‘Goldilocks’ neurons promote REM sleep

Every night while sleeping, we cycle between two very different states of sleep. Upon falling asleep, we enter non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep where our breathing is slow and regular and movement of our limbs or eyes are minimal. Approximately 90 minutes later, how-ever, we enter rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This is a paradoxical state where our breathing becomes […]

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Anesthesia sends neurons down the wrong path in unborn rat babies

While there has long been discussion whether exposure to anesthesia affects brain development, new Rush University Medical Center research published in the journal Cerebral Cortex describes how prenatal anesthesia in rats seems to disrupt the “precisely choreographed” and timed migration of neurons to the area of the developing brain where thinking, memory and language occur. The finding further fuels the […]

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New brain implants disguise as neurons, offering a potentially safer way to study and treat the brain

Like a well-guarded fortress, the human brain attacks intruders on sight. Foreign objects, including neural probes used to study and treat the brain, do not last long. But now, researchers have designed a probe that looks, acts, and feels so much like a real neuron that the brain cannot identify the imposters. According to Charles M. Lieber, this breakthrough “literally […]

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Serotonin neurons contribute to fail-safe mechanism that ensures recovery from interrupted breathing

Scientists trying to identify the roots of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of death in U.S. infants between 1 month and 1 year old, have increasingly turned their attention to the neurotransmitter serotonin and the brain cells that produce it. Studies have linked serotonin-producing neurons to the regulation of breathing, which may go awry in SIDS. In […]

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Resynchronizing neurons to erase schizophrenia

Schizophrenia, an often severe and disabling psychiatric disorder, affects approximately 1 percent of the world’s population. While research over the past few years has suggested that desynchronization of neurons may be the cause of its neuropsychiatric symptoms, including memory disorders, hyperactivity and hallucinatory phenomena, the cellular origin of such desynchronization remains poorly understood. Now, researchers at the University of Geneva […]

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Discovery of new neurons in the inner ear can lead to new therapies for hearing disorders

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have identified four types of neurons in the peripheral auditory system, three of which are new to science. The analysis of these cells can lead to new therapies for various kinds of hearing disorders, such as tinnitus and age-related hearing loss. The study is published in Nature Communications. When sound reaches the inner ear, […]

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Surprise finding in neurons

Purkinje cells are a central part of the human cerebellum, the part of the brain that plays an important role in motor learning, fine motor control of the muscle, equilibrium and posture but also influences emotions, perception, memory and language. Scientists from the Institute for Virology and Immunobiology of the University of Würzburg and their US colleagues have now made […]

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Study provides insight into how dying neurons control eating behaviors of the brain microglia

A new Mount Sinai study, published July 23 in the journal Nature Neuroscience, provides important insight into how microglia, cells that form a branch of the immune system inside the brain, go about their job of clearing out dying and non-functional neurons—and how they sometimes mistakenly attack healthy neurons, an event that can play a role in neurodegenerative diseases like […]

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‘Second brain’ neurons keep colon moving

Millions of neurons in the gastrointestinal tract coordinate their activity to generate the muscle contractions that propel waste through the last leg of the digestive system, according to a study of isolated mouse colons published in JNeurosci. The newly identified neuronal firing pattern may represent an early feature preserved through the evolution of nervous systems. The enteric nervous system (ENS) […]

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