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Nerve Cells

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  • Neandertals may have had a lower threshold for pain

    Pain is mediated through specialized nerve cells that are activated when potentially harmful things affect various parts of our bodies. These nerve cells have a special ion channel that has a key role in starting the electrical impulse that signals pain and is sent to the brain. According to a new s more

  • Did nerve cells develop to talk to microbes?

    Various diseases of the digestive tract, for example serious intestinal inflammation in humans, are closely linked to disturbances in the natural mobility of the intestine. The role of the microbiome - i.e. the natural microbial colonisation of the digestive tract - in these rhythmic contractions of more

  • Does obesity start in the brain?

    High-calorie, energy-dense foods are constantly available in our modern society. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research in Cologne have discovered that a group of nerve cells in the brains of mice promotes the consumption of high-fat food. If these so-called nociceptin neuro more

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  • Stochastic shielding and edge importance for Markov chains with timescale separation

    by Deena R. Schmidt, Roberto F. Galán, Peter J. Thomas Nerve cells produce electrical impulses (“spikes”) through the coordinated opening and closing of ion channels. Markov processes with voltage-dependent transition rates capture the stochasticity of spike generation at the cost of complex, tim more

  • A biophysical mechanism for preferred direction enhancement in fly motion vision

    by Alexander Borst Seeing the direction of motion is essential for survival of all sighted animals. Consequently, nerve cells that respond to visual stimuli moving in one but not in the opposite direction, so-called ‘direction-selective’ neurons, are found abundantly. In general, direction select more

  • New copies of old gene drove brain expansion

    Three nearly identical genes could help explain why the ancestral human brain tripled in size over the course of human evolution. The genes, descendants of an ancient developmental gene that multiplied and changed over time, could also explain how brain development sometimes goes wrong, leading to n more

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