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Monthly Digest: June 2013

2013 McGovern Institute Retreat

Research News

By activating a brain circuit that controls compulsive behavior, researchers in Ann Graybiel‘s lab have shown that they can block compulsive behavior in mice a result that could help researchers develop new treatments for diseases such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette’s syndrome.

Learn more about this study and watch Ann Graybiel and former postdoc Eric Burguière describe their findings in a video interview on our website.

A new study from John Gabrieli and colleagues casts doubt on a previous and widely publicized claim that memory training can raise human intelligence. In an attempt to replicate the finding, the MIT researchers confirmed that practice improves performance on the specific task, known as dual n-back; unfortunately, however, the effect did not generalize to other standardized measures of intelligence.

Martha Constantine-Paton and colleagues have studied a mutant mouse strain known as Flailer, showing that it has a defect in a cellular motor that is needed to transport synaptic proteins to their proper sites. Flailer mice also show many behavioral abnormalities, and may be a useful model for studying the neural circuits affected by psychiatric disorders.

Click here for a complete listing of scientific papers published by McGovern faculty in the past month.

Institute News

This year, the McGovern Institute held its annual retreat at the beautiful Sea Crest Resort in Falmouth, Massachusetts. More than 150 McGovern faculty, staff, researchers, and students attended the 2-day event, which featured 16 talks, a poster session, and a clam bake by the beach.

Pictures from the retreat are posted on our website.

Symposium Videos Now Online

The annual McGovern Institute symposium took place on May 8 and featured nine talks on the subject of motor control and the motor cortex.

The following selected talks are now available on our website:

Moshe Abeles, Bar-Ilan University
Sandro Mussa-Ivaldi, Northwestern University
Krishna Shenoy, Stanford University
Bob Wurtz, NIH
Tamar Flash, Weizmann Institute
Larry Abbott, Columbia University

In the Media

Ann Graybiel’s study on compulsive behavior was picked up by The Boston Globe, Scientific American/Nature News, National Geographic, Technology Review, and The Scientist.

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