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Latest Chemical synapse Stories

2010-01-27 16:21:21

Scientists at the Brain Research Centre and Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics have uncovered a key cellular mechanism that alters brain cell function in Huntington's disease, and identified a possible treatment for the disease. The results of the study were published online today and will appear in the January 28 edition of the journal Neuron. Huntington's disease is an inherited degenerative brain disease that causes cognitive and motor impairment, and eventually death. One in...

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2010-01-22 10:58:45

A team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, in Germany, led by the Spanish physicist Rub©n Fernández-Busnadiego, has managed to obtain 3D images of the vesicles and filaments involved in communication between neurons. The method is based on a novel technique in electron microscopy, which cools cells so quickly that their biological structures can be frozen while fully active. "We used electron cryotomography, a new technique in microscopy based on ultra-fast...

2010-01-20 13:37:06

2 major studies in 2 months make a new case for an old suspect in the mystery of how memory works A second high-profile paper in as many months has found an important role in learning and memory for calpain, a molecule whose academic fortunes have ebbed and flowed for 25 years. USC's Michel Baudry (then at the University of California, Irvine) and Gary Lynch (UC Irvine) first pointed to calpain as the key to memory in a seminal 1984 paper in Science on the biochemistry of memory. In a paper...

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2010-01-20 12:00:11

Maturation disorders of nerve terminals may trigger autism; researchers in Heidelberg publish in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences For brain cells to communicate, the contacts to each other must function. The protein molecule neuroligin-1 plays an important role in this as it stimulates the necessary maturation processes at the contact sites (synapses) of the nerves. A synaptic maturation disorder is possibly involved in the development of autism. Dr. Thomas Dresbach and his...

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2009-12-29 10:31:00

By combining a research technique that dates back 136 years with modern molecular genetics, a Johns Hopkins neuroscientist has been able to see how a mammal's brain shrewdly revisits and reuses the same molecular cues to control the complex design of its circuits. Details of the observation in lab mice, published Dec. 24 in Nature, reveal that semaphorin, a protein found in the developing nervous system that guides filament-like processes, called axons, from nerve cells to their appropriate...

2009-12-28 16:43:06

The early stages of Alzheimer's disease are thought to occur at the synapse, since synapse loss is associated with memory dysfunction. Evidence suggests that amyloid beta (AÃŽ²) plays an important role in early synaptic failure, but little has been understood about AÃŽ²'s effect on the plasticity of dendritic spines. These spines are short outgrowths of dendrites (extensions of neurons) that relay electrical impulses in the brain. A single neuron's dendrite...

2009-12-23 16:47:33

Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have made a major discovery in how the brain encodes memories. The finding, published in the December 24 issue of the journal Neuron, could eventually lead to the development of new drugs to aid memory. The team of scientists is the first to uncover a central process in encoding memories that occurs at the level of the synapse, where neurons connect with each other. "When we learn new things, when we store memories, there are a number of things that have to...

2009-12-02 19:20:52

The transmission of information from one neuron to the next is an unseen intricate ballet. Tiny vesicles "“ bubbles containing the chemical neurotransmitters that make information exchange possible"”travel to the tip of neurons (synapses), where they fuse with the cell's membrane in a process called exocytosis. The extra membrane is then captured in a process called endocytosis and recycled to form a new vesicle to enable the next cycle of release. The two processes, exocytosis...

2009-11-29 12:22:39

New connections begin to form between brain cells almost immediately as animals learn a new task, according to a study published this week in Nature. Led by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the study involved detailed observations of the rewiring processes that take place in the brain during motor learning. The researchers studied mice as they were trained to reach through a slot to get a seed. They observed rapid growth of structures that form connections (called...

2009-11-25 15:01:41

You wouldn't want a car with no brakes. It turns out that the developing brain needs them, too. Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a set of molecular brakes that stabilize the developing brain's circuitry. Moreover, experimentally removing those brakes in mice enhanced the animals' performance in a test of visual learning, suggesting a long-term path to therapeutic application. In a study to be published Nov. 25 in Neuron, Carla Shatz, PhD, professor of...


Word of the Day
maffling
  • To stammer.
  • Present participle of maffle, to stammer.
  • A simpleton.
The word 'maffle' may come from a Dutch word meaning 'to move the jaws' or a French word meaning 'having large cheeks'.