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The Making of Medicine

VOTE! Brain Discovery Fighting It Out in STAT Bracket Contest

UPDATE: The University of Michigan came out on top with a potential treatment for tinnitus. Congrats to them and to the Kipnis team for a great performance!


STAT, a major health news site, is running a bracket competition to determine the best ideas in biomedical sciences, and a big brain discovery by our Jonathan Kipnis, PhD, is one of the contenders.

You can see the nominees, and cast your vote, by visiting This first round runs through Thursday night.

If you’re a regular blog visitor, you probably recall the Kipnis discovery. Dr. Kipnis made international headlines when his lab identified lymphatic vessels connecting the brain and the immune system – vessels textbooks insisted did not exist. His STAT Madness entry  is a direct followup to that finding. By improving the vessels’ function, his team was able to improve the ability of mice to learn and enhanced their memories – suggesting an entirely new path to treat or prevent both Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline in people.

Here’s the contest’s description of the competing discovery from Duke: “Newly discovered neural circuit topples the notion that the gut uses only hormones to send sensory signals to the brain. Duke researchers found that in mice, gut sensory cells called enteroendocrine cells make electrical connections with the vagus nerve – a conduit to the brainstem. Information is relayed to the brain within milliseconds via this pathway, potentially enabling rapid detection of chemical, bacterial, and physical stimuli in the gastrointestinal tract.”

I know which one I’m voting for. If you do too, head on over to And don’t forget to return for the subsequent rounds.


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