JNeurosci: Highlights from the Oct. 19 issue

Check out these newsworthy studies from the October 19, 2016, issue of JNeurosci. Media interested in obtaining the full text of the studies should contact [email protected]

Photoreceptor Protein May Also Serve as a Magnetic Field Sensor

How do migratory birds know which direction to fly during their annual pilgrimage? The answer lies in their ability to sense the earth's magnetic field. Migratory and even some non-migratory animals have this ability, but the physiological basis of magnetoreception remains a mystery. In a new study in Drosophila flies, researchers find a specific photoreceptor protein senses magnetic fields and can alter neuronal firing in their presence.

Corresponding author: Richard Baines, [email protected]

Enzyme May Contribute to Brain Cell Death in Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease kills cells throughout the brain, but exacts a particular toll in the hippocampus, a brain structure critical for learning and memory, and surrounding areas. Early in the disease, cells near the hippocampus in a region called the entorhinal cortex begin to die. A new study using a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, researchers find a specific enzyme regulating programmed cell death is activated in the entorhinal cortex and contributes to cell loss. Mice with an inactivated version of the enzyme lost fewer cells and showed improved memory.

Corresponding author: Youming Lu, [email protected]

A Developmental Timeline for Language Lateralization in the Infant Brain

Many brain functions, like sensory perception, result from a coordinated effort involving both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. But, language takes sides. For the majority of adults, language resides in the left hemisphere. Imaging studies suggest babies' language systems may be organized more symmetrically early in infancy. In a new study, researchers measure babies' brain activity using MRI at several different time points and trace the developmental timeline of language localization in the brain. The results suggest language shifts to one side of the brain in the second year of life.

Corresponding author: Weili Lin, [email protected]

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The Journal of Neuroscience is published by the Society for Neuroscience, an organization of nearly 38,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.

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