Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




ABOUT US
Human cognition depends upon slow-firing neurons
by Staff Writers
New Haven CT (SPX) Feb 28, 2013


High-order thinking depends upon our ability to generate mental representations in our brains without any sensory stimulation from the environment.

Good mental health and clear thinking depend upon our ability to store and manipulate thoughts on a sort of "mental sketch pad." In a new study, Yale School of Medicine researchers describe the molecular basis of this ability - the hallmark of human cognition - and describe how a breakdown of the system contributes to diseases such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease.

"Insults to these highly evolved cortical circuits impair the ability to create and maintain our mental representations of the world, which is the basis of higher cognition," said Amy Arnsten, professor of neurobiology and senior author of the paper published in the Feb. 20 issue of the journal Neuron.

High-order thinking depends upon our ability to generate mental representations in our brains without any sensory stimulation from the environment. These cognitive abilities arise from highly evolved circuits in the prefrontal cortex.

Mathematical models by former Yale neurobiologist Xiao-Jing Wang, now of New York University, predicted that in order to maintain these visual representations the prefrontal cortex must rely on a family of receptors that allow for slow, steady firing of neurons.

The Yale scientists show that NMDA-NR2B receptors involved in glutamate signaling regulate this neuronal firing. These receptors, studied at Yale for more than a decade, are responsible for activity of highly evolved brain circuits found especially in primates.

Earlier studies have shown these types of NMDA receptors are often altered in patients with schizophrenia. The Neuron study suggests that those suffering from the disease may be unable to hold onto a stable view of the world. Also, these receptors seem to be altered in Alzheimer's patients, which may contribute to the cognitive deficits of dementia.

The lab of Dr. John Krystal, chair of the department of psychiatry at Yale, has found that the anesthetic ketamine, abused as a street drug, blocks NMDA receptors and can mimic some of the symptoms of schizophrenia. The current study in Neuron shows that ketamine may reduce the firing of the same higher-order neural circuits that are decimated in schizophrenia.

"Identifying the receptor needed for higher cognition may help us to understand why certain genetic insults lead to cognitive impairment and will help us to develop strategies for treating these debilitating disorders," Arnsten said.

This research was supported by NIH grants PO1 AG030004 and RL1 AA017536 within U54RR024350. Other Yale authors are Min Wang, Yang Yang, Nao J. Gamo, Lu E. Jin, and James A. Mazer. Authors from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine are John H. Morrison, and Ching-Jung Wang.

.


Related Links
Yale University
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ABOUT US
Could a computer on the police beat prevent violence?
Ann Arbor MI (SPX) Feb 28, 2013
As cities across America work to reduce violence in tight budget times, new research shows how they might be able to target their efforts and police attention - with the help of high-powered computers and loads of data. In a newly published paper, University of Michigan Medical School researchers and their colleagues have used real police data from Boston to demonstrate the promise of comp ... read more


ABOUT US
Weather warning

Salvage crews break up US Navy ship in Philippines

Rio meet focuses on using science to root out poverty

British PM sparks concern with aid budget proposals

ABOUT US
Ancient Egyptian pigment points to new security ink technology

Laser mastery narrows down sources of superconductivity

In probing mysteries of glass, researchers find a key to toughness

Glasses.com turns heads with 3-D iPad app

ABOUT US
Maps depict potential worldwide coral bleaching by 2056

Mussels cramped by environmental factors

EU ministers reach deal on fish discard ban

Vibrant Mix of Marine Life Found at Extreme Ocean Depths

ABOUT US
Caves point to thawing of Siberia

Fiennes's evacuation from Antarctica under way

Data paper describes Antarctic biodiversity data gathered by 90 expeditions since 1956

Frostbite ends Fiennes winter Antarctic expedition bid

ABOUT US
World agriculture suffers from loss of wild bees: study

Maize part of coastal Peru diet for 5,000 years

Why sourdough bread resists mold

Cold-tolerant grapes expand wine country

ABOUT US
6.9-magnitude quake hits off Russian far east: USGS

'Lucky' Australians dodge cyclone's worst

Australian cyclone crossing Western Australian coast

Earthquake shakes buildings in Tokyo

ABOUT US
Amnesty International accuses I. Coast army of abuses

Regional leaders sign peace deal for eastern DR Congo

Guinea soldiers quit I.Coast village in border dispute

Rising Islamist threat in West Africa

ABOUT US
Human cognition depends upon slow-firing neurons

Blueprint for an artificial brain

Early human burials varied widely but most were simple

Could a computer on the police beat prevent violence?




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement