Somewhere Over the Brainbow…

This picture initially appears to be a Magic Eye visual illusion, but it is actually a neuronal staining characterized as the Brainbow; fluorescent proteins were utilized to label individual neurons in a section of the dentate gyrus, an area of the hippocampus mediating learning acquisition and memory consolidation. As reported in the March edition of Scientific American (“Saving New Brain Cells”, exercise, antidepressants, and blueberries have been found to facilitate the survival of neurons within the dentate gyrus, while alcohol and nicotine facilitate neuronal death. The article did not mention whether or not the neurotransmitter serotonin is responsible for meditating neurogenesis (neuronal proliferation and survival) and ultimately, learning acquisition and memory consolidation, but I imagine it does critically influence the process; both exercise and antidepressants increase serotonin expression. I am currently trying to understand the connection between scrupulous blueberries freshly picked from a bog and enhanced learning and memory, however. In the meantime, I will reconsider my reluctance to purchase a 3.50 dollar a pint of blueberries at the grocery store.


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