Neuroscience: Research News
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Weighing the Evidence in Peters’ Rule: Does Neuronal Morphology Predict Connectivity?

Although the importance of network connectivity is increasingly recognized, identifying synapses remains challenging relative to the routine characterization of neuronal morphology. Thus, researchers frequently employ axon–dendrite colocations as proxies of potential connections. This putative equivalence, commonly referred to as Peters’ rule, has been recently studied at multiple levels and scales, fueling passionate debates regarding its validity. Our critical literature review identifies three conceptually distinct but often confused applications: inferring neuron type circuitry, predicting synaptic contacts among individual cells, and estimating synapse numbers within neuron pairs.
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A GluD Coming-Of-Age Story

The GluD1 and GluD2 receptors form the GluD ionotropic glutamate receptor (iGluR) subfamily. Without known endogenous ligands, they have long been referred to as ‘orphan’ and remained enigmatic functionally. Recent progress has, however, radically changed this view. Both GluD receptors are expressed in wider brain regions than originally thought. Human genetic studies and analyses of knockout mice have revealed their involvement in multiple neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. The discovery of endogenous ligands, together with structural investigations, has opened the way towards a mechanistic understanding of GluD signaling at central nervous system synapses.
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Synaptic transmission: Recycling regulators

The mechanisms that regulate synaptic vesicle recycling are unclear. Here, Li et al. show that Ca2+ sensors that drive vesicle fusion also influence vesicle endocytosis. High-resolution recordings of fluorescently tagged vesicles revealed a role of synaptotagmin 1 in the regulation of the
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Why brains are beautiful - BBC News

Why brains are beautiful - BBC News | Neuroscience: Research News | Scoop.it
Why brains are beautiful. How advances in neuroscience are helping to unlock the secrets of this biological masterpiece and help improve understanding of mental illness.
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Metabotropic NMDA receptor signaling couples Src family kinases to pannexin-1 during excitotoxicity

The loss of nerve cells in the brain is the main event causing life-long deficits and neurological problems after stroke. Weilinger et al. show that NMDA receptors cause nerve cell death during stroke in an unexpected way.
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Parkinson disease: A monoclonal antibody targeting misfolded α-synuclein has therapeutic potential in Parkinson disease

Nature Reviews Neurology 10, 426 (2014).
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Neurodevelopmental disorders: Accelerating progress in autism through developmental research

Nature Reviews Neurology 10, 431 (2014).
doi:10.1038/nrneurol.2014.126
Authors: Jason J. Wolff & Joseph Piven
Autism is arguably the quintessential neurodevelopmental disorder.
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Transneuronal propagation of mutant huntingtin contributes to non–cell autonomous pathology in neurons

Nature Neuroscience 17, 1064 (2014).doi:10.1038/nn.3761 Authors: Eline Pecho-Vrieseling, Claus Rieker, Sascha Fuchs, Dorothee Bleckmann, Maria Soledad Esposito, Paolo Botta, Chris Goldstein, Mario Bernhard, Ivan Galimberti, Matthias Müller, Andreas...
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Emerging role of CaMKII in neuropsychiatric disease

Although the past decades have seen an explosion in research into psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders, and a concomitant increase in our understanding of their fundamental molecular mechanisms in discrete brain regions, a holistic,...
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Neuroscientists say handwriting activates the brain

Neuroscientists say handwriting activates the brain | Neuroscience: Research News | Scoop.it
Writing by hand activates areas in the brain that help you learn faster and better.

 

“When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated. There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain,” Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Collège de France in Paris.

 

A study conducted at Indiana University, in the US, reported that when children write by hand three areas of the brain are activated—the left fusiform gyrus, the inferior frontal gyrus and the posterior parietal cortex. These are the same areas that are set in motion when adults read and write. Kids who typed or just traced letters didn’t show any activation in these areas.

 

“This is one of the first demonstrations of the brain being changed because of the practice,” explained Karin James, who was involved in the study, told The New York Times.

 

Taking notes by hand can help you learn faster and better—you should try it next time you have an exam or need to deliver a presentation. Studies suggest this is due to the fact that one needs to process and reframe all the information before writing it down. “We don’t write longhand as fast as we type these days, but people who were typing just tended to transcribe large parts of lecture content verbatim,” Pam Mueller, teaching assistant at Princeton University

 

Read more here:

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20141906-25707.html

 

The research article featuring the Indiana University study can be read here: http://indianapublicmedia.org/stateimpact/2011/09/29/why-schools-should-keep-teaching-handwriting-even-if-typing-is-more-useful/

 


Via Eric Chan Wei Chiang
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Eric Chan Wei Chiang's curator insight, August 1, 2014 11:44 AM

Handwriting has many cognitive advantages, but typing fast can also help improve our cognitive and creative processes. 


Typing won't help you learn better or faster, but improving your typing skills can help you improve your written communication and facilitate exchange of ideas.


Read about the benefits of typing here: http://sco.lt/88ExJx

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Alzheimer disease: Increased astrocytic γ-aminobutyric acid release in AD

Nature Reviews Neurology 10, 428 (2014).
doi:10.1038/nrneurol.2014.135
Astrocytes that surround amyloid plaques become reactive in Alzheimer disease (AD), but their role in AD pathogenesis is poorly understood.
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GABAA receptor target of TETS [Neuroscience]

GABAA receptor target of TETS [Neuroscience] | Neuroscience: Research News | Scoop.it
Use of the highly toxic and easily prepared rodenticide tetramethylenedisulfotetramine (TETS) was banned after thousands of accidental or intentional human poisonings, but it is of continued concern as a chemical threat agent.
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Mitochondrial oxidant stress in locus coeruleus is regulated by activity and nitric oxide synthase

Nature Neuroscience.doi:10.1038/nn.3717 Authors: Javier Sanchez-Padilla, Jaime N Guzman, Ema Ilijic, Jyothisri Kondapalli, Daniel J Galtieri, Ben Yang, Simon Schieber, Wolfgang Oertel, David Wokosin, Paul T Schumacker & D James Surmeier...
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Modulation of excitation on parvalbumin interneurons by neuroligin-3 regulates the hippocampal network

The authors show that postsynaptic deletion of neuroligin-3 from parvalbumin interneurons causes a decrease in NMDA-receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents and an increase in presynaptic glutamate release probability linked to a deficit in presynaptic Group III metabotropic glutamate receptor function. This selective disruption of excitatory transmission on parvalbumin interneurons leads to abnormal hippocampal network activity and a decrease in contextual fear extinction.
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Mitophagy and Alzheimer’s Disease: Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms

Neurons affected in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) experience mitochondrial dysfunction and a bioenergetic deficit that occurs early and promotes the disease-defining amyloid beta peptide (Aβ) and Tau pathologies. Emerging findings suggest that the autophagy/lysosome pathway that removes damaged mitochondria (mitophagy) is also compromised in AD, resulting in the accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria. Results in animal and cellular models of AD and in patients with sporadic late-onset AD suggest that impaired mitophagy contributes to synaptic dysfunction and cognitive deficits by triggering Aβ and Tau accumulation through increases in oxidative damage and cellular energy deficits; these, in turn, impair mitophagy.
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Advancing NMDA Receptor Physiology by Integrating Multiple Approaches

NMDA receptors (NMDARs) are ion channels activated by the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate and are essential to all aspects of brain function, including learning and memory formation. Missense mutations distributed throughout NMDAR subunits have been associated with an array of neurological disorders. Recent structural, functional, and computational studies have generated many insights into the activation process connecting glutamate binding to ion-channel opening, which is central to NMDAR physiology and pathophysiology.
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Microglial brain region−dependent diversity and selective regional sensitivities to aging

Heterogeneity within distinct cell populations resident in the central nervous system is increasingly recognized as important for functional diversity, plasticity and sensitivity to neurological disease.
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Noninvasive optical inhibition with a red-shifted microbial rhodopsin

Nature Neuroscience 17, 1123 (2014).doi:10.1038/nn.3752 Authors: Amy S Chuong, Mitra L Miri, Volker Busskamp, Gillian A C Matthews, Leah C Acker, Andreas T Sørensen, Andrew Young, Nathan C Klapoetke, Mike A Henninger, Suhasa B Kodandaramaiah, Masaaki...
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Neuro-oncology: GABAergic excitation drives epileptiform activity in glioma

Nature Reviews Neurology 10, 427 (2014).
doi:10.1038/nrneurol.2014.133
Seizures are a common comorbidity of gliomas.
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Something wicked this way comes: huntingtin

Nature Neuroscience 17, 1014 (2014).
doi:10.1038/nn.3770
Author: Albert R La Spada
Does cell-to-cell spreading of misfolded proteins occur in all neurodegenerative disorders?
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The discovery of first-in-class drugs: origins and evolution

Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 13, 577 (2014).
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Sleep, clocks, and synaptic plasticity

Sleep is widely found in the animal kingdom yet its core functions are unknown. A popular and perennial idea is that sleep plays an essential role in synaptic plasticity.
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Sending Red Light Through The Skull To Influence Brain Activity Using Red-Shifted Cruxhalorhodopsin named Jaws

Sending Red Light Through The Skull To Influence Brain Activity Using Red-Shifted Cruxhalorhodopsin named Jaws | Neuroscience: Research News | Scoop.it
Genetically engineered protein responds remotely to red light.

 

A team of biological engineers has developed a light-sensitive protein that permits scientists to control activity inside the brains of mice from outside the rodents’ skulls. The protein, called Jaws, promises to expand scientists’ ability to study brain activity in experimental animals and -- eventually -- humans. Ultimately, it holds the prospect of facilitating treatment of human conditions such as epilepsy.


Researchers are also using the protein to treat eye disease in experimental animals. Here, an immediate goal is therapy for certain eye ailments in humans.


Scientists use optogenetics, as the technology is known, to study the behavior and pathology of experimental animals’ brains by shining light on proteins known as opsins. Introduced into the brain aboard viruses, the opsins respond to the light by suppressing or stimulating electrical signals in brain cells. Optogenetic inhibition of the electrical activity of neurons enables the causal assessment of their contributions to brain functions. Red light penetrates deeper into tissue than other visible wavelengths. The red-shifted cruxhalorhodopsin, Jaws, derived from Haloarcula (Halobacterium) salinarum (strain Shark) and engineered to result in red light–induced photocurrents three times those of earlier silencers. Jaws exhibits robust inhibition of sensory-evoked neural activity in the cortex and results in strong light responses when used in retinas of retinitis pigmentosa model mice.


The opsins normally used in brain studies are sensitive to blue, green, or yellow light. Because bodily tissue absorbs those colors easily, the sources of such light must lie inside the brain. Typically, the light is delivered through an optical fiber implanted in an experimental animal’s brain. Jaws can noninvasively mediate transcranial optical inhibition of neurons deep in the brains of awake mice. The noninvasive optogenetic inhibition opened up by Jaws enables a variety of important neuroscience experiments and offers a powerful general-use chloride pump for basic and applied neuroscience.


A team led by Ed Boyden, associate professor of biological engineering and brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, reporting in Nature Neuroscience, demonstrated that red light shone from outside a mouse’s head can influence the Jaws protein up to three millimeters deep inside the brain. In fact, Boyden said, "we think the light goes further into the brain." A mouse’s brain is only about four millimeters thick.


"This is a huge advance, in that it allows for much deeper penetration of effective light," said David Lyon, an associate professor of anatomy and neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. Lyon was not involved in the research on Jaws.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Protons are neurotransmitters in the amygdala [Neuroscience]

Protons are neurotransmitters in the amygdala [Neuroscience] | Neuroscience: Research News | Scoop.it
Stimulating presynaptic terminals can increase the proton concentration in synapses. Potential receptors for protons are acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs), Na+- and Ca2+-permeable channels that are activated by extracellular acidosis.
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NMDAR antagonists as rapid antidepressants [Neuroscience]

NMDAR antagonists as rapid antidepressants [Neuroscience] | Neuroscience: Research News | Scoop.it
Ketamine is an NMDA receptor (NMDAR) antagonist that elicits rapid antidepressant responses in patients with treatment-resistant depression.
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