Mind & Brain 

Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division

Stem cells in the brain can divide and mature into neurons participating in various brain functions, including memory. In a paper published in the journal ‘Cell Stem Cell’, scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) have shown how this works. They found that ion channels play a key role in mediating force signals to the neural stem cells to activate them.

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Mechanisms of harmful overhydration and brain swelling

We are all familiar with the drawbacks of dehydration, but we rarely hear about the harmful effects of overhydration. For one, excess fluid accumulation can lead to dangerously low sodium levels in the blood or hyponatremia — a life-threatening condition that can result in brain swelling. Similarly, more is known about the mechanisms in the body that detect and drive thirst while little is known about how the brain detects a state of overhydration.

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Plants & Animals 

Researchers build artificial cellular compartments as molecular workshops

How to install new capabilities in cells without interfering with their metabolic processes? A team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Helmholtz Zentrum München have altered mammalian cells in such a way that they formed artificial compartments in which sequestered reactions could take place, allowing the detection of cells deep in the tissue and also their manipulation with magnetic fields.

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Weird World 

New tech may make prosthetic hands easier for patients to use

Researchers have developed new technology for decoding neuromuscular signals to control powered, prosthetic wrists and hands. The work relies on computer models that closely mimic the behavior of the natural structures in the forearm, wrist and hand. The technology could also be used to develop new computer interface devices for applications such as gaming and computer-aided design (CAD).

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