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Brain Tumors Found To Hack Brain’s Activity in ‘Paradigm Shift’ Discovery | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


Spreading brain tumors have been found to hack a brain’s activity, causing cognitive impairment among patients.

Nearly half of patients with brain metastasis—which occurs when cancer cells spread throughout the brain—have trouble remembering things, concentrating and learning new things.

Until now, scientists believed that this was due to the tumor pressing against neural tissue. However, this theory did not fully explain the tumor’s effect on cognitive function, as the size of the tumor had no correlation with the severeness of cognitive abilities, a press release on the findings reported.

The study published by the Spanish National Cancer Research Center and the Spanish National Research Council has now found that cognitive impairment with brain metastasis, is actually caused by interference in the neuronal circuits of the brain.

This represents a “paradigm shift” in the understanding of how brain metastases develop, the study said.

A metastasis (lighter green) is pictured interacting with a neuron (brighter green). Manuel Valiente. CNIO

Neurons in the brain communicate with each other through electrical impulses.

But scientists found that when cancer spreads from its original point in the brain, it alters the brain’s chemistry. This subsequently interacts with the way neurons communicate.

“Our multidisciplinary study challenges the hitherto accepted assumption that neurological dysfunction, which is very common in patients with brain metastasis, is due solely to the mass effect of the tumour,” Manuel Valiente, head of the CNIO’s Brain Metastasis Group said in a press release on the findings. “We suggest that these symptoms are a consequence of changes in brain activity resulting from tumour-induced biochemical and molecular alterations. This is a paradigm shift that could have important implications for diagnosis and therapeutic strategies.”

To reach these findings, researchers used mice to measure the electrical activity in the brains, with and without metastases. They found that electrophysiological recordings between the different mice were different.

Liset Menéndez de la Prida, director of the Laboratory of Neural Circuits the Cajal Institute (CSIC), said in a press release: “Using machine learning, we have been able to integrate all the data to create a model that allows us to know whether there is or not metastasis in a brain, just by looking at its electrical activity. This computational approach may even be able to predict subtypes of brain metastases at an early stage. It is a completely pioneering work that opens up an unexplored path.”

This breakthrough discovery will pave the way for researchers to further analyze the cognitive status of patients with this type of brain cancer.

The finding does not just help researchers understand the effect of brain tumors on cognitive skills, but it will help the development of drugs that prevent or alleviate these cognitive side effects.

Do you have a tip on a science story that Newsweek should be covering? Do you have a question about brain tumors? Let us know via [email protected].

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