Brain Network Structures Can Change Over Time

spatial chronnectome
The connectivity and shape of brain networks — discrete areas of the brain that work together to perform complex cognitive tasks — can alter in fundamental and recurring ways over time, a study led by Georgia State University suggests. The researchers gathered functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain imaging data to develop pictures of network …

How The Brain Processes The External World Using Overlapping Visual Circuits

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A new study from Salk Institute researchers demonstrates that there are neurons that respond selectively to particular combinations of color and shape. "New genetic sensors and imaging technologies have allowed us to more thoroughly test the link between visual circuits that process color and shape. These findings provide valuable insight about how visual circuits are …

Pericytes Secrete A Substance In The Brain That Protects Neurons

pleiotrophin depletion neuron loss
A new study helps explain the cascade of problems that lead to neurodegeneration after stroke or traumatic brain injury, as well as in diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. It also suggests a potential strategy for therapy. "What this paper shows is if you lose these vascular cells, you start losing neurons. The link with neurodegeneration …

Dendrites Are Unexpectedly Active In Neural Computation

Correlated Somato-dendritic Activity
Most neurons have many branching extensions called dendrites that receive input from thousands of other neurons. Dendrites aren’t just passive information-carriers, however. According to a new study from MIT, they appear to play a surprisingly large role in neurons’ ability to translate incoming signals into electrical activity. Neuroscientists had previously suspected that dendrites might be …

Hippocampal Neurogenesis Persists Through The Tenth Decade Of Life

Neurons
New neurons continue to form well into old age, University of Illinois at Chicago researchers examining post-mortem brain tissue from people ages 79 to 99 have found. The study provides evidence that this occurs even in people with cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease, although neurogenesis is significantly reduced in these people compared to older adults …

Neonatal Nicotine Exposure Alters Brain’s Reward Circuity

nicotine
Early life exposure to nicotine alters neurons in the brains of newborn mice, increasing their preference for the drug in later adulthood, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report. Exposure to nicotine in the first few weeks of life (through maternal lactation) caused a form of neuroplasticity that resulted in increased …