By the second trimester, long before a baby’s eyes can see images, they can detect light. But the light-sensitive cells in the developing retina — the thin sheet of brain-like tissue at the back of the eye — were thought to be simple on-off switches, presumably there to set up the 24-hour, day-night rhythms parents… Read more

By investigating symbiotic organs in cephalopods – octopuses and their kin – researchers have found that there may be many evolutionary paths towards the current forms of organs that host symbiotic microbes. Many animals have specialized symbiotic organs. In humans, the appendix may even be one example, safeguarding beneficial bacteria when the gastrointestinal tract is… Read more

For the first time, human blood cells have been directly reprogrammed into a previously unknown type of neural stem cell, report scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the stem cell institute HI-STEM in Heidelberg. The induced stem cells are similar to those that occur during the early embryonic development of the central… Read more

Three-dimensional human tissue culture models for the central nervous system have been developed by a team of Tufts University-led researchers. The models mimic structural and functional features of the brain and demonstrate neural activity sustained over a period of many months. With the ability to populate a 3-D matrix of silk protein and collagen with… Read more

According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, a total of 246 million people between the ages of 15 and 64 have used an illicit drug. Cannabis is by far the most widely cultivated, trafficked and used psychoactive substance, and its consumption has grown more rapidly than both cocaine and opiate abuse over… Read more