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Ashley Yeager

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Science Ticker

Insulating sheath on nerve cells isn't an even coat

Three neurons show differences in their myelin sheaths (white), in this computer illustration.

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A nerve cell's long, slender tentacle isn’t evenly coated with an insulating sheath as scientists had thought.

Instead, many nerve cells in the brains of mice have stretches of these tentacles, called axons, that are naked, researchers report April 18 in Science. The unsheathed feeler can be as long as 80 micrometers. Nerve cells can also have specific patterns in the gaps of the insulating layer, called myelin. The differences in the thickness of that coating may control how fast signals travel between nerve cells, the scientists suggest.

The finding could have implications for understanding nerve-based diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, and improve scientists’ understanding of how signals are transmitted in the brain.

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Planetary Science,, Astronomy

RIP LADEE: 9/6/2013 – 4/18/2014

By Science News Staff 2:43pm, April 18, 2014
NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission ended April 18.
Health,, Genetics

Gene variant, processed meat linked to boost in cancer risk

By Ashley Yeager 9:00am, April 18, 2014
In people with a specific variation of a gene on chromosome 10, eating processed meat is associated with an increased risk of developing colon cancer.
Cells,, Human Development

Protein that gets sperm into egg identified

By Ashley Yeager 8:00pm, April 17, 2014
The protein Folr4 on a reproductive egg plays this crucial role in the fusion of the sperm and egg, research shows.
Neuroscience,, Mental Health

Even with rest, brain changes linked to football linger

By Ashley Yeager 5:15pm, April 17, 2014
The offseason may not allow enough time for football players' brains to heal from hard hits.
Paleontology

Early meat-eater may have led to larger plant-eaters

By Ashley Yeager 3:06pm, April 17, 2014
The newly identified Eocasea martini may have set the stage for later, much larger animals to become plant-eaters.
Genetics,, Human Development

Down’s syndrome goes beyond chromosome 21

By Ashley Yeager 6:20pm, April 16, 2014
A genetic analysis suggests that the DNA changes linked to Down's syndrome happen on all chromosomes, not just the 21st.
Paleontology,, Animals

Fish gill fossils gnaw at ideas of jaw evolution

By Ashley Yeager 1:45pm, April 16, 2014

Bony fishes, not modern sharks, may provide a better understanding of the earliest jawed animals and the evolution of the jaw itself.

Quantum Physics

Excitons' motions captured in images

By Ashley Yeager 12:45pm, April 16, 2014
Scientists have observed how quasiparticles called excitons move.
Planetary Science,, Astronomy

Saturn may be getting a new moon

By Ashley Yeager 2:36pm, April 15, 2014
An icy object within Saturn's rings may be a new moon in the making.
Genetics

Modern hunter-gatherers' guts host distinct microbes

By Ashley Yeager 12:27pm, April 15, 2014
A healthy collection of gut bacteria depends on the environment in which people live and their lifestyle, research shows.
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