How to Make a Bigger Brain in a Smaller Space
From a brain to a brain, it’s not the size of a human head that counts when it comes to how a human brain is used.
Instead, how many neurons are in a particular area of the brain.
And that’s where neuroscience comes in.
A study published this week in the journal Neuron reveals that brain-to-brain communication in the hippocampus, a region of the cerebral cortex that plays a role in memory and learning, is extremely different from those of a mouse brain.
In fact, it might be more like a human.
In the study, researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and UC Berkeley School of Medicine in California analyzed the brain activity of 19 young adults, all of whom had received a small injection of a compound called dronabinol, which was found to increase the activity of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the region of hippocampus known as the hippocampus periaqueductal gray (PAG).
The hippocampus is a brain structure that forms the neural basis for many memory processes, such as learning and recall.
The researchers then injected dronabenol into the hippocampus.
Their results showed that dronabiline increased activity in a portion of the hippocampus known to be important for memory formation, the hippocampus PERA.
They found that this hippocampus activity was enhanced even when the volunteers were receiving a dose of dronabal.
What this means is that, in theory, dronabol can increase the amount of BDNF found in the brain, and, thus, the amount that is produced in the neuron.
But this effect was only observed when the dronaban was administered directly to the hippocampus and not injected into the periaqicular gray (PERA), which is where the neurons are located.
This is not to say that dromabinol is harmless, but it does suggest that dropaban can affect brain-related processes.
Dronabinolin may have other benefits as well.
For instance, the researchers say it may have effects on how dronavir can affect immune cells.
Although the researchers did not find a direct link between dronapin and these immune-related effects, the findings do suggest that the compound could affect brain function in a way that could help treat conditions such as schizophrenia.
If dronablin does influence brain function, then this could have some important implications for treating diseases like schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
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