My latest science writing for COSMOS

Saltatory_Conduction

The myelin sheath coating insulates a neuron’s axon, thus improving the axon’s ability to conduct electrical signals. The more myelin, the better the conduction. GIF credit: Dr Jana via Wikimedia Commons

2018 is off to a great start, which has included an opportunity to cover some cool science news stories for COSMOS Magazine.

Suffice to say, I know A LOT more about brain structure and myelin than I did a few months ago, and I’m very glad about that! I never cease to be amazed by things I get to learn on a daily basis.

Here are a few of the stories, so far…

Active brain regions make more myelin

New research shows that increased electrical activity in an individual neuron leads to a thicker myelin coating around its axon, which can help speed up the transmission of neural signals

 

Gaining less than three kilos lifts inflammation, heart disease risk

Just 30 days of over-eating can trigger profound changes to the immune and cardiovascular system, leading to early signs of inflammation and heart disease

 

Cholesterol hinders nerve cell repair in MS

Researchers have discovered that sharp, needle-like crystals of cholesterol prevents myelin repair following a multiple sclerosis flare-up, thereby contributing to progression of the disease

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