In a study being published in the journal Neuron, researchers show that the signal molecule TGF-beta acts as a time signal that regulates the nerve stem cells' potential at different stages of the brain's development – knowledge that may be significant for future pharmaceutical development.
A new study from Bradley Hospital has identified a genetic change in a recently identified autism-associated gene, which may provide further insight into the causes of autism. The study, now published online in the Journal of Medical Genetics, presents findings that likely represent a definitive clinical marker for some patients’ developmental disabilities.
As a baby’s brain develops, there is an explosion of synapses, the connections that allow neurons to send and receive signals. But during childhood and adolescence, the brain needs to start pruning those synapses, limiting their number so different brain areas can develop specific functions and are not overloaded with stimuli.
Now a new study suggests that in children with autism, something in the process goes awry, leaving an oversupply of synapses in at least some parts of the brain.
When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.
Closely related organisms share most of their genes, but these similarities belie major differences in behavior, intelligence, and physical appearance. For example, we share nearly 99% of our genes with chimps, our closest relatives on the great “tree of life.” Still, the differences between the two species are unmistakable. If not just genes, what else accounts for the disparities?