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Latest Neurons Stories

2011-08-08 06:37:22

Animal's brains are only roughly aware of how high-up they are in space, meaning that in terms of altitude the brain's 'map' of space is surprisingly flat, according to new research. In a study published online today in Nature Neuroscience, scientists studied cells in or near a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which forms the brain's map of space, to see whether they were activated when rats climbed upwards. The study, supported by the Wellcome Trust, looked at two types of cells...

2011-07-28 18:16:39

Max Planck scientists develop new analytical tools for the fast and accurate reconstruction of neural networks The human brain is the most complex of all organs, containing billions of neurons with their corresponding projections, all woven together in a highly complex, three-dimensional web. To date, mapping this vast network posed a practically insurmountable challenge to scientists. Now, however, a research team from the Heidelberg-based Max Planck Institute for Medical Research has...

2011-07-08 14:27:05

Oh, the challenges of being a neuron, responsible for essential things like muscle contraction, gland secretion and sensitivity to touch, sound and light, yet constantly bombarded with signals from here, there and everywhere. How on earth are busy nerve cells supposed to pick out and respond to relevant signals amidst all that information overload? Somehow neurons do manage to accomplish the daunting task, and they do it with more finesse than anyone ever realized, new research by University...

2011-05-25 13:57:19

New information has come to light explaining how injured skin cells and touch-sensing nerve fibers coordinate their regeneration during wound healing. UCLA researchers Sandra Rieger and Alvaro Sagasti found that a chemical signal released by wounded skin cells promotes the regeneration of sensory fibers, thus helping to ensure that touch sensation is restored to healing skin. They discovered that the reactive oxygen species hydrogen peroxide, which is found at high concentrations at wounds,...

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2011-05-13 08:02:13

Researchers including members from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen have developed a new method for making detailed X-ray images of brain cells. The method, called SAXS-CT, can map the myelin sheaths of nerve cells, which are important for conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. The results have been published in the scientific journal, NeuroImage. The myelin sheaths of nerve cells are lamellar membranes surrounding the neuronal axons. The myelin...

2011-05-12 22:51:21

New data offer hints to why Parkinson's disease so selectively harms brain cells that produce the chemical dopamine, say researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dopamine is involved in brain cell communications including the signals that control movement. As Parkinson's kills the dopamine-producing cells, patients begin to develop tremors, problems moving and other symptoms. The new research shows that a drug known to damage dopamine-producing nerve cells and...

2011-04-29 01:27:41

Biologists at UC San Diego have discovered that electrical oscillations in the brain, long thought to play a role in organizing cognitive functions such as memory, are critically important for the brain to store the information that allows us to navigate through our physical environment. The scientists report in the April 29 issue of the journal Science that neurons called "grid cells" that create maps of the external environment in one portion of our brain require precisely timed electrical...

2011-04-29 01:26:31

New findings by to be published in the journal Science In a paper to be published today [April 29, 2011] in the journal Science, a team of Boston University researchers under the direction of Michael Hasselmo, professor of psychology and director of Boston University's Computational Neurophysiology Laboratory, and Mark Brandon, a recent graduate of the Graduate Program for Neuroscience at Boston University, present findings that support the hypothesis that spatial coding by grid cells...

2011-03-23 03:32:05

In the cerebral cortex, the balance between excitation (pyramidal neurons) and inhibition (interneurons) is thought to be mediated by the primary mode of neuronal communication: "all-or-none" action potentials, or spikes. However, Dr. Yousheng Shu's research group at the Institute of Neuroscience of Chinese Academy of Sciences has discovered a new strategy by which the cortex can maintain this balance, by showing that the amount of inhibition depends on the membrane potentials (Vm) in...

2011-02-18 12:31:04

Findings challenge conventional wisdom of how neurons operate Neurons are complicated, but the basic functional concept is that synapses transmit electrical signals to the dendrites and cell body (input), and axons carry signals away (output). In one of many surprise findings, Northwestern University scientists have discovered that axons can operate in reverse: they can send signals to the cell body, too. It also turns out axons can talk to each other. Before sending signals in reverse, axons...


Word of the Day
vermicular
  • Like a worm in form or movement; vermiform; tortuous or sinuous; also, writhing or wriggling.
  • Like the track or trace of a worm; appearing as if worm-eaten; vermiculate.
  • Marked with fine, close-set, wavy or tortuous lines of color; vermiculated.
  • A form of rusticated masonry which is so wrought as to appear thickly indented with worm-tracks.
This word ultimately comes from the Latin 'vermis,' worm.
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