Neuroscience and Neurological Disorders

Videos

Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Neuroscience and Neurological Disorders - Videos

Videos


Memory relies on astrocytes, the brain’s lesser-known cells

When you’re expecting something—like the meal you’ve ordered at a restaurant—or when or when something captures your interest, unique electrical rhythms sweep through your brain.

These waves are called gamma oscillations and they reflect a symphony of cells—both excitatory and inhibitory—playing together in an orchestrated way. Though their role has been debated, gamma waves have been associated with higher-level brain function, and disturbances in the patterns have been tied to schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, epilepsy and other disorders. Read more »


How the brain balances risk-taking and learning

If you had 10 chances to roll a die, would you rather be guaranteed to receive $5 for every roll ($50 total) or take the risk of winning $100 if you only roll a six?

Most animals, from roundworms to humans, prefer the more predictable situation when it comes to securing resources for survival, such as food. Now, Salk scientists have discovered the basis for how animals balance learning and risk-taking behavior to get to a more predictable environment. The research reveals new details on the function of two chemical signals critical to human behavior: dopamine–responsible for reward and risk-taking–and CREB–needed for learning. Read more »


Scientists reveal potential link between brain development and breast cancer gene

Scientists at the Salk Institute have uncovered details into a surprising—and crucial—link between brain development and a gene whose mutation is tied to breast and ovarian cancer. Aside from better understanding neurological damage associated in a small percentage of people susceptible to breast cancers, the new work also helps to better understand the evolution of the brain.

The research, published this month in PNAS, shows that the gene known as BRCA1 has a significant role in creating healthy brains in mice and may provide a hint as to why some women genetically prone to breast cancer experience brain seizures. Read more »