In a report, the Institute, which this year has changed used head – Ángel Barco replaced Salvador Martínez, becoming the fourth director since 1990 – recalls that, together with the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), they are «the largest Spanish center dedicated to entirely to research in Neurosciences. The twelve advances of 2020 are:
1. Brain aging
Silvia de Santis, after analyzing the brain’s highways with magnetic resonance techniques in one hundred individuals, came to the conclusion that they are different between men and women when they begin to age. “The decline associated with age begins a few years earlier in men,” was his conclusion.
2. Cannabis verscocaineína
“A cannabinoid, cannabidiol, which does not produce dependence, is capable of regulating the behavioral motor and anxiety response, as well as changes in brain function in a model of spontaneous withdrawal from cocaine”, says the research of Dr. JoManagersares, opening the door to testing in patients used use to regulate withdrawal signs when trying to quit cocaine.
3. “Foreign” bodies in the eye
Have you felt terrible pain in one eye from a single blade? It is due, according to Dr. Ana Gomis, to the fact that neurons detect these stimuli through a sodium channel, Piezo2, which acts as a sensor. Removal of Piezo2 reduces sensitivity and pain. Research opens to using drugs.
4. The plasticity of the brain, a problem?
Isabel Pérez-Otaño’s group mapped the expression of the glutamate receptor GluN3A throughout life. Their study identifies niches in the brain that retain a high level of GluN3A in adults and maintain high plasticity and the ability to integrate information (which is good), however, the abnormal expression of GluN3A in mentally ill patients “could enhance relapses by reactivating phenomena plastics’.
5. Waves that help to remember
Santiago Canals published that «memory is modified when there is new data. Processing is carried out in parallel, without interference, thanks to the existence of a mechanism to segregate or integrate processes based on the coexistence of different patterns of slow and fast waves.
6. A genetic program for viewing in 3D
Dr. Eloísa Herrera clarified how images are transmitted from the retina to the brain to be able to see in 3D. His work is based on the Zic2 protein, “essential for the proper development of the embryo.” According to the scientist, a signaling pathway for this is essential for the development of the embryo and is usually altered by serious pathologies. “These details could help prevent pathologies.”
7. Alcohol and the immune system
Santiago Canals presented an unknown addiction mechanism. “The cells of the brain’s immune system facilitate communication pathways. Through them, dopamine (a key neurotransmitter in addiction) circulates in greater quantity and can convert the properties of alcohol into addiction.
8. Proteins that maintain your identity throughout life
Ángel Barco discovered that it makes a neuron remain so throughout life. “It depends on two proteins CBP and P300, which introduce modifications in the structure of DNA without altering used sequence.”
9. Alzheimer’s biomarkers
Dr. Javier Sáez-Valero’s group discovered that the addiction of carbohydrates to an altered protein in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients would trigger the disease.
10. The relationship between anxiety and adult life
Dr. Cristina Márquez observed that episodes of stress in adolescence not only worsen and hinder learning and memory at that stage, but that episodes can increase in adulthood because it affects the maturation of regulatory pathways.
11. Cellular organisms and tissue in vertebrates
Dr. Angela Nieto published that the union of similar cells and the separation of different ones, “was fundamental for the appearance and development of tissues in animals” and was much earlier than previously thought: in the first unicellular organisms.
12. The RNA that directs the embryonic development of the brain
Dr. Victor Borell showed that small pieces of RNA were more important for brain development than previously suspected. The finding opens the door to new therapeutic strategies oncogene sisc oncogenesis.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.