Everyone loves the Mantis Shrimp because of their many colors.

Everyone loves the Mantis Shrimp because they can see many colors.

Here is what we are reading today:

“”Ultrasound has great potential for bringing unprecedented resolution to the growing trend of mapping the human brain’s connectivity,” said William “Jamie” Tyler, an assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, who led the study. “So we decided to look at the effects of ultrasound on the region of the brain responsible for processing tactile sensory inputs.””

“”It opens the door to understanding opioid related drugs for treating pain and mood disorders, among others,” said lead author Dr. Gustavo Fenalti, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Raymond C. Stevens of TSRI’s Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology.

“This discovery has helped us decipher a 40-year-old mystery about sodium’s control of opioid receptors,” said Stevens, who was senior author of the paper with UNC pharmacologist Professor Bryan Roth. “It is amazing how sodium sits right in the middle of the receptor as a co-factor or allosteric modulator.””

“The research is published online today in the Journal of Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrics. It was led by Robin Hansen, director of the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the MIND Institute and chief of the Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics in the UC Davis School of Medicine.

“In our Northern California study population, it does not appear that families use complementary and alternative treatments due to the lack of availability of conventional services, as has been suggested by other research,” Hansen said. “Rather, they use the treatments in addition to conventional approaches.””

In the following interview, Dr. Freberg offers a rare glimpse of her struggle to gain the education required to become an accomplished professional psychologist. Dr. Freberg also discusses her range of experiences during a typical workday now, and when she was a young mother juggling all the demands of career and home life. The span of her accomplishments and assortment of outreach to wide variety of populations is a central component of this highly informative interview.”

“”Sleep is the price the brain must pay for learning and memory,” says Dr. Giulio Tononi, of the UW Center for Sleep and Consciousness. “During wake, learning strengthens the synaptic connections throughout the brain, increasing the need for energy and saturating the brain with new information. Sleep allows the brain to reset, helping integrate, newly learned material with consolidated memories, so the brain can begin anew the next day. “

Tononi and his co-author Dr. Chiara Cirelli, both professors of psychiatry, explain their hypothesis in a review article in today’s issue of the journal Neuron. Their laboratory studies sleep and consciousness in animals ranging from fruit flies to humans; SHY takes into account evidence from molecular, electrophysiological and behavioral studies, as well as from computer simulations. “Synaptic homeostasis” refers to the brain’s ability to maintain a balance in the strength of connections within its nerve cells.”

“Such body language, known as a “dominance threat display” and labeled as “triumph” in other studies, was observed in winners of Olympic and Paralympic judo matches. It appears to be innate and stems from an evolutionary need to establish order and hierarchy in society, said San Francisco State University Professor of Psychology David Matsumoto, who co-authored the study with Hyisung Hwang, an adjunct faculty member in psychology at SF State.”





Ali G · January 14, 2014 at 1:30 am

I agree with the idea of the SHY hypothesis. The brain is a very complicated structure, but it makes sense that our brain would weaken its connections when we are not using them in order to save energy. I have seen research related to this idea of retaining information better when getting sleep in a couple of other online articles. I have also learned from personal experience that sleep helps with retention and the learning of new material. I personally try to choose sleep over studying the day before a test because I have heard from many people, that if I were to sleep, I will retain the material I have studied in the past better than the material I would learn in the extra hour of staying up. I would be interested in seeing what sort of experiments Tononi and Cirelli come up with to support this hypothesis.

Alexandra Grundler · January 14, 2014 at 6:40 pm

I think the issue of “smart forgetting” in the SHY hypothesis article is particularly interesting. I had always wondered how our brain processes chose what information to store and what information to intelligently let go. I would certainly be interested in reading more articles about memory. It is very apparent to me that sleep improves memory. In periods of my life when I average only four or five hours of sleep, I not only cannot memorize new information, but my critical thinking skills that seemed innate before, fall by the wayside as well. I would be interested in knowing more about that, too.

Alexandra Grundler · January 14, 2014 at 6:53 pm

I really enjoyed reading your interview. I really admire your work ethic throughout your life. I recently switched my major to philosophy, knowing very well that it is not a terminal degree. I, like I imagine you were as a first year college student, am thrilled by that. There is no way that I want to learn formally for only four more years after secondary school. I, too, have considered law. Although, you make a good case for professorship. You are never pulled from formal learning. Instead, you research and continue to learn everyday of your life. That is so admirable!

jclary · January 17, 2014 at 11:20 am

In regards to the “40 years mystery…solved” article I thought it was very interesting how sodium ions actually act as a switch for the opioid receptors. Who knew that ions that are almost always in the body helping to create action potentials and ionic balance, also act as a switch for many powerful drugs. Whats most intriguing is that this happens at normal concentrations of sodium in the brain where the sodium will actually slip in and modulate the opioid receptor activity. The sodium actually holds the receptor in place causing it to then lose its affinity for certain neurotransmitters. The researchers actually mutated those specific amino acid sodium sites and found that the affinity for neurotransmitters did in-fact change. This is an amazing find that can help us in the future in understanding how drugs work with preexisting ions in the brain so that we can make drugs that are more affective, but most importantly less addictive.

jclary · January 17, 2014 at 11:50 am

In regards to the “medicine and autism” I thought that the study was a great way to track the actual effectiveness and risk or certain treatments for autism. What was most interesting was that people that used complementary and alternative (CAM) treatments for their children were parents that had a higher income and were more educated. What was previously thought was that people didn’t use these types of approaches statically in the Northern California population, but what actually was happening was that people were using alternative methods of treatment on top of the conventional one. There was also a significant number of people that were using methods deemed to be potentially unsafe. Tracking these patients and there progress with certain treatments would be a great way to further the effectiveness of certain treatments. I also think that patients and their guardians should be more informed on the potential risks if they do choose to do a more risky treatment.

Ali G · January 18, 2014 at 1:08 am

I was not surprised by the behaviors observed during the Olympics and Paralympic Judo matches. It makes a lot of sense for this behavior of dominance after a victory to be innate. I was thinking about it just from an evolutionary standpoint and wondered why this is a beneficial trait. I understand that after a win, the nucleus accumbens probably kick in and allow you to feel a rewarding sensation. If the nucleus accumbens were not present and the person won a competition, I feel as if the person who just won the competition would not be motivated to compete again in the future because there is no rewarding sensation. We see with animals that they are constantly fighting for food, land and other resources in order to find potential mates and survive, so these animals probably feel some rewarding sensation just like us, that way they continue to compete and try to win in order to be rewarded. I feel that the same concept can be applied to us. We constantly compete in order to feel good when we win, and then we show off that excitement through our body language. The dominant body language could just be a side effect of the reward system of the brain kicking in. Some of us feel like we have to compete more and show off our dominance more but that probably just has to do with what the article was talking about, which was the power distance. Overall, this was a very interesting article, and I feel like this concept involves everything from psychology to evolution and genetics.

Ali G · January 25, 2014 at 1:04 am

In your interview I enjoyed the Kenyan Olympian quote, “Train hard, win easy”. From what I read, that really seems to be the motto of your life. I feel like now a days we are all frightened by our futures because of a lot of the same problems you faced in your past such as money. But you were even able to solve that problem. It is good to know that even though life introduces new challenges in our life that we can get through them with time and some effort. I know my future goals might be a bit difficult to reach, but I pretty much follow that quote daily so that I may one day achieve my future goals.

Ali G · January 25, 2014 at 1:44 am

I feel that boosting the brain’s sensory performance with ultrasound brings up an excellent ethical question. I feel like we can ask the question that has been asked many times before, “Just because we can do something, does it mean we should do it?” I have heard that there is a lot of research being done on the idea of increasing the power of the brain. I feel the ultrasound research is ethically sound because I cannot see how anybody could actually abuse an increase in perception. But I can see the potential benefits for those people who may have lost some of their senses. I am no expert so I do not know if that would be even possible but it seems that no harm can come from this research. That being said, I believe that other research that tries to increase the amount of information that our brain can hold is unethical if only some are allowed to increase their information storage while others are not. I will be interested in seeing how far this research will advance and what other new breakthroughs on the brain will be released in the future.

BonnieBurns · January 28, 2014 at 11:38 am

I found your article, ” Athlete’s first reaction in victory is dominance, study finds” very interesting. At first after reading it I questioned whether all countries’ individuals really do show these acts of triumph. It seemed to me that some countries may look down upon boasting about a win, so individuals may not show this triumph. But after reading the article it gave me a second look, that this behavior is innate, and even those who have been taught not to be overbearing about their victory, will still show some sort of triumph even as simple as a head held higher or a smile. While much of this behavior is implanted into us from our ancestors and animals, it made me wonder if a large part is also learned? It seems that some families may overemphasize winning more than others, and this could greatly affect the amount of triumph shown by a victor, or just a child may learn that they should show happiness after winning, due to seeing it around them growing up. It would be interesting to see actions and behavior with losing, and if the amount of dejection relates to their culture’s power distance.

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