NIH-funded researchers develop novel tools to learn how astrocytes listen in on neurons
Findings suggest that astrocytes in the mossy fiber system may act as a switch that reacts to large amounts of neuronal activity by raising their levels of calcium. These calcium increases occur over multiple seconds, a relatively long time period compared to that seen in neurons. The spatial extent of the astrocyte calcium increases was also relatively large in comparison to the size of the synapse.
Potential target for treating autism, schizophrenia, and other brain disorders
Because several neuropsychiatric disorders are associated with altered social behaviors, findings raise the possibility that CA2 dysfunction may contribute to these behavioral changes.
3-D model of famous amnesiac’s brain helps illuminate human memory
During his lifetime, Henry G. Molaison (H.M.) was the best-known and possibly the most-studied patient of modern neuroscience. Now, thanks to the postmortem study of his brain, based on histological sectioning and digital three-dimensional construction led by Jacopo Annese, PhD, at the University of California, San Diego, scientists around the globe will finally have insight into the neurological basis of the case that defined modern studies of human memory.
Researchers in the biomedical engineering department at Case Western Reserve University have found that epileptic activity can spread through a part of the brain in a new way, suggesting a possible novel target for seizure-blocking medicines.
The researchers verified the prediction by injecting drugs that would either expand or decrease the space between cells. The closer the cells, the faster the transmission. The more distant the cells, the slower the transmission until—at a certain distance—the signal failed to propagate.
Breakthrough allows Einstein scientists to probe how memories form in nerve cells
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University used advanced imaging techniques to provide a window into how the brain makes memories. These insights into the molecular basis of memory were made possible by a technological tour de force never before achieved in animals: a mouse model developed at Einstein in which molecules crucial to making memories were given fluorescent “tags” so they could be observed traveling in real time in living brain cells.