The XXIII World Congress of Neurology (WCN 2017) will take place in Kyoto, Japan on September 16 – 21 2017, cohosted by the Japanese Society of Neurology, Societas Neurologica Japonica, and Asian and Oceanian Association of Neurology. This year's theme will be "Defining the Future of Neurology".​​

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A multidisciplinary team including researchers from the Montreal Neurological Institute has improved our understanding of how cannabinoids, the active agent in marijuana, affect vision in vertebrates.

Scientists used a variety of methods to test how tadpoles react to visual stimuli when they’ve been exposed to increased levels of exogenous or endogenous cannabinoids. Exogenous cannabinoids are artificially introduced drugs, whereas endogenous cannabinoids occur naturally in the body.

They found that, contrary to what they expected, activating cannabinoid signaling in tadpoles actually increased the activity in their retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which are responsible for transmitting information about light detection from the eye to the brain. Previous studies found that cannabinoids typically work to reduce neurotransmission, not increase it.

“Initially you distrust yourself when you see something that goes against widely held ideas, but we tried the experiment so many times, using diverse techniques, and it was a consistent result,” says Ed Ruthazer, a professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill University, and the paper’s senior author. “So then we knew we had to figure out what was going on. The first tendency is to want to ignore it. But it was such a strong effect, we knew there was something important here.”

What the researchers found is that one class of cannabinoid receptor, known as CB1R, plays a role in the suppression of chloride transport into the RGCs. When the receptor is activated, chloride levels are reduced, which hyperpolarizes the cell, making it able to fire at higher frequencies when stimulated.

For the tadpoles, this meant they were able to detect dimmer objects in low light than when they had not been exposed to increased levels of cannabinoids. The team used software developed with McGill physics and chemistry professor Paul Wiseman to detect behavior changes in the tadpoles.

It is too early to say if cannabinoids have the same effect on human vision, but there is anecdotal evidence in scientific literature of cannabis ingestion improving night vision of Jamaican and Moroccan fishermen.

What’s more interesting however, according to Ruthazer, is that they have discovered a previously unknown role for cannabinoids in brain signaling. Therapeutic use of cannabinoids is becoming increasingly accepted by the medical community, and the need for an accurate and thorough understanding of these chemicals’ role in the brain is greater than ever.

“Our work provides an exciting potential mechanism for cannabinoid regulation of neuronal firing, but it will obviously be important to confirm that similar mechanisms are also at play in the eyes of mammals,” says Ruthazer. “Though technically more challenging, a similar study should now be performed in the mouse retina or even in cultures of human retinal cells.”


All neurons in our brain are wired via a micron-sized connection unit called synapse, and each synapse contains a layer of densely-packed, protein rich compartment called postsynaptic density (PSD), which is responsible for brain signal processing and transmission. Mutations of genes encoding PSD proteins are major causes of psychiatric disorders including autisms, schizophrenia, and intellectual disabilities (ID). While the existence of PSDs has been known to scientists for 60 years, how PSDs form and change in response to brain activities are poorly understood.

In a recent study, scientists from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) discover that SynGAP and PSD-95, two abundance proteins in PSD that are known to cause autisms when mutated, can form an autonomously assembled network structure both in test-tube and in living cells. Most surprisingly, the SynGAP/PSD-95 assembly can form stable “oil-like” droplets in the midst of aqueous cytoplasm of living cells via a phenomena called phase-transition. This finding provides a possible answer for the long-lasting question of PSD formation in the field of brain science. Importantly, the HKUST team also found that defects of SynGAP or PSD-95 identified in autism patients alter the “oil-like” droplets formation of the complex and change the synaptic signaling activity of neurons.

Their research was published in the journal Cell on August 25, 2016.

“SynGAP and PSD-95 are famous for their roles in learning and memory as well as their involvements in diseases like autisms and epilepsy when mutated, but exactly how these two proteins carry out their functions are not very clear” said Professor Mingjie Zhang, leader of the research group. “Our studies of the SynGAP/PSD-95 complex, via a multifaceted approach, led to an unexpected finding that living neurons can "borrow” a very fundamental phenomena called phase-transition to place different functional units at specific cellular locations". Prof. Zhang added, “everyone has seen phase transition in our daily life. Liquid water turning into ice is a form of phase transition. Living cells can selectively "pick” certain proteins or nucleic acids to undergo phase transition forming a non-membrane-enclosed cellular compartments, so their physiological functions can be regulated.“

"Our work also provides mechanistic insights into why mutations altering the SynGAP/PSD-95 interaction can contribute to various brain disorders including seizure, autism, and ID, a spectrum of central nervous system diseases that have no treatments. We believe that our discovery will also inspire new ways to develop therapeutic methods for these devastating diseases to human society”, said. Menglong Zeng, the paper’s first author and a Ph.D. student in Prof. Zhang’s laboratory.

“This study is only the beginning of teasing out how other proteins collectively contribute to the formation and brain activity-dependent alterations of PSD.” Prof. Zhang said. “We are also interested in trying to find out whether other synapses, the neuron/muscle connections for an example, also adopt the phase-transition strategy to build their PSDs”.


Research grants are provided for teams of scientists from different countries who wish to combine their expertise in innovative approaches to questions that could not be answered by individual laboratories.

Emphasis is placed on novel collaborations that bring together scientists preferably from different disciplines (e.g. from chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering) to focus on problems in the life sciences.

The research teams must be international. The principal applicant must be from one of the eligible countries. However, other participating scientists and laboratories may be situated anywhere in the world.

Applicants must submit a letter of intent to apply for a research grant via the HFSP web site with a deadline at the end of March, and after review, selected teams will be invited to submit a full application.

Two types of Research Grant are available: Young Investigators' Grants and Program Grants

Young Investigators' Grants are awarded to teams of researchers, all of whom are within the first five years after obtaining an independent laboratory (e.g. Assistant Professor, Lecturer or equivalent). Applications for Young Investigators' Grants will be reviewed in competition with each other independently of applications for Program Grants. Program Grants are awarded to teams of independent researchers at any stage of their careers. The research team is expected to develop new lines of research through the collaboration. Up to $450,000 per grant per year may be applied for. Applications including independent investigators early in their careers are encouraged


WFN Grants and Awards

Published in Grants & Awards novembre 15 2016 0 Tagged under

The WFN make available a number of grants and awards on an annual basis.  These are:

Educational Grants

Each year the WFN provides a number of educational grants to projects which aim to improve brain health worldwide, through research or education.

Read more >

WCN 2017 Congress Bursaries

A limited number of bursaries will be ​awarded to young neurologists who wish to attend the Congress. 

The bursary comprises of free Congress Registration and a Travel Grant of €500.

Applications for bursaries will open in February 2017.

Junior Travelling Fellowships

The Junior Travelling Fellowships are awarded to young neurologists from countries classified by the World Bank as Low or Lower Middle Income, to attend approved international meetings.

Read more >

كشفت دورية طبية تختص بعلم الأعصاب عن توصل علماء من سويسرا إلى تحديد الجزء المسؤول عن نشأة الأحلام في المخ.

وتوصل فريق من مستشفي بجامعة زيورخ إلى هذه النتيجة أثناء علاج سيدة توقفت أحلامها بسبب سكتة دماغية أصيبت بها حديثا.

وقد أثرت السكتة الدماغية على منطقة عميقة في قاع دماغ المريضة ويرجح الباحثون أنها ذات المنطقة المسؤولة عن التحكم في الأحلام.

وكتب الباحثون في التقرير الذي نشر بالدورية الطبية أن النتيجة التي توصولوا إليها تضيف كثيرا إلى الأبحاث المختصة بالأحلام.

وكانت سيدة أمريكية، تبلغ من العمر 73 عاما، قد فقدت مؤقتا عددا من الوظائف التي يقوم بها المخ وفقدت جزء من قدرتها على الإبصار جراء الإصابة بسكتة دماغية.

وقد عادت معظم هذه الوظائف للعمل بعد أيام قليلة، إلا أنها لم تعد تحلم، رغم أنها اعتادت قبل إصابتها ان تحلم ثلاث إلى أربع مرات أسبوعيا.

حركة العين السريعة أثناء النوم

ويطلق على فقدان القدرة على الحلم واضطراب الرؤية، بعد تلف جزء محدد بالدماغ، اسم عرض تشاركوت-ويلبراند نسبة إلى الباحثين الشهيرين جين مارتين تشاركوت وهيرمان ويلبراند، اللذين أكتشفا الأمر عام 1880.

وتندر إصابة مريض السكتة الدماغية بهذا العرض، خاصة في الحالات التي لا تظهر فيها أعراض أخرى خلاف فقدان الأحلام.

وكان الباحثون السويسريون قد قرروا مراقبة حالة المريضة، في مسعى لاستكشاف الجزء في المخ الذي يتأثر في هذه الحالة تحديدا وقد راقبوا الموجات التي يصدرها دماغ السيدة المصابة خلال ستة أسابيع كانت المريضة منومة خلالها.

ورغم استغراق المريضة في النوم المتصل طوال الأسابيع الستة، استمرت حركة العين سريعة كالمعتاد.

وكان هذا يعني الكثير بالنسبة للباحثين، لأن الحلم وحركة العين السريعة يحدثان معا، رغم أن الأبحاث أشارت إلى أن نظامين مختلفين بالمخ يتحكمان في الأمرين.

ويقول الباحثون إن نتائجهم تثبت أن هناك أنظمة مستقلة تتحكم بكل من الحلم وحركة العين السريعة.

وقد أظهرت الأشعة التي أجريت على دماغ المريضة أن السكتة الدماغية دمرت مناطق عميقة في النصف الخلفي من الدماغ.

تلف المخ

في الوقت ذاته أظهرت دراسات أخرى أن بعض هذه المناطق مسؤولة عن عملية رؤية الوجوه والعلامات المميزة وعن المشاعر والذاكرة البصرية وهي سلسلة وظائف منطقية يقوم بها الدماغ يعتقد أنها مسؤولة عن التحكم بالاحلام.

ولاحظ الباحثون أن مريضة السكتة الدماغية استعادت أحلامها بعد عام لكن لمرات قليلة، لم تتجاوز حلم واحد كل اسبوع، وقالت السيدة إن أحلامها صارت أقل وضوحا وكثافة عن أحلامها قبل السكتة.

وقال الدكتور كلاوديو باسيتي الذي أشرف على البحث الذي نشرته دورية كلية الطب بجامعة زيورخ: "لا تزال كيفية نشأة الأحلام والهدف الذي تنشأ من أجلة أسئلة مفتوحة بلا إجابة" مشيرا إلى أن نتائج أبحاثه "تصف لأول مرة وبالتفصيل مدى الضرر الذي يتعين وقوعه لفقدان الاحلام في غياب أي قصور آخر للأعصاب".

وأكد الباحث أن هذه النتائح "تطرح هدفا جديدا هو إجراء مزيد من الدراسات لتحديد مكان نشأة الأحلام بدقة وسوف يتعين للحصول على نتائج حول طبيعة هذه المنطقة من الدماغ ودورها في الاحلام، مزيدا من الدراسات وتحليل التغيرات التي تطرأ على أحلام الأشخاص الذين يتعرضون لإصابات وتلف بالدماغ".

Grants for Scientific Meetings Programme to be organized in Developing Countries

The Abdus Salam ICTP Office of External Activities (O.E.A.) encourages the organization of international and regional scientific meetings in developing countries by offering financial assistance to the organizers of conferences, workshops, and schools held in O.E.A. supported countries.

Grants are offered for meetings in the fields of physics and mathematics. A similar programme sponsored by the Third World Academy of Sciences offers support for meetings in the following fields of natural sciences: agricultural, biological, chemical, engineering, geological and medical sciences; for details see twas.org.

Types of Scientific Meetings

conference is a scientific meeting where original research is presented. It may last from a few days, up to two weeks and it is an occasion for scientists in the field to meet, to discuss current projects, listen to reports, etc. It is also an opportunity to establish contacts with people working on related problems.

workshop refers to a topical and research oriented activity. It involves a great effort to engage the participants in discussions and research activities. The duration of a workshop is two to four weeks.

course/college normally extends over four weeks or more. In lectures and tutorials, a specific field of physics or mathematics, including applied aspects, is introduced. Starting from the basis of the field, the participants may also be exposed to more advanced topics.

Submission of Applications

Applications should be presented on the specific application form below, and signed by the Head of the hosting institution.

The application should include a scientific programme and list of invited speakers with the topics indicated in detail together with title of lectures. Importance will be given to applications with most of the key speakers already confirmed.

Full responsibility in connection with the organization of the event lies with the Local Organizing Committee. The O.E.A. is willing to assist with advice or in any other way within its possibilities, as may be agreed upon separately.

As the ICTP-supported activities are meant to have a lasting impact, local and governmental authorities must share in the responsibility for the event. In this spirit, it is absolutely essential that local and/or national authorities give proper support. It is assumed that funds for local expenditure will be raised from the university or from government agencies. Each application must show at least a matching contribution from local sources.

Particular attention will be given to activities organized by the ICTP Affiliated Centres and/or ICTP federated institutions.

The organizers are invited to inform the local authorities and Embassies of their activity.

To help us speed up the process of refereeing, it is essential to specify the PACS or SC (Subject Classification in mathematics) numbers that correspond to your field:

For Physics the PACS numbers can be found at: http://www.aip.org/pacs. Please note that for our purposes it is enough to specify the digits; it is not necessary to include the sub-items. For example: 42.30 for Imaging and Optical Processing.

For Mathematics the Subject Classification Numbers can be found at: http://www.ams.org/msc. Please note that for our purposes it is enough to specify the first two digits followed by a letter. Example: 14 Q for computational techniques.

Deadlines for Applications

Deadlines for receipt of applications are:

31 May for meetings to be held during January-April of the following year;

30 September for meetings to be held during May-August of the following year;

31 January for meetings to be held during September-December of the same year.


The ICTP funds are intended to cover the travel expenses of foreign participants and/or speakers from O.E.A. supported countries in the region, excluding the home country. Up to 40% of the grant may be used to cover board and lodging costs. The level of funding awarded to organize a meeting is up to a maximum of Euro 5,000. Travel arrangements should make full use of possible excursion fares or other cheap tickets available.

As such meetings are important in exposing young researchers and students to the frontiers of their fields of interest, the ICTP recommends that a substantial amount of the requested funds be used to cover the travel fares of participants rather than for lecturers.

Since the ICTP funds are limited, the organizers are encouraged to seek support from other sources as well.

Participants who are supported by the ICTP contribution should have their registration fees waived.

ICTP funds may NOT be used to pay honoraria to local organizers. This conforms to common practice in the scientific world.

Selection and approval procedure for ICTP sponsorship

All applications received by the ICTP are submitted to international experts in the field who are asked to evaluate the scientific level of the proposed programme. In making its recommendations, the referee may suggest modifications in form, content and estimated costs.

Selection of applications for ICTP support is based on peer review, by a Committee, and applications are selected for support following the recommendation of the referees. The Committee meetings are held three times a year.

The decisions of the Committee on each meeting, including the conditions to be fulfilled, are announced within four months after each deadline.

The ICTP grant is made in Euro. The procedure is that the Organizers open a bank account in the name of the meeting or use a bank account of the institute/university to which the ICTP Finance Office will transfer the allocated grant. These procedures are explained in the grant notification letters.


The ICTP expects that all activities be announced in posters and/or bulletins, and that as wide a distribution as possible within the region will be given to this material. It is also requested that once the ICTP has offered its support, its sponsorship will be acknowledged on all official announcements.

Final report

Within one month after the activity, the Organizers shall send to the O.E.A.:

Failure to submit the required report when due may result in the denial of support for future activities or other eligible projects involving the organizers.


Office of External Activities
The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics
Via Beirut, 6 ­ 34014 Trieste Italy
Phone: +39-040 2240323 ­ Fax: +39 040 2240443 ­ E-Mail: Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser. Web site: oea.ictp.it

Application Form

Please read the rules and guidelines for support carefully before completing the form.

Applications for support of scientific meetings to be organized during the period 1 January to 31 December are invited. Deadlines for receiving applications for support are:

31 May for meetings to be held during January-April of the following year;

30 September for meetings to be held during May-August of the following year;

31 January for meetings to be held during September-December of the same year.

You can apply online or send in an application.

To apply online just click on the following link on-line application for scientific meetings.

Otherwise the following versions of the application form are currently available:

It is important that the application forms be completed in all detail. An incomplete application will not be considered. If more space is required attach additional pages. Applications should be clearly typewritten.

Applications should be submitted to:

Office of External Activities
The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics
P.O. Box 586 - Via Beirut, 6
I-34014 Trieste

Or by e-mail to Vivian Zaccaria Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.

People who experience job loss, divorce, death of a loved one or any number of life’s upheavals often adopt coping mechanisms to make the situation less traumatic.

While these strategies manifest as behaviors, a Princeton University and National Institutes of Health study suggests that our response to stressful situations originates from structural changes in our brain that allow us to adapt to turmoil.

A study conducted with adult rats showed that the brains of animals faced with disruptions in their social hierarchy produced far fewer new neurons in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for certain types of memory and stress regulation. Rats exhibiting this lack of brain-cell growth, or neurogenesis, reacted to the surrounding upheaval by favoring the company of familiar rats over that of unknown rats, according to a paper published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

The research is among the first to show that adult neurogenesis — or the lack thereof — has an active role in shaping social behavior and adaptation, said first author Maya Opendak, who received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Princeton in 2015 and conducted the research as a graduate student. The preference for familiar rats may be an adaptive behavior triggered by the reduction in neuron production, she said.

“Adult-born neurons are thought to have a role in responding to novelty, and the hippocampus participates in resolving conflicts between different goals for use in decision-making,” said Opendak, who is now a postdoctoral research fellow of child and adolescent psychology at the New York University School of Medicine.

“Data from this study suggest that the reward of social novelty may be altered,” she said. “Indeed, sticking with a known partner rather than approaching a stranger may be beneficial in some circumstances.”

The findings also show that behavioral responses to instability may be more measured than scientists have come to expect, explained senior author Elizabeth Gould, Princeton’s Dorman T. Warren Professor of Psychology and department chair. Gould and her co-authors were surprised that the disrupted rats did not display any of the stereotypical signs of mental distress such as anxiety or memory loss, she said.

“Even in the face of what appears to be a very disruptive situation, there was not a negative pathological response but a change that could be viewed as adaptive and beneficial,” said Gould, who also is a professor of neuroscience in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute (PNI).

“We thought the animals would be more anxious, but we were making our prediction based on all the bias in the field that social disruption is always negative,” she said. “This research highlights the fact that organisms, including humans, are typically resilient in response to disruption and social instability.”

Co-authors on the paper include: Lily Offit, who received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton in 2015 and is now a research assistant at Columbia University Medical Center; Patrick Monari, a research specialist in PNI; Timothy Schoenfeld, a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who received his Ph.D. in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton in 2012; Anup Sonti, an NIH researcher; and Heather Cameron, an NIH principal investigator of neuroplasticity.

The study is unusual for mimicking the true social structure of rats, Gould said. Rats live in structured societies that contain a single dominant male. The researchers placed rats into several groups consisting of four males and two females in to a large enclosure known as a visible burrow system. They then monitored the groups until the dominant rat in each one emerged and was identified. After a few days, the alpha rats of two communities were swapped, which reignited the contest for dominance in each group.

The rats from disrupted hierarchies displayed their preference for familiar fellows six weeks after those turbulent times, during which time neurogenesis had decreased by 50 percent, Opendak said. (Any neurons generated during the time of instability would take four to six weeks to be incorporated into the hippocampus’ circuitry, she said.)

When the researchers chemically restored adult neurogenesis in these rats, however, the animals’ interest in unknown rats returned to pre-disruption levels. At the same time, the researchers inhibited neuron growth in “naïve” transgenic rats that had not experienced social disruption. They found that the mere cessation of neurogenesis produced the same results as social disruption, particularly a preference for spending time with familiar rats.

“These results show that the reduction in new neurons is directly responsible for social behavior, something that hasn’t been shown before,” Gould said. The exact mechanism behind how lower neuron growth led to the behavior change is not yet clear, she said.

Bruce McEwen, professor of neuroendocrinology at The Rockefeller University, said that the research is a “major step forward” in efforts to explore the role of the dentate gyrus — a part of the hippocampus — in social behavior and antidepressant efficacy.

“The ventral dentate gyrus, where they found these effects, is now implicated in mood-related behaviors and the response to antidepressants,” said McEwen, who is familiar with the research but had no role in it.

“The connection to social behavior shown here is an important addition because social withdrawal is a key aspect of depression in humans, and the anterior hippocampus in humans is the homolog of the ventral hippocampus in rodents,” McEwen said. “Although there is no ‘animal model’ of human depression, the individual behaviors such as social avoidance, and brain changes such as neurogenesis, have been very useful in elucidating brain mechanisms in human depression.”

At this point, the extent to which the exact mechanism and behavioral changes the researchers observed in the rats would apply to humans is unknown, Gould and Opendak said. The study’s overall conclusion, however, that social disruption and instability lead to neurological changes that help us to better cope is likely universal, they said.

“Most people do experience some disruption in their lives, and resilience is the most typical response,” Gould said. “After all, if organisms always responded to stress with depression and anxiety, it’s unlikely early humans would have made it because life in the wild is very stressful.”

“For people who are exposed to social disruption frequently, our animal model suggests that these life events may be accompanied by long-term changes in brain function and social behavior,” Opendak said. “Although we hope that our findings may guide research on the mechanisms of resilience in humans, it is important as always to exercise caution when extrapolating these data across species.”


There are fewer grounds today than in the past to deplore a North–South divide in research and innovation. This is one of the key findings of the UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030 launched on 10 November 2015.

For two decades now, the UNESCO Science Report series has been mapping science, technology and innovation (STI) around the world on a regular basis. Since STI do not evolve in a vacuum, this latest edition summarizes the evolution since 2010 against the backdrop of socio-economic, geopolitical and environmental trends that have helped to shape contemporary STI policy and governance.

Written by about 60 experts who are each covering the country or region from which they hail, the UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030 provides more country-level information than ever before. The trends and developments in science, technology and innovation policy and governance between 2009 and mid-2015 described here provide essential baseline information on the concerns and priorities of countries that should orient the implementation and drive the assessment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the years to come.

The report is available for download (pdf). You can also order a copy.

The Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish editions of the report will be released before the end of 2016 and will be available for consultation and download on this page. The Arabic edition will follow in 2017.

Read the Executive Summary in one of the following nine languages:
English | Français | Español | Русский | العربية | 中文
Português | Deutsch | Catalan

All resources related to the UNESCO Science Report are open access and may therefore be downloaded freely.

Contact the Editor-in-Chief, Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser..

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The main criterion for election as a ARABWAYS Member is scientific excellence. Only those scientists who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science can be nominated as Members

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