A study published in Nature in which researchers from the University of Valencia have participated has identified a neuron migration route that begins in the foetus around mid-gestation and continues until between two and three years of age. The route extends from the lateral ventricle, where these cells are born, to the entorhinal cortex, an area related to the regions where memory and learning are consolidated. There, neurons await signals that induce them to mature, providing plasticity to the brain after birth.
A team of researchers has developed a device that would allow individuals with amputations to perceive and respond to temperature by providing thermal information from the tip of the prosthetic finger to the amputee's stump. The device, called "MiniTouch," featured in the journal Med, can be integrated into commercially available prosthetic limbs and does not require surgery. The authors demonstrate that, thanks to the thermosensitive prosthetic hand, a 57-year-old male with below-elbow amputation was able to distinguish and manually classify objects of different temperatures and perceive bodily contact with other humans.
A team led by the Princess Máxima Pediatric Oncology Center and the Hubrecht Institute (The Netherlands) has generated small 3D brain models--known as organoids--from human fetal brain tissue. Until now, these brain organoids-which attempt to resemble real organs on a miniature scale-were grown in the laboratory using pluripotent or embryonic stem cells. The new technique, published in the journal Cell, allows regions of brain tissue to self-organize into three-dimensional brain structures. The authors used these organoids and the CRISPR-Cas9 tool to simulate the development of one type of brain tumor, glioblastoma, and see how it responded to different drugs.
Nine studies published today in the journal Nature present the most comprehensive and detailed characterization of the mouse brain. The findings reveal the structure and organization of the brain, the function of individual brain cells, and neural circuits. According to the authors, these investigations serve as a tool to delve into the development and evolution of mammalian brains, and how the organization of different types of cells could contribute to neurological disorders in humans.
A research group has developed an innovative system that combines virtual reality and a brain-machine interface to probe the inner thoughts of rats. The results of their research, published in Science, suggest that, much like humans, animals can think about places and objects that are not right in front of them, using their thoughts to imagine walking to a location or moving a remote object to a specific point.
The Science group of journals publishes several parts of a high-resolution atlas of human brain cells, the largest 'map' of its kind to date. It is a series of papers from an international mega-project, the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative - Cell Census Network (BICCN), launched in 2017 to study brain cell types and their functions in humans, non-human primates and rodents. The data "will now allow researchers to address fundamental scientific questions about the human brain and its genetic organisation," states the introduction to the journal's special issue.
Early-life adversity, such as separation from the mother, can alter the neurological functioning of mice, causing some to experience panic and anxiety later in life. A study shows that these changes can be passed on for at least two generations and that inhalation of a drug, the diuretic amiloride, can reverse them. According to the authors, this treatment could be used in the future to alleviate panic disorders and related conditions in humans. The results are published in the journal Science Advances.
By directing ultrasound to a specific area of the brain, scientists at the University of Washington have succeeded in inducing a state very similar to hibernation in rats and mice. This state, called "torpor", involves a reduction in metabolism and body temperature to save energy. According to the authors, who publish their results in the journal Nature Metabolism, if it could be applied to humans it could be used in space travel or in medicine, to increase the chances of survival in life-threatening situations such as heart attacks or strokes.
A commentary published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour discusses the scientific evidence for why rape victims are often involuntarily paralysed, unable to defend themselves or express themselves without consent, and the implications this has for the world's legal systems.
A drug in gel form cured 100 percent of mice with a very aggressive brain tumor. The authors hope that this is a first step towards helping human patients with glioblastoma, one of the most dangerous brain tumors in humans. The article is published today in PNAS.