[Neuroscience] Re: Gap Junctions and Epilepsy

r norman via neur-sci%40net.bio.net (by r_s_norman from _comcast.net)
Wed Jul 18 06:52:11 EST 2007

On Wed, 18 Jul 2007 16:09:06 +1000, "John H." <bingblat from goaway.com.au>

>Evidence Found For Novel Brain Cell Communication
>Science Daily - An article published July 16, 2007, in Proceedings of the
>National Academy of Sciences, provides strong evidence for a novel type of
>communication between nerve cells in the brain. The findings may have
>relevance for the prevention and treatment of epilepsy, and possibly in the
>exploration of other aspects of brain functions, from creative thought
>processes to mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.

Another big win for press release excesses!
The first paragraph trumpets the "novel type of communication between
nerve cells in the brain", electrical synapses or gap junctions.  Down
much further is the reality: "Gap junctions between nerve cells have
been most studied in older vertebrates (such as fish) and in
invertebrates (such as leeches and crabs); additionally, gap junctions
in mammals have been studied that exist between nerve cells that
produce inhibition -- that is, between cells that are not primarily
involved in epileptic seizures."

So what is really involved is the belated recognition by some (many?
most?) mammalian researchers that those weird invertebrates or "lower"
vertebrates really do have something to offer about understanding the
human brain.  Excitatory electrical coupling in groups of cells that
fire rhythmically is far from a novel type of brain communication and
has long been known and studied.

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