Mutant protein in Siamese cats may be involved in neurodegenerative disorders

Dr Niesman studies mutant tyrosinase in feline brain cells.

Siamese cats and humans share the same pathology when it comes to neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Dr Ingrid Niesman, based at San Diego State University, USA, believes it’s all down to a mutation in a protein called tyrosinase. The researcher wants to understand the impact of this malfunctioning protein, as well as use these cats as a basis […]

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Cryo-electron tomography and synaptic transmission in the brain

The transfer of information between neurons in the brain occurs via a carefully regulated release of chemical neurotransmitters.

The transmission of information between brain cells is regulated by complex loops of biochemical processes. Neurotransmitter molecules are released in the intercellular space by an electrically stimulated neuron and bind to receptors in a different neuron, thus establishing a connection between these cells. By combining cryo-electron microscopy and tomography of vitrified brain samples, Dr Vladan Lučić at Max Planck Institute […]

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Neuronal cultures to study the brain and neurological disorders

Neuronal cultures to study the brain and neurological disorders

Understanding the brain is essential, for example to treat neurological disorders that affect one in six people worldwide. However, studying the brain is challenging: it is so complex and difficult to access. Cell biologist Dr Daniel Tornero and neurophysicist Dr Jordi Soriano, from the University of Barcelona, developed neuronal cultures that can be used to study mechanisms involved in brain […]

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The Neuropsychology of How Ritual Creates Religion

Rituals are able to generate transcendental mental states.

The research of Dr James Jones, clinical psychologist and Emeritus Professor of Religion at Rutgers University in the U.S., exists on the border of religion and science. He fuses neuropsychology with philosophy of mind to discover scientific explanations for religion. In his most recent publication, Dr Jones specifically explores how bodily behaviours, such as religious ritual, can affect a person’s […]

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Controlled cortical impact: The animal model that may change brain injury

Controlled cortical impact: The animal model that may change brain injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of disability and death around the world. To compound this problem, many patients go on to develop anxiety and with little known about the pathophysiology behind this complication, long-lasting and effective treatments are lacking. Using an animal model known as the controlled cortical impact (CCI) model, Dr Ann Marini and […]

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Drosophila Fezf found to be essential in neural circuit formation

Drosophila Fezf found to be essential in neural circuit formation

Billions of neurons are wired up to into highly organised neural circuits in the brain. The creation of these circuits is a complex process and it is essential that neurons find the correct partners. Matt Pecot and colleagues from Harvard Medical School are interested in understanding this neural circuit formation. In their studies, by using Drosophila, they have identified the […]

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