Otago neuroscientists reveal mechanism crucial to moulding male brain's Clocktower

Otago researchers have discovered that neural circuitry they previously showed was vital to triggering ovulation and maintaining fertility also plays a key role in moulding the male brain.

In new research appearing in the Journal of Neuroscience, a team led by Professor Allan Herbison shows that male-specific signalling in the Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons of new-born mice is crucial to generating a testosterone surge that occurs up to five hours after birth.

DARPA and Stanford Brain Imaging Collaboration helps to bring a new CLARITY to the world of Neuroscience

Thanks to a 100 million dollar grant through the White House Brain Mapping Project to the NIH, NSF, and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), a dynamically new approach to how we view the brain has arisen: the CLARITY Brain Imaging Technique. With this technique, scientists are hoping to map brain connections on a large scale, visualizing how every single neuron is fired and interconnected with the other ones in the system. 

Brain wave hits California

As US science agencies firm up plans for a national ten-year neuroscience initiative, California is launching an ambitious project of its own. On 20 June, governor Jerry Brown signed into law a state budget that allocates US$2 million to establish the California Blueprint for Research to Advance Innovations in Neuroscience (Cal-BRAIN) project. Cal-BRAIN is the first state-wide programme to piggyback on the national Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative announced by US President Barack Obama in April 2013. The national project is backed this year by $110 million in public funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Neuron Tells Stem Cells to Grow New Neurons

Duke researchers have found a new type of neuron in the adult brain that is capable of telling stem cells to make more new neurons. Though the experiments are in their early stages, the finding opens the tantalizing possibility that the brain may be able to repair itself from within.

Sleep is the Price the Brain Pays for Learning

The SHY hypothesis, which takes into account years of evidence from human and animal studies, says that sleep is important because it weakens the connections among brain cells to save energy, avoid cellular stress, and maintain the ability of neurons to respond selectively to stimuli.

Researchers discover how brain circuits can become miswired during development

The researchers describe, for the first time, that faulty wiring occurs when RNA molecules embedded in a growing axon are not degraded after they give instructions that help steer the nerve cell. So, for example, the signal that tells the axon to turn -- which should disappear after the turn is made -- remains active, interfering with new signals meant to guide the axon in other directions.

Birth gets the brain ready to sense the world

"Our results clearly demonstrate that birth has active roles in brain formation and maturation," says senior study author Hiroshi Kawasaki of Kanazawa University in Japan. "We found that birth regulates neuronal circuit formation not only in the somatosensory system but also in the visual system. Therefore, it seems reasonable to speculate that birth actually plays a wider role in various brain regions."

Study shows a solitary mutation can destroy critical 'window' of early brain development

Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have shown in animal models that brain damage caused by the loss of a single copy of a gene during very early childhood development can cause a lifetime of behavioral and intellectual problems.

The study, published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience, sheds new light on the early development of neural circuits in the cortex, the part of the brain responsible for functions such as sensory perception, planning and decision-making.