Nodes of Ranvier are myelin sheath gaps. They appear along a myelinated axon where the axolemma is exposed to the extracellular space. Nodes of Ranvier are uninsulated and highly enriched in ion channels, allowing them to participate in the exchange of ions required to regenerate the action potential. Nerve conduction in myelinated axons is referred to as saltatory conduction due to the manner in which the action potential seems to “jump” from one node to the next along the axon.
Substituting a single nucleotide in the gene coding for the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor can lead to functional changes in airway cells and result in symptoms similar to COPD, independent of smoking, new research1 has found. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive chronic respiratory disease characterized by permanently obstructed airways. Symptoms include a chronic cough, sputum and breathing difficulties, which intensify over the course of several years and eventually become debilitating.
The process of packaging neurotransmitters may be responsible for the brain’s consumption of energy when its neurons are not active, researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine have found. Pound for pound, the brain consumes vastly more energy than other organs - using ~20% of the body’s fuel intake but making up only ~2 to 2.5% of it’s mass. Their study1 identifies tiny capsules called synaptic vesicles as a major source of energy consumption in inactive neurons.
If your back began hurting after you turned 50, then you may be experiencing spinal stenosis. It’s a condition that occurs when your spinal canal starts to narrow, exerting pressure on the spinal cord and associated nerves. Stenosis most commonly appears in the lower back or neck. Symptoms can include pain, numbness, and tingling. You may also feel weakness in your legs and arms. Stenosis usually develops gradually, and the symptoms come and go.
Seemingly random brain signals may actually help the brain switch between states of inattention or disengagement and states of optimal performance, according to new research from University of Oregon scientists. Neuroscientists have been studying an oscillating background wave called the alpha rhythm in the human brain for decades. This signal appears to reflect whether a person is engaged and attentive or not, but the neurobiological basis for the signal isn’t fully understood.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as motor neuron disease (MND), has 4 distinct patterns of changes in electrical signals that can be identified using resting-state electroencephalography, according to new research1 from Trinity College Dublin. The findings will be valuable in identifying patients for clinical trials and will assist in finding new treatments for this disease. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a devastating condition which causes progressive paralysis, changes in thinking, increasing physical disability and ultimately death within an average of two to three years.
Nerve growth factor receptor (NGFR) drives the process of early metastasis in melanoma, work from an international team of scientists has found. Additionally, blocking the molcule reduces metastasis in animal models. The reduction was achieved using THX-B. This molecule is being tested for the treatment of other pathologies, which will accelerate its possible use in the treatment of tumors. In order to fight tumors, researchers have typically focused on studying their intrinsic behavior, but not on their surroundings.
You probably don’t realise it when you’re listening to your favourite song, but music has an incredibly powerful effect on the human brain. Singing, playing an instrument or listening to music have all been shown to activate numerous areas of the brain that control speech, movement and cognition, memory and emotion – often all at the same time. Remarkably, research also suggests that music can physically increase brain matter, which could help the brain repair itself.