Posts tagged neuroscience
Posts tagged neuroscience
Coronal View of Cerebral Cortex · Hypothalamus
A few small vacuoles are seen in the gray matter of a patient with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease of rapid onset and short duration.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is rare, affecting less than one person in a million per year. Though it has been reported to occur at a variety of ages, the median age of onset is in the seventh decade, with most sporadic cases occurring between the ages of 55 and 65, but familial or infectious cases can occur in younger adults. The course of the illness can be from a few weeks to eight years. However, the average length of survival from onset of the disease is less than a year.
Specimen: Retinal wholemount (40x), Technique: Confocal laser scanning, Neuroscience Research Institute - Santa Barbara, CA, USA
The Birth of Brain Cells
This might look like a distant web of galaxies captured by a powerful telescope, but it’s actually a microscopic image of a newborn nerve cell. The human brain contains more cells than there are stars in our galaxy, and the most important cells are neurons, which are nerve cells responsible for transmitting and processing electro-chemical signals at up to 320 km/h. This chemical signalling occurs through synapses—specialised connections with other cells, like wires in a computer. Each cell can receive input from thousands of others, so a typical neuron can have up to ten thousand synapses—i.e., can communicate with up to ten thousand other neurons, muscle cells, and glands. Estimates suggest that adult humans have approximately 100 billion neurons in their brain, but unlike most cells, neurons don’t undergo cell division, so if they’re damaged they don’t grow back—except, apparently, in the hippocampus (associated with memory) and the olfactory bulb (associated with sense of smell). The process by which this occurs is unclear, and this image was taken during a project to determine how neurons are born—it actually depicts newborn nerve cells in an adult mouse’s brain.
(Image Credit: Dana Bradford)
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a breast cancer cell. Cancer cells divide rapidly in a chaotic manner and may clump to form tumours. They often invade and destroy surrounding tissues. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. It can be treated by surgical removal of the cancerous cells, often combined with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Magnification: x6000 at 6x7cm size.
Chromosomes as seen with light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy
A skull, on which a real craniotomy operation was carried 5,000 years ago, has been put on display in Shandong Museum. Regarded as the earliest evidence of a successful craniotomy practice in China, the skull was unearthed from a site of ancient cultural relics named Fujia Dawenkou in Guangrao, a county of east China’s Shandong Province, in 1995.
One of the most common procedures performed in orthopedics is knee arthroscopy, and a variety of complications are found with this procedure. One of the most avoidable complications is that of retained instruments. In this case, a patient in the private practice orthopedic setting returned 6 years after a knee arthroscopic procedure reporting acute onset pain. It was discovered that a broken piece of the outflow cannula that had been used in the arthroscopy was present in her knee joint.
This particular case highlights the importance of diligence within the operating room. A variety of instrument failures have been discussed in the literature, and these instrument failures must be considered when discharging patients from surgical procedures. Surgeons and operating room staff must be meticulous in inspection of surgical instruments both before and after the procedure. In this case, the instrument that had broken during the arthroscopic procedure fractured in such a way that it was not immediately evident. Had the staff noticed the change in the instrument either after the initial procedure or before the subsequent procedures in which the instrument was used, the patient could have been notified about the incident sooner.