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 Vanishing capillaries
23.03.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht How prenatal maternal infections may affect genetic factors in Autism spectrum disorder
22.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>