WBEZ | learning http://www.wbez.org/tags/learning Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Touring memory lane inside the brain http://www.wbez.org/story/brain-candy/touring-memory-lane-inside-brain <p><object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/ZiuBOOIANFY&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/ZiuBOOIANFY&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="480" height="385"></embed></object> <p>Say you learn something new, like how to say <a href="http://translate.google.com/#auto%7Cru%7CThank%20you">"thank you" in Russian</a>, or the peak temperature of a <a href="http://quest.nasa.gov/aero/planetary/mars.html">hot day on Mars</a>.</p><p>The question is: What's really happening inside your brain? What does that memory look like visually, and where in your brain is it taking place? </p><p>Stanford Medical School <a href="http://smithlab.stanford.edu/Smithlab/Home.html">scientists</a> say <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiuBOOIANFY">the video</a> at the top of this post takes them one small step closer to answering that question. Essentially, it's a tour through a thin slice of a mouse's cerebral cortex.</p><p></p><p>The most interesting sights along the way are individual brain synapses -- the structures that allow brain cells to communicate with one another. In humans, these synapses seem to change throughout our lives as we learn new information.</p><p>To get a better look at them, <a href="http://smithlab.stanford.edu/Smithlab/About_Us.html">Stephen Smith</a>, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology at Stanford, and his team developed a process called <a href="http://smithlab.stanford.edu/Smithlab/Array_Tomography.html">array tomography</a>.</p><p>First, they stain the mouse’s brain tissue, so that different kinds of synapses show up in different colors. Then they took thousands of high-definition photos (near the whiskers). Finally, all the images were stitched together into a 3-D video, which can be rotated and “explored.” The scientific nitty-gritty appears in the journal <em><a href="http://www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273%2810%2900766-X">Neuron</a></em> this week.</p><p>The idea, said Smith is that one day, scientists might be able to map the changes in individual synapses that occur when people learn a new skill, or experience pain. The work may also reveal the physical changes that occur in diseases like <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/08/18/129273270/lilly-s-drug-flop-shows-how-tough-alzheimer-s-will-be-to-beat">Alzheimer’s</a>.</p><p>That’s a tall order, considering the almost unfathomable complexity of the human brain. Smith says in the human cerebral cortex alone, there are 125 trillion synapses – as many stars as you’d find in 1,500 Milky Way galaxies.</p><p>And each synapse is itself like a mini-microprocessor, says Smith, with as many as 1,000 molecular-scale switches. "A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth," he says.</p><p>The jaw-dropping complexity of the brain aside, the video is also quite pleasant to look at. Smith said the images "have revealed to me, in a way I wasn’t entirely prepared for, how incredibly beautiful the insides of the brain are." Copyright 2010 KQED Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.kqed.org">http://www.kqed.org</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1290540598?&gn=Touring+Memory+Lane+Inside+The+Brain&ev=event2&ch=103537970&h1=Research,Shots+-+Health+News+Blog,Medical+Treatments,Brain+Candy,Health,Science,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=131422064&c7=1128&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1128&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20101118&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=150&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=126567633,103537970&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Thu, 18 Nov 2010 15:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/brain-candy/touring-memory-lane-inside-brain Suburban school district vows to defend expulsion http://www.wbez.org/story/african-americans/suburban-school-district-vows-defend-expulsion <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-November/2010-11-04/ProvisoEast.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A suburban school district says it&rsquo;ll fight a lawsuit aimed at overturning the expulsion of a student. Proviso Township High Schools says kicking him out was necessary for the safety of other students. <br /><br />Proviso East High School in west suburban Maywood claims Coris Ashford, 17, took part in a hallway fight that injured a student last May. The district says it caught the fight on videotape. Officials expelled Ashford and two other students until next August.<br /><br />Ashford&rsquo;s mother, Erica Edmond, says the punishment is not justifiable. &ldquo;They didn&rsquo;t show me the videotape,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;They didn&rsquo;t show me any type of proof that my son did anything.&rdquo;<br /><br />In a statement Thursday afternoon, the district says it gave each student due process and will defend itself &ldquo;to the fullest extent.&rdquo;<br /><br />In July, a Cook County judge threw out a Proviso East expulsion that involved an unrelated incident last year.<br /><br />In September, WBEZ found that the school district has been suspending or expelling one in three of its students each year.</p></p> Thu, 04 Nov 2010 21:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/african-americans/suburban-school-district-vows-defend-expulsion