On this episode we have Leanne Boucher from Nova Southeastern University and Nick Spitzer from UCSD. We discuss with Nick about his new discoveries recently published in Science. His article shows how certain neurons switch their neurotransmitters based on exposition of an animal to different schedules of light/dark cycles. You can view the full discussion here, it was fascinating! Continue reading
Newborn infants can do lots of things. They can breathe, swallow, see, hear, startle, grasp, withdraw from noxious stimuli, taste, smell, cry and more. An experienced physician can elicit a broad range of behaviors. Perhaps surprisingly, the basic spinal circuitry for walking is present. If you take a neonate, support its weight, and put the feet on the ground, the infant will begin “stepping”; that is, take alternating steps, left-right-left, on the ground. How is this done? Does this suggest that an infant, with the right training, could walk?
Neurons in our brains have extended branches that allow them to send and receive signals to and from other neurons. However, every neuron starts as a rather round cell with no branches. To establish connections and become functional, cells must first grow branches, called dendrites or axons. These branches then need to reach their target and establish connections. Continue reading
The last time I was on Boylston Street it was to give a lecture in November at a scientific meeting in the Weston Hotel. Today, Sunday, I’m looking out onto an empty street, barricaded. An eerie modern-day ghost town festooned with yellow police tape rippling in the cold Boston wind. Continue reading
A recent study to be published in Nature Neuroscience has identified the role of a type of brain cells called microglia in the development of specific types of cortical neurons1. As you can see in the first image below, the cerebral cortex – the outer layer of the brain – comprises six separate layers. These layers can be identified under the microscope. Continue reading
Human brain cell transplantation makes mice smart. The transplanted cells are not neurons and the cells communicate without using electricity. Continue reading