Category Archives: Neuroscience

astrocytes

Miniaturized Microscopes Allow Unprecedented Observation of Spinal Cord Cells

Astrocytes, a kind nervous cells that do not conduct electrical signals, react to sensations. Thanks to tiny microscopes developed at the Salk Institute, researchers have discovered that these cells have more roles that previously thought. The new technology will help understand touch and pain phenomena in the spinal cord. The findings were published in the journal Nature […]

10 Times More Memory Than Previously Calculated

Researchers from Salk Institute and the University of Austin, Texas have discovered that the memory capacity of the brain is 10 times higher than previously estimated. By examining the size of neural connections, the neuroscientists were also able to understand why brains are so energetically efficient. The study, published in eLife, will help create more potent and efficient computers. […]

Habitual Behavior Modifies Brain Circuits

Researchers from Duke University have recently found evidence of brain changes caused by habits. Habitual behavior leaves a mark on certain neural circuits that stimulate the organism to repeat our recurrent practices. The study was published in the journal Neuron. The dorsolateral striatum (DLS) is a part of the forebrain and has important roles in […]

pills

Recurrent Depression Linked to Amygdala Disconnection from Emotional Network

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered a disconnection in an emotion-processing brain network in people with major depression. The findings will help to assess which patients would benefit more from anti-depressant treatments to avoid recurrent depression episodes. The study has been published in the journal Psychological Medicine. 50% of people who suffer a […]

cocaine

New Brain Circuit Bypasses Self-Control Area in Addicts

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a new neural circuit that circumvents the brain region that controls decision-making processes in cocaine addicts. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, will help to re-think therapies currently directed to modify cognitive abilities and might help prevent relapses. Cocaine is a stimulant drug mainly used with recreational […]

SOD1 Trimeric Species Causes Neuron Death and ALS

Researchers from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine have solved the structure of a toxic protein aggregate that causes Amiotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Mutants of the Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) protein prone to form trimers aggregated and increased neuron death. This is the first experimental evidence of protein aggregates causing the neurodegenerative disease. The study was published […]

Brain MRI Reveals a Potential Biomarker for Depression

A team of scientists from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) have recently published a study that correlates depression risk with a higher connectivity between brain areas that conform the default mode network (DMN).  The article can be found online in the website version of Nature’s Neuropsychopharmacology. The DMN is a network of brain […]

A New Treatment for Chronic Pain

Researchers from University College London (UCL) have discovered a key element for the absolute painlessness experienced by some people. The mutation in the sodium channel Nav1.7 not only blocks pain pathways, but also increases expression levels of natural opioid peptides. The findings were published in Nature Communications. The SCN9A gene encodes the protein Nav1.7, which constitutes a […]