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Archive for the ‘Field / Technique’ Category

Circuit Neuroscience Recently, research into psychiatric disease has made great strides, but continued progress may require unpopular and ethically murky research. Joshua Gordon, the new director of the National Institutes of Mental Health writes in this month’s Nature Neuroscience: “At this unique and exciting time for psychiatry, novel therapies for individuals with mental illnesses seem just around […]


Metabolomics has come a long way since the days of tasting urine. Now techniques like high-throughput mass spectrometry can provide us detailed information about the small molecules we find in the body–which can be influenced by diet, environmental exposure (to toxins, medicine, etc), or even the gut microbiome. Metabolomics will also capture the genetic or […]


5-hydroxy-methyl CpGs (5-hmCs) were first discovered in 2009 and shown to be enriched in the brain, but remain a mysterious epigenetic mark, despite intriguing functional findings such as: environmental enrichment’s reduction of it, MeCP2’s preference for 5mc over 5hmc, and it’s possible role as an intermediate in demethylation. This new technique will aid their characterization […]


You may have seen my tweet about the upcoming documentary Mars Project, which tackles complex issues such as mental illness, drug use, psychiatry, race, and stigma. When director Jonathan Balazs contacted me about his film, I got really excited about it. If you liked the teaser but want to learn more about the project, check out Balazs’s Indie-Go-Go page […]


What prescription drugs do we take and why are we taking them? Get a glass of water, choke down your horse pills, and take a look at the 10 most prescribed psychiatric drugs, 10 most prescribed drugs overall, and the 10 most profitable drugs, followed by a bit of analysis (though maybe what you need is psychoanalysis). […]


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 […]


Despite having cared for laboratory mice for years, I’m wowed by the complexity of this task! The trainer’s site: http://mouse-agility.com/ describes the animals living conditions and training method. The trainer keeps the mice housed in groups of 3-4 females, in 3-dimensional cages such as a remodeled cupboard, or: a pyramid of different-sized tables, the several floors […]


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 […]



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