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  • February 16, 2012
  • 12:18 PM

To Kill Parasites, Flies Self-Medicate with Booze

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Everyone negotiates hazards in their lives. Your food is poisonous, say. Everything wants to eat you. Parasitic wasps are laying eggs in your body that will eventually hatch and chew their way out. To balance the difficulties of invertebrate existence, fruit flies have developed a grim strategy. Baby flies that are infected with parasites turn to alcohol, aiming to ingest just enough to kill their invaders without also offing themselves.

Drosophila melanogaster is the fruit fly s........ Read more »

Neil F. Milan, Balint Z. Kacsoh, & Todd A. Schlenke. (2012) Alcohol Consumption As Self-Medication Against Blood-Borne Parasites In The Fruitfly. Current Biology. info:/

  • February 16, 2012
  • 09:31 AM

Sound localization: form meets function in the BirdBrain

by TheCellularScale in The Cellular Scale

In the last post,  we introduced the special football-shaped cells of the bird Nucleous Laminaris (NL).Today we look at how the dendritic length of these neurons dictates the frequencies they are most sensitive to.  But first we need to understand what the NL does.  (source)When you hear a noise, you can tell what direction it is coming from (for the most part).There are several ways the brain can hone in on the direction of a sound. One of those ways is called the 'inter-aur........ Read more »

  • February 16, 2012
  • 08:57 AM

Heritability in the Era of Molecular Genetics

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

Today it seems to be common knowledge that most behavioral and psychological traits have a heritable genetic component. But what does it really mean when a study says that the ... Read more »

  • February 16, 2012
  • 12:05 AM

Psychosis and the City

by sandeep gautam in The Mouse Trap

Does living in the city increase your risk for psychosis? If so, what are the mediating factors and mechanisms? Does being obsessed with 'the big picture' have something to do with it? Find out today! ... Read more »

  • February 14, 2012
  • 11:51 AM

Your love is my drug

by Jordan Gaines in Gaines, on Brains

Researchers at Stony Brook University in New York examined the neural correlates of intense, long-term love using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 10 women and 7 men. fMRI measures brain activity as a function of changes in blood flow. The participants, married an average of 21 years, underwent imaging while viewing either an image of their partner's face, or a familiar acquaintance.... Read more »

Acevedo BP, Aron A, Fisher HE, & Brown LL. (2012) Neural correlates of long-term intense romantic love. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 7(2), 145-59. PMID: 21208991  

  • February 14, 2012
  • 02:37 AM

Tired Brains Are More Excitable

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

An important new study shows how being awake causes progressive changes to the brain. This could shed light on the function of sleep - but it also raises warnings for neuroscientists.Italian researchers Huber et al report that Human Cortical Excitability Increases with Time Awake. The experiment was conceptually simple - they measured cortical excitability when people were well rested and then looked to see how it changed as they were kept awake for over 24 hours.The participants woke up at 7 am........ Read more »

Huber, R., Maki, H., Rosanova, M., Casarotto, S., Canali, P., Casali, A., Tononi, G., & Massimini, M. (2012) Human Cortical Excitability Increases with Time Awake. Cerebral Cortex. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhs014  

  • February 13, 2012
  • 11:18 PM

PROMETA™ Postmortem

by Dirk Hanson in Addiction Inbox

How the latest miracle cure for addiction failed to deliver.

PROMETA™: Last seen going down fast, smoke pouring from all engines.

As reported here at Addiction Inbox, a double-blind placebo-controlled evaluation of PROMETA™ by W. Ling and associates, published online last month in the journal Addiction, found that the much-publicized treatment protocol for meth addiction “appears to be no more effective than placebo in reducing methamphetamine use, retaining patients in treatment or red........ Read more »

  • February 13, 2012
  • 04:45 PM

How casinos distract

by Bradley Voytek in Oscillatory Thoughts

My father lived in Las Vegas for most of my teenaged years. While I never lived there with him, my step-grandparents (who raised me during that time) loved going there. Unsurprisingly, this meant that I spent a fair amount of time in Vegas growing up.My grandparents, they were "old school" Vegas tourists. My step-grandfather was quite a gambler and played in a weekly poker game with his friends until his Parkinson's kept him from doing so. We used to stay in the Sands Hotel, made famous bec........ Read more »

  • February 13, 2012
  • 08:19 AM

Neurons tuned like the strings of a harp

by TheCellularScale in The Cellular Scale

The auditory brainstem of the boring-old-chicken is actually home to some fascinating neurons.Key West rooster, taken by me.The Nucleus Laminaris (NL) is a group of coincidence-detecting neurons which receive indirect input from both ears and is located in the bird auditory brainstem. NL neurons show a peculiar dendrite pattern.  These bipolar neurons fall into the particular category of football shaped cells which have dendrites coming out the top and bottom of their cell bo........ Read more »

  • February 13, 2012
  • 07:00 AM

February 13, 2012

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

Our nervous system would be in trouble without myelin sheaths and nodes of Ranvier. No, those two things do not refer to some kind of Lord of the Rings-type silliness. They are very important components of our nervous system that ensure fast and efficient signal conduction.Myelin sheaths are membranes that insulate the axons of many neurons. Myelin sheaths have distinct domains of ion channels and proteins, such as the nodes of Ranvier, along the axon that are required for the high speed and ........ Read more »

Ivanovic, A., Horresh, I., Golan, N., Spiegel, I., Sabanay, H., Frechter, S., Ohno, S., Terada, N., Mobius, W., Rosenbluth, J.... (2012) The cytoskeletal adapter protein 4.1G organizes the internodes in peripheral myelinated nerves. originally published in the Journal of Cell Biology, 196(3), 337-344. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201111127  

  • February 13, 2012
  • 03:41 AM

Brain Proteins May Be Key to Aging

by Vivek Misra in Uberbrain Research Frontier

Scientists have found that aptly named extremely long-lived proteins (ELLPs) in the brains of rats can persist for more than one year—a result that suggests the proteins, also found in human brains, last an entire lifetime. Most proteins only last a day or two before being recycled. The researchers reported their findings in  January 2012 issue of Science.A team at the Scripps Research Institute and Salk Institute for Biological Studies made the discovery while studying ELLPs that ar........ Read more »

  • February 13, 2012
  • 12:12 AM

Just ONE Copy of The Daily Mail Could Ruin Your Life

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

A comprehensive debunking of the Daily Mail's reporting of science.... Read more »

The Poynter Institute. (2006) Eyetracking the news. A study of print and online reading. Poynter. info:/

  • February 12, 2012
  • 03:28 PM

Big Brains in Evolutionary History

by Matt & Cris in Originus

In 1985 I visited the Soviet Union with a small group of Austrian tourists (I was studying in Vienna at …Continue reading »... Read more »

  • February 12, 2012
  • 01:30 PM

The Role of experience in flight behaviour of Drosophila

by Sathishk in neuro JC

This study illustrates the requirement of training and exercise in executing successful fine motor skills in the invertebrates.Fruit fly Drosophila groups reared and grown in two different fly chambers ,one allows free flight movement and other restricted flight movement were tested for various flight kinematics in free flight arena and tethered flight simulator.Overall performance [...]... Read more »

Hesselberg, T., & Lehmann, F. (2009) The role of experience in flight behaviour of Drosophila. Journal of Experimental Biology, 212(20), 3377-3386. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.025221  

  • February 12, 2012
  • 01:21 PM

Cell Phone Use and Risk of Brain Cancer

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In my last post I examined the epidemiology of brain tumors using a summary of the latest data from the United States.  The summary noted the slight decline in the number of malignant brain cancers over the last twenty years.One area of concern that is receiving increased attention is the potential for cell phone risk to raise the risk of brain cancers.Obviously if cell phone use was a very large effect one might have expected an increase in the rates of brain tumors and cancer over th........ Read more »

Frei, P., Poulsen, A., Johansen, C., Olsen, J., Steding-Jessen, M., & Schuz, J. (2011) Use of mobile phones and risk of brain tumours: update of Danish cohort study. BMJ, 343(oct19 4). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.d6387  

  • February 10, 2012
  • 03:06 PM

Wrap your brain around precursor cells

by Erin Campbell in the Node

A fully differentiated cell took a fascinating journey to become its present self.  For every cell, a precursor cell existed that gave rise to it.  And for every precursor cell, a stem cell existed that gave rise to it.  Understanding precursor cells is an important part in understanding stem cell biology.  Today’s image is from [...]... Read more »

  • February 9, 2012
  • 09:42 AM

LTP and LTD at the same time? Adventures in Functional Compartmentalization

by TheCellularScale in The Cellular Scale

On Monday we talked about LTP and LTD on a basic level, today we are discussing how they interact with each other.  In a recent Open Access paper, Pavlowsky and Alarcon ask the question: Can some synapses on a neuron strengthen while at the same time others weaken?  And if so, how do the two processes interact with each other? neurons firing (source)First let's get some background.  Synapse strengthening (LTP) and synapse weakening (LTD) both require new proteins to be synthesized........ Read more »

  • February 9, 2012
  • 05:36 AM

Why parkin has scientists backing the future of Parkinson's research

by Andrew Watt in A Hippo on Campus

Back in the '80s the name Michael J. Fox was more or less interchangeable with that of Marty McFly, the effortlessly cool protagonist from the Back to the Future trilogy who introduced an entire generation of kids to hoverboards, self-lacing shoes and flux capacitors. Not to mention 'Johnny B Goode'. These days however Fox's name is more likely to have us thinking of his fight with Parkinson's disease, which he was diagnosed with back in 1991, or the advocacy work he does for his ........ Read more »

Obeso JA, Rodríguez-Oroz MC, Benitez-Temino B, Blesa FJ, Guridi J, Marin C, & Rodriguez M. (2008) Functional organization of the basal ganglia: therapeutic implications for Parkinson's disease. Movement disorders : official journal of the Movement Disorder Society. PMID: 18781672  

  • February 9, 2012
  • 12:02 AM

Baseline Neurocognitive Test Performance and Symptoms may be Influenced by Depression

by Jane McDevitt in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

The objective of this study was to examine depression and baseline neurocognitive function and concussion symptoms in male and female high school and college athletes.... Read more »

  • February 8, 2012
  • 03:33 AM

Visualizing The Connected Brain

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

So it seems as though the "connectome" is the latest big thing in neuroscience. This is the brain's wiring diagram, in terms of the connections between neurons and on a larger scale, between brain regions.We certainly won't understand the brain without getting to grips with the connections but equally, it's not the whole story. I previously emphasised that the brain is not made of soup; it's not made of spaghetti, either.Connectomics does however unquestionably provide some of the prettiest imag........ Read more »

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