Exam tomorrow. In lieu of an actual update, chew on this while I study.

As background information (at least as much as I know) astrocytes are the cells that create the blood/brain barrier. They look like little stars (hence the name) and latch one suction cup arm onto a capillary with all the oxygen and nutrients that the brain needs, and another on the neurons of the brain. This means that anything in the blood has to pass through these gatekeepers before it can reach the actual brain cells. Small things, like alcohol, can slip through easily, but larger things cannot.

Mostly that’s a good thing; I mean you wouldn’t want just any old molecule to have access to the cells that basically control every function of your body. Of course if you’re trying to create a medicine that treats brain problems, the blood/brain barrier becomes a bit of a challenge. But it does make sense that these cells might also be monitoring the blood for oxygen and waste levels, and relating that information to the neurons. The article talks about a few ways knowing this could be useful medically.

I’ll try for a real entry tomorrow after the test. For now, all my neurons are focused on kinetics and colligative properties.