Researchers Identify New Mechanism Controlling Brain Development

Cambridge, UK (Scicasts) — Scientists have found that developing nerve cells are able to ‘feel’ their environment as they grow, helping them form the correct connections within the brain and with other parts of the body. The results, reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience, could open up new avenues of research in brain development, and lead to potential treatments for spinal cord injuries and other types of neuronal damage. As the brain develops, roughly 100 billion neurons make over 100 trillion connections to send and receive information. For decades, it has been widely accepted that neuronal growth is controlled by small signalling molecules which are ‘sniffed’ out by the growing neurons, telling them which way to go, so that they can find their precise target. The new study, by researchers…


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