10/18/2013 - 11:53

The brain is an extremely adaptable organ – but it is also very conservative according to scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried in collaboration with colleagues from the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel and the Ruhr Institute Bochum. The researchers succeeded in demonstrating that neurons in the brain regulate their own excitability so that the activity level in the network remains as constant as possible. Even in the event of major changes, for example the complete absence of information from a sensory organ, the almost silenced neurons re-establish levels of activity similar to their previous ones after only 48 hours. The mean activity level thus achieved is a basic prerequisite for a healthy brain and the formation of new connections between neurons – an essential capacity for regeneration following injury to the brain or a sensory organ, for example.


07/26/2013 - 11:34

In a study appearing in the journal Nature, researchers from Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine and the University of California Davis studied communications between synaptically connected neurons under conditions where subjects shifted their attention toward or away from visual stimuli that activated the recorded neurons. Using this highly sensitive measure of attention's influence on neuron-to-neuron communication, they were able to demonstrate that attention operates at the level of the synapse to improve sensitivity to incoming signals, sharpen the precision of these signals, and selectively boost the transmission of attention-grabbing information while reducing the level of noisy or attention-disrupting information.


06/14/2013 - 09:24

Neurons communicate with each other by means of specialised cell-to-cell contacts called synapses. First, an emitting neuron is excited and discharges chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters. These signal molecules then reach the receiving cell and influence its activation state. The transmitter discharge process is highly complex and strongly regulated.

06/10/2013 - 06:35

Scientist at UCSF have made a breakthrough discovery by pointing out the role of Arc protein in long-term memory formation. It has been long known that Arc protein helps in long-term memory but it is now found that Arc act as a master regulator through a process called homeostatic scaling. The synaptic connections are strengthened without overstimulation and there by learning is translated into long-term memories.


04/10/2013 - 14:29

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have shed light on one of the major toxic mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease. The discoveries could lead to a much better understanding of the Alzheimer’s process and how to prevent it.


10/11/2012 - 13:31

A paper by Shizhong Han and colleagues in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry implicates a new gene in the risk for cannabis dependence. This gene, NRG1, codes for the ErbB4 receptor, a protein implicated in synaptic development and function.