NIH scientists watch the brain’s lining heal after a head injury
Graduate Student Annapurna Vemu and Dr. Roll-Mecak discuss plans for analyzing the dynamics of neuronal microtubules.
An MRI scan of a human brain highlighting the dural lymphatic system
Studies of epilepsy patients led by Kareem Zaghloul, M.D., Ph.D., a neurosurgeon-researcher and head of the Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery Unit, uncover clues to how the brain stores and retrieves memories
Backbone superposition of the structure of TRPV1 and a Kv channel.
Star-like cells may help the brain tune breathing rhythms
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NIH Scientists Watch the Brain’s Lining Heal After a Head Injury

Following head injury, the protective lining that surrounds the brain may get a little help from its friends: immune cells that spring into action to assist with repairs. In a new study led by Dr. Dorian McGavern, scientists from the National Institutes of Health watched in real-time as different immune cells took on carefully timed jobs to fix the damaged lining of the brain, also known as meninges, in mice. These results may help provide clues to the discovery that the meninges in humans may heal following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and why additional hits to the head can be so devastating.    Learn More » Exit Disclaimer

Cracking the Tubulin Code

Dr. Antonina Roll-Mecak examines how tubulin diversity might affect cell shape, movement, and recovery after injury.  To Understand how life works at such a basic level, people must learn the biophysical properties of microtubules that enable them to respond to cellular cues in real time.    Learn More » Exit Disclaimer

NIH Researchers Uncover Drain Pipes in Our Brains

Dr. Daniel Reich, a neuroradiologist and Senior Investigator at the NINDS, and his team used MRI to provide evidence of the body’s waste system in the human brain. By scanning the brains of healthy volunteers, researchers at the National Institutes of Health saw the first, long-sought evidence that our brains may drain some waste out through lymphatic vessels, the body’s sewer system. The results further suggest the vessels could act as a pipeline between the brain and the immune system. Learn More » Exit Disclaimer

NIH Scientists Try to Crack the Brain’s Memory Codes

Studies of epilepsy patients led by Kareem Zaghloul, M.D., Ph.D., an NINDS neurosurgeon-researcher and head of the Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery Unit, uncover clues to how the brain stores and retrieves memories. One study suggests that the brain etches each memory into unique firing patterns of individual neurons. Meanwhile, the second study suggests that the brain replays memories faster than they are stored.  Learn More » Exit Disclaimer

Heat Activation is Intrinsic to the Pore Domain of TRPV1

The TRPV1 channel is an important detector of noxious heat, yet the location of the heat sensor and the mechanism of heat activation remain poorly understood. Here Dr. Kenton Swartz and his team used structure-based engineering between the heat-activated TRPV1 channel and the Shaker Kv channel to demonstrate that transplantation of the pore domain of TRPV1 into Shaker gives rise to functional channels that can be activated by a TRPV1-selective tarantula toxin and by noxious heat, demonstrating that the pore of TRPV1 contains the structural elements sufficient for activation by temperature.  Learn More » 

Star-like Cells May Help the Brain Tune Breathing Rhythms

Traditionally, scientists thought that star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes were steady, quiet supporters of their talkative, wire-like neighbors, called neurons. Now, an NIH study led by Dr. Jeffrey Smith suggests that astrocytes may also have their say. It showed that silencing astrocytes in the brain’s breathing center caused rats to breathe at a lower rate and tire out on a treadmill earlier than normal. These were just two examples of changes in breathing caused by manipulating the way astrocytes communicate with neighboring cells.  Learn More »