Critiquing LaPlant et al, in Nature Neuroscience, Part 3: The spines and the depression

Oct 20 2010 Published by under Addiction, Behavioral Neuro, Neuroscience

Welcome to part 3 in the series of my coverage of LaPlant, et al. 2010. It's been a long day, and Sci is TIRED. She just ran a 13 hour experiment, and boy is she wiped. But she is also DEVOTED. And also has her teeth well into this paper, and refuses to let go just yet.

 

So, two times ago, we discussed DNA methylation (an activity which determined whether your DNA is available for use), and how it was regulated by cocaine. In part TWO, we discussed the further work they did on how DNA methylation affects aspects of cocaine REWARD.

And now...spine density.

ResearchBlogging.org LaPlant et al, 2010. “Dnmt3a regulates emotional behavior and spine plasticity in the nucleus accumbens”. Nature Neuroscience, 2010.

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Prozac, Ritalin, Cognitive Enhancement, and the power of a snappy title

Let it be known that Sci, like many a young, bright-eyed little scientist, tries to keep up on her reading. TRIES is the operative word, but every week Sci gets the Tables of Contents for all the major journals in her field (and all the major ones in her subdisciple) emailed straight to her for her perusal. She scans the title lists, searching for things that are cool in her field, cool to blog, or that might indicate a scoopage of her work (hey, it happens).
And it was in one of these perusals that I came across this article. And this article is on a subject that needs to be blogged. But this article also says a lot about the "selling" of a scientific paper to a high-ranking journal. Biological Psychiatry, the journal in which this paper was published, has a pretty decent impact factor (8.67), and in Sci's field, is considered to be a pretty hot publication venue.
But before I go into that, let's take a look at this paper:
ResearchBlogging.org Steiner et al. "Fluoxetine potentiates methylphenidate-induced gene regulation in addiction-related brain regions: Concerns for use of cognitive enhancers?" Biological Psychiatry, 2010.

Sci would like to start by noting that doing an image search for "cognitive enhancer" yields some surprisingly boring results. I was really hoping for something like this:

Oh well.

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Dopamine and Obesity: The Food Addiction?

Mar 30 2010 Published by under Addiction, Behavioral Neuro

Sci picked this paper today partially because it was handed to her on a platter by the fantastic Dr. Pal, and partially because today she is SO HUNGRY. She's had a TON of food already today, and is still entirely ravenous. Maybe it was looking at this paper too long.
(Cereal break)
Anyway.
As I'm sure most of y'all out there are aware, obesity is a problem in the US. No one is sure whether it's due to increased portion size, increased availability, decreased physical activity, changes in gut bacteria, issues with our behavioral approaches to food, or all of the above. But scientists have been working for a while not only to look at the effects of overeating and obesity, but also to look at what CAUSES these things in the brain and body. And today we present a paper on an interesting piece of this puzzle, one that Sci has had a good deal of interest in: the idea of overeating as an addiction-like phenomenon.
ResearchBlogging.org Johnson and Kenney. "Dopamine D2 receptors in addiction-like reward dysfunction and compulsive eating in obese rats." Nature Neuroscience, 2010.

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Opponent-Process Theory: Welcome to the dark side

May 25 2009 Published by under Addiction, Neuroscience

You people. You people and your REQUESTS. Requests to do things like blog more about opponent-process theory. Well. Sci hears you. She obeys. At least this time. And for all your drug addiction experts out there asking me to read Koob, I can assure you that I have read a LOT of Koob in my time. For those of you not necessarily familiar with the drug abuse lit, George Koob is considered one of the greatest minds in current drug abuse research, and has done a lot to conform the motivationally-focused opponent-process theory to the model of drug addiction that exists today. Guy even has a wikipedia entry! That's how you know you've hit the big time.

ResearchBlogging.org And so, Sci continues her discussion of opponent-process theory in this second installment, with many thanks to Koob and his co-author, Le Moal.
Remember this?
OP Theory1.png
You'll need it.

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