New light on a complex mechanism
A cluster of brain cells less than half the size of a pencil eraser tells you when to wake up, when to be hungry and when its time to go to sleep. The same cells also cause you to be disoriented after youve flown across multiple time zones. The human circadian clock, comprised of about 20,000 time-keeping cells, has mystified scientists since it was pinpointed in the brain about 30 years ago. Now, a researcher at the University of Calgary is getting a little bit closer to understanding how it ticks.
Dr. Michael Antle, a neuroscientist in the U of Cs Department of Psychology, has conclusively shown that the 20,000 cells are organized in a complex network of groups that perform different functions – contrary to the previously held belief that each cell did the same thing. Antle, an emerging leader in the field, has two new papers on the subject: one is featured on the March cover of the prestigious Trends in Neurosciences, and another is due out in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Neurosciences.
Gregory Harris | EurekAlert!
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