Fallini, et al. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2016.
Snap your fingers or wiggle your toes. Those quick movements result from a sequence of electrical signals that begin in your brain. Specialized cells called motor neurons (above) carry instructions from the brain along long cables (axons) that stretch from your spinal cord to the muscles in your hands and feet. In diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy, motor neuron axons become damaged and degenerate, which means signals from the brain never reach the muscles and movement becomes impaired. Researchers are studying what causes this degeneration in order to find potential treatments for this and other motor neuron diseases.
Michael W. Richardson
Michael W. Richardson is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn, New York, covering topics ranging from the brain and behavior to the environment.
Fallini C, Donlin-Asp PG, Rouanet JP, Bassell GJ, Rossoll W. Deficiency of the survival of motor neuron protein impairs mRNA localization and local translation in the growth cone of motor neurons. The Journal of Neuroscience. 36(13): 3811-3820 (2016).
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