Consciousness has been defined as awareness, a person’s ability to experience and feel, an enigma that defies explanation. The nature of consciousness intrigued philosophers and psychologists for thousands of years. Modern neuroscience is giving some answers that could lighten the physical source of our consciousness and some promising fundamental theories are being established.
European researchers demonstrated that a low dose of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active substance of cannabis, profoundly reduced age-related cognitive impairment in mice. The drug increased behavioural performance and rejuvenated the elderly brain, closely resembling that of young, untreated animals.
Scientists have discovered a way to activate dormant predatory centers in mice using optogenetics, causing them to go rogue and revert to hunter-associated behavior. This was achieved with stimulation of a specific pair of neurons in the brain, providing a glimpse of how the predatory behavior could have evolved over millions of years.
Alzheimer´s disease is the most prevalent form of dementia and represents one of the puzzles in modern medicine. The condition was treated merely symptomatically to date, however a new animal study shows that delivering a specific gene to the brain could be used to treat it systematically.
How old are you? Are you sure that’s what your body thinks?
Rejuvenation. Health and quality of life it provides. Major things we all strive for this way or the other. How do we know how old our body actually is? Does our biological age actually correlate with our chronological age?
Lately, a major step forward has been made in using CRISPR technology in neurosciences. Over the past few years, scientists have been using gene sequencing to uncover genes that are important in brain development and in neurological diseases. The next step is to figure out if disrupting these genes can cause any of these diseases.
One of the hottest trends in life sciences research for the past few years has been the development of subfields of study focused on specific, complex networks within biological systems. These subfields are quite recognizable due to the common suffix ‘-ome’, and there is now an exciting and extensive list of “omes” starting with arguably the grandfather of them all, the genome.
At the last year’s annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience scientists presented a very interesting research topic about our gut microbiome. They have revealed that in some way gut bacteria influence the way how the brain work. An important question arose from the mental health pont-of-view: Can we treat mental and neurological diseases by tinkering with our gut microbiome?