Volume 9 Issue 1, January 2008
From The Editors
In the News
The expectant brain: adapting for motherhood
The pregnant female's brain undergoes multiple adaptations that ensure a successful pregnancy, birth and lactation. Brunton and Russell review the mechanisms that regulate these adaptations, focusing on allopregnanolone and opioids, and discuss how these changes might predispose the mother to post-partum mood disorders.
Polysialic acid in the plasticity of the developing and adult vertebrate nervous system
The functional roles of polysialic acid (PSA) stem from its ability to regulate cell–cell interactions. Urs Rutishauser describes the properties of PSA that underlie this activity and outlines its contribution to the development, function and repair of the nervous system.
Glucose uptake in neurons depends on the extracellular concentration of glucose. In this Review, Tomlinson and Gardiner discuss the functional consequences of persistent episodes of hyperglycaemia, such as occur in diabetes, and potential pharmacological targets for alleviating the signs and symptoms associated with diabetic neuropathy.
From inflammation to sickness and depression: when the immune system subjugates the brain
Cytokines, produced in response to peripheral infections, act in the brain to cause sickness behaviour. Dantzer and colleagues consider the intriguing hypothesis that prolonged immune signalling in the brain can cause symptoms of depression and discuss the mechanisms that might underlie this phenomenon.
Science and Society
Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition
Mounting evidence suggests that aerobic exercise improves cognitive function throughout the lifespan. In this article, Hillman and colleagues describe the latest research in humans and non-human animals and discuss the implications for our increasingly sedentary lifestyles.
Synaptic plasticity, memory and the hippocampus: a neural network approach to causality
The hippocampus has an undisputed role in memory and has been key in discovering synaptic plasticity as the basis for learning. Bliss and colleagues provide an update on unresolved problems that surround LTP and memory, and propose strategies for finding answers that centre on new technologies.