Scientists have achieved a new milestone in brain imaging: we have seen a memory in the process of being formed. Using brain cells from a lowly sea slug, which actually makes a good model for our brains, images were captured of proteins forming between the neurons. These proteins distinguish the memory as a long-term one rather than short-term, as the proteins solidify the memory in the neurons. This process had been suspected but not visualized until now.
A neuroscientist carves up brains to investigate the presence of unique brain cells found only in humans, primates, elephants and a handful of marine mammals -- species that are characterized by large brains, a long childhood spent learning from their elders, and sophisticated social interaction, reports Smithsonian.
In his Caltech lab, John Allman slices off the thinnest slivers of an elephant's brain, looking for the presence of von Economo neurons -- and possibly a glimpse into the evolution of human behavior.
New research indicates that individual cells may need guidance in times of stress
By Matt RansfordPosted 05.12.2008 at 1:24 pm 1 Comment
It is well known how we humans respond to immediate stress—through a phenomenon we share with all animals known as fight or flight. During these times of increased threat, our bodies' systems work in concert to raise our heart rate, pump adrenaline, and sharpen our focus. Now scientists working at Northwestern University have discovered that these responses may be coordinated by special stress-receptor neurons, rather than in each cell individually.