Thursday, September 16, 2010

Brain Wiring : Nano-level

A lot of the articles I've linked to talk about "rewiring" the brain. This article discusses how the neuroscientists are getting down to the nitty gritty on how that happens. 

In experiments with neurons in culture, the researchers can distinguish two separate steps during long-term potentiation, an enhancement of communication between neurons thought to lie behind learning and memory. Both steps involve the remodeling of the internal "skeletons" of dendritic spines, small protrusions on the surface of a neuron that receive electrical signals from neighboring cells.

The results hint at why people with Williams syndrome, a developmental disorder caused by a deletion of several genes, including one that alters dendritic spine remodeling, have such an unusual blend of cognitive strengths and weaknesses.

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