New in Neuroscience: How do different mutations in the same gene contribute to different neurological disorders?

New in Neuroscience: How do different mutations in the same gene contribute to different neurological disorders?

Each year, approximately 61.5 million Americans are afflicted by a mental illness. Although we have not yet determined the underlying cause of these disorders, scientists believe that genetic mutations play a major role. Human genetic testing has identified multiple “risk genes” that are associated with major psychiatric disorders, but little is known about how mutations in the same risk gene can contribute to different disorders.

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Toward understanding our brain’s plasticity: Watching connections appear and disappear in a living mouse brain

Toward understanding our brain’s plasticity: Watching connections appear and disappear in a living mouse brain

Until the late 20th century, scientists believed the adult brain was hardwired. We now know that adult brains are actually quite plastic, capable of generating new neurons and remodeling after experience or injury. A recent study by Villa et al. visualized remodeling in a living mouse brain and proposes a mechanism through which neurons maintain balance in a changing environment, as if walking a tightrope between excitation and inhibition.

Image Credit: George E. Curtis, 1876 (Maria Spelterini crossing Niagara Falls by tightrope)

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7th graders ask brainy questions about neuroscience

7th graders ask brainy questions about neuroscience

Brain Day, for those of you who haven’t heard of it, brings Stanford neuroscientists into all of the 7th grade science classrooms in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto to introduce young students to neuroscience, and answer their brain-themed questions. Kendra Lechtenberg explains how this spring, she's going digital with some of the Brain Day questions. 

Image credit: Tintin44 on Flickr

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Getting into Brain Waves: History and Resources

Getting into Brain Waves: History and Resources

Ah, for the love of brain waves. Yes, these flowing electrical fields have been of great interest to physicians and scientists since their discovery in animals in 1875 and humans in 1929 (Haas 2003). Instead of merely listing off a few resources on brain waves, Jordan Sorokin introduces a selection of resources for understanding brain waves, complete with historical and scientific context.

Image credit: Miles Kelly Art Library, Wellcome Images

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