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The chemical learning process in brain cells revealed with the Advanced Microscope



Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University have mapped the hidden biological process that takes place during learning in the brain.

When we learn the connections between nerve cells or nerve cells in the brain that are associated with the specific task In hand, strengthen and become bigger. These compounds can also be strengthened by addictions and other neurological disorders in the same way.

It is this biological process that scientists have been able to image at the cellular level in rats and mice using an extremely high-resolution microscopic technique, structural changes that have never been seen before.

The results published in the journal Nature Neuroscience may have important implications for our understanding of both normal learning and "maladaptive learning", which may be observed in neurological disorders, according to Matthew Dalva, a neuroscientist from the Synaptic Biology Center at Jefferson and lead author of the study.

Using her microscope, the Jefferson team zoomed in to the scale of each cell's connecting points between neurons ̵

1; called synapses – in real time. In these synapses, chemical messenger information is transferred from one neuron to another, allowing for learning and other brain functions.

Not only has the team witnessed the strengthening of connections during the learning process – what scientists have previously observed – these chemical messengers appear to be organized in lumps or "nanomodules" that dance around and multiply when they do be stimulated by learning-like signals. This behavior was surprising, said Dalva. [194559007]  168527_web This are pictures of nanomodules in the synapses. Matthew Dalva Lab, Jefferson (University of Philadelphia + Thomas Jefferson University)

The results of the new research could impact our understanding of neurological Disorders, according to Dalva

"Fundamental [the findings] helps us understand how synapses are organized in ways we did not previously have," he said Newsweek . "Many diseases are diseases of the synapse, especially those that we understand poorly, such as autism and Alzheimer's, the more we know how synapses work, the greater the chance of finding ways to attack or treat those diseases we knew before not. "


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