The same systems that facilitate quick learning in early development come into play when a period of heightened learning is triggered during adulthood, suggests research by scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). The findings prefigure potential therapeutic approaches for the rare neurodevelopmental disorder called Rett syndrome, in which the adult brain may be unable… Read more

Manipulating a specific type of neuron in the auditory cortex of rats can restore their brain plasticity, McGill University researchers report[1]. During childhood, the human brain is highly sensitive and will form connections to best adapt to its environment. This ability, called plasticity, diminishes as we age. Rebooting this ability may be the key to… Read more

Purkinje cells, the primary output neurons in the cerebellum, have the ability to modulate and filter incoming signals, according to research from Kyoto University[1]. The findings shed new light on learning mechanisms of both the cerebellum and the brain. The cerebellum is a structure located at the base of the brain, and is known to… Read more

Synapses allow neurons to communicate with one another. In the synapse, one neuron emits chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, and an adjacent neuron receives them using tiny structures called receptors. A specific type of receptor, the AMPA receptor, plays a crucial role in learning and memory processes. However, scientists don’t yet fully understand how these AMPA… Read more

An extraordinary example of brain plasticity has been detailed in a new study of two professional foot painters[1]. Using your feet like hands, the study found, can result in organised hand-like maps of the toes in the brain, which has never before been documented in people. “For almost all people, each of our fingers is… Read more