Glia Glee

250px-AstrocytreThe University of Rochester Medical Center is a hot bed of glia research.  To those of you new to this, the glia are fascial cells in your brain. They outnumber your neurons 9 to 1 (on average). The most recent research seems to suggests that the particular type of glia known as an astrocyte is essential to we humans developing higher cognitive functions.

Says URMC neurologist Steven Goldman: " ... glia are not only essential to neural transmission, but also suggest that the development of human cognition may reflect the evolution of human-specific glial form and function... we believe that this is the first demonstration that human glia have unique functional advantages. This finding also provides us with a fundamentally new model to investigate a range of diseases in which these cells may play a role.

“Our advanced cognitive processing capabilities exist not only because of the size and complexity of our neural networks, but also because of the increase in functional capabilities and coordination afforded by human glia.”

In the experiment human glial cells  were transplanted into the brains of neonatal mice. These mice were shown to be better at learning and have brains that processed faster  than the mice with regular  astrocytes.

Read the article and see the video here.  Find access to the research here. Other fascialconnections coverage of glia here.

Tip of the Hat to fascialconections reader Carrie Gaynor.