For far too long, the brain’s cells have been divided into doers and helpers. Nerve cells, with their fancy electrochemical signals and complex circuitry, have attracted the attention and awe of scientists trying to understand the biophysical processes underlying thought and memory. Glial cells (the helpers) have seemed less interesting.08/12/2015 - 13:58 Neuroscience, Planetary Science, Microbes
Named for glue, glial cells were considered...
Letters to the Editor
New Horizons phones home08/12/2015 - 13:56 Astronomy, Neuroscience, Human Evolution
In “Pluto: Explored” (SN: 6/27/15, p. 16), Christopher Crockett chronicled New Horizons’ long journey to the dwarf planet. He followed up with a report on the successful flyby in “Pluto’s icy landscape comes into view” (SN: 8/8/15, p. 6).
“Having read that early images of Pluto encoded in radio waves would take 4.5 hours to reach Earth from the New Horizons...
Mother Nature is a lazy chemist. Occasionally, she produces an organic molecule that’s a winning drug. But more often, a nature-made chemical’s medicinal powers are coupled with flaws, such as brutal side effects. Until recently, upping the safety of those drugs by retooling their parts was a lot like assembling Ikea furniture.
Take amphotericin B, a lifesaving...
If Kepler 452b applied for the position of most Earthlike exoplanet, it would boast an impressive résumé. The newly discovered world (illustrated above) mimics our planet with a 385-day orbit around a sunlike star (SN: 8/22/15, p. 16). But there’s a hitch: Kepler 452b may not be made of rock. The planet is about 1.6 times as wide as Earth, and researchers couldn’t measure its mass. As a result...
A mouse scurries across a round table rimmed with Dixie cup–sized holes. Without much hesitation, the rodent heads straight for the hole that drops it into a box lined with cage litter. Any other hole would have led to a quick fall to the floor. But this mouse was more than lucky. It had an advantage — human glial cells were growing in its brain.
Glia are thought of as the support staff...