Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hidden variations in neuronal networks may explain differences in traumatic brain injury outcomes

Date:
July 15, 2014
Source:
Georgia State University
Summary:
Hidden differences in the properties of neural circuits can account for whether animals are behaviorally susceptible to brain injury, new research shows. These results could have implications for the treatment of brain trauma. People vary in their responses to stroke and trauma, which impedes the ability of physicians to predict patient outcomes. Damage to the brain and nervous system can lead to severe disabilities, including epilepsy and cognitive impairment.

A team of researchers at the Neuroscience Institute at Georgia State University has discovered that hidden differences in the properties of neural circuits can account for whether animals are behaviorally susceptible to brain injury. These results could have implications for the treatment of brain trauma.

Related Articles


People vary in their responses to stroke and trauma, which impedes the ability of physicians to predict patient outcomes. Damage to the brain and nervous system can lead to severe disabilities, including epilepsy and cognitive impairment.

If doctors could predict outcomes with greater accuracy, patients might benefit from more tailored treatments. Unfortunately, the complexity of the human brain hinders efforts to explain why similar brain damage can affect each person differently.

The researchers used a unique research animal, a sea slug called Tritonia diomedea, to study this question. This animal was used because unlike humans, it has a small number of neurons and its behavior is simple. Despite this simplicity, the animals varied in how neurons were connected.

Under normal conditions, this variability did not matter to the animals' behavior, but when a major pathway in the brain was severed, some of the animals showed little behavioral deficit, while others could not produce the behavior being studied. Remarkably, the researchers could artificially rewire the neural circuit using computer-generated connections and make animals susceptible or invulnerable to the injury.

"This study is important in light of the current Obama BRAIN initiative, which seeks to map all of the connections in the human brain," said Georgia State professor, Paul Katz, who led the research project. "It shows that even in a simple brain, small differences that have no effect under normal conditions, have major implications when the nervous system is challenged by injury or trauma."

Results of this study were published in the most recent edition of the journal eLife. The lead author on the study, Dr. Akira Sakurai, made this discovery in the course of doing basic research. He was assisted by Ph.D. student Arianna Tamvacakis from Dr. Katz's lab.

The project was funded in part by grants from the National Science Foundation and was initiated by a seed grant from the Brains and Behavior Program in the Neuroscience Institute.

The March of Dimes Foundation has also recently awarded Dr. Katz a three-year, $330,000 grant for the project.

It is hoped results of this work will provide basic information about how all nervous systems function.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Sakurai, A. N. Tamvacakis, P. S. Katz. Hidden synaptic differences in a neural circuit underlie differential behavioral susceptibility to a neural injury. eLife, 2014; DOI: 10.7554/eLife.02598

Cite This Page:

Georgia State University. "Hidden variations in neuronal networks may explain differences in traumatic brain injury outcomes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140715084930.htm>.
Georgia State University. (2014, July 15). Hidden variations in neuronal networks may explain differences in traumatic brain injury outcomes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140715084930.htm
Georgia State University. "Hidden variations in neuronal networks may explain differences in traumatic brain injury outcomes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140715084930.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Binge-Watching TV Linked To Loneliness

Binge-Watching TV Linked To Loneliness

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Researchers at University of Texas at Austin found a link between binge-watching TV shows and feelings of loneliness and depression. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Signs You Might Be The Passive Aggressive Friend

Signs You Might Be The Passive Aggressive Friend

BuzzFeed (Jan. 28, 2015) "No, I&apos;m not mad. Why, are you mad?" Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Rooftop Comedy (Jan. 26, 2015) A man in Texas saved every penny he found for 65 years, and this week he finally cashed them in. Bank tellers at Prosperity Bank in Slaton, Texas were shocked when Ira Keys arrived at their bank with over 500 pounds of loose pennies stored in coffee cans. After more than an hour of sorting and counting, it turned out the 81 year-old was in possession of 81,600 pennies, or $816. And he&apos;s got more at home! Video provided by Rooftop Comedy
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