Monthly Archives: January 2017

The secret language of behavior


Pioneers of ethology Tinbergen and Lorenz relied on observations made with their own eyes and computed by their own brains when they proposed that animal behavior could be broken down into stereotypic modules. Now the field has entered the computer age, with the development of machine vision and learning technologies to extract scientific understanding from large video image datasets of untrained untethered animals.


A year of almost anything you can think of in life science – an eclectic pick from BMC Biology


The diversity and exploitation of plant signals, the illumination of biological function by molecular structure, the mystery of memory and the endless insights on everything from the lowly roundworm C. elegans, reverse evolution by horizontal gene transfer and rules for deciding when it’s really happening in metazoans, taking lessons from ingenious pathogens to protect crops – A selection from BMC Biology in 2016


Mouse models, tau tangles and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease

Neurodegenerative diseases – Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, motor neuron diseases, to name the commonest – are illnesses that, though their behavioural symptoms may vary, are all characterised by the progressive impairment and death of neurons. Neurons are not readily replaced in adults, so the neuronal damage leads to cumulative debilitation of the patient, as motor and/or mental functioning progressively worsens.


How is it that the fluid bathing our brains has the correct composition and volume to allow the brain cells to function properly; how is this fluid produced and how is its composition regulated?

These questions have occupied the thoughts of neuroscientists over the years and formed the subject of many separate investigations. Roughly a third of the fluid is located in cavities within the brain or in spaces surrounding the brain where it cushions it inside the skull so playing a vital role in protecting it against mechanical… Read more »