Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Neuroscience

Journal Club: Pinpointing theory of mind deficiencies in autism

Around age four, preschoolers learn that other people have unique thoughts and feelings, an inner life. These children start to be able to predict a person’s behavior based on that understanding. They start developing theory of mind (ToM). That developmental … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Newly solved structure of a GABA receptor could offer drug design insights

Neurons message each other with the help of excitatory or inhibitory neurotransmitters. But to actually deliver those messages, the neurotransmitters must dock with protein receptors embedded in the cell membranes of adjacent neurons. Of particular interest in the human brain … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Key protein family helps govern sense of touch in both plants and animals

Compared to their knowledge of other senses, scientists know relatively little about how cells sense touch. A newly confirmed family of mechanosensors, comprising more than a dozen members and present in both plants and animals, is an important step toward … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Researchers catch the mouse brain in the act of learning something new

Neurobiologists have captured, for the first time, the moment in a mouse’s brain when it first learns something new: in this case, that a beep signals a delicious droplet of sugar water. The results, recently reported in Nature Neuroscience, support a famous … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Simple model reproduces patterns of toxic protein buildup across multiple neurodegenerative diseases

Fatal neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) begin as tiny pockets of misfolded proteins that evade the body’s normal detritus-removal systems. They spread throughout the brain and clog neural pathways. But exactly how these proteins propagate … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Tracing light’s effect on mood and learning in mice from the eye to deep within the brain

To the mammalian eye, light offers more than just sight. “Light is so important for many innate functions,” says neuroscientist Samer Hattar of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). “We really don’t appreciate the importance of light in our … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Attention may be at the root of confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is a pervasive phenomenon. Whether it’s a news article or an additional piece of scientific data, people tend to interpret new information as evidence confirming their prior beliefs—even if it actually doesn’t. “People have been aware of this … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Sticky proteins play crucial role in tailoring synapses

The proteins that join neurons together at the synapse do more than just act like glue. Synaptic adhesion proteins are known to affect the activity of neurotransmitters, weaken or strengthen synaptic connections, or direct where synapses form. Faulty adhesion proteins … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Giving the brain something to do highlights the circuitry of smarts

Scientists conducting neuroimaging studies hope that their MRI scans will offer up patterns that predict traits related to intelligence, personality, disease, or even offer insights into a patient’s clinical symptoms or their chances of responding to a drug. But according … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Microglial protein trafficking could play a role in neurodegenerative disorders

Neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or Parkinson’s are associated with a build-up of insoluble, toxic forms of proteins such as amyloid or tau in the brain. Normally, intracellular protein complexes known as retromers help with recycling and trafficking … Continue reading

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