Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Learning after the stroke

17.08.2009
BMBF grants more than EUR 3 million for interdisciplinary research group coordinated by Prof. Dr. Siegrid Löwel at Jena University and at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Göttingen

An occluded or burst blood vessel - and the blood supply through the brain is interrupted: stroke. In Germany alone, approximately 200,000 people have a stroke every year.

A fast intensive care saves the lives of many persons affected. But more than two third of the patients suffer from permanent damages. Much of what has been normal before - walking, speaking, and eating - must be learnt again. Often, however, patients cannot recover all their initial abilities.

Why learning is so arduous and often futile after a stroke is to be investigated by scientists from the Jena University and Hospital and a partner in Göttingen in an interdisciplinary research project. In the framework of the funding initiative "Bernstein Focus: Neuronal Basis of Learning", the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) plans to fund the collaborative project in an amount of more than EUR 3 million. More than EUR 2.5 million of that go to Jena. The research collaboration is part of the National Network Computational Neuroscience.

"We aim at exploring the reasons for the brain's restricted ability to learn after a stroke", says Prof. Dr. Siegrid Löwel from the University of Jena. The professor of General Zoology and Animal Physiology at Jena University coordinates the research project. Apart from Prof. Löwel and her team, neurologists around Prof. Dr. Otto W. Witte and Prof. Dr. Knut Holthoff at Jena University Hospital as well as Prof. Dr. Christian Hübner from the Jena Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine are involved in the research project. On a long-term basis, we wish to develop therapies that help recover the learning ability of the brain." Another partner supporting the consortium is the theoretical physicist Prof. Dr. Fred Wolf from the Max-Planck-Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen.

The researchers' basic approach depends on the following observation: Due to the shortage of oxygen not only the brain cells immediately next to the stroke are damaged. "From our own studies we know that regions of the brain not immediately affected by the stroke suffer from a loss of plasticity as well", states Löwel. Plasticity in a neurological sense means the ability of brain cells to keep forming new synapses with other neurons if demanded. This is the basis of each learning process.

Which non-local control mechanisms are responsible for the interaction of two distant areas of the brain, the researchers try to find out with the help of experiments on mice. "Using mouse models allows a precise study of how learning, for instance learning to see, works", emphasizes Prof. Löwel. On the one hand, the visual system of mice is a well characterized animal model for the plasticity of the brain. On the other hand, the researchers from Jena will combine two special imaging techniques for the first time in the framework of the project. They are available only at a handful of institutions: 1. The optical imaging of nerve cell activity that allows to visualize activity patterns of the brain at a much higher spatial resolution than e.g. an MRI scanner (Löwel Lab). 2. The 2-photon microscopy in vivo (Profs. Holthoff/Witte) which is able to additionally visualize the activity of single brain cells.

The project will be funded for three years. If evaluated positively the team can expect further funding by the BMBF for two more years.

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Siegrid Löwel
Institute of General Zoology and Animal Physiology at
Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
Ebertstraße 1
D-07743 Jena
Phone: +49 (0)3641 949131
Email: siegrid.loewel@uni-jena.de

Dr. Ute Schönfelder | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-jena.de

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>