Tag Archives: nerve cells

Mulling the marijuana munchies: How the brain flips the hunger switch

The “munchies,” or that uncontrollable urge to eat after using marijuana, appear to be driven by neurons in the brain that are normally involved in suppressing appetite, according to a new study by Yale School of Medicine researchers in the Feb. 18 issue of the journal Nature.

Lead author Tamas Horvath and his colleagues set out to monitor the brain circuitry that promotes eating by selectively manipulating the cellular pathway that mediates marijuana’s action on the brain, using transgenic mice. (more…)

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Low-doses of fish oil may reduce seizures in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy

In contrast, high doses appear not to work, UCLA study suggests

An estimated 3 million Americans suffer from epileptic seizures. Although drug therapies often successfully dampen the out-of-control neural firing that produces seizures, such drugs don’t work for everyone. (more…)

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Brain of World’s First Known Predators Discovered

Scientists have found the fossilized remains of the brain of the world’s earliest known predators, from a time when life teemed in the oceans but had not yet colonized the land.

An international team of paleontologists has identified the exquisitely preserved brain in the fossil of one of the world’s first known predators that lived in the Lower Cambrian, about 520 million years ago. The discovery revealed a brain that is surprisingly simple and less complex than those known from fossils of some of the animal’s prey. (more…)

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‘Map of pain’ reveals how our ability to identify the source of pain varies across the body

“Where does it hurt?” is the first question asked to any person in pain.

A new UCL study defines for the first time how our ability to identify where it hurts, called “spatial acuity”, varies across the body, being most sensitive at the forehead and fingertips.

Using lasers to cause pain to 26 healthy volunteers without any touch, the researchers produced the first systematic map of how acuity for pain is distributed across the body. The experiment, conducted in the group led by Dr Giandomenico Iannetti (UCL Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology), is published in the journal Annals of Neurology and was funded by the Wellcome Trust. (more…)

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Mysteries of neuroscience

What we don’t know: Neuroscience research at CMHC

The third floor of the CMHC houses the Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit (CNRU), an inpatient and outpatient research facility. It’s an honor to be asked to start a dialogue with you about what we do on the CNRU. Over the next few months, I’d like to introduce you to the scientists and clinicians and their teams that work on the CNRU. Today I’d like to introduce you to some of the things we do on the 3rd floor.

Just as others in the building, my CNRU colleagues and I come to work to tackle the problems addressed on the other floors of the CMHC: the debilitating symptoms of mental illness including depression, hallucinations, delusions, drug addiction and anxiety to name a few. (more…)

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Extinct ‘Mega Claw’ Creature Had Spider-Like Brain

UA Regents’ Professor Nicholas Strausfeld and an international team of researchers have discovered the earliest known complete nervous system exquisitely preserved in the fossilized remains of a never-before described creature that crawled or swam in the ocean 520 million years ago.

A team of researchers led by University of Arizona Regents’ Professor Nick Strausfeld and London Natural History Museum’s Greg Edgecombe have discovered the earliest known complete nervous system, exquisitely preserved in the fossilized remains of a never-before described creature that crawled or swam in the ocean 520 million years ago.

The find suggests that the ancestors of chelicerates – spiders, scorpions and their kin – branched off from the family tree of other arthropods – including insects, crustaceans and millipedes – more than half a billion years ago. (more…)

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A tangle of talents untangles neurons

Brown’s growing programs in brain science and engineering come together in the lab of Diane Hoffman-Kim. In a recent paper, her group employed techniques ranging from semiconductor-style circuit patterning to rat cell culture to optimize the growth of nerve cells for applications such as reconstructive surgery.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Two wrongs don’t make a right, they say, but here’s how one tangle can straighten out another.

Diane Hoffman-Kim, associate professor of medicine in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology, is an affiliate of both Brown’s Center for Biomedical Engineering and the Brown Institute for Brain Science. Every thread of expertise woven through those multidisciplinary titles mattered in the Hoffman-Kim lab’s most recent paper, led by graduate student Cristina Lopez-Fagundo. (more…)

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A Better Way to Culture Central Nervous Cells

A protein associated with neuron damage in Alzheimer’s patients provides a superior scaffold for growing central nervous system cells in the lab. The findings could have clinical implications for producing neural implants and offers new insights on the complex link between the apoE4 apolipoprotein and Alzheimer’s disease. Results appear in the journal Biomaterials.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A protein associated with neuron damage in people with Alzheimer’s disease is surprisingly useful in promoting neuron growth in the lab, according to a new study by engineering researchers at Brown University. The findings, in press at the journal Biomaterials, suggest a better method of growing neurons outside the body that might then be implanted to treat people with neurodegenerative diseases. (more…)

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