Archive for the ‘Anatomy’ Category

COMT, Catechol-O-methyl transferase, is an enzyme that degrades catecholamines–such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine (or adrenaline and noradrenaline as they are called in the UK). It was first discovered in the ’50s by Nobel laureate and pirate Julius Axelrod. More recently, scientists discovered an evolutionarily recent nonsynonomous single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the protein-coding portion of […]

The connectome  is a map of all neural connections in a brain, which I believe only currently exists for the flatworm C. Elegans. Seung’s group and collaborators are working using serial electron microscopy, and partially automated EM analysis and the crowdsourcing site eyewire  to reconstruct parts of the mouse retina, with the hope of steadily improving technologies […]

This article is my translation of this Brazilian article  by RICARDO ZORZETTO (with lots of help from google translate) Revising the Numbers Get to know the anatomy of the human brain, especially how researchers got to a figure of 86 billion neurons,instead of the 100 billions previously estimated. —- On Wednesday, January 11, researchers Casarsa Frederico Azevedo […]

First, experimental economists and psychologists like nobel laureates Vernon L. Smith and Daniel Kahneman taught us that we aren’t economically rational–we’re influenced by biases and we use flawed heuristics (though often in very testable, repeatable ways).(1) Then, Neuroeconomists showed that biology affects economic decisions–internasal oxytocin raises trust in risky exchanges, serum serotonin levels predict whether […]

“The munchies” — an effect of THC causing heightened craving and enjoyment of food after taking is currently used to help HIV patients and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy patients maintain their weight. New research indicates that THC could help anorexics and bulemics regain weight–though probably not through “the munchies.” A new PET imaging study reported […]

A new study published in Psychopharmacology shows young rats injected with medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) performed worse on behavioral memory tests. MPA’s memory impairment persisted even once it had been cleared from the blood. MPA is the active component of the Depo Provera shot but not found in other hormonal contraceptives. The finding is especially significant […]

Details of the weight loss A new study published in the NEJM enrolled 50 overweight or obese patients (BMIs between 27 and 40) in a 10-week 500 calorie diet of Optifast VLCD and low starch vegetables. As might be expected with such a rigorous diet 16 dropped out or did not lose the expected weight […]

Sleep and appetite may seem unrelated at first, but they have more in common than you might think. I know the last few times I was up late working, I was snacking on something. (Though, this example is complicated by the fact that stress can lead to hunger too.) The protein leptin is associated with […]

The New York Times mentioned the mammalian diving reflex in an article about David Blain last Tuesday. In humans, it allows you to hold your breath longer when under water, by slowing the heart and lowering blood flow to your extremities. Aquatic mammals have a more intense version of this reflex, and when diving deep […]