A neuron’s fate was thought to be determined by the timing of its birth date. Neuroscientists recently showed that there is a distinct stem cell progenitor that gives rise to upper layer neurons, regardless of birth date or place.
Neuroscientists report that two major classes of brain cells repress neural activity in specific mathematical ways: One type subtracts from overall activation, while the other divides it.
A new way to study the role of a critical neurotransmitter in disorders such as epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia, depression, schizophrenia, and alcohol addiction has been developed. This model synapse can precisely control a variety of receptors for the neurotransmitter called GABA, which is important in brain chemistry.
Major step in understanding the cause of dyslexia is taken. Scientists have discovered an important neural mechanism underlying dyslexia and shown that many difficulties associated with dyslexia can potentially be traced back to a malfunction of the medial geniculate body in the thalamus.
Scientists have discovered a biological marker that may help to identify which depressed patients will respond to an experimental, rapid-acting antidepressant like ketamine. The brain signal, detectable by noninvasive imaging, also holds clues to the agent's underlying mechanism, which are vital for drug development, say NIH researchers.
Researchers used a specialized infrared lens to measure pupillary changes to participants watching erotic videos. Pupils widened most to videos of people who participants found attractive, thereby revealing where they were on the sexual spectrum from heterosexual to homosexual.
Working with mice, Johns Hopkins researchers say they have figured out how stem cells found in a part of the brain responsible for learning, memory and mood regulation decide to remain dormant or create new brain cells. Apparently, the stem cells “listen in” on the chemical communication among nearby neurons to get an idea about what is stressing the system and when they need to act.
Planarian flatworms have come under intense study for their renowned ability to regenerate any missing body part, even as adults. But now they may take on a starring role as a model system for studying eye development and eye diseases in vertebrates, including humans.
Scientists knew that mutations in the FUS gene (Fused in Sarcoma) cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. The researchers were successful in identifying mutations in this gene that cause Essential Tremor, and proved that the disease mechanisms for ET and ALS FUS mutations are different.
Researchers discovered a mutant form of Chk1 gene that when expressed in cancer cells, permanently stopped their proliferation and caused cell death without the addition of any chemotherapeutic drugs. This study illustrates an unprecedented finding, that artificially activating Chk1 alone is sufficient to kill cancer cells.
“We identified a subset of brain tumor cells that are slower growing or remain at rest, and appear to be the source of cancer recurrence after standard therapy in which the drug temozolomide is given to stop the tumor’s growth,” said Dr. Luis Parada. “Current therapy targets fast-growing tumor cells but not those responsible for new tumors. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first identification of a cancer stem-like cell in a spontaneously forming tumor inside a mammal.”