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Genetic Switches Behind Human Brain Evolution

The human brain differs from that of mice and monkeys because of its large cerebral cortex. The organ's most highly developed part, the cerebral cortex is responsible for thinking, perceiving and sophisticated communication. Scientists are just beginning to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that drive the growth of the

Uncovering the Power of Glial Cells

The collaboration was led by Erin Purcell, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Michigan State University; Joseph W. Salatino, Purcell's graduate student researcher; Kip A. Ludwig, associate director of technology at Mayo Clinic; and Takashi Kozai, assistant professor of bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering. "Glial cells

Inflammation Drives Progression of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer's disease is a devastating neurodegenerative condition ultimately leading to dementia. An effective treatment does not yet exist. The disease is associated with the aberrant aggregation of small proteins called "Amyloid-beta" (Abeta) that accumulate in the brain and appear to harm neurons. In recent years, studies revealed that deposits of

Potential Path to Repair MS-Damaged Nerves

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune, neurodegenerative disease, characterized by distinct disabilities affecting walking, vision, and cognition, to name a few. MS patients differ markedly from each other regarding which disability affects them the most. Inflammation strips the myelin coating from nerve cell extensions, called axons, and connections at the ends

No Evidence that Gadolinium Causes Neurologic Harm

Gadolinium-based contrast media were introduced in 1988 as a means of enhancing MRI images and are commonly used today. The contrast agent is injected into the patient's bloodstream and eliminated from the body through the kidneys. "It's estimated that approximately 400 million doses of gadolinium have been administered since 1988," said

Brain Cortex Development: Ryk Needs a Chaperone

In the study, first authors Wen-Hsuan Chang from the USC Stem Cell laboratory of Wange Lu, Si Ho Choi from the Dongnam Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences (DIRAMS) in South Korea, and their colleagues describe how Ryk and its chaperone contribute to the development of the brain's cortex, which

Smart People Have Better Connected Brains

Understanding the foundations of human thought is fascinating for scientists and laypersons alike. Differences in cognitive abilities -- and the resulting differences for example in academic success and professional careers -- are attributed to a considerable degree to individual differences in intelligence. A study just published in Scientific Reports shows that these