Researchers find neural properties to determine brain damage vulnerability

Researchers at the Neuroscience Institute in Georgia State discovered neural circuits properties can help determine if animals are vulnerable to brain injury, according to Motor E magazine.

The findings of this research findings could predict patient outcomes to stroke and trauma, Motor E magazine states.

Dr. Paul Katz, university professor and Director of the Center of Neuromics, said the research was prompted by a discovery made by Dr. Akira Sakurai. Sakurai is a research scientist at Georgia State’s Neuroscience Institute.

“He found that cutting a nerve pathway in the brain of Tritonia (sea slug) caused the animals, on average, to stop swimming,” Katz said. “We published that finding in 2009. But when he re-examined his data, he noticed that some animals were more vulnerable than others to cutting this pathway.”

When a major neural circuit was severed, some sea slugs had little behavioral deficits and others could not produce the behaviors, according to Motor E magazine.

Katz said they hope to pursue research further to find out why some animals are more susceptible than others.

“We also discovered that some of the susceptible animals can recover from the cut and others can’t. We’re looking into the reasons for that,” he said.

The project was started by the Neuroscience Institute’s Brains and Behavior Program seed grant. It was also funded by National Science Foundation grants and a three-year $330,000 March of Dimes Foundation grant awarded to Katz, according to Motor E magazine.