Scientists have new help finding brain’s nooks and crannies

Like explorers mapping a new planet, scientists probing the brain need every type of landmark they can get. Each mountain, river or forest helps scientists find their way through the intricacies of the human brain. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a new technique that provides rapid access to brain landmarks formerly only available at autopsy.

Scientists find gene vital to nerve cell development

The body’s ability to perform simple tasks like flex muscles or feel heat, cold and pain depends, in large part, on myelin, an insulating layer of fats and proteins that speeds the propagation of nerve cell signals. Now, scientists have identified a gene in mice that controls whether certain cells in the peripheral nervous system can make myelin. Called Gpr126, the gene encodes a cellular receptor that could play a role in diseases affecting peripheral nerves.