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The Molecules that Maintain the Brain

A family of proteins determines which nerve cells thrive or die.

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Electrifying the Brain

Research on squid reveals how nerve cells communicate. By studying enormous nerve cells in the squid, researchers determined how brain cells generate and transmit electrical messages.

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Neurotransmitters: How Brain Cells Use Chemicals to Communicate

Neurons transmit signs to your brain every millisecond of every day, and facilitate almost everything you do. But what happens when this critical process goes wrong?

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Introduction

Every minute of every day, the billions of cells in our brains send and receive signals that influence everything from the memories we form to the emotions we feel. Upon receiving new information, a nerve cell transmits an electrical signal, triggering the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters at special locations called synapses. These chemicals act as messengers, passing along instructions that switch nearby cells on or off. By studying the everyday chatter between nerve cells, researchers hope to better understand communication breakdowns that might contribute to brain disorders. New tools and technologies in molecular and cellular biology are helping scientists track cell communication. Ongoing studies in animals and humans are linking deficits in neurotransmitter production and release to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. These insights could one day guide scientists to develop new drugs for these and other brain disorders.

Discoveries

Neuroglia and the Brain

Source: Society for Neuroscience

You have probably heard about neurons, but what about neuroglia? Discover the important role that neuroglia play in the brain with this video. 


Neuron Conversations: How Brain Cells Communicate

Source: Society for Neuroscience
The messages sent from one brain cell to another are the basis of brain function. Brain cells communicate through both electrical and chemical means.

Step Two: After Neurotransmitters Act

Source: Society for Neuroscience
Chemical reactions within brain cells translate the neurotransmitter message for the neuron.

Trophic Factors

Source: Society for Neuroscience
Molecules that are important in brain development may help treat or prevent brain injuries and disorders.

Electrifying the Brain

Source: Society for Neuroscience
Research on squid reveals how nerve cells communicate. By studying enormous nerve cells in the squid, researchers determined how brain cells generate and transmit electrical messages.

Cell Communication in the News

Watch Proteins Do the Jitterbug

Source: New York Times
Date: 10 April 2014
The animators who produced the video hit “The Inner Life of a Cell” are back with a look at the messy, chaotic dance performed by molecules in a neuron. Carl Zimmer.

Fly Brain 'Atlas' Opens Door to Linking Human Neurons to Actions

Source: Chicago Tribune
Date: 27 March 2014
Research identified the brain neurons that cause every behavior fruit fly larvae execute.

From the Deepest Coma, New Brain Activity Found

Source: Discovery News
Date: 18 Sept 2013

New findings suggest that even in a deep comatose state, minimum but widespread neural activity
activity can occur.