[Source: Bio-Medicine] – A scientist at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the James S. McDonnell Foundation to help study a rare cell type that is believed to play a role in quick decision making and intuition. Abnormalities in this cell type have been seen in people suffering from autism and dementia.
Throughout the next four years, researcher A.D. “Bud” Craig, PhD, and other scientists in Barrow’s Atkinson Pain Laboratory will use the grant to collaborate with the California Institute of Technology in the study of Von Economo Neurons (VENs). VENs, first described in 1925, were initially thought to only be found in humans and great apes. However, recent research has shown the cells also are found in several types of whales and in elephants.