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 Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>