Tag Archives: Neuron

today’s birthday: Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852)

Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852)

Considered one of the founders of neuroscience, Ramón y Cajal was a Spanish histologist and Nobel laureate. He devised a method of staining nerve tissue that allowed him to study the structure of the nervous system and make many important discoveries. In 1906, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Camillo Golgi. Though he was a highly respected researcher in his adult years, he often got into trouble as a child and was imprisoned at the age of 11 for doing what? More… Discuss


Why Some Get SAD

Why Some Get SAD

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression most often experienced in winter, when exposure to sunlight is limited. Although the mechanism of the disorder is not entirely understood, researchers are closing in on its causes. Data show that people with SAD have higher evening and nighttime levels of serotonin transporter (SERT) protein during the winter months than do healthy volunteers. SERT carries serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, back into nerve cells where it is not active, so these higher SERT levels could conceivably account for the “winter blues.” More… Discuss

Sleep Promotes Learning through Synapse Formation (there are so many studies arriving to other conclusions: Why?)

Sleep Promotes Learning through Synapse Formation

Sleep has long been known to play a vital role in the learning process, but the precise science behind it was not fully understood. Using advanced microscopy, researchers were able to observe the formation of new synapses, or connections between nerve cells, in the brain and found that sleep-deprived subjects form fewer new connections than those allowed to sleep properly. Even intense, extended training on a task cannot make up for sleep deprivation. The findings suggest that sleep promotes the formation of new synaptic connections, thereby contributing to learning and memory formation. More… Discuss

Just a thought: “What”s known for thousands of years, is as true now than it was in the early history of mankind…who pays for all the sensational studies done to prove the mumankind commun sense wrong? and why?” (George B)

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Skipping Sleep Could Cause Brain Damage

Burning the candle at both ends can lead to more than a few sluggish, cranky days; it may actually result in permanent brain damage. Just three days of sleep deprivation caused mice to lose a quarter of the nerve cells associated with alertness in a part of the brain stem called the locus ceruleus. If this turns out to be the case in humans as well, it will debunk the long-held notion that getting “catch-up sleep” can make up for night after night of missed sleep. To study this further, researchers plan to examine the brains of deceased shift workers for evidence of this sort of damage. More…Discuss

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Just How Toxic is Mercury? – A Study by University of Calgary

In this video, you will see just how toxic mercury really is and how it causes damage to the brain.

Quoted from the video:

“Shown here is the neurite of a live neuron isolated from snail brain tissue displaying linear growth due to growth cone activity.

It is important to note that growth cones in all animal species, ranging from snails to humans, have identical structural and behavioral characteristics, and use proteins of virtually identical composition.

In this experiment, neurons also isolated from snail brain tissue were grown in culture for several days. Afterwhich, very low concentrations of mercury (30 micrograms) were added to the culture medium for 20 minutes.

Over the next 30 minutes, the neuron underwent rapid degeneration leaving the denuded neurofibrils seen here.

To understand how mercury causes this degeneration, let us return to our illustration. As mentioned before, tubulin proteins link together during normal cell growth to form microtubules which support the neurite structure.

When mercury ions are introduced into the culture medium, they infiltrate the cell and bind themselves to newly synthesized tubulin molecules.

More specifically, the mercury ions attach themselves to the binding sites reserved for Guanosine Triphosphate (GTP) on the beta subunit of the affected tubulin molecules.

Since bound GTP normally provides the energy which allows tubulin molecules to attach to one another, mercury ions bound to these sites prevent tubulin proteins from linking together.

Consequently, the neurite’s microtubules begin to disassemble into free tubulin molecules, leaving the neurites stripped of its support structure.

Ultimately, both the developing neurite and its growth cone collapse, and some denuded neurofibrils form aggregates, or tangles, as depicted here.

Shown here is a neurite growth cone stained specifically for tubulin and actin, before and after mercury exposure.

Note that the mercury has caused disintigration of tubilin microtubule structure. 

These new findings reveal important visual evidence as to how mercury causes neuro-degeneration.

More importantly, this study provides the first direct evidence that low-level mercury exposure is indeed a precipitating factor that can initiate this neuro-degenerative process within the brain.”



Sleeping Builds Brain Cells

Why do we need to sleep? Obviously, without it we are tired, irritable, and unable to think and function as effectively as we otherwise could, but why is this? What are the underlying biological processes that drive this need? Scientists have long been grappling with this topic, and recent research has yielded some pretty interesting findings. During sleep, the production ofnervous system cells that generate myelin, a substance that insulates the nerves and permits the rapid transmission of nerve impulses, doubles in mice. This suggests that sleep may serve certain reparative and growth functions in the brain. More… Discuss



Scientists Grow Mini-Brains

Using stem cells, laboratory researchers have managed to grow cerebral organoids, essentially miniature brainswith several distinct regions—a scientific first. The mini brains are pea-sized and similar to that of a 9-week-oldfetus. They have already been used to studymicrocephaly, a congenital condition characterized by abnormal smallness of the head and underdevelopment of the brain, and may be a useful research tool in future studies of brain diseasesMore… Discuss

Today’s Birthday (July 7,): Camillo Golgi (1843)

Camillo Golgi (1843)

An Italian physician and cytologist, Golgi devised a way to stain nerve tissue and, using the technique, was able to clearly observe a neuron, now called a Golgi cell, along with its axon and dendrites branching off. The discovery led to the identification of the neuron as the basic structural unit of the nervous system. He also discovered the Golgi tendon organ and the Golgi apparatus. He shared the 1906 Nobel Prize with Santiago Ramón y Cajal. What discovery did Golgi make about malaria? More… Discuss

Article of the Day (June 30): Neurogenesis


The human nervous system is composed of some 200 billion cells called neurons, about half of which are found in the brain. Neurogenesis, the process through which neurons are formed, is most active during prenatal development. Though early neuroanatomists believed that the adult nervous system is fixed and incapable of regeneration, neurogenesis actually continues throughout life. Studies have shown that lack of sleep reduces neurogenesis and exercise increases it. How is it affected by stress? How physical exercise help the aging body and the brain?More… Discuss