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Noninvasive brain control: New light-sensitive protein enables simpler, more powerful optogenetics

Noninvasive brain control: New light-sensitive protein enables simpler, more powerful optogenetics

Optogenetics, a technology that allows scientists to control brain activity by shining light on neurons, relies on light-sensitive proteins that can suppress or stimulate electrical signals within cells. This technique requires a light source to be implanted in the brain, where it can reach the cells to be controlled. Continue reading

Potential Alzheimer’s drug prevents abnormal blood clots in brain

Potential Alzheimer’s drug prevents abnormal blood clots in brain

Without a steady supply of blood, neurons can’t work. Continue reading

Early life stress can leave lasting impacts on the brain

Early life stress can leave lasting impacts on the brain

For children, stress can go a long way. Continue reading

Early life stress can leave lasting impacts on the brain

Early life stress can leave lasting impacts on the brain

For children, stress can go a long way. A little bit provides a platform for learning, adapting and coping. Continue reading

The social psychology of nerve cells

The social psychology of nerve cells

The functional organization of the central nervous system depends upon a precise architecture and connectivity of distinct types of neurons. Multiple cell types are present within any brain structure, but the rules governing their positioning, and the molecular mechanisms mediating those rules, have been relatively unexplored. A new study by UC Santa Barbara researchers demonstrates that a particular neuron, the cholinergic amacrine cell, creates a “personal space” in much the same way that people distance themselves from one another in an elevator. Continue reading

New device could improve biomarker analyses

New device could improve biomarker analyses

A device proposed by researchers at Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology could offer a more reliable alternative for detecting biomarkers in patients facing such illnesses as cancer or malaria. Whether to extract circulating tumor cells from the blood of a cancer patient, or to measure the elasticity of red blood cells due to malaria infection, the physical attributes of cells are important biomarkers in medicine. Continue reading

Animal testing methods for some chemicals should change, experts urge

Animal testing methods for some chemicals should change, experts urge

Challenging risk assessment methods used for decades by toxicologists, a new review of the literature led by environmental health scientist Laura Vandenberg at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggests that oral gavage, the most widely accepted method of dosing lab animals to test chemical toxicity, does not accurately mimic how humans are exposed to chemicals in everyday life. Oral gavage refers to the way researchers give chemicals to animals by putting a tube down their throats to deliver substances directly to the stomach. Continue reading

Virus kills triple negative breast cancer cells, tumor cells in mice

Virus kills triple negative breast cancer cells, tumor cells in mice

A virus not known to cause disease kills triple-negative breast cancer cells and killed tumors grown from these cells in mice, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. Understanding how the virus kills cancer may lead to new treatments for breast cancer Continue reading

Scientists use X-rays to look at how DNA protects itself from UV light

Scientists use X-rays to look at how DNA protects itself from UV light

The molecular building blocks that make up DNA absorb ultraviolet light so strongly that sunlight should deactivate them — yet it does not. Continue reading

Architecture of signaling proteins enhances knowledge of key receptors

Architecture of signaling proteins enhances knowledge of key receptors

A team of scientists from Duke Medicine, the University of Michigan and Stanford University has determined the underlying architecture of a cellular signaling complex involved in the body’s response to stimuli such as light and pain. This complex, consisting of a human cell surface receptor and its regulatory protein, reveals a two-step mechanism that has been hypothesized previously but not directly documented Continue reading