Published News Biology

Nerve Cells in the GI Tract are Capable of Regeneration

Scientists at Johns Hopkins have reported interesting new evidence that upends common knowledge about gut nerve cells. Their work suggests that neurons in the mouse digestive tract regenerate, incredibly, about five percent every single day. This study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences could have major implications for how we treat and understand the digestive system. 


An unexpected new lung function has been found - they make blood

Researchers have discovered that the lungs play a far more complex role in mammalian bodies than we thought, with new evidence revealing that they don't just facilitate respiration - they also play a key role in blood production. 



In experiments involving mice, the team found that they produce more than 10 million platelets (tiny blood cells) per hour, equating to the majority of platelets in the animals' circulation. This goes against the decades-long assumption that bone marrow produces all of our blood components.


The brain sets a unique learning rate for everything we do, by self

Each time we get feedback, the brain is hard at work updating its knowledge and behavior in response to changes in the environment; yet, if there's uncertainty or volatility in the environment, the entire process must be adjusted. A Dartmouth-led study published in Neuron reveals that there's not a single rate of learning for everything we do, as the brain can self-adjust its learning rates using a synaptic mechanism called metaplasticity.


Human umbilical blood has regenerated the brains of elderly mice

Researchers have regenerated the memories and learning abilities of elderly mice by injecting their brains with proteins taken from human umbilical cord blood.



The blood of human teenagers had previously been shown to rejuvenate ageing mice, but this new study shows that blood from the umbilical cords of babies could have even more powerful effects.


From decapitation to consciousness: how one nerve connects body, brain, and mind

The relationship between mind, brain, and body has kept philosophers and scientists busy for centuries. Some of the first interesting – albeit gruesome – experiments on the role of the body in human consciousness considered life after decapitation. 

The Conversation


These 3D images are our first ever look at how DNA shapes itself inside cells

For the first time, scientists have been able to model the physical structure of mammalian genomes from individual cells, giving us a unique 3D perspective on how DNA packages itself inside our cells.



Through the new technique, scientists can see how the arrangement of cell chromosomes (DNA strands) are designed to keep some cells active or inactive at any one time.


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