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Acid in the brain: Team develops new way to look at brain function

•, byUniversity of Iowa
 "We are interested in the idea that pH might be changing in the functional because we've been hot on the trail of receptors that are activated by low pH," says Wemmie, a UI associate professor of psychiatry. "The presence of these receptors implies the possibility that low pH might be playing a signaling role in normal brain function."

Wemmie's studies have shown that these acid-sensing proteins are required for normal fear responses and for in mice. However, while you can buy a kit to measure the pH (acidity) of your garden soil, there currently is no easy way to measure pH changes in the brain.

Wemmie teamed up with Vincent Magnotta, Ph.D., UI associate professor of radiology, psychiatry, and biomedical engineering, and using Magnotta's expertise in developing MRI ()-based brain imaging techniques, the researchers developed and tested a new, non-invasive method to detect and monitor pH changes in living brains.

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