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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.


Source: Society for Neuroscience
Studying how nerve cells and muscles communicate may shed light on neuromuscular diseases.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
Scientists pinpoint the role of proteins in neural communication.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
Odor information travels through the amygdala, where it helps to influence such behaviors as reproduction and defense.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
Studying the nerve cells that alert fruit flies to danger may one day help scientists better understand diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and autism.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
Your brain’s electrical signals travel from node to node in their journey along nerve axons.
Signals from the retina must make their way through the eye to the brain.

Cell Communication in the News

Source: Los Angeles Times
Date: 23 Dec 2014
Swiss researchers used smartphone data to track how finger use changed the brain.
Source: The Guardian
Date: 3 May 2014
A citizen science project to map neural connections in the retina may have answered the long-standing question of how our eyes detect motion.
Source: LiveScience
Date: 1 May 2014
Brain scans are now starting to peer down to the molecular level, revealing what brain cells are telling one another, researchers say.