Tag Archives: Nature Neuroscience

How inhibitory brain cells get excited

How inhibitory brain cells get excited.

Scientists have found an early step in how the brain’s inhibitory cells get excited.

A natural balance of excitement and inhibition keeps the brain from firing electrical impulses randomly and excessively, resulting in problems such as schizophrenia and seizures. However excitement is required to put on the brakes.

The researchers found that the protein erbin, crucial to brain development, is critical to the excitement.

They also found that erbin is only present in inhibitory neurons, called interneurons. They’re already working on what they believe to be the counterpart for excitatory cells, which account for about 80 percent of brain cells.

Aging in brain found to hurt sleep needed for memory

Aging in brain found to hurt sleep needed for memory.

Scientists have known for decades that the ability to remember newly learned information declines with age, but it was not clear why. A new study may provide another interesting insight.

The study suggests that structural brain changes occurring naturally over time interfere with sleep quality, which in turn blunts the ability to store memories for the long term.

Previous research had found that the prefrontal cortex, the brain region behind the forehead, tends to lose volume with age, and that part of this region helps sustain quality sleep, which is critical to consolidating new memories.