Science, Technology, and Current Futurism
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Mitochondria Munchers | The Scientist Magazine®

Mitochondria Munchers | The Scientist Magazine® | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Most cells clean up their own damaged mitochondria by transporting the organelles into lysosomes, where they are digested internally. Lysosomes are located in the cell body, so neurons with long axons were thought to shuttle far-off axonal mitochondria back to the cell bodies for disposal. Nicholas Marsh-Armstrong of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and colleagues observed that in mice, retinal glial cells called astrocytes, clustered around the head of the optic nerve, were constantly chomping up cellular parcels extruded by axons in the nerve, leading Marsh-Armstrong to wonder what the neurons might be exporting for degradation.
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Danielle Bassett — MacArthur Foundation

Danielle Bassett — MacArthur Foundation | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Danielle Bassett is a physicist using tools from network science and complex systems theory to enhance our understanding of connectivity and organizational principles in the human brain. Combining a strong background in physics with training and collaborations in neuroscience, Bassett adapts mathematical approaches associated with the study of complex networks (such as computer or social networks) to analyze interactions among neurons in different regions of the brain while a person does certain activities (e.g., learn something new or try to remember a face), thereby unraveling how these connections give rise to the functions or jobs the brain performs.


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Neurological Trauma - BrainFacts.org

Neurological Trauma - BrainFacts.org | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

 

Brain injury is all too common, but treatments are being improved constantly. Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries can lead to significant disabilities and death. In the United States, an estimated 1.7 million people suffer traumatic head injuries each year, and roughly 52,000 will die. The leading causes of traumatic brain injury are falls and motor-vehicle related events.

  
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The Molecules that Maintain the Brain - BrainFacts.org

The Molecules that Maintain the Brain - BrainFacts.org | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
A family of proteins determines which nerve cells thrive or die.

 

We're all born with many more nerve cells than we eventually keep. Why do some cells survive and build intricate connections while others wither and die? How do nerve cells know which connections to make? The identification of a protein that tells nerve cells where to grow forever changed the way scientists think about cell growth and degeneration. Such insight is giving scientists new ways to study diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression. 
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Neuron Light Switch Now Goes “On” and “Off” | MIT Technology Review

Neuron Light Switch Now Goes “On” and “Off” | MIT Technology Review | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
A new optogenetic protein gives neuroscientists more control over brain circuits.

 

Optogenetics is a recent innovation in neuroscience that gives researchers the ability to control the activity of neurons with light. With this powerful tool, researchers are teasing apart the biological basis of memory, behavior, and disease (see “Scientists Make Mice ‘Remember’ Things That Didn’t Happen” and “An On-Off Switch for Anxiety,”). But for the first several years of this technology’s existence, the proteins that scientists added to neurons to make them react to light were only good at activating neurons. That limited researchers’ ability to understand neuronal circuits, sets of interconnected neurons that are thought to control behavior and, when misfiring, to underlie many brain conditions. Problems can arise from any imbalance in circuit activity, whether too much or too little. 


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The brain’s data compression mechanisms

The brain’s data compression mechanisms | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Researchers have hitherto assumed that information supplied by the sense of sight was transmitted almost in its entirety from its entry point to higher brain areas, across which visual sensation is generated. “It was therefore a surprise to discover that the data volumes are considerably reduced as early as in the primary visual cortex, the bottleneck leading to the cerebrum,” says PD Dr Dirk Jancke from the Institute for Neural Computation at the Ruhr-Universität. “We intuitively assume that our visual system generates a continuous stream of images, just like a video camera. However, we have now demonstrated that the visual cortex suppresses redundant information and saves energy by frequently forwarding image differences.”

 
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Brain Cells Can Outlive the Body

Brain Cells Can Outlive the Body | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Mouse brain cells transplanted into rats can survive at least twice as long as the mice from which they are taken

Via The QI Elves
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Researchers Provide First Peek at How Neurons Multitask

Researchers Provide First Peek at How Neurons Multitask | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Researchers at the University of Michigan have shown how a single neuron can perform multiple functions in a model organism, illuminating for the first time this fundamental biological mechanism and shedding light on the human brain.

Investigators in the lab of Shawn Xu at the Life Sciences Institute found that a neuron in C. elegans, a tiny worm with a simple nervous system used as a model for studying sensation, movement and other neurological function, regulates both the speed and direction in which the worm moves. The individual neurons can route information through multiple downstream neural circuits, with each circuit controlling a specific behavioral output.

The findings are scheduled for online publication in the journal Cell on Nov. 6. The research is also featured on the cover.

"Understanding how the nervous system and genes lead to behavior is a fundamental question in neuroscience, and we wanted to figure out how C. elegans are able to perform a wide range of complex behaviors with their small nervous systems," Xu said.

The C. elegans nervous system contains 302 neurons.

"Scientists think that even though humans have billions of neurons, some perform multiple functions. Seeing the mechanism in worms will help to understand the human brain," Xu said.

The model neuron studied, AIY, regulates at least two distinct motor outputs: locomotion speed and direction-switch. AIY interacts with two circuits, one that is inhibitory and controls changes in the direction of the worm's movement, and a second that is excitatory and controls speed.

"It's important to note that these two circuits have connections with other neurons and may cross-talk with each other," Xu said. "Neuronal control of behavior is very complex."

Xu is a faculty member in the U-M Life Sciences Institute, where his laboratory is located and research conducted. He is also a professor of molecular and integrative physiology at the U-M Medical School.

Other authors on the paper were Zhaoyu Li, Jie Liu and Maohua Zheng, also of the Life Sciences Institute and Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology in the U-M Medical School.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Shawn Xu: www.lsi.umich.edu/labs/shawn-xu-lab ;


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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The Time Of Our Lives

The Time Of Our Lives | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it

Living organisms evolved an internal biological clock, called the circadian rhythm, to help their bodies adapt to the daily cycle of day and night (light and dark) as the Earth rotates every 24 hours. The term "circadian" comes from the Latin words for about (circa) a day (diem).

 

Circadian rhythms are controlled by "clock genes" that code for clock proteins. The levels of these proteins rise and fall in rhythmic patterns. These oscillating biochemical signals control various functions, including when we sleep and rest, and when we are awake and active. Circadian rhythms also control body temperature, heart activity, hormone secretion, blood pressure, oxygen consumption, metabolism, and many other functions.

 

Daily cycles also regulate the levels of substances in our blood, including red blood cells, blood sugar, gases, and ions such as potassium and sodium. Our internal clocks may even influence our mood, particularly in the form of wintertime depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

 

A biological clock has three parts: a way to receive light, temperature, or other input from the environment; the protein and chemicals that make up the clock itself; and components that help the clock control the activity of other genes.

In the last few decades, scientists have discovered the genes that control internal clocks: period (per), clock (clk), cycle (cyc), timeless (tim), frequency (frq), doubletime (dbt) and others. Clock genes have been found in organisms ranging from people to mice, fish, fruit flies, plants, molds, and even single-celled cyanobacteria.

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Neurons: A Curious Collection of Shapes and Sizes - BrainFacts.org

Neurons: A Curious Collection of Shapes and Sizes - BrainFacts.org | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Neurons — the nerve cells that make up the brain and nervous system — look different from all other cells in the body. And from one another.
Sharrock's insight:

Every neuron is different: "That diversity is extraordinary. Scientists have identified hundreds of types and subtypes of neurons using advanced cellular imaging techniques, and more are discovered each year."

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How our brains keep us focused

How our brains keep us focused | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
Scientists have uncovered mechanisms that help our brain to focus by efficiently routing only relevant information to perceptual brain regions.
Sharrock's insight:

A metacognitive skill may be the active influence on these two mechanisms: "two distinct processes, referred to as "sensitivity enhancement" and "efficient selection." Sensitivity enhancement corresponds to improvements in how neurons in the cortex represent sensory information like sounds and lights, similar to the volume control or reception control on a television set. Efficient selection is more like a filter, routing important sensory information to higher-order perceptual areas of the brain while suppressing disruptions from irrelevant information." . It may also be one of the main factors of genius.

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An AI that mimics our neocortex is taking on the neural networks – and this is how it'll do it • The Register

An AI that mimics our neocortex is taking on the neural networks – and this is how it'll do it • The Register | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
An AI that mimics our neocortex is taking on the neural networks – and this is how it'll do it • The Register
http://t.co/wkF0vebJlO

Via Scott Turner
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How touch and movement neurons shape the brain’s internal image of the body | KurzweilAI

How touch and movement neurons shape the brain’s internal image of the body | KurzweilAI | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
The avatar arm evoking the rubber hand illusion in a monkey (credit: Duke University) The brain’s tactile and motor neurons, which perceive touch and
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IT's curator insight, September 11, 2013 3:57 AM

Víte, že opice dokáže pohnout předmětem ve virtuálním prostředí... a teď si představte co dokáže člověk, když má představyvost, je kreativní a navíc s dostatečně velkou databází "objektů" xxx, to musí bejt gól!!!

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33rd Square: Researchers Turn One Kind Of Neuron Into Another In A Living Brain

33rd Square: Researchers Turn One Kind Of Neuron Into Another In A Living Brain | Science, Technology, and Current Futurism | Scoop.it
A new finding by Harvard stem cell biologists turns one of the basics of neurobiology on its head by demonstrating that it is possible to turn one type of already differentiated (formed from a stem cell) neuron into another within a live brain.
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