Research from Washington University in St. Louis finds that mutations of a gene implicated in long QT syndrome in humans may trigger seizures because of their direct effects on certain classes of neurons in the brain — independent from what the genetic mutations do to heart function. The new work from Arts & Sciences was conducted with fruit flies and is published August 8 in PLOS Genetics.
By activating a small subset of the neurons involved in setting daily rhythms, biologist Erik Herzog in Arts & Sciences has unlocked a cure for jet lag in mice, as reported in a July 12 advance online publication of Neuron.
The brain hosts an extraordinarily complex network of interconnected nerve cells that are constantly exchanging electrical and chemical signals at speeds difficult to comprehend. Now, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report they have been able to achieve — with a custom-built microscope — the closest view yet of living nerve synapses.
Scientists have identified two chemical scents in the urine of female mice that arouse sexual behavior in males, a discovery that shines a spotlight on how mouse pheromones control behavior.
Digoxin, a medication that has been used to treat heart failure, may be adaptable for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive, paralyzing disease, suggests new research at the School of Medicine.
School of Medicine scientists have described a way to convert human skin cells directly into a specific type of brain cell affected by Huntington’s disease, an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Unlike other techniques that turn one cell type into another, this new process does not pass through a stem cell phase, avoiding the production of multiple cell types.
New research suggests that certain types of brain cells may be “picky eaters,” seeming to prefer one specific energy source over others. The finding has implications for understanding the cognitive decline seen in aging and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.
Andrew Yoo, Robert Gereau and Michael Bruchas have been awarded grants from the National Institues of Health Common Fund to pursue visionary research that has the potential to transform science and improve human health.
New data offer hints to why Parkinson’s disease so selectively harms brain cells that produce the chemical dopamine, says Karen O’Malley, PhD, a researcher at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Joshua Maurer, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has received a four-year, $1,216,000 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health for research titled, “Unraveling Development: New Materials for Understanding Neuronal Wiring.” Maurer’s long term objective is to develop methodology that allows the study of a variety of neuronal wiring processes. He is starting by unscrambling a phenomenon known as midline crossing using zebrafish. During development, neurons from the right eye cross the midline of the brain to make a connection in the left hemisphere.