Bookmark and Share RSS IconRSS

Feature Stories by Date

Feature Story

Health Center Today, December 22, 2009

New Mechanism Explains Some Brain Injuries

By Carolyn Pennington

Photo of Louise McCullough

Louise McCullough

If the entrances and exits of freeways shut down, traffic all over the United States would come to a halt.

In a similar situation, injuries to the brain can make it impossible for neurons to determine information input from output and impedes the ability of the nervous system to operate.

In a recent report in The Journal of Neuroscience Fudong Liu, Trupti Akella and Dr. Louise McCullough in the Health Centerís department of neuroscience, show that this is exactly what happens after nervous system injury.

Working with scientists at Baylor College of Medicine, the researchers found that neurons are structurally complex with specific parts of the cell responsible for information input, and other parts are responsible for information output. When neurons cannot distinguish between the two activities, the nervous system stops working. This is a new way to think about nervous system injuries.

The scientists say they have found a new mechanism that contributes to the inability of the nervous system to be repaired and suggest their results point to the need for multifaceted treatments for brain injuries and stroke.