Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human-like Brain Disturbances In Insects: Locusts Shed Light On Migraines, Stroke And Epilepsy

Date:
July 3, 2009
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
A similarity in brain disturbance between insects and people suffering from migraines, stroke and epilepsy points the way toward new drug therapies to address these conditions.

Queen's biologists are learning from locusts how the human brain may be manipulated to alleviate disease.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Gary Armstrong

A similarity in brain disturbance between insects and people suffering from migraines, stroke and epilepsy points the way toward new drug therapies to address these conditions.

Queen's University biologists studying the locust have found that these human disorders are linked by a brain disturbance during which nerve cells shut down. This also occurs in locusts when they go into a coma after exposure to extreme conditions such as high temperatures or lack of oxygen.

The Queen's study shows that the ability of the insects to resist entering the coma, and the speed of their recovery, can be manipulated using drugs that target one of the cellular signaling pathways in the brain.

"This suggests that similar treatments in humans might be able to modify the thresholds or severity of migraine and stroke," says Gary Armstrong, who is completing his PhD research in Biology professor Mel Robertson's laboratory. "What particularly excites me is that in one of our locust models, inhibition of the targeted pathway completely suppresses the brain disturbance in 70 per cent of animals," adds Dr. Robertson.

The Queen's research team previously demonstrated that locusts go into a coma as a way of shutting down and conserving energy when conditions are dangerous. The cellular responses in the locust are similar to the response of brain cells at the onset of a migraine.

Noting that it's hard to drown an insect – due to their ability to remain safely in a coma under water for several hours – Mr. Armstrong says, "It's intriguing that human neural problems may share their mechanistic roots with the process insects use to survive flash floods."

The Queen's study is published in the current edition of the Journal of Neuroscience. Other researchers on the team are Corinne Rodgers and Tomas Money who are also in Dr. Robertson's laboratory. The research was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Human-like Brain Disturbances In Insects: Locusts Shed Light On Migraines, Stroke And Epilepsy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090702170207.htm>.
Queen's University. (2009, July 3). Human-like Brain Disturbances In Insects: Locusts Shed Light On Migraines, Stroke And Epilepsy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090702170207.htm
Queen's University. "Human-like Brain Disturbances In Insects: Locusts Shed Light On Migraines, Stroke And Epilepsy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090702170207.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins