Neuroscience

Study suggests compound protects myelin, nerve fibers

A compound developed at Oregon Health & Science University appears to protect nerve fibers and the fatty sheath, called myelin, that covers nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Medical research

Cholesterol recycling supports myelin repair

As known from diseases such as arteriosclerosis, cholesterol deposits along blood vessels can be harmful. Similar problems occur in neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Here, defects occur in the regeneration ...

Neuroscience

Video: Human brain scan

This colorful brain scan is a 3-D model created by tractography, which uses data collected with diffusion weighted MRI to map the brain's white matter. Each line represents a bundle of nerve fibers wrapped in a myelin sheaths, ...

Neuroscience

New strategies for restoring myelin on damaged nerve cells

Loss of myelin—the fatty substance that surrounds the axons of nerve cells—is one of the reasons nerve cells fail to recover after injury and in some diseases. Myelin acts like insulation, covering the long axon threads ...

Neuroscience

Myelin optimizes information processing in the brain

In a conversation, we can easily understand and distinguish individual words. In the brain, the temporal structure of speech with its rapid succession of sounds and pauses and its characteristic rhythm is encoded by electrical ...

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Myelin

Myelin is a dielectric (electrically insulating) material that forms a layer, the myelin sheath, usually around only the axon of a neuron. It is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Myelin is an outgrowth of a type of glial cell. The production of the myelin sheath is called myelination. In humans, the production of myelin begins in the fourteenth week of fetal development, although little myelin exists in the brain at the time of birth. During infancy, myelination occurs quickly and continues through the adolescent stages of life.

Schwann cells supply the myelin for peripheral neurons, whereas oligodendrocytes, specifically of the interfascicular type, myelinate the axons of the central nervous system. Myelin is considered a defining characteristic of the (gnathostome) vertebrates, but myelin-like sheaths have also arisen by parallel evolution in some invertebrates, although they are quite different from vertebrate myelin at the molecular level. Myelin was discovered in 1854 by Rudolf Virchow.

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