Archive for: November, 2009

Oxytocin: This one's for the Ladies

Nov 11 2009 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

Previously I posted on the general features of oxytocin, what it acts on, and where it basically acts, and what it's mostly known for. But the reality is that oxytocin is a LOT more complicated than that, and has different effects of your body and your behavior, depending on who you are. It varies from person to person (as all biological things do) as well as between men and women. And today, we're going to discuss the ladies. Because if there is anything oxytocin is famous for, it's for its effects on women.

You may have noticed lots of links in the previous post. Those links are to the literature which I searched before posting. There will be lots more links in this one to examples of studies which support what I'm going to tell you about. Of course, all of these are in science-ese, and so if you are puzzling over something and can't make it out, give a shout out in the comments with the particular paper, and Sci will do her best to cover the paper later on. I have a feeling that oxytocin is going to be a recurring topic.
So here we go.
This one's for the ladies

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Open Lab PSA

Nov 10 2009 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

We Interrupt this craziness on Oxytocin for an important PSA:
Open Lab is COMING!!!
Sci all of a sudden looked up, realized it was November, and realized the deadline for post submission was December 1!!! That's close, people, real close. Right now, we have well over 470 entries (which you can see on Bora's blog here), many of them extremely good ones! And you can still submit! Submit the greatest posts of others, and have no shame in submitting yourself!
Submit to Open Lab!

(Click on that one for the submission form)
A few caveats: NO VIDEOS. This is an anthology, and it is a book. Dead trees, peeps. As of yet, videos do not come in that format. If it relies on a photo or picture almost entirely, also out. Written word is best. Also, at this point in the stress, Sci highly recommends submitting things that are both excellent and make her laugh. Always aim to make Sci laugh!
Submit to Open Lab! Time is ticking!

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Oxytocin: Starting with the basics

Nov 09 2009 Published by under Neuroscience

So sometimes, Sci gets questions, and sometimes those questions...are close enough to requests. And so, today Sci will begin what is probably going to be an extensive basic series on oxytocin. We ALL love oxytocin, right? Right! And we all missed Sci's big honkin' basic science posts right? Of course right!
So the question basically came down to this: What are the effects of oxytocin in female vs males, in particular the effects on sexual and bonding behavior, and how does this influence the autonomy of people (eg, are we really the tools of our hormones). The short answer: yes and no. The long answer: is very long. So today Sci is going to begin with a background post on oxytocin, what it is, where it acts, and some basic functions. The next post will be on effects of ocytocin in females specifically, and then a post on ocytocin in males specifically. And then, the synthesis. And interspersed in there, a few Friday Weird Sciences. I mean, oxytocin makes for some GREAT weird science. 🙂 Keep in mind, though, that although Sci has done a boatload of research getting ready to blog this topic, she by no means going to hit ALL of EVERYTHING. She might have to blog some specific papers in the future, and she definitely welcomes anyone willing to chime in the comments with more info!
So here we go.

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Repost: Prairie Voles in Love

Nov 08 2009 Published by under Behavioral Neuro

As a taste of things to come. 🙂
For your Friday Weird Science, I present to you a Poem! And I shall call it "Prairie Voles in Love: An Ode to Oxytocin"
Out on the lonely prairie, gazing at the stars above
I saw through the night
the wondrous sight
Of prairie voles in love
'Twas truly a miracle to see
this display of monogamy
Monogamy, subject of vast debates
In only 3% of mammals, mostly primates
But here on the prairie, in burrows and holes
whole colonies of uxorious voles!
But who could love a prairie vole?
More handsome is a lump of coal!
The rodents are small,
hairy, buck-toothed and all
Though whiskers are cute, with bright eyes above,
That's a face only a mother could love!
Alas, love is not for their minds to control
The hormones must their hearts console
The posterior pituitary is something great
For forming pair-bonds with your chosen mate!
And for voles together through thick and thin
There is nothing better than oxytocin.
The posterior pituiary, the neurohypophysis
The place the love glow from pair-bonding is.
Without oxytocin, the voles just get laid
There is nothing from which pairings can be made.
The females needed oxytocin for when the morning came
Or male voles were kicked out, to do the walk of shame.
But it turns out that oxytocin is just for a girl
The boys need vasopressin to make their toes curl
ADH can turn those dead-beat dads
who otherwise would be bounders and cads
into a model husband, father, and mate
who any smart girl vole would kill to date.
No miracle, this monogamous bliss
So when your lover walks out
Don't waste time, scream, or shout,
Look to your neurohypophysis!
I am a HUGE geek. I know. Even my advisor tells me so. Ack! I'm still rhyming!!
Insel, T.R., Winslow, J.R., Wang, Z.X., Young, L., Hulihan, T.J. (1995). Oxytocin and the molecular basis of monogamy. Advances in Experimental and Medical Biology, 395(1), 227-234.

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Friday Weird Science: The Stuttering Priapism

Nov 06 2009 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Editor's Selection IconThis post was chosen as an Editor's Selection for Who would have thought Sci would be running a normal pub-med search, for something COMPLETELY not weird science material, and come across...this? Truly, it was meant to be!
This case report is probably one of the weirdest things I've seen all week, and kept Sci scratching her head as to the possible mechanism. Also, it is, without a doubt, one of the most incredibly embarrassing thing to ever happen to a 15-year-old. And you thought YOUR teenage stories were bad... Scwartz and Rushton. "Stuttering priapism associated with withdrawal from sustained-release methylphenidate" Journal of Pediatrics, 2004.

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Book Review: The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology

Nov 03 2009 Published by under Academia, Natural Sciences

Often, Sci gets books, and even though she's totally excited about them, has to move them to the bottom of the pile, in a vain effort to go through things in the order she receives them, and try to stay on top of it all (there's a pile of books next to Sci's bed a good two feet tall. Really). But when I got this moved right to the front. I mean, how could it NOT!?
The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology by Masaharu Takemura.
manga molecular bio.png

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An Open Letter: Journal References

Nov 02 2009 Published by under Academia

Dearest High and Mighty Journal to Whom I Wish to Submit My Manuscript and Thereby Become Famous:
Greetings, from your most humble supplicant.

Verily, I have polished my manuscript. It is a thing of beauty. It is within your rather arbitrary and extremely paltry word limits, for truly, this humble scientist understands that succinctness and clarity are essential in scientific writing. My figures have been lovingly crafted to convey my totally awesome data, and my standard errors are indeed a thing of beauty. And so, O Great Journal, I offer this paper up unto you, in hopes that you and your reviewers shall think kindly upon my work and thereby make my name great amongst the scientists.
But I have a bit of a bone to pick...

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