3D brain view may help treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's

Editors' Picks

  • Atletico Madrid defender Miranda undergoes medical ahead of move to Inter Milan

    Atletico Madrid defender Miranda undergoes medical ahead of move to Inter Milan

    Atletico Madrid defender Miranda undergoes medical ahead of move to Inter Milan

    Miranda will complete a £10.6m move from Atletico Madrid to Inter Milan subject to clearing the medical …

  • Sergio Ramos has told Real Madrid he wants to leave

    Sergio Ramos has told Real Madrid he wants to leave

    Sergio Ramos has told Real Madrid he wants to leave

    Manchester United have reportedly made £28.5m bid for the Real Madrid defender. …

  • Hiddink steps down as Netherlands coach

    Hiddink steps down as Netherlands coach

    Hiddink steps down as Netherlands coach

    Guus Hiddink has quit as coach of the Netherlands after spending less than one year in his second spell in the job, the Football Association (KNVB) announced on Monday. The 68-year-old hands over to assistant Danny Blind with the Dutch third in their Euro 2016 qualifying group, facing the possibility of a playoff tie to win a spot at next year's championship in France. The much-travelled Hiddink has delivered some mediocre results and been heavily criticised since taking over from Manchester …

  • United make bid for Real defender Ramos - reports

    United make bid for Real defender Ramos - reports

    United make bid for Real defender Ramos - reports

    LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United have made a 28.6 million pound ($45 million) bid for Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, British media reported on Monday. Media reports said the 29-year-old Spain international was keen to move to Old Trafford, despite having two years left on his Real contract. United manager Louis van Gaal is seeking to shore up the Premier League club's defence to help improve on last season's fourth-place finish. United confirmed earlier on Monday that defender Phil …

  • Jones extends Man United contract

    Jones extends Man United contract

    Jones extends Man United contract

    Defender Phil Jones has signed a contract extension with Manchester United to keep him at Old Trafford until at least 2019, the Premier League club said on Monday. The 23-year-old England international joined United from Blackburn Rovers in 2011 for a reported fee of 16.5 million pounds ($26 million). "We are delighted that Phil has signed a new contract," United manager Louis van Gaal told the club's website. …

  • An open letter to David de Gea from a Manchester United fan

    An open letter to David de Gea from a Manchester United fan

    An open letter to David de Gea from a Manchester United fan

    An open letter from a Manchester United fan to David de Gea, asking him to stay at the club and decline a move to Real Madrid. …

New York, June 29 (IANS) In a breakthrough that may help in developing drugs for Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders, researchers have developed a 3D view of an important receptor in the brain.

This receptor allows us to learn and remember, and its dysfunction can result in a wide range of neurological diseases including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, schizophrenia and depression.

The unprecedented view gives scientists new insight into how the receptor - called the NMDA receptor - is structured.

And importantly, the new detailed view gives vital clues for developing drugs to combat neurological diseases and conditions.

"This is the most exciting moment of my career," said Eric Gouaux, a senior scientist with Oregon Health and Science University in the US.

"The NMDA receptor is one of the most essential, and still sometimes mysterious, receptors in our brain. Now, with this work, we can see it in fascinating detail," he said.

Receptors facilitate chemical and electrical signals between neurons in the brain allowing them to communicate with each other.

The NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor facilitates neuron communication that is the foundation of memory, learning and thought.

Malfunction of the NMDA receptor occurs when it is increasingly or decreasingly active.

The NMDA receptor makeup includes receptor "subunits" - all of which have distinct properties and act in distinct ways in the brain, sometimes causing neurological problems.

Prior to Gouaux's study, scientists had only a limited view of how those subtypes were arranged in the NMDA receptor complex and how they interacted to carry out specific functions within the brain and the central nervous system.

Gouaux's team of scientists created a 3D model of the NMDA receptor through a process called X-ray crystallography.

"This new detailed view will be invaluable as we try to develop drugs that might work on specific subunits and therefore help fight or cure some of these neurological diseases and conditions," Gouaux said.

"Seeing the structure in more detail can unlock some of its secrets and may help a lot of people," he added.

The findings were published online in the journal Nature.