Nav: Home

New insight into brain disorders

February 28, 2007

The function of an enzyme in the brain - strongly linked to a number of major brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder - has been identified for the first time by researchers at the University of Bristol, UK.

These findings, published today in Neuron, will help in the understanding of how memories are laid down and what goes wrong in these disorders.

The research showed how controlling the activity of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) might prevent a memory being erased by improving the strength of connections between neurons in the brain, thus allowing better consolidation of new information.

Professor Collingridge from the University of Bristol said: "While GSK3 has previously been implicated in major neurological disorders, until now its role in normal neuronal function has been largely unknown. Our new understanding will help pharmaceutical companies develop drugs to inhibit it when things go wrong."

Professor Graham Collingridge and his team, with colleagues from the University of British Columbia, revealed that the activity of GSK3 facilitates a form of 'cross-talk' between the two major forms of synaptic plasticity in the brain.

Synaptic plasticity is the strength of a connection between neurons and forms the basis of learning and memory.
-end-


University of Bristol

Related Neurons Articles:

New tool to identify and control neurons
One of the big challenges in the Neuroscience field is to understand how connections and communications trigger our behavior.
Neurons that regenerate, neurons that die
In a new study published in Neuron, investigators report on a transcription factor that they have found that can help certain neurons regenerate, while simultaneously killing others.
How neurons use crowdsourcing to make decisions
When many individual neurons collect data, how do they reach a unanimous decision?
Neurons can learn temporal patterns
Individual neurons can learn not only single responses to a particular signal, but also a series of reactions at precisely timed intervals.
A turbo engine for tracing neurons
Putting a turbo engine into an old car gives it an entirely new life -- suddenly it can go further, faster.
Brain neurons help keep track of time
Turning the theory of how the human brain perceives time on its head, a novel analysis in mice reveals that dopamine neuron activity plays a key role in judgment of time, slowing down the internal clock.
During infancy, neurons are still finding their places
Researchers have identified a large population of previously unrecognized young neurons that migrate in the human brain during the first few months of life, contributing to the expansion of the frontal lobe, a region important for social behavior and executive function.
How many types of neurons are there in the brain?
For decades, scientists have struggled to develop a comprehensive census of cell types in the brain.
Molecular body guards for neurons
In the brain, patterns of neural activity are perfectly balanced.
Engineering researchers use laser to 'weld' neurons
University of Alberta researchers have developed a method of connecting neurons, using ultrashort laser pulses -- a breakthrough technique that opens the door to new medical research and treatment opportunities.

Related Neurons Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Don't Fear Math
Why do many of us hate, even fear math? Why are we convinced we're bad at it? This hour, TED speakers explore the myths we tell ourselves and how changing our approach can unlock the beauty of math. Guests include budgeting specialist Phylecia Jones, mathematician and educator Dan Finkel, math teacher Eddie Woo, educator Masha Gershman, and radio personality and eternal math nerd Adam Spencer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#518 With Genetic Knowledge Comes the Need for Counselling
This week we delve into genetic testing - for yourself and your future children. We speak with Jane Tiller, lawyer and genetic counsellor, about genetic tests that are available to the public, and what to do with the results of these tests. And we talk with Noam Shomron, associate professor at the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, about technological advancements his lab has made in the genetic testing of fetuses.