Archive for: December, 2009

Friday Weird Science: Hyposexual, Hypersexual, and Oxytocin

Dec 04 2009 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Oh, you all thought oxytocin posts were DONE!? BY NO MEANS. For oxytocin lends itself to the truly weird science, and this one simply could not be ignored. In addition, Sci is compelled to blog this paper out of sympathy and understanding for the poor little grad student (or possibly the tech) who WITNESSED this entire experiment, on a weekly basis, for I don't know how long. Oh you devoted servant of science, Sci takes her hat off to you this day.
...moment of silence... Pattij, et al. "Individual differences in male rat ejaculatory behavior: searching for models to study ejaculation disorders." European Journal of Neuroscience, 2005.
We'll get to what the poor student did in a minute.
So what, might you think, is the biggest problem in sexual dysfunction these days? From the abundance of couples in matching bathtubs and various other really awful commercials for Cialis and Viagra, etc, you'd really think it was erectile dysfunction. But in fact, there is ANOTHER sexual disorder that is possibly more common, and which has just as big of an impact on a guy's sexual quality of life...
(Before you go below the fold, things possibly NSFW, blah de blah, it's Friday, you should know this by now.)

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HM Brain Slicing: So much better than TV

Dec 03 2009 Published by under Neuroscience

In case any of you peeps have missed it (and you never know), the great memory patient, HM, died last year on Dec 2, 2008.
HM was an epilepsy patient who suffered horrible seizures from age 16 on. Finally, we was referred to a neurosurgeon, who localized the seizures to the medial temporal lobes, and he had them removed in 1953. The good news: new epilepsy. The bad news: no MEMORY. HM retained all of the memories from before the surgery, but until the day of his death, was unable to create new ones. He continually thought it was 1953. He was capable of doing things requiring short term memory and retained an IQ of 112, but could not remember anything new taught to him. Interestingly, he could retain motor memories, and could learn new motor procedures and remember them, though he didn't remember learning them. HM was altogether a fascinating patient, and taught neuroscientists a huge amount about the brain. Unfortunately, due to his severe amnesia, he lived the rest of his life in a care institute, dying peacefully in 2008.
Though obviously informed consent was a little difficult, every time they asked, HM agreed to donate his brain to science, and the person with his power of attorney also agreed. Thus HM's brain is currently being SLICED into 70um (those are microns, very small) thick sections, in the hopes that we will be able to gain even more knowledge about the man and his brain following death. You can follow the slicing, which is going to take 50 hours, here and here. They're about to reach the temporal lobes, and there it should get very exciting! It's a big moment for neuroscience.
Sci is totally geeking out about this, and she and her charming co-blogger Evil Monkey have been tweeting it up over the past few hours (Evil is @neurotopia, and you should follow him on twitter). Some of the people Sci has talked to have expressed reservations about having their brains (or bodies) sliced on live video feed. Sci personally thinks she wouldn't mind at all, if it was for scientific benefit. Also, I have been told I have a very pretty brain. But she would be interested to hear the thoughts of others. Would you donate your brain to science? Would you mind being sliced (after death) on live video? Why or why not?

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Mapping the Glutamate Receptor

Dec 02 2009 Published by under Neuroscience, Physiology/Pharmacology

So Sci said she wasn't going to blog this week because of Open Lab and how stressed she is.

But she lied.
The science, it calls us, precious.
Ah, the power of Twitter. It is indeed powerful, for it hath informed Sci of a new development in SCIENCE. Also, it made her sing. We'll get to that. Sobolevsky, Rosconi, Gouaux "X-ray structure, symmetry and mechanism of an AMPA-subtype glutamate receptor" Nature, 2009.

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Open Lab! That's all She Wrote!

Dec 02 2009 Published by under Academia

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