This Week on NeuroScientistNews: 29 June – 3 July
News Jul 03, 2015
Stress resiliency & susceptibility; his & her pain circuitry; how your brain knows it's summer, and more.
Humans are remarkably resilient when confronted with tremendous amounts of stress and trauma. While most people are able to maintain balanced psychological and physical functioning, some people are vulnerable, or susceptible, to the negative biological, psychological, and social consequences of stress. The biological factors underlying susceptibility are unknown and likely intersect with an individual’s ability to cope, among other factors.
New research published in Nature Neuroscience reveals for the first time that pain is processed in male and female mice using different cells. These findings have far-reaching implications for our basic understanding of pain, how we develop the next generation of medications for chronic pain—which is by far the most prevalent human health condition—and the way we execute basic biomedical research using mice.
The brains of people with recurrent depression have a significantly smaller hippocampus -- the part of the brain most associated with forming new memories -- than healthy individuals, a new global study of nearly 9,000 people reveals. Published in Molecular Psychiatry, the ENIGMA study is co-authored by University of Sydney scholars at the Brain and Mind Research Institute..
Researchers led by Toru Takumi at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered a key mechanism underlying how animals keep track of the seasons. The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows how circadian clock machinery in the brain encodes seasonal changes in daylight duration through GABA activity along with changes in the amount of chloride located inside certain neurons.
Researchers have discovered a thick band of microtubules in certain neurons in the retina that they believe acts as a transport road for mitochondria that help provide energy required for visual processing. The findings appear in the July issue of The Journal of General Physiology.
Neurons in the human brain receive electrical signals from thousands of other cells, and long neural extensions called dendrites play a critical role in incorporating all of that information. Using hard-to-obtain samples of human brain tissue, MIT neuroscientists have now discovered that human dendrites have different electrical properties from those of other species.