Are you aware that the bulk of current scientific knowledge has been discovered in the past ten years? And that many of the most original results have appeared in the last year? Can you imagine where we will be ten years from now? This blog is intended to be an exploration of a paradigm shift I expect to see in the scientific understanding of the connection between mind and the material world. Posts will look at scientific discoveries, as they appear, in the fields of neuroscience, animal behavior, microbiology, molecular biology, evolution and biophysics, and explore their relevance to the emerging view of mind as an integral aspect of nature.


Many New Microbe Molecules Discovered in Humans

B0004797 Electron micrograph of Escherichia coli, close-up

Inside of each of us, there are ten times as many bacteria and 100 times as many viruses as our own cells. This means we have 300 times more DNA from microbes inside of us than our own DNA (the total DNA has been called the hologenome- see post). Microbe DNA is not quiet, but is producing large amounts of molecules that…


Vast Complexity of Dendrite Function

Dendrites FEATURE

All mental processes critically depend on extremely active dendrites that receive messages from other neurons and process information. Neuroplasticity in all of its forms is based on altering and modulating the action of dendrites. Unique spacing and shapes of dendrite spines—thin, stubby, mushroom—determine where…


Intelligent Cancer Cells Communicate with Exosomes

B0008197 Vesicle transport at the golgi apparatus
Credit: University of Dundee. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
http://wellcomeimages.org
Computer graphic showing vesicle transport at the golgi apparatus in an eukaryotic cell. Cells synthesis various molecules for signalling and other cellular processes, most of these molecules are bound in vesicles, which are membrane bound sacks that allow various molecules to be transported through the cell. Different vesicles have different functions depending on the molecules they contain, they can store, transport or digest and dispose of different molecules. The golgi apparatus or golgi body is an organelle that is responsible for sorting and packaging protiens and lipids by packaging them in vesicles and ensuring they are delivered the the correct place in the cell.
Digital artwork/Computer graphic
August 2008 Published:  - 

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 4.0, see http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/page/Prices.html

It is surprising that cells have so many elaborate ways to communicate with each other. Cytokines and neurotransmitters are well known methods. Recently, very unusual new signaling techniques have been discovered, such as small nano tubes (cytonemes) in which cells send many types of signals including important genetic…


Spread of the Intelligent Dengue Virus

B0009952 Dengue virus (DENV) particle, illustration

A small RNA strand able to make ten proteins has become the scourge of much of the world in the form of Dengue fever. This remarkable tiny virus is able to thwart the complex human immune reactions that fight viruses. Using some unique features, it is rapidly spreading through the world and infects millions of people per…


Fantastic Astrocyte Diversity

B0002342 Actin (red) in astrocyte cytoskeleton
Credit: C.Merrifield & M.Duchen. Wellcome Images
images@wellcome.ac.uk
http://wellcomeimages.org
Rat basophilic leukaemia cell, showing the network
of actin filaments (red) that form part of the
cytoskeleton. The cytoskeleton is directly
responsible for such movements as the crawling of
cells on a surface, muscle contraction, and the
many changes in shape of developing vertebrate
cells. The image was taken using a Zeiss LSM 510
Confocal Microscope.
Confocal micrograph
Published:  - 

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 4.0, see http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/page/Prices.html

Up to 40% of the brain is made up of astrocytes—many more than neurons—with a network larger than the neuronal connectome. Other posts have described how astrocytes are critical for every aspect of creation, maintenance, and pruning of neuronal synapses. Another post described how complex individual astrocytes can be…