Friday, March 12, 2010

Cholinergic neurons

The image at left is of healthy cholinergic neurons in a mouse's brain. It's the first in a sequence of three that Dr Adam Hamlin has shared with me; the other two images show dying, and dead, cholinergic cells. The death of this type of nerve cell is implicated in Alzheimer's disease, and research at the Queensland Brain Institute is looking at triggers for the death of these cells:
Memory loss in people with Alzheimer's disease can be attributed to several factors. These include a build-up of the neuro-toxin Amyloid beta – the major component of amyloid plaques found in patients with Alzheimer's – and corresponding degeneration of a specific population of nerve cells in the basal forebrain.
QBI neuroscientists make Alzheimer's disease advance - UQ News Online - The University of Queensland

This page from my visual journal (left) is simply a rendering of the image above using coloured pencils. The process of shading, sketching and simulating was a useful meditation, although I don't plan for the next embroidery (indeed, the next three embroideries) to be a direct representation of these brain cells, but more of a series of visual comments on the life and death of cholinergic cells and their role in memory.

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