Research groups supported by the U.S. BRAIN Initiative recently released the most comprehensive map of cell types in the motor cortex of humans, monkeys and mice.
Andriy Onufriyenko/Moment via Getty Images
Scientists have been mapping the brain for centuries. New visualization tools bring them one step closer to understanding where thoughts come from and new ways to treat neurological disorders.
The colors in this microscope photo of a fruit fly brain show different types of neurons and the cells that surround them in the brain.
Sarah DeGenova Ackerman
Adaptable neurons are tied to learning and memory but also to neurological disorders. By studying fruit flies, researchers found a mechanism that controls neuroplasticity.
The protein, called GDF5, plays an important role in the development and function of certain brain neurons.
Neurotrophic factors play an important role in protecting neurons – which is why researchers are investigating them as a treatment for Parkinson’s.
Photograph of an elephant brain.
Dr. Paul Manger/ University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Life in captivity causes observable harm to the structure and function of large mammals’ brains.
When you sniff a particular scent, your brain cells fire in a recognizable pattern.
Maskot via Getty Images
Brains recognize a smell based on which cells fire, in what order – the same way you recognize a song based on its pattern of notes. How much can you change the ‘tune’ and still know the smell?
The microglia (in red) can both protect against and contribute to diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Juan Gaertner/ Shutterstock
Between 10-15% of all cells within the brain are microglia.
Rat microglia in green.
A new study raises hopes of better treatment for amnesia, Alzheimer’s and other conditions affecting memory.
It’s these brain cells that really make humans unique.
We have more neurons in our cortices than any other species, courtesy of an early technology – and along with them came our long, slow lives, with plenty of chances to gather around the dinner table.
Andrew Pontzen, Fabio Governato/Wikimedia Commons.
Our brain cells do look a lot like a map of the universe – but that doesn’t mean they’re the same thing.
Could it be that a baby has all the brain cells she ever will?
Jv Garcia on Unsplash
Neuroscience labs around the world may need to reevaluate some of their assumptions about whether what works in animals will really produce meaningful treatments for people.
New research is helping us understand exactly how Alzheimer’s works – and how to treat it.
A hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease is gradual deterioration of memory.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, but treatments are still far from successful in clinical trials. Here is what we know about the disease, and what is yet to be uncovered.
Has neuroscience been on the wrong track for centuries?
There’s both money and prestige invested in the simple idea that different brain areas are responsible for certain functions. But that doesn’t make it true.
Complex enough – without cancer.
By tampering with the machinery which allows aggressive cancer cells to adapt, we can disrupt their ecosystem.
Just ask a cab driver - they’ve got that map in their head.
When we figure out how places connect geographically, local maps in the brain join into a single, overarching map.
Let’s say Martians land on the Earth and wish to understand more about humans. Someone hands them a copy of the Complete Works of Shakespeare and says: “When you understand what’s in there, you will understand…