November 8, 2021
How does our brain filter and process all those smells? Our brain has a lot of dedicated space for smells, but knowing which is which is tricky. How does our brain respond so quickly to bad smells? We will move out of the way of a bad smell fast. In under half a second you brain can detect and move away from a bad smell. Why are our brains hard wired to detect and react to the smell of caramel? Furaneol gives off a caramel like smell and is found in fruits and even bread. Why does our brain dedicate space to it? What is better at waking you up - a good smell or a bad smell? How do brains process smells even whens sleeping?
- Behzad Iravani, Martin Schaefer, Donald A. Wilson, Artin Arshamian, Johan N. Lundström. The human olfactory bulb processes odor valence representation and cues motor avoidance behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021; 118 (42): e2101209118 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2101209118
- Franziska Haag, Sandra Hoffmann, Dietmar Krautwurst. Key Food Furanones Furaneol and Sotolone Specifically Activate Distinct Odorant Receptors. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2021; 69 (37): 10999 DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.1c03314
- Alice S. French, Quentin Geissmann, Esteban J. Beckwith, Giorgio F. Gilestro. Sensory processing during sleep in Drosophila melanogaster. Nature, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03954-w
August 30, 2021
Your brain and gut are connected in surprising ways. Inside your GI tract is a surprisingly complex nervous system. Your GI tract has it's own nervous system which is more like the spine than other organs. How does your GI tract differ from other soft hollow organs? The connection between gut microbiomes and brains is clear, but not well understood. Certain microbes can cause neurodegeneration in brains just as bad as a poor diet and no oxygen. How can we stop brains copy and pasting toxic byproducts across our brains? Proteins keep our brains in check and prevent build up of toxic byproducts, but this can be used to put the brakes on neurodegeneration.
- Nick J. Spencer, Lee Travis, Lukasz Wiklendt, Marcello Costa, Timothy J. Hibberd, Simon J. Brookes, Phil Dinning, Hongzhen Hu, David A. Wattchow, Julian Sorensen. Long range synchronization within the enteric nervous system underlies propulsion along the large intestine in mice. Communications Biology, 2021; 4 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s42003-021-02485-4
- Christine A. Olson, Alonso J. Iñiguez, Grace E. Yang, Ping Fang, Geoffrey N. Pronovost, Kelly G. Jameson, Tomiko K. Rendon, Jorge Paramo, Jacob T. Barlow, Rustem F. Ismagilov, Elaine Y. Hsiao. Alterations in the gut microbiota contribute to cognitive impairment induced by the ketogenic diet and hypoxia. Cell Host & Microbe, 2021; DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2021.07.004
- Chingakham Ranjit Singh, M. Rebecca Glineburg, Chelsea Moore, Naoki Tani, Rahul Jaiswal, Ye Zou, Eric Aube, Sarah Gillaspie, Mackenzie Thornton, Ariana Cecil, Madelyn Hilgers, Azuma Takasu, Izumi Asano, Masayo Asano, Carlos R. Escalante, Akira Nakamura, Peter K. Todd, Katsura Asano. Human oncoprotein 5MP suppresses general and repeat-associated non-AUG translation via eIF3 by a common mechanism. Cell Reports, 2021; 36 (2): 109376 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109376
July 26, 2021
Using technology and tools to make the human body safer. How can we use exoskeletons to keep people safe? Does using a tool like an exoskeleton automatically make a task easier? How can technology that augments bodys hinder when trying to help? How can we keep our head safer during a collision. Countless people rely on bicycles for safe and green transport, but how do we make it safer? Bicycle helmets are a simple tool for helping save lives, but can they be made even safer with new materials?
- Yibo Zhu, Eric B. Weston, Ranjana K. Mehta, William S. Marras. Neural and biomechanical tradeoffs associated with human-exoskeleton interactions. Applied Ergonomics, 2021; 96: 103494 DOI: 10.1016/j.apergo.2021.103494
- Karl A Zimmerman, Etienne Laverse, Ravjeet Samra, Maria Yanez Lopez, Amy E Jolly, Niall J Bourke, Neil S N Graham, Maneesh C Patel, John Hardy, Simon Kemp, Huw R Morris, David J Sharp. White matter abnormalities in active elite adult rugby players. Brain Communications, 2021; 3 (3) DOI: 10.1093/braincomms/fcab133
May 31, 2021
How does your brain decide what's important to remember? You're constantly bombarded with info so how does your brain filter it all? Do memories change over time? Do certain details stand out more in our memories over time? What details can get lost in our memories over time? How does you brain know if it's worth 'saving' that picture you've seen. How does your brain filter out and only store the important stuff.
- Julia Lifanov, Juan Linde-Domingo, Maria Wimber. Feature-specific reaction times reveal a semanticisation of memories over time and with repeated remembering. Nature Communications, 2021; 12 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23288-5
- Vahid Mehrpour, Travis Meyer, Eero P. Simoncelli, Nicole C. Rust. Pinpointing the neural signatures of single-exposure visual recognition memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021; 118 (18): e2021660118 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2021660118
April 19, 2021
How does RNA work to protect your brain and keep it safe after a traumatic event? Micro RNA can play an important role in healthy brain development. Without key micro RNA, the development of the brain can run out of control. Without key microRNA, your can develop neurodevelopmental disorders. Without oxygen your neurons starve, so how can you protect them? How can you use mRNA to make neurons more resilient and recover after a lack of oxygen? Getting proteins across the blood brain barrier is tricky, so can they be snuck in via mRNA? Using mRNA, you can produce proteins to add brain recovery right where they're needed most.
- Vijay Swahari, Ayumi Nakamura, Emilie Hollville, Hume Stroud, Jeremy M. Simon, Travis S. Ptacek, Matthew V. Beck, Cornelius Flowers, Jiami Guo, Charlotte Plestant, Jie Liang, C. Lisa Kurtz, Matt Kanke, Scott M. Hammond, You-Wen He, E.S. Anton, Praveen Sethupathy, Sheryl S. Moy, Michael E. Greenberg, Mohanish Deshmukh. MicroRNA-29 is an essential regulator of brain maturation through regulation of CH methylation. Cell Reports, 2021; 35 (1): 108946 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.108946
- Merlin Crossley,Dean of Science and Professor of Molecular Biology. (2021, April 09). Explainer: What is rna? Retrieved April 13, 2021, from https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-rna-15169
- Yuta Fukushima, Satoshi Uchida, Hideaki Imai, Hirofumi Nakatomi, Kazunori Kataoka, Nobuhito Saito, Keiji Itaka. Treatment of ischemic neuronal death by introducing brain-derived neurotrophic factor mRNA using polyplex nanomicelle. Biomaterials, 2021; 270: 120681 DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2021.120681
March 1, 2021
Slime with memories, and 3d printed materials to repair damaged neurons. How can a slime form memories? Where does it store them? What is the largest single cell organism and how does it remember things? How can you store memories in an interconnected series of tubes? How can you use 3D printed self assembling materials to help regrow damaged neurons?
- Mirna Kramar, Karen Alim. Encoding memory in tube diameter hierarchy of living flow network. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021; 118 (10): e2007815118 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2007815118
- Karen Alim, Natalie Andrew, Anne Pringle, Michael P. Brenner, Mechanism of signal propagation in P. polycephalum, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences May 2017, 114 (20) 5136-5141; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1618114114
- Alexandra N. Edelbrock, Tristan D. Clemons, Stacey M. Chin, Joshua J. W. Roan, Eric P. Bruckner, Zaida Álvarez, Jack F. Edelbrock, Kristen S. Wek, Samuel I. Stupp. Superstructured Biomaterials Formed by Exchange Dynamics and Host–Guest Interactions in Supramolecular Polymers. Advanced Science, 2021; 2004042 DOI: 10.1002/advs.202004042
December 28, 2020
How do our eyes process the continually barrage of photos so efficiently? What happens in our eyes that enables us to respond so quickly to stimulus like light or signs of danger? Why do zebra-fish swim towards the light so quickly? How does your brain process and map a room? Does the way your brain processes a space change when you're searching for something rather than exploring?
- Matthias Stangl, Uros Topalovic, Cory S. Inman, Sonja Hiller, Diane Villaroman, Zahra M. Aghajan, Leonardo Christov-Moore, Nicholas R. Hasulak, Vikram R. Rao, Casey H. Halpern, Dawn Eliashiv, Itzhak Fried, Nanthia Suthana. Boundary-anchored neural mechanisms of location-encoding for self and others. Nature, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-03073-y
- Yvonne Kölsch, Joshua Hahn, Anna Sappington, Manuel Stemmer, António M. Fernandes, Thomas O. Helmbrecht, Shriya Lele, Salwan Butrus, Eva Laurell, Irene Arnold-Ammer, Karthik Shekhar, Joshua R. Sanes, Herwig Baier. Molecular classification of zebrafish retinal ganglion cells links genes to cell types to behavior. Neuron, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2020.12.003
August 17, 2020
Your senses bombard your brain with an overload of information, so how does it process it all? How does y our brain decide what information to focus on? The brain can focus voluntarily or involuntarily on regions of an image to best process it. How does your brain decide which parts of an image to focus on? What part of your brain helps gatekeep the waves of sensory input before it gets processed? How can your brain help regulate and manage an overload of sensory inputs.
- Antonio Fernández, Marisa Carrasco. Extinguishing Exogenous Attention via Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Current Biology, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.07.068
- Yinqing Li, Violeta G. Lopez-Huerta, Xian Adiconis, Kirsten Levandowski, Soonwook Choi, Sean K. Simmons, Mario A. Arias-Garcia, Baolin Guo, Annie Y. Yao, Timothy R. Blosser, Ralf D. Wimmer, Tomomi Aida, Alexander Atamian, Tina Naik, Xuyun Sun, Dasheng Bi, Diya Malhotra, Cynthia C. Hession, Reut Shema, Marcos Gomes, Taibo Li, Eunjin Hwang, Alexandra Krol, Monika Kowalczyk, João Peça, Gang Pan, Michael M. Halassa, Joshua Z. Levin, Zhanyan Fu, Guoping Feng. Distinct subnetworks of the thalamic reticular nucleus. Nature, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2504-5
July 27, 2020
Treating chronic pain through tiny electrodes in your ear. Can 3 phase like stimulating of nerves in your eye help treat chronic pain? Mapping out the inside of the ear in incredibly fine detail can help treat chronic pain. Fine tuning tiny electrodes inside the ear can help relieve chronic pain. Using a printer, tattoo paper and polymers to make long lasting electrodes. Flexible, thin and long lasting electrodes can make it easier to study the brain and the heart. Studying the brain over the long term just got easier with tattoo paper based electrodes.
- Babak Dabiri, Stefan Kampusch, Stefan H. Geyer, Van Hoang Le, Wolfgang J. Weninger, Jozsef Constantin Széles, Eugenijus Kaniusas. High-Resolution Episcopic Imaging for Visualization of Dermal Arteries and Nerves of the Auricular Cymba Conchae in Humans. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, 2020; 14 DOI: 10.3389/fnana.2020.00022
- Laura M. Ferrari, Usein Ismailov, Jean-Michel Badier, Francesco Greco, Esma Ismailova. Conducting polymer tattoo electrodes in clinical electro- and magneto-encephalography. npj Flexible Electronics, 2020; 4 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41528-020-0067-z
June 1, 2020
Finding it hard to wake up in the morning when it's cold? Don't worry you're not alone. What can we Fruit Flies teach us about wanting to stay in bed especially when it's cold outside? How do the cycles of temperature and light impact sleep? Is the right temperature key to a good night's rest? Is the optimum temperature hard coded in creatures brain or is it all relative? Getting a good night's sleep is important for keeping your brain healthy. What can zebrafish and fruit flies help us understand about getting a good night's sleep? Is there a connection between a good night's sleep and cleaning out unwanted proteins in your brain?
- Michael H. Alpert, Dominic D. Frank, Evan Kaspi, Matthieu Flourakis, Emanuela E. Zaharieva, Ravi Allada, Alessia Para, Marco Gallio. A Circuit Encoding Absolute Cold Temperature in Drosophila. Current Biology, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.04.038
- Sarah Ly, Daniel A. Lee, Ewa Strus, David A. Prober, Nirinjini Naidoo. Evolutionarily Conserved Regulation of Sleep by the Protein Translational Regulator PERK. Current Biology, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.02.030
March 2, 2020
How can we give better quality of life for those suffering from neurological conditions? Getting a concussion is bad enough, but why do people often develop epilepsy afterwards? What is the link between concussions and epilepsy? How can we effectively reduce the risk of epilepsy after a concussion? For certain epilepsy conditions in children, CBD can help reduce seizure risk, but what type is best? Is pharmaceutical or artisan CBD for children with epilepsy?
- Akshata A. Korgaonkar, Ying Li, Dipika Sekhar, Deepak Subramanian, Jenieve Guevarra, Bogumila Swietek, Alexandra Pallottie, Sukwinder Singh, Kruthi Kella, Stella Elkabes, Vijayalakshmi Santhakumar. Toll‐like Receptor 4 Signaling in Neurons Enhances Calcium‐Permeable α‐Amino‐3‐Hydroxy‐5‐Methyl‐4‐Isoxazolepropionic Acid Receptor Currents and Drives Post‐Traumatic Epileptogenesis. Annals of Neurology, 2020; DOI: 10.1002/ana.25698
- American Academy of Neurology. (2020, February 27). Artisanal CBD not as effective as pharmaceutical CBD for reducing seizures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 29, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200227160545.htm
December 9, 2019
How do animals communicate information about danger? When a threat is detected by one animal, how do they pass it along to others? Does empathy play a role in how a create responds to a threat? Does the reaction of others around you change your response to threats? What chemical causes you to freeze in response to danger? How does serotonin cause deer in the headlights moments? What's the link between serotonin and slowing down in response to danger?
- Yingying Han, Rune Bruls, Efe Soyman, Rajat Mani Thomas, Vasiliki Pentaraki, Naomi Jelinek, Mirjam Heinemans, Iege Bassez, Sam Verschooren, Illanah Pruis, Thijs Van Lierde, Nathaly Carrillo, Valeria Gazzola, Maria Carrillo, Christian Keysers. Bidirectional cingulate-dependent danger information transfer across rats. PLOS Biology, 2019; 17 (12): e3000524 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000524
- Clare E. Howard, Chin-Lin Chen, Tanya Tabachnik, Rick Hormigo, Pavan Ramdya, Richard S. Mann. Serotonergic Modulation of Walking in Drosophila. Current Biology, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.10.042
November 11, 2019
This week we look at the way our brains process sound, music, pitch and rhythm. How does our brain figure out where a sound is coming from? Do our eyes and ears process distance and location in a similar way? How does our brain discern differences in stimuli? What can we learn about pitch and rhythm from studying a remote Bolivian tribe? Is there a biological limit to our perception of sounds? Is our ability to perceive rhythm, chords and pitch cultural or biological?
- Antje Ihlefeld, Nima Alamatsaz, Robert M Shapley. Population rate-coding predicts correctly that human sound localization depends on sound intensity. eLife, 2019; 8 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.47027
- Nori Jacoby, Eduardo A. Undurraga, Malinda J. McPherson, Joaquín Valdés, Tomás Ossandón, Josh H. McDermott. Universal and Non-universal Features of Musical Pitch Perception Revealed by Singing. Current Biology, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.08.020
September 23, 2019
Is it possible to stop Alzheimer's in it's tracks? How does the formation of plaques on your brain cells lead to Alzheimer's. Does the your brain immune cells fighting back against plaques lead to Alzheimers? Amino acids in the brain tying themselves into knots, can lead to super strong sealed zippers forming which dry out proteins, damage neurons and eventually can lead to diseases like Alzheimer's. An enzyme missing a repair or two over 60 years can lead to build up of kinked amino acids chains which can lead to neuron-degenerative diseases. What causes a cell to eat itself? Well its actually a pretty healthy thing to do. If a brain cell doesn't eat itself at the right time, well it can lead to a whole bunch of diseases.
- Rebeccah A. Warmack, David R. Boyer, Chih-Te Zee, Logan S. Richards, Michael R. Sawaya, Duilio Cascio, Tamir Gonen, David S. Eisenberg, Steven G. Clarke. Structure of amyloid-β (20-34) with Alzheimer’s-associated isomerization at Asp23 reveals a distinct protofilament interface. Nature Communications, 2019; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11183-z
- Elizabeth Spangenberg, Paul L. Severson, Lindsay A. Hohsfield, Joshua Crapser, Jiazhong Zhang, Elizabeth A. Burton, Ying Zhang, Wayne Spevak, Jack Lin, Nicole Y. Phan, Gaston Habets, Andrey Rymar, Garson Tsang, Jason Walters, Marika Nespi, Parmveer Singh, Stephanie Broome, Prabha Ibrahim, Chao Zhang, Gideon Bollag, Brian L. West, Kim N. Green. Sustained microglial depletion with CSF1R inhibitor impairs parenchymal plaque development in an Alzheimer’s disease model. Nature Communications, 2019; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11674-z
- Yi Yang, Thea L. Willis, Robert W. Button, Conor J. Strang, Yuhua Fu, Xue Wen, Portia R. C. Grayson, Tracey Evans, Rebecca J. Sipthorpe, Sheridan L. Roberts, Bing Hu, Jianke Zhang, Boxun Lu, Shouqing Luo. Cytoplasmic DAXX drives SQSTM1/p62 phase condensation to activate Nrf2-mediated stress response. Nature Communications, 2019; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11671-2
August 26, 2019
Your brain uses proteins synthesis and redundancy to help form and keep memories. Intricate biochemistry helps your neurons connect to each other to form new memories. Forming new memories is a sticky situation. Keeping them stuck together over time in a long lasting memory relies on protein synthesis. Its important not just to have strong connections between neurons to form memories, you also need spares. By having redundancy and backups it means that you can still remember a key memory if one of those connections fails.
- Lenzie Ford et al. CPEB3 inhibits translation of mRNA targets by localizing them to P bodies. PNAS, 2019 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1815275116
- Walter G. Gonzalez, Hanwen Zhang, Anna Harutyunyan, Carlos Lois. Persistence of neuronal representations through time and damage in the hippocampus. Science, 2019: Vol. 365, Issue 6455, pp. 821-825 DOI: 10.1126/science.aav9199