News

Retinal cells go with the flow to assess own motion through space

Mouse in motion:  As a mouse moves forward, optical flow radiates outward from a single point in front and inward toward a single point in back. When the mouse rotates, optical flow is horizontal all the way around, appearing forward in one eye but backward in the other.

A new study in Nature helps to explain how specialized retinal cells help stabilize vision by perceiving how their owner is moving. The finding is part of a broader discovery, made in the retinas of mice, that may help explain how mammals keep their vision stable and keep their balance as they move, said senior author David Berson, a professor of neuroscience at Brown University and BIBS faculty member.

(Distributed June 8, 2017)

Study of kids with autism identifies hospitalization risk factors

A growing community:  The Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment was a major source of data for a new study that identified risk factors for psychiatric hospitalization among children and teens with autism spectrum disorders.

With the goal of prevention, a new study of children and teens with autism spectrum disorders found five risk factors that are significantly associated with an increased likelihood of seeking inpatient psychiatric care. Notably, only two of the risk factors identified in the study — their severity of autism symptoms and the degree of their “adaptive” daily life functioning — were specific consequences of the disorder.

(Distributed June 5, 2017)

Study opens new line of attack on spinal muscular atrophy

"We are making progress":  In a new study, researchers led by neuroscience Professor Anne Hart describe a complex cause-and-effect sequence that might underlie some of the problems seen in spinal muscular atrophy.

Scientists have discovered a physiological chain of events in animal models in which motor neurons and their communication with muscle become disrupted by the mutation that causes spinal muscular atrophy. The first treatment for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) gained U.S. market approval in December.

(Distributed May 2, 2017)

Intervention reduced suicide attempts among at-risk emergency department patients

A place to intervene:  Many emergency patients are at high risk for suicide. A new study finds that a specific intervention could reduce future attempts.

Among suicidal patients, an intervention that included brief post-discharge phone calls significantly reduced the likelihood of a future suicide attempt, according to a clinical trial conducted at eight hospitals. In a clinical trial involving nearly 1,400 suicidal patients in the emergency departments of eight hospitals, a team led by Brown University and Butler Hospital psychologist Ivan Miller found that a multifaceted intervention lowered the relative risk of new suicide attempts by 20 percent.

(Distributed May 1, 2017)
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