The blog of Dr Jon Lieff explores the interface of biology, neurology, and the mind.

RSS Feed
  • The previous post described current understanding of the complexities of barriers that guard the brain. What is becoming clear is that all of the different compartments, and barriers, have differing characteristics—blood brain barrier, choroid cells, blood-CSF barrier, dura, su ...
  • It has been thought that the brain doesn’t have typical immune responses—it has been called “immune privileged.” With the discovery of the dual role of microglia as supportive glia brain cells and resident immune cells, this view changed somewhat. Then it was discovered t ...
  • The nervous system regulates the heart, the lungs, and the GI tract often through circuits that rapidly respond with reflexes such as sudden change in heart rate or blood pressure. Now, research is finding similar reflex regulation of many immune events and responses. The circuit ...
  • A previous post noted how microbes can help cancers in all stages of their development. Now, it has been found that the one-time microbe now the mitochondria is also vital for cancer to start, to grow, to survive and to metastasize. These microbes and the mitochondria use back an ...
  • One of the first discoveries about the unusual behavior and cognitive abilities of bacteria was a signal put out by many of the members of a community to make a group decision. This "quorum sensing" signal stimulates collaborative attacks and migration by sensing if there are eno ...
  • Cancers are a community of cells that engage in continual conversations to help their cells thrive, to expand to new locations, and to fight off attacks from immune cells, microbes, and other cells. Bacteria are another community of cells that constantly talk among themselves fo ...
  • As technology advances, we are able to observe the behavior, decision-making, and communication of individual cells. This complicates understanding how activity from individual cells is integrated into the function of organs and organisms at very different scales. A recent set of ...
  • Helping T cells and microbes kill cancers as new advanced treatment is hot news. These new treatments are based on the natural outcomes of communication among cells, including immune, lining, brain, and cancer cells along with microbes. It is definitely striking that all of these ...
  • Up until recently, research into circadian rhythms has focused on central brain clocks that synchronize other cells. The three previous posts have described new research that each living cell has its own individual clocks based on genetic feedback loops combined with epigenetic l ...
  • Each cell has oscillating gene networks that somehow help organize, synchronize, and anticipate activity of the tissues and the entire organism. Energy from the sun is transformed into energy and material for the cell to use in sync to these rhythms. The rhythms also are related ...
  • B0004343 Organelles in a pancreas cellUntil recently all circadian clock rhythms were assumed to be triggered from a central brain clock, synchronizing sleep, wakefulness, hormones, and metabolism. Now, many more functions have been found related to clocks and the variations throughout the body cannot all be triggere ...
  • For many years there was a consensus that most organisms have a circadian clock. In humans it was considered to be directed centrally by the master clock in the brain region suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). This clock appears to be involved in directing essential physiological proc ...

email