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Memory Encoding Disrupted by Decoupled Astrocyte Networks in Mice

Communication through astrocyte networks controls the formation of spatial memories and plasticity in the hippocampus. Scientists have uncovered in a study on mutant mice lacking two major channel proteins that form portals of communication among astrocytes, that the decoupling of astrocytic networks impairs neuronal excitability, synaptic transmission, long term potentiation of neuronal signals, plasticity and the formation of spatial memories. Disrupted astrocyte networks also results in abnormal activation of microglia.

Sleeping Brains Keep Watch for Unfamiliar Voices and Learn

Scientists at the University of Salzburg demonstrate in a polysomnography study published in The Journal of Neuroscience on January 17, that the brain continues to monitor its environment for unfamiliar voices and learns new information even while asleep. The researchers measured brain activity of sleeping adults in response to familiar and unfamiliar voices and showed unfamiliar voices elicited more EEG signature responses compared to familiar voices.