March 5, 2021

Human and Mouse Microglia Look Alike, but Age Differently

Researchers often turn to mice when they need an animal model for what microglia do in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Alas, along with the mice come nagging doubts about …

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Findings weaken notion that size equals strength for neural connections

Learning, memory, and behavioral disorders can arise when the connections between neurons, called synapses, do not change properly in response to experience. Scientists have studied this “synaptic plasticity” for decades, …

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Key brain region was “recycled” as humans developed the ability to read

Humans began to develop systems of reading and writing only within the past few thousand years. Our reading abilities set us apart from other animal species, but a few thousand …

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A mechanical way to stimulate neurons

In addition to responding to electrical and chemical stimuli, many of the body’s neural cells can also respond to mechanical effects, such as pressure or vibration. But these responses have …

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Mapping the brain’s sensory gatekeeper

Many people with autism experience sensory hypersensitivity, attention deficits, and sleep disruption. One brain region that has been implicated in these symptoms is the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN), which is …

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Ila Fiete studies how the brain performs complex computations

While doing a postdoc about 15 years ago, Ila Fiete began searching for faculty jobs in computational neuroscience — a field that uses mathematical tools to investigate brain function. However, …

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A new way to control experimentation with dreams

The study of dreams has entered the modern era in exciting ways, and researchers from MIT and other institutions have created a community dedicated to advancing the field, lending it …

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Neural vulnerability in Huntington’s disease tied to release of mitochondrial RNA

In the first study to comprehensively track how different types of brain cells respond to the mutation that causes Huntington’s disease (HD), MIT neuroscientists found that a significant cause of …

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COMMANDing drug delivery

While we are starting to get a handle on drugs and therapeutics that might to help alleviate brain disorders, efficient delivery remains a roadblock to tackling these devastating diseases. New …

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