Here is what we are reading today:
““For most of my colleagues in neuroscience to say ‘I’ll be able to incorporate [optogenetics] into my daily work with nonhuman primates,’ you have to get beyond ‘It does seem to sort of work’,” said study senior author David Sheinberg, professor of neuroscience professor affiliated with the Brown Institute for Brain Science. “In our comparison, one of the nice things is that in some ways we found quite analogous effects between electrical and optical [stimulation] but in the optical case it seemed more focused.””
“Yesterday the jury charged with deciding his sentence announced that it had been unable to come to a unanimous decision on the death penalty. That means he’ll get life without parole.
Perhaps it’s little wonder the jury couldn’t agree — they’d been given a lot to consider. McCluskey’s defense team had tried to convince them that he has several brain defects that, combined with other factors, contributed to his crimes and should be considered mitigating circumstances. The defense presented the results of several types of brain scans and various psychological tests, as well as testimony from neurologists and other experts.”
“This week, researchers described an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health in people buried since the year 1039 in one graveyard along a well-known pilgrimage route in Tuscany, Italy. By studying the skeletons of farmers, peasants, monks, and nobles, paleopathologists hope to find out what diseases killed people from medieval times until the present—and how their overall health fluctuated during famine, war, climate change, and other challenges.”
““All of these drugs out there on the market are going to be discharged into the environment and we don’t know what the effects are, because there’s no requirement to do an assessment on the front end,” said Nick Schroeck, executive director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center in Detroit.
“We’re not trying to scare anyone, but we need to know what these chemical compounds will do to the environment and what are the long-term effects for humans. No one seems to know.””
“A research team led by Dr. John Stamatoyannopoulos, University of Washington associate professor of genome sciences and of medicine, made the discovery. The findings are reported in the Dec. 13 issue of Science. The work is part of the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements Project, also known as ENCODE. The National Human Genome Research Institute funded the multi-year, international effort. ENCODE aims to discover where and how the directions for biological functions are stored in the human genome.”
In a new study published today in Science, John McGann, associate professor of behavioral and systems neuroscience in the Department of Psychology, and his colleagues, report that neurons in the noses of laboratory animals reacted more strongly to threatening odors before the odor message was sent to the brain.