Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Cutting Chatter
18 February 2013

Cutting Chatter

Imagine a big corporation board room filled with people all talking at once – this is the kind of information processed unconsciously by our brains, every second. So how do we deal with the chaos? Interneurons (pictured stained green; branching dendrites are seen coming from their bright cell bodies) are nerve cells that mediate the ‘talking’ between neurons. They have the ability to silence some, give more attention to others and get groups of neurons to synchronise and work together. Dysfunctional interneurons can lead to neurons talking when they shouldn't and could be linked to epilepsy, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. Scientists are seeking ways to replace faulty interneurons and regulate nerves talking out of turn; research that could eventually lead to treatments for conditions like epilepsy.

Written by Mary-Clare Hallsworth

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