of people with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) act out criminal behaviors. In some cases, the odd conduct is the first clear signal to their loved ones that something is way off. Led by Bruce Miller at the University of California, San Francisco, the study also reported bad behavior in people with Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases...

Endoplasmic Reticulum Protein Protects Motor Neurons from ALS
January 9, 2015
When amyotrophic lateral sclerosis attacks motor neurons, certain types resist while others surrender. If scientists can figure out why some neurons hang tough, they may be able to offer that same protection to those that succumb. Smita Saxena and colleagues at the University of Bern in...

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