Describing the universe requires fewer dimensions than we might think. New calculations show that this may not just be a mathematical trick, but a fundamental feature of space itself. —> Read More
Sky takes on Blinkbox: Buy and Keep movie rental service is now open to everyone in the UK and Ireland
Films can be bought at Skystore.com or through the Sky Store app. Non-Sky TV customers in the UK can watch on their TV via a NOW TV box or Roku while those in Ireland can watch via a Roku box. —> Read More
A UK survey of more than 2400 people reveals that those who are most worried about electricity bills are least likely to want smart meters
T. rex had some surprising relatives, including a new dinosaur nicknamed The Platypus that loved plants instead of meat. —> Read More
Scientists find surprisingly precocious example of a meat-eating dinosaur that changed its diet —> Read More
Orchid lips are irresistible to pollinators, such as bees, and these lips can develop and change over time. —> Read More
Although closely related to the notorious carnivore Tyrannosaurus rex, a new lineage of dinosaur discovered in Chile is proving to be an evolutionary jigsaw puzzle, as it preferred to graze upon plants. —> Read More
Thinking helps fuel the growth of deadly brain tumors, according to a surprising new study from Stanford University School of Medicine.
The study, which was recently published in the journal Cell, found that tumors actually use nerve activity in the cerebral cortex — i.e., thinking — to promote their own growth.
The researchers observed high-grade gliomas, a deadly form of tumor that starts in the brain or spinal cord, and makes up roughly 80 percent of malignant brain tumors. Currently, treatment options for high-grade gliomas are very limited.
“Understanding that brain activity fuels glioma growth opens new doors for developing effective therapies,” Dr. Michelle Monje, a Stanford neurologist and the study’s lead author, told The Huffington Post in an email. “It also teaches us that gliomas hijack processes normally involved in brain plasticity, learning, adaptation.”
The study, which was conducted on mice, was the first to show that brain activity can stimulate the growth of brain tumors. This is surprising, given that the function of other organs does not seem to drive tumor growth — breathing, for instance, does not fuel lung cancer.
How does it work? The researchers identified a protein in the brain, neuroligin-3, that in a healthy brain is involved in the growth of new synapses and the brain’s ability to rewire itself. Using optigenetics, the researchers showed that when a tumor is present, the protein promotes the growth of the tumor.
Story continues below photos.
MRI of the tumor (top) and glioma cells growing in a lab dish (bottom).
So is the answer to reduce mental activity? Monje doesn’t think so.
“Even the most basic patterns of neuronal activity promoted tumor growth,” Monje told HuffPost. “Blocking or silencing neuronal activity, such as would occur in a medically-induced coma, is not a —> Read More
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Just small amounts of pollution inhaled over years can lead to brain shrinkage, a new study finds. —> Read More