28 responses

  1. Andrew Atkin
    March 28, 2013

    And how is it that the human brain can tolerate a glia function that allows “rapid” memory imprinting, for rapid learning/responses?

    A best guess is that a big neocortex gives us greater power to mediate lower-level rapid responses: A greater mediating power on one level faclitating a greater “volatility” on another.

    • Peter Murray
      Peter Murray
      March 29, 2013

      Calcium wave propagation in human astrocytes may be faster for mice brains, but it is still extremely slow compared to the rapid transmission between neurons – astrocytes signaling is on the order of seconds while neuronal signaling is on the order of milliseconds. One intriguing thought in the field is that while neurons communicate with one another through direct synaptic transmission, thus limiting one neuron to communicate to relatively few nearby neurons, astrocytes that connect a great many and distant neurons provide a way for them to communicate through the slow calcium waves. It’s like neurons are landlines and astrocytes are really, really slow cell phones. How astrocytes linking distant neurons might contribute to cognition is a question few neuroscientists are asking (astrocytes are boring compared to neurons, right?) and for a number of reasons it’s a really tough question to answer. But changes in gene expression, which occurs on the scale of minutes and hours, could be the key.

      • Andrew Atkin
        March 29, 2013

        What is a calcium wave, exactly?

        It makes sense to me that the brain must link at a distance…and surely does…as all memories, I believe, are a “master experience” involving all parts of the brain (and the totality of the experience). Only refined later through recall, where we strip out unnecessary information for a given objective achieved.

      • Peter Murray
        Peter Murray
        March 30, 2013

        After being activated by neuronal activity calcium channels in the astrocyte’s membrane open and calcium from the surrounding fluid streams in. This evokes the astrocyte to release molecules that activate nearby astrocytes, into which calcium flows, then they activate astrocytes near them. When you inject a dye into the astrocytes that detects calcium concentration, you see a wave passing across the population of astrocytes. here’s an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CBFWON2MyQ
        It’s a signaling chain reaction.

      • Andrew Atkin
        March 30, 2013

        Thank you. I do appreciate this information.

  2. Ian Kidd
    March 28, 2013

    I for one welcome our new mice overlords.

  3. Kristof
    March 29, 2013

    Please let one of them be named Jonathan.

    • NickDB
      April 15, 2013

      Think Nicodemus would be better :)

  4. Robert Schreib
    March 30, 2013

    If only the same thing would work on our politicians!

  5. justme
    March 30, 2013

    http://americasright.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Henry-Waxman-249×300.jpg
    This is the reverse of the long time experiment on our politicians

  6. C Ann Lawrence
    March 30, 2013

    The article needs editing for punctuation at least.

  7. Mattagus
    April 2, 2013

    Some humans need to be injected with human brain cells.

    • Kevin Shamel
      April 3, 2013

      Hopefully the mice won’t become jerks like humans and use terms like, “red-headed step-children”.

      • Kevin Shamel
        April 3, 2013

        And sorry, Mattagus, I didn’t mean to reply to your comment. Meant to post it as a comment, got carried away, and put it in the wrong spot. Meant for the author of the original article. Apologies.

      • Greendogo
        April 11, 2013

        I accept your apology on behalf of Mattagus.

  8. Band Khayx
    May 9, 2013

    gross!
    We keep on feeding the illusion that we could learn through destruction, when only through observation can we acquire real truth about things.

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