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Showing posts with the label Neuron

Scientists Now Know Why Neurons Consume Energy Even When at Rest

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Synaptic vesicles release neurotransmitters. Image credit:  https://www.scientificanimations.com/ Scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine have recently solved the mystery behind why the brain cells or neurons consume energy even at rest. The mystery has puzzled them for years and now the answer to this question lies in a study published in Science Advances. What Have Scientists Found? In the study, scientists have recognized tiny capsules known as synaptic vesicles as a vital source of energy utilisation in inactive neurons. Synaptic vesicles are tiny, electron-lucent vesicles that are clustered at presynaptic terminals. They store neurotransmitters (the body's chemical messengers that transmit messages between neurons) and release them by exocytosis (the process of release of substances out of the cell) in the presence of calcium. These neurotransmitters play a vital role in nerve conduction. During nerve conduction, the neurotransmitters are fired from synaptic vesicles to send a si

No more monkeying!

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Image source: www.hfsp.org Optogenetics is a method of probing neural circuits with the help of a combination of genetics and optics. In this method light-sensitive genes from microbial organisms are used along with light in order to receive a response from neurons . This is a very amusing method which is proving to be very helpful and a recent study has added a whole new dimension to this method of altering neural activities. The study used optogenetics and showed that the behaviour of monkeys can be altered using pulses of blue light which is known to activate specific brain cells. This result has provided the inspiration to develop a similar therapy for human beings . Previously this type of study was done on rodents and invertebrates but the result derived from the reaction in the brain of monkeys proved more helpful. The validation of the result was done with the use of an MRI and tests focussing on neurons responsible for specific eye movements . Both brain activit

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