Distributed Block - View: Magazine: Latest Cover

cover 3/7

Eureka! Lab

A place for discovery 
Bethany Brookshire

Eureka! Lab

Scientists Say: Blood-brain barrier

There’s a thin layer of cells between your veins and your nerve cells

Eureka! Lab

The cells you can see carefully surrounding this blood vessel are a representation of the blood-brain barrier, the gatekeeper of your brain. 

Ben Brahim Mohammed/Wikimedia Commons

Blood-brain barrier (noun, “blood bray-n bare-ee-er”)

A layer of cells between the blood vessels and the cells of our brains. The brain is very delicate and can’t be exposed to just anything in the blood. This barrier of cells lets oxygen and nutrients in. But it keeps out foreign substances, such as dangerous bacteria. The barrier is important, but it can also be difficult to deal with. When scientists try to make new drugs that target the brain, the blood-brain barrier often stops these drugs from getting where they need to go.

In a sentence

The blood-brain barrier may shield the brain, but a new study shows the barrier gets leaky as we age.

Follow Eureka! Lab on Twitter

Power Words

(for more about Power Words, click here)

blood-brain barrier  A barrier of tightly packed cells that carefully regulate what molecules can — and can’t — enter the brain. The barrier protects the brain from foreign substances in the blood and helps to maintain a constant environment for brain cells.

neuron or nerve cell  Any of the impulse-conducting cells that make up the brain, spinal column and nervous system. These specialized cells transmit information to other neurons in the form of electrical signals.

Readability Score: 7.1

By Bethany Brookshire 9:00am, February 26, 2015
Popcorn pops at 180 °C, according to a new study. But that was corn popped in an oven. I tried to confirm that on my stove top.
By Bethany Brookshire 9:00am, February 23, 2015
Smiley space
We often see things that aren’t there, such as bunnies in clouds or faces in toast. They aren’t real, but they do have a special name
By Bethany Brookshire 10:41am, February 19, 2015
Popcorn is a popular treat. Now, scientists have learned exactly what happens as it pops. They also have come up with an experiment they hope you will try.
By Bethany Brookshire 9:00am, February 16, 2015
When a baby frog develops from an egg that’s never been fertilized, we call that parthenogenesis.
By Bethany Brookshire 8:00am, February 13, 2015
quadcopter drone
Flying robots represent a great opportunity to observe wildlife. But if scientists want animals to behave naturally, they need to know close we can get before they disturb wild creatures. For that, researchers will need an experiment.
By Bethany Brookshire 9:00am, February 9, 2015
strawberry jam
When water hovers in the air as fog and when bits of fat disperse in water as milk, they form a type of substance called a colloid.
By Bethany Brookshire 7:00am, February 5, 2015
xanthan gum
To find out how to improve my gluten-free cookies, I learned a lot about what gluten does, and what other baking ingredients might take its place.
By Bethany Brookshire 7:00am, February 2, 2015
Plankton is the word used to describe a collection of these tiny free-floating organisms. This is what you call just one.
By Bethany Brookshire 2:38pm, January 28, 2015
fox scat
Growing human populations in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California lead predators to change their ways. To find out how, scientists are dispatching volunteers to scout out scat.
By Bethany Brookshire 7:00am, January 26, 2015
Every living thing and signs of its existence — right down to their wastes — can fossilize under the right conditions. When poop fossilizes, it gets a special name.
Subscribe to RSS - Eureka! Lab

From the SSP Newsroom

Science News


Science News for Students


Eureka! Lab