Happy Halloween!

I know you were wondering this today, and yes, there is a subset of genes named “Halloween genes”. In line with a long standing tradition of naming biological units after silly things, the halloween gene family includes spook, spookier, phantom (phm), disembodied (dib), shadow (sad), and shade. These genes were first identified in Drosophila melanogaster (fruit…

Lecture Summary: Dopamine Neuron Regulation & Its Implications for Schizophrenia

Speaker: Professor Anthony Grace, University of Pittsburg Date/Time: 13 October 2016, 4-6pm Venue: Lecture Theatre, Hadyn Ellis Building, Cardiff University Lecture Summary: Dopamine Neuron Regulation & its Implications for the Treatment and Prevention of Schizophrenia      Most drug treatments for schizophrenia target the dopaminergic system, but many gene variants linked to schizophrenia (and subsequently targeted for research) are relevant…

Mini-Update of Neuroscience News

Our regular postings have been interrupted by the holiday period and several conferences, so until we have things back to normal we have a small update of neuroscience news! Firstly, The Brain Domain will be presenting at the Neuropalooza conference later this month. Good luck to all the other presenters! Remember to check out our…

Dogs and Coffee Shops on the Brain

Dogs understand human, but do you understand Dog? If you’ve ever heard the claim that dogs don’t understand what you’re saying to them, only how you say it, then it’s time to check your facts! An MRI study in Hungary has established dogs not only process intonation, but also words. Dogs need both words and…

What is neuroimmunology and why should I care?

By Dr Niels Haan Everybody knows about the immune system, right? You get an infection and your body mobilises its army of immune cells and fights off the invaders. You get a fever, feel awful for a while, then things get back to normal. However, in the brain, it doesn’t work that way. In immunology,…

Your cat is trying to control your mind! (Inadvertently).

Cats or dogs? An eternal debate, with passionate advocates on both sides. Those in the pro dog camp have an unusual argument they could lobby: cats can infect you with mind controlling parasites. Toxoplasma gondii is a single celled obligate parasite, which means it is unable to complete its life cycle without a suitable host….

Is spider venom the future of pain relief?

An estimated 8 million people suffer from moderate to severe chronic pain in the UK [1]. Although it may arise from an initial injury or an on-going illness, chronic pain can also occur when feedback mechanisms in your brain malfunction, leaving sufferers to feel constant pain, at times for no apparent cause. Treatments frequently leave…

Organ Donation: A No-Brainer, Right?

Organ donation. It’s an unusual topic for neuroscience (unless you’re talking about this), but the brain might just present the biggest issue preventing the advancement of this essential field. Why? Because a recent innovation relies on growing human organs inside pigs, and the initial studies show that we risk human cells entering the pig brains….

Reflections on Dementia

This is not our usual type of Brain Domain article, but personal stories are important reminders of why neuroscience research is so crucial. Here are some touching thoughts from a friend of someone with Dementia.   Dementia: Please no! By Andy Stickland Edited by Rachael As I look upon my frail friend Bob, lying there in…

Graphene and the Cyborg Circuit Board

How much of a human do you need to replace to create a cyborg? How far can you go before a cyborg becomes a biological computer?  Does Inspector Gadget from the 1983 TV series still retain the autonomy, dignity, and essential rights he had before becoming a cyborg? Some of the common characteristics that define…

Killing cancer with your brain!

It is predicted that in the UK over one thousand people will be diagnosed with cancer every day this year 1. Those unlucky enough to develop the most common form of brain cancer (Glioblastoma) will typically only survive 12 to 15 months 2. But what if you could kill the cancer with your brain? Unfortunately, I don’t mean…