Feb 132006
 

Rat

Neuroscientists from the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT have discovered that after completing a task, a rat’s brain will mentally replay recent events, but in reverse order. They believe this process plays a key role in learning and memory and may explain why taking frequent breaks when studying is more effective for learning new material than cramming for extended periods of time. Their work could yield a better understanding of amnesia, Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders and lead to more efficient methods for learning and memorization.

Continue reading »

Jan 062006
 

Astrocytes, also known as astroglia, are star-shaped cells in the brain whose function and importance has never been fully understood by neuroscientists. Once thought to be housekeeping cells under the control of neurons, LiveScience.com is reporting today that researchers have found that astrocytes can directly and independently perform the critical function of controlling blood flow in the brain. This discovery could influence how brain scans are interpreted and may lead to breakthroughs in understanding and treating brain injuries and neurological diseases.

Continue reading »

Dec 202005
 

Researchers from MIT studying brain plasticity, the reorganization of brain cells and their connections over time, have recently discovered a “backtalk” or retrograde signal from post-synaptic to pre-synaptic neurons that plays a crucial role in synapse development. It has long been known that synaptic strength, the strength of the connections between neurons, plays a central role in learning and memory in neural networks. The scientists hope their work will lead to breakthroughs in understanding and fighting neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

Continue reading »