Breaking Gad

The Nucleus Accumbens (NAc) is an area of the brain that is part of the Basal Ganglia system. It is divided into two subregions: the core and the shell. As you can imagine, the core region is nested within the shell. The NAc is primarily composed of neurons that contain GABA, the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. These neurons make up ~95% of NAc neurons and contain … Continue reading Breaking Gad

Orange Crush

The Dorsal Raphe Nucleus, or DRN, is an area of the brain located along the midline of the brainstem that contains the largest number of serotonin containing (serotonergic) neurons in the brain. Serotonin participates in mood setting, sleep, social behavior, and many other things. Another cell type in this area are neurons that contain Glutamate Decarboxylase 1 (Gad1), which helps produce gamma-aminobutyeric acid (GABA), the … Continue reading Orange Crush

Sweet Serotonin

The Dorsal Raphe Nucleus, or DRN, is an area of the brain located along the midline of the brainstem, which is found towards the back of your brain. The DRN contains the largest number of serotonin-containing neurons, called serotonergic neurons, in the brain. You may recognize serotonin from the drug advertisements on TV, as it is a popular target for treating depression. Unsurprisingly, serotonin is … Continue reading Sweet Serotonin

Shining A Light in the Brain: Optogenetics as a “guiding light” for deep brain stimulation

by Trevor Haynes In the late 18th century a particularly resourceful experimenter, Giovanni Aldini, saw scientific opportunity in the increasingly prevalent public executions being performed across Europe at the time. Using the corpse of a recently deceased prisoner, Aldini electrically stimulated the prisoner’s exposed brain causing his eyes to open and his face to contort and twitch, thus putting his uncle’s theory of bioelectricity to … Continue reading Shining A Light in the Brain: Optogenetics as a “guiding light” for deep brain stimulation

Brain tricks to make food taste sweeter: How to transform taste perception and why it matters

by Jessleen K. Kanwal figures by Brad Wierbowski Imagine for a moment that you are unable to taste or smell anything.  For many patients undergoing chemotherapy, this is an everyday reality of their daily fight against cancer.  Chemotherapy kills fast-growing cells in the body in an effort to eradicate tumors.  Taste receptor cells located on our tongue are also fast-growing, regenerating every 2 weeks.  Thus, … Continue reading Brain tricks to make food taste sweeter: How to transform taste perception and why it matters

Progress, but no breakthrough for Circadian Rhythms

From The ability to reset the circadian clock, which controls when animals are awake or asleep, could help people suffering from a variety of sleep and mood disorders. Authors of a new study in Nature Neuroscience claim to have made significant progress towards this goal, with clear applications to human health. Unfortunately, the above popular press article exaggerates the findings of the study. Like all … Continue reading Progress, but no breakthrough for Circadian Rhythms