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Archive for the ‘neuroscience’ category: Page 25

Mar 29, 2021

‘Zombie’ genes? Research shows some genes come to life in the brain after death

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Studies on postmortem tissue may need to adjust for postmortem cell activity.


In the hours after we die, certain cells in the human brain are still active. Some cells even increase their activity and grow to gargantuan proportions, according to new research from the University of Illinois Chicago.

In a newly published study in the journal Scientific Reports, the UIC researchers analyzed gene expression in fresh brain tissue — which was collected during routine brain surgery — at multiple times after removal to simulate the post-mortem interval and death. They found that gene expression in some cells actually increased after death.

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Mar 29, 2021

DNA damage “hot spots” discovered within neurons

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, health, neuroscience

Furthermore, it implies that defects in the repair process, not the DNA damage itself, can potentially lead to developmental or neurodegenerative diseases.


Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have discovered specific regions within the DNA of neurons that accumulate a certain type of damage (called single-strand breaks or SSBs). This accumulation of SSBs appears to be unique to neurons, and it challenges what is generally understood about the cause of DNA damage and its potential implications in neurodegenerative diseases.

Because neurons require considerable amounts of oxygen to function properly, they are exposed to high levels of free radicals—toxic compounds that can damage DNA within cells. Normally, this damage occurs randomly. However, in this study, damage within neurons was often found within specific regions of DNA called “enhancers” that control the activity of nearby genes.

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Mar 28, 2021

“Zombie” Cells? Research Shows Some Genes Come to Life in the Brain After We Die

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Post-mortem changes may shed light on important brain studies.

In the hours after we die, certain cells in the human brain are still active. Some cells even increase their activity and grow to gargantuan proportions, according to new research from the University of Illinois Chicago.

In a newly published study in the journal Scientific Reports, the UIC researchers analyzed gene expression in fresh brain tissue — which was collected during routine brain surgery — at multiple times after removal to simulate the post-mortem interval and death. They found that gene expression in some cells actually increased after death.

Continue reading “‘Zombie’ Cells? Research Shows Some Genes Come to Life in the Brain After We Die” »

Mar 27, 2021

Researcher finds a better way to tap into the brain

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, neuroscience

Using a new class of nanoparticles that are two thousand times thinner than a human hair, Sakhrat Khizroev, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University’s College of Engineering, hopes to unlock the secrets of the brain.

The neurosurgeon who examined Sakhrat Khizroev after he lost his eyesight in a horrible accident told the young scientist that his vision would come back slowly. Then, after months of living in darkness, it finally started to return.

At first, the images were blurry and fragmented, as if someone were looking through a narrow window and seeing only part of a picture. But with each passing day, everything Khizroev looked at appeared clearer, sharper.

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Mar 26, 2021

Memory transfer between snails challenges view of how brain remembers

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

LOS ANGELES — UCLA neuroscientists reported Monday that they have transferred a memory from one animal to another via injections of RNA, a startling result that challenges the widely held view of where and how memories are stored in the brain.

The finding from the lab of David Glanzman hints at the potential for new RNA-based treatments to one day restore lost memories and, if correct, could shake up the field of memory and learning.


“It’s pretty shocking,” said Dr. Todd Sacktor, a neurologist and memory researcher at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. “The big picture is we’re working out the basic alphabet of how memories are stored for the first time.” He was not involved in the research, which was published in eNeuro, the online journal of the Society for Neuroscience.

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Mar 26, 2021

Three-dimensional, multifunctional neural interfaces for cortical spheroids and engineered assembloids

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, evolution, neuroscience

Three-dimensional (3D), submillimeter-scale constructs of neural cells, known as cortical spheroids, are of rapidly growing importance in biological research because these systems reproduce complex features of the brain in vitro. Despite their great potential for studies of neurodevelopment and neurological disease modeling, 3D living objects cannot be studied easily using conventional approaches to neuromodulation, sensing, and manipulation. Here, we introduce classes of microfabricated 3D frameworks as compliant, multifunctional neural interfaces to spheroids and to assembloids. Electrical, optical, chemical, and thermal interfaces to cortical spheroids demonstrate some of the capabilities. Complex architectures and high-resolution features highlight the design versatility. Detailed studies of the spreading of coordinated bursting events across the surface of an isolated cortical spheroid and of the cascade of processes associated with formation and regrowth of bridging tissues across a pair of such spheroids represent two of the many opportunities in basic neuroscience research enabled by these platforms.

Progress in elucidating the development of the human brain increasingly relies on the use of biosystems produced by three-dimensional (3D) neural cultures, in the form of cortical spheroids, organoids, and assembloids (1–3). Precisely monitoring the physiological properties of these and other types of 3D biosystems, especially their electrophysiological behaviors, promises to enhance our understanding of the interactions associated with development of the nervous system, as well as the evolution and origins of aberrant behaviors and disease states (4–8). Conventional multielectrode array (MEA) technologies exist only in rigid, planar, and 2D formats, thereby limiting their functional interfaces to small areas of 3D cultures, typically confined to regions near the bottom contacting surfaces.

Mar 25, 2021

How Humans Develop Larger Brains Than Other Apes

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Summary: Using brain organoid models, researchers have identified how the brain grows much larger and has three times as many neurons, as the brains of chimpanzees and gorillas.

Source: UK Research and Innovation.

A new study is the first to identify how human brains grow much larger, with three times as many neurons, compared with chimpanzee and gorilla brains. The study, led by researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, identified a key molecular switch that can make ape brain organoids grow more like human organoids, and vice versa.

Mar 24, 2021

Parkinson’s Gene May Impair How New Neurons Are Made Throughout Our Lifetime

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

PINK1, a gene associated with Parkinson’s disease, is not just responsible for the premature death of dopaminergic neurons, it also plays a key role in the neurogenesis of dopamine neurons throughout life.

Mar 24, 2021

A novel marker of adult human neural stem cells discovered

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, nanotechnology, neuroscience

Should interest those into links on aging/longevity and neuroscience.


The mammalian center for learning and memory, hippocampus, has a remarkable capacity to generate new neurons throughout life. Newborn neurons are produced by neural stem cells (NSCs) and they are crucial for forming neural circuits required for learning and memory, and mood control. During aging, the number of NSCs declines, leading to decreased neurogenesis and age-associated cognitive decline, anxiety, and depression. Thus, identifying the core molecular machinery responsible for NSC preservation is of fundamental importance if we are to use neurogenesis to halt or reverse hippocampal age-related pathology.

While there are increasing number of tools available to study NSCs and neurogenesis in mouse models, one of the major hurdles in exploring this fundamental biological process in the human brain is the lack of specific NSCs markers amenable for advanced imaging and in vivo analysis. A team of researchers led by Dr. Mirjana Maletić-Savatić, associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine and investigator at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Louis Manganas, associate professor at the Stony Brook University, decided to tackle this problem in a rather unusual way. They reasoned that if they could find proteins that are present on the surface of NSCs, then they could eventually make agents to “see” NSCs in the .

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Mar 23, 2021

Reverse engineering the cognitive brain

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, nanotechnology, neuroscience

Circa 2013


One of the greatest aspirations of the human mind has been to realize machines that surpass its cognitive intelligence. The rapid expansion in computing power, about to exceed the equivalent of the human brain, has yet to produce such a machine. The article by Neftci et al. in PNAS (1) offers a refreshing and humbling reminder that the brain’s cognition does not arise from exacting digital precision in high-performance computing, but rather emerges from an extremely efficient and resilient collective form of computation extending over very large ensembles of sluggish, imprecise, and unreliable analog components. This observation, first made by John von Neumann in his final opus (2), continues to challenge scientists and engineers several decades later in figuring and reproducing the mechanisms underlying brain-like forms of cognitive computing.

Related developments are currently unfolding in collaborative initiatives engaging scientists and engineers, on a grander scale, in advancing neuroscience toward understanding the brain. In parallel with the Human Brain Project in Europe, the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative promises groundbreaking advances in enabling tools for revolutionizing neuroscience by developing nanotechnology to probe brain function at greatly increased spatial and temporal detail. Engineers are poised to contribute even further in revolutionizing such developments in neuroscience. In this regard it is helpful to relate the inquisitive nature of science—analysis—to the constructive power of engineering, synthesis.

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