Marijuana-Derived Epilepsy Drug in Clinical Trial
February 3, 2014
A new international, multi-center study led by researchers from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital is the first to evaluate whether purified cannabinoid is effective in treating severe forms of childhood epilepsy that do not respond to standard antiepileptic drugs.
Unique Protein Interaction May Drive Most Common Genetic Cause of Parkinson’s Disease
January 7, 2014
Investigators in the laboratory of Steven Finkbeiner have discovered how the interplay between two proteins in the brain fuels the degradation and death of the class of brain cells, or neurons, that leads to Parkinson’s disease. These findings, which stand in stark contrast to conventional wisdom, lay much-needed groundwork for developing treatments that target the disease’s elusive underlying mechanisms.
Presidential Award for UCSF Neurologist
December 23, 2013
Karunesh Ganguly, MD, PhD has been named by President Obama as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. The winners will receive their awards at a Washington, DC, ceremony in the coming year. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.
New Gift for ALS Research Supports New Collaboration
December 3, 2013
A new collaboration between Steven Finkbeiner and the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins has been made possible by a generous gift from the William H. Adams Foundation with the help of Mr. Steven Merrill, who serves on both the William Adams Foundation and UCSF Foundation boards.
Amy Gelfand has been selected to receive the 2013 Irene Perstein Award to support her investigation of melatonin for migraine prevention in children and adolescents.
Lennart Mucke has received the ARCS Foundation’s 2013 Pacesetter Award for his lifelong dedication to overcoming Alzheimer’s disease.
UCSF Researcher Wins First Barancik Prize for Innovation in MS Research
September 19, 2013
Among the accomplishments for which he was recognized, Dr. Jonah Chan has invented new technologies to rapidly identify compounds that stimulate the regrowth of the myelin nerve casing, which is damaged in MS. The “Binary Indicant for Myelination using Micropillar Arrays” (BIMA) is an array of fabricated “micropillars” that simulate nerve fibers. Myelin-making cells called oligodendrocytes form myelin around each micropillar, enabling the team to study functional myelination. Dr. Chan is now testing thousands of compounds, including some FDA approved drugs, to identify those that may promote remyelination and repair in MS.
A Multitasking Video Game Makes Old Brains Act Younger
September 5, 2013
Brain scientists have discovered that swerving around cars while simultaneously picking out road signs in a video game can improve the short-term memory and long-term focus of older adults. Some people as old as 80, the researchers say, begin to show neurological patterns of people in their 20s.
Global Team Identifies New Genes Behind Severe Childhood Epilepsy
August 12, 2013
A large-scale, international study on the genes involved in epilepsy has uncovered 25 new mutations on nine key genes behind a devastating form of the disorder during childhood. Among those were two genes never before associated with this form of epilepsy, one of which previously had been linked to autism and a rare neurological disorder, for which an effective therapy already has been developed.
New Tool to Detect Delirium in Hospital Patients
August 7, 2013
UC San Francisco researchers have developed a two-minute assessment tool to help hospital staff predict a patient’s risk of delirium, a change in mental cognition characterized by severe confusion and disorientation that can prolong hospital stays. Delirium tends to develop rapidly and can lead to higher death rates and increased health care costs.
UCSF Profiles Wins Technology Award
August 7, 2013
UCSF Profiles, a web application that allows people to search for researchers by expertise and experience, has won a Golden Award for information technology from the University of California. This vital tool, managed by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), enables research networking, collaboration and faculty-student mentoring.
Anemia Linked to Increased Risk of Dementia
July 31, 2013
Low levels of red blood cells may increase the risk of dementia, according to a new UC San Francisco-led study. “Anemia is common in the elderly and occurs in up to 23 percent of adults ages 65 and older,” said senior author Kristine Yaffe, MD, a UCSF professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology based at the San Francisco Veterans Affair Medical Center.
Headache Researchers Win Harold G. Wolf Award
Dr. Peter Goadsby and colleagues have won a prestigious award from the American Headache Society for their identification of areas of the brain that are active in the earliest stage of a migraine attack.
High-Resolution Mapping Technique Uncovers Underlying Circuit Architecture of the Brain
June 27, 2013
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes and the Salk Institute have found a way to untangle complex networks of synapses using an innovative brain-tracing technique that is activated genetically to ensure that it is only turned on in specific neurons. This is a huge technological advance that allows researchers to focus on just the networks that connect to specific kinds of cells.
Absence of Gene Leads to Earlier, More Severe Case of Multiple Sclerosis
June 24, 2013
A UC San Francisco-led research team has identified the likely genetic mechanism that causes some patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) to progress more quickly than others to a debilitating stage of the disease. This finding could lead to the development of a test to help physicians tailor treatments for MS patients. Senior author Sergio Baranzini said the potential development of a test for the gene could predict the course of MS in individual patients.
Alcohol Addiction Relapse MIght be Thwarted by Turning Off Brain Trigger
June 23, 2013
Dorit Ron and Patricia Janak, Professors of Neurology at UC San Francisco, have been able to identify and deactivate a brain pathway linked to memories that cause alcohol cravings in rats, a finding that may one day lead to a treatment option for people who suffer from alcohol abuse disorders and other addictions.
Mapping the Formation of Long-Term Memories
June 9, 2013
Steve Finkbeiner and colleagues have deciphered the role of a protein called Arc in our ability to form long-term memories. Their findings, reported in Nature Neuroscience, show how Arc works with neurons during the learning process, strengthening the synaptic connections without overstimulating them.
New iPad App Helps Teach the Neurological Physical Exam
May 16, 2013
“Our goal from the start was to highlight the most essential parts of the neurological exam and to present these components in a logical and problem-focused manner,” said Daniel Lowenstein, MD, professor and vice chair of the Department of Neurology and one of the app’s authors. “To this end, I think UCSF NeuroExam Tutor will be welcomed by health professionals everywhere.”
Prestigious Prize for Pioneering Alzheimer's Disease Research
May 15, 2013
Lennart Mucke, MD, who directs neurological research at the Gladstone Institutes and is a UCSF Professor of Neurology and the Joseph B. Martin Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience, has received the MetLife Foundation’s 2013 Award for Medical Research in Alzheimer’s Disease. The award, which provides outstanding researchers with funds to pursue new scientific ideas, was presented at a scientific briefing and awards ceremony in New York on May 15.
UCSF Multiple Sclerosis Support Group is an Important Resource for Newly Diagnosed MS Patients
May 13, 2013
Elizabeth Crabtree, MD leads this "community of positive, proactive people," covering educational topics and providing access to interactions with understanding peers. Learn more about UCSF's seminars and support groups for MS patients here.
Epilepsy Cured in Mice Using Brain Cells
May 7, 2013
UCSF scientists controlled seizures in epileptic mice with a one-time transplantation of medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) cells. The findings, which are the first ever to report stopping seizures in mouse models of adult human epilepsy, were published online May 5 in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
Beloved UCSF Professor Dan Lowenstein Delivers Inspirational Last Lecture
May 2, 2013
The Last Lecture belongs to a venerable academic tradition designed to answer a single question: “If you had but one lecture to give, what would you say?” On April 25, Dan Lowenstein – one of UCSF’s most beloved professors – said a lot. “I must admit that the experience of thinking about what I would share with others if this were my last lecture, or my last day alive, is not foreign to me. I think often about death, not in a morbid way, but because it is so crystal clear that death can come to us at any moment. As Mahatma Gandhi famously said: 'Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.'”
Genetic Mutation Linked with Typical Form of Migraine
May 1, 2013
In a paper published on May 1 in Science Translational Medicine, a UC San Francisco led team linked the mutation with evidence of migraine in humans, in a mouse model of migraine and in cell culture in the laboratory.“This is the first gene in which mutations have been shown to cause a very typical form of migraine,” said senior investigator Louis J. Ptácek, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and a professor of neurology at UCSF.
Three UCSF Scientists Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
April 24, 2013
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has announced the election of 198 new members, including UCSF neuroscientist Arturo Alvarez-Buylla, PhD; UCSF pediatric neurologist Donna M. Ferriero, MD, MSc; and Regis B. Kelly, PhD, director of the Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3).
Autism Model in Mice Linked With Genetics
April 15, 2013
For the first time, researchers have linked autism in a mouse model of the disease with abnormalities in specific regions of the animals’ chromosomes. The regions contain genes associated with aberrant brain development and activity. Dr. Elliott Sherr hopes that these discoveries may pave the way toward understanding autism in humans and to new treatments.
Stephen Hauser Wins Prestigious International Award for MS Research
April 5, 2013
The Multiple Sclerosis International Federation has named Stephen L. Hauser, MD, the 2013 winner of the Charcot Award in recognition of his pioneering studies in MS genetic susceptibility and his role in translating immunologic findings into clinical trials. The biennial Charcot Award is the top international award for MS research.
President Obama Unveils Brain Mapping Project
April 2, 2013
President Barack Obama has unveiled a $100 million public-private initiative to map the brain to gain greater insight on how we think, learn and remember and to better understand and treat diseases ranging from autism to schizophrenia. UCSF leaders were invited to the White House to launch this national initiative.
Laser Light Therapy for Cocaine Addiction
April 3, 2013
Researchers at the NIH and UCSF's Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center have shown that they can eliminate addictive behavior in rats by stimulating the brain with laser light. Researchers are designing a trial using transcranial electromagnetic stimulation (TMS) to accomplish the same thing in humans.
Parkinson's Disease Brain Rhythms Detected
March 4, 2013
A team of scientists and clinicians at UC San Francisco has discovered how to detect abnormal brain rhythms associated with Parkinson’s by implanting electrodes within the brains of people with the disease. The work may lead to developing the next generation of brain stimulation devices to alleviate symptoms for people with the disease.
UC Researchers Use Network Analysis to Map Brains
February 28, 2013
Their 3D "structural connectome" maps, described in the journal Neuroimage, reveal new details about agenesis of the corpus callosum (AgCC), one of the top genetic causes of autism. Not everyone with AgCC develops autism, and the link has puzzled scientists. The researchers used network analysis to gain a better understanding of brain connectivity in these patients.
UCSF Neurologist Added to Disease Research Hall of Fame
February 22, 2013
The National Organization for Rare Disorders Research (NORD) has added Dr. Michael Geschwind to their Hall of Fame for his ongoing effort to solve Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
Babies' Colic Linked to Mothers' Migraines
February 20, 2013
A study of mothers and their young babies by neurologists at UCSF has shown that mothers who suffer migraine headaches are more than twice as likely to have babies with colic than mothers without a history of migraines.
Scientists Identify Potential New Mechanism for Treating Problem Drinking
February 19, 2013
Researchers at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at UCSF, led by Dorit Ron, PhD, have identified a potential new approach for reducing problem drinking: a new family of drugs with the ability to manipulate DNA structure without changing it.
Researchers connect gene variants to brain lesions in MS
February 14, 2013
Our MS research group has combined MRI data with a genome-wide association study to connect gene variants to the structure of brain lesions in MS. Their findings were published recently in Brain and the paper is described in an article on the MS Discovery Forum website.
Robert A. Fishman, MD former chair of the Department of Neurology, died on December 4, 2012. He was was a brilliant clinical neurologist, a legendary teacher, an accomplished translational neuroscientist, and a dear friend. He will be deeply missed. Obituary.
Scientists Identify Key Biological Mechanism in Multiple Sclerosis
November 30, 2012
Researchers in the laboratory of Gladstone Investigator Katerina Akassoglou, PhD, a Professor of Neurology at UCSF, have learned how a protein that seeps from the blood into the brain sets off a response that causes the nerve cell damage that is a key indicator of MS.
Six UCSF Researchers Named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
November 29, 2012
Among the six is Robert H. Edwards, MD, Professor of Neurology, for his distinguished contributions in bettering our understanding of neurotransmitter release and neurodegenerative disease.
Multiple Sclerosis 'Immune Exchange' Between Brain and Blood is Uncovered
November 19, 2012
UCSF neurologist Hans Christian von Büdingen, MD led the research that found movement by disease-causing B cells in and out of the brain, giving hope for new diagnostics and treatments for MS. The new work suggests that targeting B cells could be extended into a precision strategy that would specifically tailor treatments to the exact identity of the B cells at work in any one patient.
Making a Game Out of Improving the 'Sticky' Brain
November 1, 2012
You are never too old to retrain your brain. Adam GazzaleyMD, PhD, associate professor of neurology, physiology and psychiatry, and researchers at the UCSF Neuroscience Imaging Center use EEG, MRI and other non-invasive tools to study cognitive processes while people try their best on drills that test short-term memory.
Am I Having a Stroke? UCSF Research Tests New Way of Connecting Physicians With People Who Look for Health Information Online
October 31, 2012
Five questions with with UCSF neurologist and stroke researcher Anthony Kim about his study published in PLoS One on how the Internet can help to connect with people who are searching for information online and potentially reduce incidences of preventable diseases.
Scientists Collaborate to Block Toxic Protein that Plays Key Role in Lou Gehrig’s Disease
October 29, 2012
Their findings point to a potential new tactic for treating a variety of neurodegenerative conditions, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Transplanted Neural Stem Cells Produced Myelin, UCSF Study Shows
October 10, 2012
This study provides evidence that transplanted neural stem cells can produce new myelin in patients with a severe myelination disease.
Three UCSF Faculty Members Named to Institute of Medicine
October 15, 2012
Dr. Robert Edwards, professor of neurology and physiology, was elected to membership in the IOM for his fundamental contributions to the understanding of both neurotransmitter release and neurogenerative disease.
UCSF Receives Transformative Gift for Neuroscience Research and Care from Sandler Foundation
May 24, 2012
UCSF has received a challenge gift of $20 million from the Sandler Foundation that will provide major support for the university’s groundbreaking research and clinical care efforts regarding neurological diseases.
Chronic Pain is Relieved by Cell Transplantation in Lab Study
May 23, 2012
Chronic pain, by definition, is difficult to manage, but a new study by UCSF scientists shows how a cell therapy might one day be used not only to quell some common types of persistent and difficult-to-treat pain, but also to cure the conditions that give rise to them.
When Illness Makes a Spouse a Stranger
New York Times, May 6, 2012
Dementia is a formidable adversary that may begin with silence, apathy or social disconnection. Dr. Bruce Miller is quoted in this article.
Anti-Smoking Drug Decreases Alcohol Consumption in Heavy-Drinking Smokers
May 2, 2012
The smoking cessation drug varenicline significantly reduced alcohol consumption in a group of heavy-drinking smokers, in a study carried out by researchers at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco.
UCSF Professor Elected To National Academy of Sciences
May 1, 2012
UCSF neurologist Louis Ptacek, MD, has been elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), for his research on the biology and genetics of several human diseases and disorders -- from epilepsy and migraine to sleep disorders and jet lag.
Scientists Identify Brain Circuitry Associated with Addictive, Depressive Behaviors
April 29, 2012
Scientists at the UCSF-affiliated Gladstone Institutes have determined how specific circuitry in the brain controls not only body movement, but also motivation and learning, providing new insight into neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease — and psychiatric disorders such as addiction and depression.
Gladstone Scientists Identify Key Network Mechanism That Could Contribute to Cognitive Problems in Alzheimer’s Disease
April 26, 2012
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have unraveled a process by which depletion of a specific protein in the brain contributes to the memory problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These findings provide insights into the disease’s development and may lead to new therapies that could benefit the millions of people worldwide.
New MRI Technique May Predict Progress of Dementias
April 10, 2012
A new technique for analyzing brain images offers the possibility of using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to predict the rate of progression and physical path of many degenerative brain diseases, report scientists at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California, San Francisco.