Disturbance in the brain’s cholesterol metabolism is one of the factors responsible for Alzheimer’s disease. The gene therapy that we have developed inserts a specific gene into the neurons of the hippocampus and can correct the part of the brain involved in memory.

“Destroying neurons in the zona incerta leads to weight reduction”. The aim of this chronicle is not to propose solutions for losing weight before the holidays, but to share with you the latest knowledge on the brain mechanisms that govern our desire to eat.

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With my head resting against the window inside a high-speed train, I enjoy watching the vegetation along the tracks forming lines moving far faster than the mountains on the horizon. What in our vision system manages to estimate speed of movement like this? Our brain probably has complex neuronal networks responsible for this task. Recent studies in fact have shown that pre-processing movement-related visual information occurs well before the brain - in the retina!

Contrary to what we were told in school, the retina is not just a light sensor. The layer of neurons that covers the back of our eyes and translates light into electrical impulses does not...

Binge drinking, or the massive and rapid consumption of alcohol, affects the adolescent brain. Studies in humans and rodents reveal the mechanisms at play.

In brief

  • Alcohol consumption alters the brains of adolescents and young adults differently depending on whether the subjects are so-called “social” drinkers or fans of “binge drinking”.

  • Binge drinking is associated with damage to white matter (neuronal wiring) accompanied by alteration to the medium-term memory.

  • In rodents, it causes a long-term alteration of the function of one synaptic receptor essential for memory.

“The odd episode of binge drinking leaves no traces!” This statement, collected from secondary school pupils during visits to schools was the starting po...

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Photo Bernard Martinez

DR. DOMINIQUE LEGLU

Managing Editor

 

La Recherche, founded in 1970, is a major source of science information in France for science-interested citizens, leading universities and research institutions. The site Researchinfrance.com publishes the English version of a series of articles about the most advanced achievements appearing in our printed French version.

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November 11, 2018

November 11, 2018

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