Neuroscience

Why myelinated mammalian nerves are fast and allow high frequency

University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers, for the first time ever, have achieved patch-clamp studies of an elusive part of mammalian myelinated nerves called the Nodes of Ranvier. At the nodes, they found unexpected ...

Health

Junk food diet may predict future depression symptoms in teens

An innovative study finds that sodium and potassium levels—reflections of a person's typical diet—may be predictors of future depression in teens. The first-of-its-kind study is published in Physiological Reports.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Researchers identify barriers to fungal infection diagnosis

There are several barriers that prevent the consistent use of fungal diagnostic preparations to correctly identify cutaneous fungal infections, according to a survey from a team at the George Washington University (GW). The ...

Cardiology

New treatment option shown for heart failure fluid overload

Higher doses of spironolactone, a diuretic (water pill), can prevent the need for dialysis in selected heart failure patients, a UT Health San Antonio study found. The aggressive approach relieved fluid overload safely and ...

Ophthalmology

Potassium balance and glaucoma

Retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) make up the optic nerve. When RGCs degenerate due to elevated intraocular pressure caused by glaucoma, vision is lost.

Neuroscience

Study reveals how glial cells may play key epilepsy role

A new study provides potential new targets for treating epilepsy and new fundamental insights into the relationship between neurons and their glial "helper" cells. In eLife, scientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning ...

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Potassium

Potassium (pronounced /pɵˈtæsiəm/) is the chemical element with the symbol K (Latin: kalium, from Arabic: القَلْيَه‎ al-qalyah “plant ashes”, cf. Alkali from the same root), atomic number 19, and atomic mass 39.0983. Potassium was first isolated from potash. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white metallic alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the evolved hydrogen.

Potassium in nature occurs only as ionic salt. As such, it is found dissolved in seawater, and as part of many minerals. Potassium ion is necessary for the function of all living cells, and is thus present in all plant and animal tissues. It is found in especially high concentrations in plant cells, and in a mixed diet, it is most highly concentrated in fruits.

In many respects, potassium and sodium are chemically similar, although they have very different functions in organisms in general, and in animal cells in particular.

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