The things we do for science...

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infinity-imagined:

MRI scans of a Human brain.

(Source: emily-oswald)

post-mitotic:

rat brain: a mosaic of glia and neurons
fluorescence, 600x
credit: Thomas Deerinck

post-mitotic:

rat brain: a mosaic of glia and neurons

fluorescence, 600x

credit: Thomas Deerinck

(Source: sandandglass)

forevertinnituscure:

Amazing and informative post on tinnitus symptoms! Worth reading.

forevertinnituscure:

Amazing and informative post on tinnitus symptoms! Worth reading.

neurosciencestuff:

Fish study links brain size to parental duties
Male stickleback fish that protect their young have bigger brains than counterparts that don’t care for offspring, finds a new University of British Columbia study.
Stickleback fish are well known in the animal kingdom for the fact that the male of the species, rather than the female, cares for offspring. Male sticklebacks typically have bigger brains than females and researchers wanted to find out if the difference in size might relate to their role as caregivers.
In the study, published recently in Ecology and Evolution, researchers compared regular male sticklebacks to male white sticklebacks, which do not tend to their offspring. They found evidence that this change in male behaviour – giving up caring for the young – occurred at the same time the white stickleback evolved a smaller brain.
“This suggests that regular sticklebacks have bigger brains to handle the brain power needed to care for and protect their young,” says Kieran Samuk, a PhD student in UBC’s Dept. of Zoology and the study’s lead author. “This is one of the first studies to link parental care with brain size.”
The white stickleback is a relatively young species that only diverged from other sticklebacks 10,000 years ago, offering researchers some insight into how quickly brains can evolve.
“Our study tells us that brains might change in very drastic ways in a relatively short period of time. This helps us understand how physical changes such as brain size can lead to more complex behavioural changes,” says Samuk.

neurosciencestuff:

Fish study links brain size to parental duties

Male stickleback fish that protect their young have bigger brains than counterparts that don’t care for offspring, finds a new University of British Columbia study.

Stickleback fish are well known in the animal kingdom for the fact that the male of the species, rather than the female, cares for offspring. Male sticklebacks typically have bigger brains than females and researchers wanted to find out if the difference in size might relate to their role as caregivers.

In the study, published recently in Ecology and Evolution, researchers compared regular male sticklebacks to male white sticklebacks, which do not tend to their offspring. They found evidence that this change in male behaviour – giving up caring for the young – occurred at the same time the white stickleback evolved a smaller brain.

“This suggests that regular sticklebacks have bigger brains to handle the brain power needed to care for and protect their young,” says Kieran Samuk, a PhD student in UBC’s Dept. of Zoology and the study’s lead author. “This is one of the first studies to link parental care with brain size.”

The white stickleback is a relatively young species that only diverged from other sticklebacks 10,000 years ago, offering researchers some insight into how quickly brains can evolve.

“Our study tells us that brains might change in very drastic ways in a relatively short period of time. This helps us understand how physical changes such as brain size can lead to more complex behavioural changes,” says Samuk.

Epigenetic breakthrough bolsters understanding of Alzheimer’s disease

neurosciencestuff:

A team led by researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School and King’s College London has uncovered some of the strongest evidence yet that epigenetic changes in the brain play a role in Alzheimer’s disease.

image

Epigenetic changes affect the expression or activity of genes without…

Favourite Moments from Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey (4/?)

- From Episode 2: Some of the Things That Molecules Do

comedycentral:

Click here to watch some of The Colbert Report’s best guests, including Neil deGrasse Tyson.

This conference makes me laugh sometimes. Last night we had to evaluate the conference via scantron. We got the same lecture about using #2 pencils and filling in the bubbles. In the morning between lectures we get snacks and coffee/juice. We are a room full of 200 MDs, PhDs and PhD candidates.

nowyoukno:

Source for more facts follow NowYouKno

nowyoukno:

Source for more facts follow NowYouKno

Targeted brain stimulation aids stroke recovery in mice

neurosciencestuff:

When investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine applied light-driven stimulation to nerve cells in the brains of mice that had suffered strokes several days earlier, the mice showed significantly greater recovery in motor ability than mice that had experienced strokes but…

'Tickling' your ear could be good for your heart

neurosciencestuff:

Stimulating nerves in your ear could improve the health of your heart, researchers have discovered.

image

A team at the University of Leeds used a standard TENS machine like those designed to relieve labour pains to apply electrical pulses to the tragus, the small raised flap at the front of…

neurosciencestuff:

Zebrafish help to unravel Alzheimer’s disease
New fundamental knowledge about the regulation of stem cells in the nerve tissue of zebrafish embryos results in surprising insights into neurodegenerative disease processes in the human brain. A new study by scientists at VIB and KU Leuven identifies the molecules responsible for this process.
Zebrafish as a modelThe zebrafish is a small fish measuring 3 to 5 cm in length, with dark stripes along the length of its body. They are originally from India, but also a popular aquarium fish. Zebrafish have several unusual characteristics that make them popular for scientific research. Zebrafish eggs are fertilized outside the body, where they develop into embryos. This process occurs very quickly: the most important organs have formed after 24 hours and the young fish have hatched after 3 days. These fish are initially transparent, making them easy to study under the microscope. Zebrafish start reproducing after only 3 months. The genetic code of humans and zebrafish is more than 90 % identical. In addition, the genetic material of these fish is easy to manipulate, meaning that they are often used as a model in the study of all sorts of diseases.
Stem cells in the brainEvgenia Salta, scientist in the team of Bart De Strooper (VIB – KU Leuven), used zebrafish as a model in molecular brain research and discovered a previously unknown regulatory process for the development of nerve cells. Evgenia Salta explains: “The human brain contains stem cells, which are cells that have not matured into nerve cells yet, but do have the potential to do this.” Stem cells are of course crucial in the development of the brain. Similar stem cells also exist in zebrafish. Therefore, these fish form an ideal model to study the behavior of these cells. A so-called Notch signaling pathway regulates the further ripening of these cells during early embryonic development. Scientists are still largely in the dark about Notch processes in the brains of Alzheimer patients, but the research by Evgenia Salta is changing this situation.
MicroRNAThe expression of genes, which form the basis of the Notch signaling pathway, is regulated in part by microRNAs (miRNAs), which are short molecules that can inhibit or activate genes. Evgenia Salta: “We specifically studied how miRNA-132 regulates the Notch signaling pathway in stem cells.”
MiRNA-132 appears to play a role in maintaining the plasticity of the adult human brain. The adult brain still contains stem cells, but these are limited in number. The activity of miRNA-132 is reduced in diseases of the nervous system that involve the death of nerve cells, such as Alzheimer’s dementia. “We wanted to study the effect of the reduction in miRNA-132 in the nervous system. Zebrafish are an ideal model for this, because we can easily reduce levels of this miRNA in them. The development of stem cells is impaired in these altered fish. We mapped the molecules that play a role in this process”, explains Evgenia Salta.
RelevanceThe concentration of miRNA-132 is also reduced in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, the zebrafish allow you to mimic a condition that also occurs in Alzheimer’s dementia. Evgenia Salta: “To our surprise, the reduced activity of miRNA-132 in the zebrafish blocks the further ripening of stem cells into nerve cells. This new knowledge about the molecular signaling pathway that underlies this process gives us an insight into the exact blocking mechanism. Thanks to this work in zebrafish, we can now examine in detail what exactly goes wrong in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.” The research team has therefore started a follow-up study in mice and the brains of deceased patients.
QuestionsAs this research can raise many questions, we would you to refer in your report or article to the e-mail address that VIB has made available for this purpose. Anyone with questions about this research and other medically oriented research can contact: patienteninfo@vib.be.
Research teamThis research was performed by the research team of Bart De Strooper, who is head of the Leuven Laboratory for Research into Degenerative Diseases and is affiliated with the VIB Center for the Biology of Disease.ResearchA self-organizing miR-132/Ctbp2 circuit regulates bimodal Notch signals and glial progenitor fate choice during spinal cord maturation.Salta E et al. Developmental Cell.

neurosciencestuff:

Zebrafish help to unravel Alzheimer’s disease

New fundamental knowledge about the regulation of stem cells in the nerve tissue of zebrafish embryos results in surprising insights into neurodegenerative disease processes in the human brain. A new study by scientists at VIB and KU Leuven identifies the molecules responsible for this process.

Zebrafish as a model
The zebrafish is a small fish measuring 3 to 5 cm in length, with dark stripes along the length of its body. They are originally from India, but also a popular aquarium fish. Zebrafish have several unusual characteristics that make them popular for scientific research. Zebrafish eggs are fertilized outside the body, where they develop into embryos. This process occurs very quickly: the most important organs have formed after 24 hours and the young fish have hatched after 3 days. These fish are initially transparent, making them easy to study under the microscope. Zebrafish start reproducing after only 3 months. The genetic code of humans and zebrafish is more than 90 % identical. In addition, the genetic material of these fish is easy to manipulate, meaning that they are often used as a model in the study of all sorts of diseases.

Stem cells in the brain
Evgenia Salta, scientist in the team of Bart De Strooper (VIB – KU Leuven), used zebrafish as a model in molecular brain research and discovered a previously unknown regulatory process for the development of nerve cells. Evgenia Salta explains: “The human brain contains stem cells, which are cells that have not matured into nerve cells yet, but do have the potential to do this.” Stem cells are of course crucial in the development of the brain. Similar stem cells also exist in zebrafish. Therefore, these fish form an ideal model to study the behavior of these cells. A so-called Notch signaling pathway regulates the further ripening of these cells during early embryonic development. Scientists are still largely in the dark about Notch processes in the brains of Alzheimer patients, but the research by Evgenia Salta is changing this situation.

MicroRNA
The expression of genes, which form the basis of the Notch signaling pathway, is regulated in part by microRNAs (miRNAs), which are short molecules that can inhibit or activate genes. Evgenia Salta: “We specifically studied how miRNA-132 regulates the Notch signaling pathway in stem cells.

MiRNA-132 appears to play a role in maintaining the plasticity of the adult human brain. The adult brain still contains stem cells, but these are limited in number. The activity of miRNA-132 is reduced in diseases of the nervous system that involve the death of nerve cells, such as Alzheimer’s dementia. “We wanted to study the effect of the reduction in miRNA-132 in the nervous system. Zebrafish are an ideal model for this, because we can easily reduce levels of this miRNA in them. The development of stem cells is impaired in these altered fish. We mapped the molecules that play a role in this process”, explains Evgenia Salta.

Relevance
The concentration of miRNA-132 is also reduced in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, the zebrafish allow you to mimic a condition that also occurs in Alzheimer’s dementia. Evgenia Salta: “To our surprise, the reduced activity of miRNA-132 in the zebrafish blocks the further ripening of stem cells into nerve cells. This new knowledge about the molecular signaling pathway that underlies this process gives us an insight into the exact blocking mechanism. Thanks to this work in zebrafish, we can now examine in detail what exactly goes wrong in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.” The research team has therefore started a follow-up study in mice and the brains of deceased patients.

Questions
As this research can raise many questions, we would you to refer in your report or article to the e-mail address that VIB has made available for this purpose. Anyone with questions about this research and other medically oriented research can contact: patienteninfo@vib.be.

Research team
This research was performed by the research team of Bart De Strooper, who is head of the Leuven Laboratory for Research into Degenerative Diseases and is affiliated with the VIB Center for the Biology of Disease.

Research
A self-organizing miR-132/Ctbp2 circuit regulates bimodal Notch signals and glial progenitor fate choice during spinal cord maturation.Salta E et al. Developmental Cell.