Virginia Tech scientists advance understanding of blood-brain barrier health

in a study with potential impacts on a variety of neurological diseases, Virginia Tech researchers have provided the first experimental evidence from a living organism to show that an abundant, star-shaped brain cell known as an astrocyte is essential for blood-brain barrier health.

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Mapping Cavefish Brains Leads to Neural Origin of Behavioral Evolution

While studied for nearly a century, little is known about how cavefish brains differ. A study is the first to look inside their brains with millimeter resolution to start to understand how the individual neurons and brain regions that drive complex behaviors, including sleep and feeding have evolved. This work has broad implications for the understanding of how brains evolve in many different animal models and is hoped to be widely used by the scientific community.

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Research News Tip Sheet: Story Ideas from Johns Hopkins Medicine

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Johns Hopkins Medicine Media Relations is focused on disseminating current, accurate and useful information to the public via the media. As part of that effort, we are distributing our “COVID-19 Tip Sheet: Story Ideas from Johns Hopkins” every other Tuesday.

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Immune from Chronic Stress? Limit Inflammatory Signaling to Specific Brain Circuits

Chronic stress is associated with the pathogenesis of psychological disorders such as depression. A study is the first to identify the role of a neuronal receptor that straddles the intersection between social stress, inflammation, and anxiety in rodent models of stress. Findings suggest the possibility of developing better medications to treat the consequences of chronic stress by limiting inflammatory signaling not just generally, which may not be beneficial in the long run, but to specific brain circuits.

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UNH Researchers Find Synchronization of Memory Cells Critical For Learning and Forming Memories

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire found that the neurons involved in Pavlovian learning shift their behavior and become more synchronized when a memory is being formed – a finding that helps better understand memory mechanisms and provides clues for the development of future therapies for memory-related diseases like dementia, autism and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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Better Biosensor Technology Created for Stem Cells

A Rutgers-led team has created better biosensor technology that may help lead to safe stem cell therapies for treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and other neurological disorders. The technology, which features a unique graphene and gold-based platform and high-tech imaging, monitors the fate of stem cells by detecting genetic material (RNA) involved in turning such cells into brain cells (neurons), according to a study in the journal Nano Letters.

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Single protein plays important dual transport roles in the brain

Edwin Chapman of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of Wisconsin–Madison reports that halting production of synaptotagmin 17 (syt-17) blocks growth of axons. Equally significant, when cells made more syt-17, axon growth accelerated. A wide range of neurological conditions could benefit from the growth of axons, including spinal cord injuries and some neurodegenerative diseases.

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