New microscopes unravel the mysteries of brain organization: Researchers around the world share their stunning images and insights: The open source mesoSPIM Initiative

The secret of capturing exquisite brain images with a new generation of custom-built microscopes is revealed today in Nature Methods. The new microscopes, known as mesoSPIMs, can image the minute detail of brain tissue down to individual neurons that are five times thinner than a human hair, and can uncover the 3D anatomy of entire small organs, faster than ever […]

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High-fat diets affect your brain, not just your physical appearance

Much research has pointed to how an unhealthy diet correlates to obesity, but has not explored how diet can bring about neurological changes in the brain. A recent Yale study has discovered that high-fat diets contribute to irregularities in the hypothalamus region of the brain, which regulates body weight homeostasis and metabolism. Led by Sabrina Diano, the Richard Sackler Family […]

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Single protein plays important dual transport roles in the brain

Just as a packaging breakdown can hamstring delivery of cables, switches and connectors to a house under construction, removing a protein from neurons can block the “shipment” of proteins to developing axons. Axons are the telephone wires of the nervous system. They convey information to dendrites on other nerve cells, in a processing network of phenomenal complexity that is the […]

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Scientists reverse aging process in rat brain stem cells

New research, published today in Nature, reveals how increasing brain stiffness as we age causes brain stem cell dysfunction, and demonstrates new ways to reverse older stem cells to a younger, healthier state. The results have far reaching implications for how we understand the ageing process, and how we might develop much-needed treatments for age-related brain diseases. As our bodies […]

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Pinpointing how cells regulate long-lasting memories

The brain has a knack for safekeeping our most treasured memories, from a first kiss to a child’s birth. In a new study in mouse cells, Columbia neuroscientists have mapped some of the molecular machinery that helps the brain maintain these kinds of long-term memories. By observing the activity of nerve cells of the brain, called neurons, that were extracted […]

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Dizziness of unknown cause may be perception disorder: Perception disorders may throw those affected off balance

Many patients with functional dizziness look back on a long odyssey to numerous doctors, because no organic causes could be found. Now for the first time, an experiment at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has identified possible causes of the disorder: problems with the processing of sensory-motor signals in the brain that resemble those associated with dizziness due to […]

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Faulty brain circuits repaired using nanotechnology: Possible new drug targets for dementia and intellectual disability

Working with mouse and human tissue, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report new evidence that a protein pumped out of some — but not all — populations of “helper” cells in the brain, called astrocytes, plays a specific role in directing the formation of connections among neurons needed for learning and forming new memories. Using mice genetically engineered and bred with […]

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Exploring genetic ‘dark matter,’ researchers gain new insights into autism and stroke

With its elegant double helix and voluminous genetic script, DNA has become the of darling of nucleic acids. Yet, it is not all powerful. In order for DNA to realize its potential — for genes to become proteins — it must first be transcribed into RNA, a delicate molecule that requires intense care and guidance. “Gene expression is a lot […]

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When a fix for one vision problem causes another

As we age, our eyes lose their ability to focus up close. It’s a condition called presbyopia, and it’s both extremely common and relatively easy to fix, with solutions like reading glasses, bifocals, or progressive lenses. Another common correction, called monovision, solves the problem with different lenses in each eye, one that focuses nearby, the other that focuses far away. […]

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Certain cells secrete a substance in the brain that protects neurons: Finding helps explain cascade of events leading to neurodegeneration

USC researchers have discovered a secret sauce in the brain’s vascular system that preserves the neurons needed to keep dementia and other diseases at bay. The finding, in a mouse model of the human brain, focuses on specific cells called pericytes and reveals that they play a previously unknown role in brain health. Pericytes secrete a substance that keeps neurons […]

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