Archive for: October, 2009

Friday Weird Science: The Deadly Sneeze

Oct 30 2009 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Sci always has all these PLANS for weird science, all these THINGS she's going to blog about. Seriously, a post on Ritalin-induced stuttering priapism (heh...heh...) awaits! But then, Mo posts something like this on Twitter, and Sci just HAS to cover it. It's too weird! Though it's not ACTUAL science, it still qualifies. How many people freakin' die from sneezes?!
"Man died after sneeze, inquest told"
Ah, sneezes. You think they're totally safe...

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9 responses so far

SFN Neuroblogging: Performance-enhancing Ritalin

Oct 28 2009 Published by under Academia, Physiology/Pharmacology

Sci will admit that blogging SFN has been harder than she thought it would be. This is partially due to the lack of wireless on the poster floor (which would be REALLY hard to remedy), and partially due to...exhaustion. By the end of the second or third day, the posters all begin to blur before your eyes, and you bless anyone who is willing to send you a copy of their poster. This is because your notes, however extensive, become steadily less and less legible (Sci's netbook is not optimal for this kind of note-taking). So as Sci tries to write about all the cool stuff she's seen, she ends up squinting curiously at her notes and saying things like "task indecent via 02??? That doesn't make any sense!!!"
If they keep up this neuroblogging for next year (please do!!!) and if Sci is picked again (Same Sci-time...midnightish...and same Sci url!), Sci wants to start setting up interviews with people who have awesome abstracts, so I can take better notes. Or possibly I could start begging poster copies ahead of time. Many presenters aren't so good about sending them, and who can blame them? Sci has forgotten many a time. (As to why all poster-presenters don't hand out copies of their posters, or allow pictures of posters to be taken, well, Sci will save that for another post).
Anyway, I shall forge on, and attempt to decipher my own handwriting! Especially because I recall being very excited about this particular poster and the implications.
K. M. TYE, L. D. TYE, J. J. CONE, E. F. HEKKELMAN, P. H. JANAK, A. BONCI; "Methylphenidate (Ritalin) enhances task performance and learning-induced amygdala plasticity via distinct D1 and D2 receptor mechanisms "

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9 responses so far

To Dad, From a Runner

Oct 27 2009 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

Once Upon a Time, there was a little girl.

This little girl became Scicurious. Her dad had a large role in getting her there. My Mom gave me charm, sparkle, and confidence. My dad gave me his sense of humor. And my dad gave me running.

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12 responses so far

A Quick Open Letter: Pubmed

Oct 26 2009 Published by under Academia

Dearest Pubmed,
You know how I generally feel about you. You are like a faithful science butler, forever serving up my lovely citations with a cheerful, dry wit, which sometimes causes you to return things like "priapism" when I searched for "[drug] withdrawal". It was cute, and I appreciated that bit of sass in response to what was probably a rather silly series of keywords.
And then, you underwent some reformatting. The new look is very snazzy, very modern, vaguely Google-like. Not bad. It would be icing on the cake, however, if Pubmed actually...worked. Right now. Sci has no time for these shenanigans, Pubmed. Sci is under a deadline, and wants her citations. It's one of the lovely, reliable things she has come to expect out of her Pubmed service.
And no use with the whole "bad gateway". Nice try passing the blame, Pubmed. I'm ashamed of you.
And now, pubmed, see what you did?! Sci was feeling productive! She was looking forward to getting stuff done this day, and, with a cold beer in the evening, looking back at her afternoon and going "BOOM, BABY!" But now it will not happen. No. Without pubmed, Sci is reduced to playing around with twitter and is considering digging into her long-neglected Google Reader. SEE WHAT YOU'VE DONE?!
What I'm saying, Pubmed honey, my adorable butler of science, is that you need to drink some coffee and get your little tuxedoed butt off the floor. Shake it off. I suppose it might have been a rough weekend, and we've all been there, but I need those citations on a silver platter, and I need them yesterday.
Much love,
Sci and her Reference Mananger

7 responses so far

SFN Neuroblogging: Got Type 2 Diabetes on the Brain

Oct 26 2009 Published by under Academia, CNS Diseases and Disorders, Neuroscience

As some of my readers from WAY back (all two of you, hi guys!) may know, diabetes is one of Sci's favorite things. It's one of those things that, if she could start her entire little sciency life over, would be something she would heavily consider as a focus. Heck, there's always another post-doc, right?
Anyway, you might think that diabetes would not be one of the things generally discussed at Society for Neuroscience meetings. But you would be wrong. The symptoms of diabetes, type I or II, stem from not enough insulin, whether that is because you don't produce any (type I) or you don't have enough and aren't sensitive enough to what you have (type II). Insulin isn't just limited to the gut, pancreas, and muscles, however. It's also important in the brain. Normally, your brain is pretty responsive to blood levels of glucose, no matter what, because you want your brain to be the last thing to go when your blood sugar levels drop. But insulin still plays an important role, and insensitivity to insulin, like that seen with type II diabetes extends to the brain as well.
This study taught Sci a lot of things that she didn't necessarily know. First, it taught her that insulin sensitivity is affected by free fatty acid levels. And it taught her that both of these together could have major effects on cognitive impairment. Suddenly the major increases in type II diabetes are looking a little more scary.
V. E. COTERO, E. C. MCNAY "Effect of intrahippocampal FAs with varied saturations on spatial memory in adult Sprague-Dawley rats"
Doesn't sound like anything to do with type II diabetes, does it? You would be surprised. 🙂

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11 responses so far

SFN: Segways for Neuroscience!

Oct 23 2009 Published by under Academia

Sci is still in SFN recovery. This usually involves attempting to make up for a SERIOUS lack of sleep, and a total lack of healthful eating. I have spent the last four days with a heartfelt salad craving.

Seriously, McCormick Place. We need to talk. About your prices. $12 for a ratty little vegetarian sandwich that is soggy and gross?! NOT COOL. For the next conference in Chicago, Sci personally recommends stopping by your local whatever (this year, Sci used Starbucks, Walgreens, and the Corner Bakery) and picking up a prepackaged sandwich or fruit and cheese on your way to the conference. Sci did this the instant she realized what McCormick Place was up to, and lo, her per diems were met! Save money, save your tummy some pain.
Anyway, Sci often has ideas while at conferences, and these usually occur whilst I am on my way to the conference on the shuttle, or even more often, while I'm trudging dazedly across the poster floor, completely at a loss to contemplate WHY two closely related topic fields are at poster row C and poster row EE, respectively. Not fair.
So Sci was trudging, and dodging and weaving around all the SFN n00bs, who somehow feel it is totally ok to stop in the middle of the walkway and gape at your booklet, causing people who KNOW where they are going to have to make emergency detours. Seriously, kids, you are stopping in the middle of what is essentially a crowded busy street in a temporary neuroscience town of 30,000 people. You get THREE poster sessions to figure out the difference between row A, G, and DD, and if you cannot seem to keep moving by then, Sci's bowling you over, and throwing some elbows in her wake. If you really are lost, for the love of neurons, pull over!!
And as I dodged and wove, and contemplated how much my feet hurt and whether Starbucks in McCormick Place charges more than their national prices for a latte, I had the solution.

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5 responses so far

New Blogs at Scienceblogs!

Oct 22 2009 Published by under Uncategorized

The things that happen when Sci is away...seriously, to cover them all, I have to do a TON of blogging.
Anyway, we just had two new blogs join the Scienceblogs stable: Evolution for Everyone and Tomorrow's Table. David Wilson is the author of Evolution for Everyone, a new evolution blog, and Pamela Ronald is the author of Tomorrow's Table, a blog about food which Sci has no doubt she will be following very closely. Check them out, and if you followed them before, update your readers!

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Blogs Worth of Note: Edition 6

Oct 22 2009 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

Now that all the COMPLETE CRAZINESS of SFN is over (IT WAS SO CRAZY), Sci is a little free to, well, not relax, but do the 50 million things she was supposed to be doing while she was at SFN...ugh...
Anyway, today's blog pick emphasizes this predicament somewhat:
ISIS, the Domestic and Laboratory GODDESS!
Really. No matter how much I think I have on my plate, or how much I need to catch up on, or how little sleep I'm getting, this little muffin (I am pumpkin flavored with chocolate chips) is nothing to the goddess. She is a living, blogging testimony that a woman in science really CAN have it all. A family, a killer scientific career, many many pairs of amazing shoes, and a fine sense of humor. She dispenses valuable advice on everything from fashion to your future, and the goddess is generous and kind in her commitment to causes, including founding her own scientific Award, and giving lots of money to Donor's Choose (which you should TOTALLY donate to, btw).
In sum, Isis is what Sci is going to be when she grows up. Much better than a princess, lots of science, and better shoes. Sci thinks that when she becomes Isis she might be wearing these:

One response so far

SFN Neuroblogging: The paralyzing effects of CO2

Oct 21 2009 Published by under Academia, Natural Sciences, Neuroscience

Sci is back from SFN, but she is by no means done with the neuroblogging! Unfortunately, due to a crazy schedule and spotty wireless, Sci was not able to get as much neuroblogging in as she wanted. So she's going to continue for a few more days, with some of the coolest things she saw at this year's conference.
For this post, we're going to basic principles, made extra cool by two things: crayfish and videos!
Univ. Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Synaptic mechanisms underlying carbon dioxide's induced paralysis

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4 responses so far

SFN Neuroblogging: Diets and binge eating

Oct 21 2009 Published by under Academia

It's the second to last day of SFN. Sci thought she was a grad student of boundless energy, but even she is beginning to feel...a little burned out. Posters, each one of the good and showing some seriously cool stuff, slide past her eyes. After a while you can barely remember what you just saw, even though you desperately want to, because you know you would never have seen it had it not been terribly cool. But at a conference this big, with so many people, it's hard to remain "on" all the time, to ask the brilliant questions, to give the perfect presentation.
But press on we must! SFN comes only once a year. It's like neuroscience Xmas! You have to soak in every inch of the experience. And even through your fog of exhaustion (and possibly your fog of hangover), there are some posters that stick out at you. Some that are elegant and interesting, no matter how tired you are:
*D. E. PANKEVICH, G. SMAGIN, T. L. BALE; Animal Biol, Univ. Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; AstraZeneca, Wilmington, DE "Caloric restriction reprogramming of stress and reward neurocircuitry increases vulnerability to stress-induced binge eating"

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9 responses so far

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