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Songbirds may hold key to advances in treatment of brain degeneration
Date:8/5/2008

me parts that show dramatic cycles in size. At times, some songbirds even almost double the size of particular parts of their brain."

Using transmission electron microscopy, Saldanha, along with a team of post-doctoral, graduate and undergraduate students, examines structures and chemicals inside neurons, synapses and glial cells within the brain. Using a variety of testing methods, Saldanha was able to test his synaptic hypothesis, and is ready to start on the next phase of research.

Going forward, research will seek to understand the contribution of synaptically produced estrogen to local brain areas, their source, and their physiological function. Further study will shed light on the role of synaptic estrogen in learning, memory and neuroprotection.

"Our research is basic in nature, and not clinically applied. We want to understand the phenomenon and how this is working. We know it exists, but now we need to know what it does, where it exists and how it affects behavior," Saldanha says. "We may be able to understand how hormones regulate the process of learning and memory, which is relevant to Alzheimer's, stroke and perhaps even Parkinson's."


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Contact: Tricia Long
tml207@lehigh.edu
610-758-4644
Lehigh University
Source:Eurekalert

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