Posts

January 27, 2015

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7:52 PM | Scientific Sherlocks: The Case of the Imperial Pheasant
In 1923, Jean Delacour stumbled upon a pair of captive pheasants during a trip in Vietnam. Unknown to science, these birds were shipped to Delacour’s estate in France where they reproduced. The species was named Imperial Pheasant (Lophura imperialis). After this discovery, several ornithologists set out to observe them in the wild, but failed. There […]

HENNACHE, A., RASMUSSEN, P., LUCCHINI, V., RIMONDI, S. & RANDI, E. (2003). Hybrid origin of the imperial pheasant Lophura imperialis (Delacour and Jabouille, 1924) demonstrated by morphology, hybrid experiments, and DNA analyses, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 80 (4) 573-600. DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8312.2003.00251.x

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6:55 PM | Your brain is hardening your arteries, but not on purpose!
Your brain might just be killing you slowly. Atherosclerosis — or hardening and narrowing of the arteries — can be caused by fat buildup that causes plaque deposits, and is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease. What does that have to do with the brain? Well new research has shown a link between how […]

Yue JT, Abraham MA, LaPierre MP, Mighiu PI, Light PE, Filippi BM & Lam TK (2015). A fatty acid-dependent hypothalamic-DVC neurocircuitry that regulates hepatic secretion of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins., Nature communications, 6 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25580573

Ginsberg, H. (2002). New Perspectives on Atherogenesis: Role of Abnormal Triglyceride-Rich Lipoprotein Metabolism, Circulation, 106 (16) 2137-2142. DOI: 10.1161/01.CIR.0000035280.64322.31

Duez, H., Lamarche, B., Valero, R., Pavlic, M., Proctor, S., Xiao, C., Szeto, L., Patterson, B. & Lewis, G. (2008). Both Intestinal and Hepatic Lipoprotein Production Are Stimulated by an Acute Elevation of Plasma Free Fatty Acids in Humans, Circulation, 117 (18) 2369-2376. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.739888

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3:48 PM | Reuse of Cemeteries in Prehistoric Ireland
With the cold weather and ice descending upon the Midwest, I’ve found myself spending more time watching HGTV than I normally do. My favorite shows are the fixer upper ones, […]

Quinn, C. (2015). Returning and reuse: Diachronic perspectives on multi-component cemeteries and mortuary politics at Middle Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Tara, Ireland, Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 37 1-18. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2014.10.003

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3:44 PM | How do we integrate information?
Left or right? Apple or orange? Selma or Birdman? One way to make these decisions is precisely what intuition tell us it should be: we weigh up the pros and cons of each choice. Then, when we have sufficient evidence for one over the … Continue reading →

Hanks, T., Kopec, C., Brunton, B., Duan, C., Erlich, J. & Brody, C. (2015). Distinct relationships of parietal and prefrontal cortices to evidence accumulation, Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature14066

Brunton, B., Botvinick, M. & Brody, C. (2013). Rats and Humans Can Optimally Accumulate Evidence for Decision-Making, Science, 340 (6128) 95-98. DOI: 10.1126/science.1233912

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9:33 AM | Siblings, genetics and the autisms (plural)
The paper by Ryan Yuen and colleagues [1] suggesting that most siblings with autism do not share the same genetic variations thought to contribute to the condition has garnered quite a few media headlines of late (see here and see here).Applying the concept of whole-genome sequencing whereby the complete genetic blueprint of a person is mapped to provide "the most comprehensive collection of an individual's genetic variation" [2], 340 genomes from 85 families with two children with a […]

Yuen, R., Thiruvahindrapuram, B., Merico, D., Walker, S., Tammimies, K., Hoang, N., Chrysler, C., Nalpathamkalam, T., Pellecchia, G., Liu, Y. & Gazzellone, M. (2015). Whole-genome sequencing of quartet families with autism spectrum disorder, Nature Medicine, DOI: 10.1038/nm.3792

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1:48 AM | High-Dose Statin May Protect Heart Surgery Patients’ Kidney Health
Acute kidney injury often arises after major surgery because the kidneys can be deprived of normal blood flow during the procedure. The use of contrast media, or dyes, can contribute to this problem. In patients undergoing coronary angiography or percutaneous coronary intervention, which are heart procedures that use dyes to help surgeons visualize the arteries, […] The post High-Dose Statin May Protect Heart Surgery Patients’ Kidney Health appeared first on Wiley Asia Blog.

Wu, H., Li, D., Fang, M., Han, H. & Wang, H. (2015). Meta-analysis of short-term high versus low doses of atorvastatin preventing contrast-induced acute kidney injury in patients undergoing coronary angiography/percutaneous coronary intervention, The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 55 (2) 123-131. DOI: 10.1002/jcph.411

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1:48 AM | High-Dose Statin May Protect Heart Surgery Patients’ Kidney Health
Acute kidney injury often arises after major surgery because the kidneys can be deprived of normal blood flow during the procedure. The use of contrast media, or dyes, can contribute to this problem. In patients undergoing coronary angiography or percutaneous coronary intervention, which are heart procedures that use dyes to help surgeons visualize the arteries, […] The post High-Dose Statin May Protect Heart Surgery Patients’ Kidney Health appeared first on Wiley Asia Blog.

Wu, H., Li, D., Fang, M., Han, H. & Wang, H. (2015). Meta-analysis of short-term high versus low doses of atorvastatin preventing contrast-induced acute kidney injury in patients undergoing coronary angiography/percutaneous coronary intervention, The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 55 (2) 123-131. DOI: 10.1002/jcph.411

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January 26, 2015

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10:36 PM | You can’t unboil an egg? Well… now you can.
There is a saying, “you can’t unboil an egg.” Usually this is just illustrating cause and effect; you can’t turn back time, or what’s done is done. Well now scientists have successfully unboiled an egg, so suck it thermodynamics. An international team of chemists have accomplished this feat – an innovation that could dramatically reduce costs for cancer treatments, […]

Yuan, T., Ormonde, C., Kudlacek, S., Kunche, S., Smith, J., Brown, W., Pugliese, K., Olsen, T., Iftikhar, M., Raston, C. & Weiss, G. (2015). Shear-Stress-Mediated Refolding of Proteins from Aggregates and Inclusion Bodies, ChemBioChem, DOI: 10.1002/cbic.201402427

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9:32 PM | The secret for a longer life? Kill your unfit cells
If you had the choice, would you like to live until you’re 130 years old? New research in fruit flies shows that manipulating a single gene can extend their lifespan up to 60%, suggesting that living well into your hundreds might become a reality in the foreseeable future.Dying of old age is a strange thing. Why does our health decline just because we’re old? Although the answer might at first seem obvious or simple, it really isn’t. There are countless theories of ageing, a […]

Merino M., Jesus M. Lopez-Gay, David Buechel, Barbara Hauert & Eduardo Moreno (2015). Elimination of Unfit Cells Maintains Tissue Health and Prolongs Lifespan, Cell, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2014.12.017

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6:26 PM | The Bed Bug’s Piercing Penis (A Guest Post)
By Rachael Pahl Sex is a dangerous, but necessary, part of life. Across the animal kingdom, there are a multitude of things that can go wrong. You could be injured in a fight by someone who wants to steal your mate, or maybe your partner eats you because you’re taking too long. Either way, nature must have a pretty good reason for the traumatizing effects of sex. A male bed bug traumatically inseminates a female. Image by Rickard Ignell at the Swedish University of Agricultural […]

Morrow, E. & Arnqvist, G. (2003). Costly traumatic insemination and a female counter-adaptation in bed bugs, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 270 (1531) 2377-2381. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2514

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11:13 AM | Is it necessary to use brain imaging to understand teen girls' sexual decision making?
“It is feasible to recruit and retain a cohort of female participants to perform a functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI] task focused on making decisions about sex, on the basis of varying levels of hypothetical sexual risk, and to complete longitudinal prospective diaries following this task. Preliminary evidence suggests that risk level differentially impacts brain activity related to sexual decision making in these women [i.e., girls aged 14-15 yrs], which may be related […]

Hensel, D., Hummer, T., Acrurio, L., James, T. & Fortenberry, J. (2015). Feasibility of Functional Neuroimaging to Understand Adolescent Women's Sexual Decision Making, Journal of Adolescent Health, DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.11.004

Rupp, H., James, T., Ketterson, E., Sengelaub, D., Janssen, E. & Heiman, J. (2009). The role of the anterior cingulate cortex in women's sexual decision making, Neuroscience Letters, 449 (1) 42-47. DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.10.083

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9:46 AM | We're more likely to cheat when we're anxious
When we’re stressed out and feeling threatened, our priority becomes self-preservation. According to new research, this defensive mode even affects our morality, making us more likely to cheat and excuse our own unethical behaviour.Maryam Kouchaki and Sreedhari Desai demonstrated this through six experiments. In the clearest example, 63 student participants spent three minutes listening to either calm music, or in the anxiety condition, to Bernard Herrmann's Psycho score. Those freaked […]

Kouchaki, M. & Desai, S. (2014). Anxious, Threatened, and Also Unethical: How Anxiety Makes Individuals Feel Threatened and Commit Unethical Acts., Journal of Applied Psychology, DOI: 10.1037/a0037796

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9:44 AM | What factors are linked to behavioural crises in autism?
The question posed in the title of this post was asked and [partly] answered by the paper by Vincent Guinchat and colleagues [1] based on the analysis of 58 adolescents diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and "hospitalized for severe challenging behaviors." Challenging behaviours, by the way, refers to a whole spectrum of presentations which doesn't just include aggressive or violent behaviours (see here). Indeed, I recently talked about irritability and autism (see here), […]

Guinchat V, Cravero C, Diaz L, Périsse D, Xavier J, Amiet C, Gourfinkel-An I, Bodeau N, Wachtel L, Cohen D & Consoli A (2015). Acute behavioral crises in psychiatric inpatients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD): Recognition of concomitant medical or non-ASD psychiatric conditions predicts enhanced improvement., Research in developmental disabilities, 38C 242-255. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25575287

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January 25, 2015

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9:24 PM | Il (non) carnevale della fisica #5
E siamo giunti, con l'ultima domenica di gennaio 2015, alla quinta edizione del (non) carnevale della fisica, appuntamento che, spero, sia atteso da sempre più lettori. L'introduzione di questa edizione è dedicata a Philipp Eduard Anton von Lenard, che ha vinto il quinto Nobel per la fisica, nel 1905, per il suo lavoro sui raggi catodici.Nato il 7 giugno del 1862, iniziò a interessarsi dei raggi catodici nel 1888. I raggi catodici sono un fascio di elettroni prodotti […]

Lenard, P. (1894). Ueber Kathodenstrahlen in Gasen von atmosphärischem Druck und im äussersten Vacuum, Annalen der Physik, 287 (2) 225-267. DOI: 10.1002/andp.18942870202

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8:35 PM | Will the ocean follow the land? Marine ecosystems at a tipping point to follow terrestrial defaunation
I’m late on this, but still an important story to discuss…a review in Science last week highlights the precipice on which we as a society perch regarding the potential massive loss of marine ecosystems.  The article reviews similar signs in … Continue reading →

McCauley, D., Pinsky, M., Palumbi, S., Estes, J., Joyce, F. & Warner, R. (2015). Marine defaunation: Animal loss in the global ocean, Science, 347 (6219) 1255641-1255641. DOI: 10.1126/science.1255641

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January 24, 2015

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6:39 PM | Lucid dreaming: The similarities between dreaming and wakefulness
To control one’s dreams and to live out there what is impossible in real life — a truly tempting idea. Some people — so-called lucid dreamers — can do this. Researchers have discovered that the brain area which enables self-reflection is larger in lucid dreamers. Thus, lucid dreamers are possibly also more self-reflecting when they […]

Filevich E, Dresler M, Brick TR & Kühn S (2015). Metacognitive mechanisms underlying lucid dreaming., The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 35 (3) 1082-8. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25609624

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2:39 PM | Urban Legends In The World of Clinical Trials
Ethnographer Jill A. Fisher offers a fascinating look at the rumors and urban legends that circulate among the volunteers who get paid to take part in medical research: Stopped hearts, amputated toes and NASA Fisher visited six clinical trial facilities across the USA. All of these facilities were exclusively devoted to running phase I trials, testing new drugs to see if they are safe in humans. She spent a total of 450 hours in the field, getting to know the 'guinea pigs', and the staf

Fisher JA (2015). Stopped hearts, amputated toes and NASA: contemporary legends among healthy volunteers in US phase I clinical trials., Sociology of health & illness, 37 (1) 127-42. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25601069

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12:16 AM | Mothers don’t speak clearly to their babies
People have a distinctive way of talking to babies and small children: We speak more slowly, using a sing-song voice, and tend to use cutesy words like “tummy”. While we might be inclined to think that we talk this way because it is easier for children to understand, new research suggests that, surprisingly, mothers may actually […]

Andrew Martin, Thomas Schatz, Maarten Versteegh, Kouki Miyazawa, Reiko Mazuka, Emmanuel Dupoux, and Alejandrina Cristia. (2015). Kouki Miyazawa, Reiko Mazuka, Emmanuel Dupoux, and Alejandrina Cristia. Mothers Speak Less Clearly to Infants Than to Adults: A Comprehensive Test of the Hyperarticulation Hypothesis., Psychological Science, Other:

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January 23, 2015

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8:25 PM | Exotic Pets: Emerging Risk Factor for Salmonellosis in Children
The increasing trend of having exotic reptiles as pets may lead to an increase in reptile associated infections such as Salmonellosis, especially in the children in the household.

Murphy D & Oshin F (2014). Reptile-associated salmonellosis in children aged under 5 years in South West England., Archives of disease in childhood, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25538189

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6:53 PM | First Partially Successful Vaccine Developed Against Prion Disease in Deer
The first partially successful vaccine against a prion disease (Chronic Wasting Disease in white tailed deer) is good news, but the journey has just begun.

Goñi, F., Mathiason, C., Yim, L., Wong, K., Hayes-Klug, J., Nalls, A., Peyser, D., Estevez, V., Denkers, N., Xu, J. & Osborn, D. (2015). Mucosal immunization with an attenuated Salmonella vaccine partially protects white-tailed deer from chronic wasting disease, Vaccine, 33 (5) 726-733. DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.11.035

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January 22, 2015

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10:50 PM | Belief’s effect on biochemistry in cases of addiction
Ever wonder what makes people susceptible to addiction? Think about it, some people can stop addictive painkillers without a problem and others, well others are not so lucky. So the big question is are there more than biophysical factors at play in addiction? A new study shows that cognitive beliefs play a significant role in a […]

Gu, X., Lohrenz, T., Salas, R., Baldwin, P., Soltani, A., Kirk, U., Cinciripini, P. & Montague, P. (2015). Belief about nicotine selectively modulates value and reward prediction error signals in smokers, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201416639. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1416639112

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7:06 PM | Black Tar Heroin: Lower HIV Transmission vs Higher Bacterial Infections?
The rise of street-cut, unsanitary preparations of Black Tar Heroin has allegedly reduced HIV transmission but at the cost of higher numbers of fatal, bacterial infections, notably botulism, clusters of which have been regularly identified in California.

Ciccarone, D. & Bourgois, P. (2003). Explaining the Geographical Variation of HIV Among Injection Drug Users in the United States, Substance Use & Misuse, 38 (14) 2049-2063. DOI: 10.1081/JA-120025125

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6:58 PM | Magnetic domains get a DUI for driving under the influence of DMI
claimtoken-54c26d19d7aea This Week’s Pick of the Past article took a retrospective look at the excitement that magnetic bubble memory caused in the 1970s.  The basic... The post Magnetic domains get a DUI for driving under the influence of DMI appeared first on Spin and Tonic.

Petit, D., Seem, P., Tillette, M., Mansell, R. & Cowburn, R. (2015). Two-dimensional control of field-driven magnetic bubble movement using Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interactions, Applied Physics Letters, 106 (2) 22402. DOI: 10.1063/1.4905600

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6:58 PM | Magnetic domains get a DUI for driving under the influence of DMI
claimtoken-54c26d19d7aea This Week’s Pick of the Past article took a retrospective look at the excitement that magnetic bubble memory caused in the 1970s.  The basic... The post Magnetic domains get a DUI for driving under the influence of DMI appeared first on Spin and Tonic.

Petit, D., Seem, P., Tillette, M., Mansell, R. & Cowburn, R. (2015). Two-dimensional control of field-driven magnetic bubble movement using Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interactions, Applied Physics Letters, 106 (2) 22402. DOI: 10.1063/1.4905600

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5:45 PM | Double public goods games and acid-mediated tumor invasion
Although I’ve spent more time thinking about pairwise games, I’ve recently expanded my horizons to more serious considerations of public-goods games. They crop up frequently when we are modeling agents at the cellular level, since interacts are often indirect through production of some sort of common extra-cellular signal. Unlike the trivial to characterize two strategy […]

Peña, J., Lehmann, L. & Nöldeke, G. (2014). Gains from switching and evolutionary stability in multi-player matrix games., Journal of Theoretical Biology, 346 23-33. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24380778

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12:36 PM | Wolf to dog
Why were dogs domesticated so early? How was it done? A recent paper (citation below) looks at how much of dog behaviour might have been already in the wolf with no effort needed to produce it in the dog. All that may have been needed was to have the wolf lose its fear of man […]

Range, F. & Virányi, Z. (2015). Tracking the evolutionary origins of dog-human cooperation: the “Canine Cooperation Hypothesis”, Frontiers in Psychology, 5 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01582

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11:22 AM | At-risk kids avoiding an autism diagnosis?
The paper from Jonathan Green and colleagues [1] (open-access) discussing results based on a "two-site, two-arm assessor-blinded randomised controlled trial of families with an infant at familial high risk of autism aged 7–10 months, testing the adapted Video Interaction to Promote Positive Parenting (iBASIS-VIPP) versus no intervention" caught quite a few eyes recently. With accompanying media headlines such as 'Parents May Be Able to Lower Kids’ Autism Risk' you can imagine the […]

Jonathan Green, Tony Charman, Andrew Pickles, Ming W Wan, Mayada Elsabbagh, Vicky Slonims, Carol Taylor, Janet McNally, Rhonda Booth, Teodora Gliga & Emily J H Jones (2015). Parent-mediated intervention versus no intervention for infants at high risk of autism: a parallel, single-blind, randomised trial, The Lancet Psychiatry, Other:

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9:45 AM | Experts and autism screening triage
Whilst hopefully using the word 'triage' in the right way in the title of this post, I want to briefly talk today about the paper by Terisa Gabrielsen and colleagues [1] (full-text version here) and their observation that when it came to "brief but highly focused observations", a group of psychologists (well, two of them) "with toddler and autism expertise" missed over a third of cases of children who required additional examination/screening for autism or autistic traits.I am […]

Terisa P. Gabrielsen, Megan Farley, Leslie Speer, Michele Villalobos, Courtney N. Baker & Judith Miller (2015). Identifying Autism in a Brief Observation, Pediatrics, Other:

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January 21, 2015

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8:56 PM | Fish, mercury, and pregnancy: Good news for seafood lovers
People freak out when they hear mercury is in something and sometimes for good reasons. In vaccinations for example a very small amount of ethyl-mercury WAS used as a preservative in vaccines, people got scared so now it is not used in most vaccines. Methylmercury* however is found in seafood and larger fish in particular (in much, […]

Gutiérrez, F. & Leon, L. (2000). Elemental Mercury Embolism to the Lung, New England Journal of Medicine, 342 (24) 1791-1791. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM200006153422405

JJ Strain,, Alison J Yeates,, Edwin van Wijngaarden,, Sally W Thurston,, Maria S Mulhern,, Emeir M McSorley,, Gene E Watson,, Tanzy M Love,, Tristram H Smith,, Kelley Yost, & Donald Harrington, (2015). Prenatal exposure to methyl mercury from fish consumption and polyunsaturated fatty acids: associations with child development at 20 mo of age in an observational study in the Republic of Seychelles, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , Other:

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5:00 PM | Keeping Memories Fresh by Keeping Glutamate In Check
We are another year older, perhaps a little wiser, and probably more forgetful.  Indeed, making memories is quite a process in the brain: specific synaptic connections are strengthened and new proteins are synthesized.  But as we age, the synapses that make up our memories, such as those in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, start to … Continue reading →

Pereira A.C., Yael S. Grossman, Dani Dumitriu, Rachel Waldman, Sophia K. Jannetty, Katina Calakos, William G. Janssen, Bruce S. McEwen & John H. Morrison (2014). Glutamatergic regulation prevents hippocampal-dependent age-related cognitive decline through dendritic spine clustering, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111 (52) 18733-18738. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1421285111

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