The liver secretes bile acids to aid in the digestion of fats. Cholestasis is a condition in which the bile flow from the liver to the duodenum is impeded. Patients with the disease exhibit itchiness (pruritis) and cannot sense pain (analgesia). The molecular mechanisms mediating these effects are unknown. Carlos Corvera of UCSF and Nigel Bunnett of Monash University discuss their study demonstrating that bile acids cause itch and analgesia by activating the TGR5 receptor in neurons. Highlights:
Increased brain uptake and oxidation of acetate in heavy drinkers Graeme Mason of Yale University discusses how heavy drinking influences metabolism and leads to alternate fuel use in the brain. Highlights:
If you, or someone you know, has Parkinson’s disease, mental health issues, or other neurological disorders, medication can often help. The bulk of these medications have been established based on the work of neuroscientist Paul Greengard from the Rockefeller University, who worked out just how the brain responds to neurotransmitters — the chemicals that help the brain signal. Most of what most neuroscientists know today about neurotransmission, and specifically the dynamics of slow synaptic transmission, is predicated on the work of Dr. Greengard. The interview features stories about his seminal research discoveries and his competitive streak in potato sack races.
Helene Benveniste of Stony Brook University discusses the use of contrast-enhanced MRI to visualize the glymphatic system, a paravascular pathway that facilitates the clearance of waste and solutes from the cerebrospinal fluid and interstitial fluid of the brain. Highlights:
Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, of Rockefeller University, has been at the center of discovery of the molecular determinants of why we eat what we eat and, more importantly, why we eat so much of what we eat. Over the last three decades, now almost daily in the media, alarm has been sounded about the growing obesity epidemic. Dr. Friedman has spent his research career engaged in the discovery and characterization of leptin, one of the most important hormones regulating appetite and hunger.