Mutations, CRISPR, and spinocerebellar ataxia


Scientists discover that mutations causing the degenerative movement disorder spinocerebellar ataxia type 29 work by disrupting calcium release of neurons inside the brain.

Social novelty in the brain: haven’t I seen you someplace before?


Social novelty and contextual novelty are segregated in the SuM region of the hypothalamus and in projections to the hippocampus, allowing memories of meeting new people to be formed separately from memories of new places.

FABP4: A preschool-aged biomarker for autism


Reduced FABP4 was found in preschool-aged children with autism spectrum disorder, making it a potential new biomarker for the condition.

Microbial infections are a parasitic plant’s dream


Parasitic plants use quinones produced by their host to attack. Now we know that crops produce quinones as an immune response against microbial infection. How can we protect crops from both kinds of attack?

New artificial skin helps avoid animal testing


A new artificial skin that reproduces proper tension can be used to research skin function and disease while reducing the need to experiment on animals.

CAPON links Alzheimer’s plaques to neurodegeneration


CAPON was found to link Aβ plaques and hippocampal neurodegeneration in mice, explaining how these two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease are related.

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Protons are lighter than previously thought


A new and most precise measurement of protons shows that they are lighter than previously thought.

Blocking obesity with a protein-sugar combination


Discovery of an enzyme that prevents obesity in mice through glycosylation of a protein involved fat-cell differentiation.

Smarter AI: machine learning without negative data


Scientists have developed a new method for machine learning that allows an AI to make better classifications without negative data.

Robotic exoskeleton learns to help people stand up


This new robotic exoskeleton uses machine learning to know when users want help standing up.

Talking science Illustration with Misaki Ouchida


Whether it’s bird anatomy or science cartoons, Masaki Ouchida can do it all. She spoke with us about her career in science illustration, from the US to Japan.

Sphingolipid S1P: Potential new target for schizophrenia treatment


Sphingolipid S1P is reduced in brain white matter of people with schizophrenia, making S1P receptors a good target for new treatments.

Science communication symposium


Friday I participated in a small symposium that focused on science communication (for institutions in Japan). We discussed using social media as a means to self-publish wow! and amazing! research findings. Here are some of my thoughts about how useful this plays out in Japan.

Social contact-seeking behavior and loneliness in the brain


Levels of the peptide amylin in the brain are related to loneliness; activating amylin neurons in the MPOA drives isolated mice to seek social contact.

Opossums are the first genome edited marsupials


A new piezoelectronic microinjection method has allowed the first successful genome editing in marsupials: albino opossums.

Why (mouse) mothers take risks to protect their infants


The calcitonin receptor and its ligand amylin act in the brain to motivate mouse mothers to protect their pups, even in risky/dangerous situations.

Next stop: clinical hair regeneration


A new recipe for continuous cyclical hair regeneration in mice. This means that the hair will continue to fall out and regrow like normal hair.