Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Synapse, Vol. 1, issue 6

Welcome to the sixth edition of Synapse, a biweekly Carnival, devoted to aggregating the best neuroscience postings and research on the web.

History of Psychology:
Let's learn our lessons from the history of Psychology. Here, we have a very informative posting from the Neurophilosopher delineating the gradual historical process through which the concept of a Neuron got established. I am tempted to post a snippet from the post, which describes the etymology of this Carnival's name.


Also during this decade Sir Charles Sherrington described the junction between nerve and muscle, and named it the ’synapse’ (from the Greek roots syn, meaning ‘together,’ and haptein, meaning ‘to clasp’) in 1897.


Interesting New Findings:
Dave from Cognitive Daily presents an interesting research that shows that adults and children have different abilities to detect Musical Phrases and that some of the musical abilities, like language, may involve a critical period of acquisition. A lively discussion ensues on the blog!

Linking It UP:
Chris from Developing Intelligence summarizes the latest findings on Memory consolidation and how this new protein kinease M-Zeta pathway and the earlier Armitage-destruction-in-synapse pathways may lead to a futuristic scenario wherein you may be able to selectively forget the memory of one day earlier. This is the psychological equivalent of the morning-after pill!!

News and views:
PsychNotes posts on the same study regarding Kinease M-Zeta and links it to memory maintainence and LTP.

Informed Criticisms:
The Neurocritic takes issue with the popular press coverage of a study published in Nature which purportedly links Parietal lobe with categorization , and gently points that as per the original; article only LIP is involved and the categorization was limited to direction of motion and thus does not take away all that earlier glory associated with the Ventral stream!

In Depth:
If you want to learn more about attentional blink and whether the data can be explained by distracter-interference vs. two-stage bandwidth limited models, then join Chris from Developing Intelligence as he explores the phenomenon in depth.

Theoretical Developments:
In this section, yours truly, extends the observations made by Marc Hauser for an innate Universal Moral Grammar and adds to it concepts like Intention and Consequence Predicates.
Yours truly, also tries to integrate different factors and stages involved in Pretend play and how that may relate to Language acquisition.

Methodological Advances:
Jake from Pure Pedantry highlights the new sophisticated methodology of using c14 isotope levels and the fact that c14 levels in atmosphere changed drastically before and after the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963 to prove that no new neurons are formed in the adult human cortex.

Future Trends:
The Neurophiliosopher takes us on a voyage of a hybrid nanowire - rat neurons device in which artificial synapses are created between the Neurons and the silicon nanowires.

(Don’t)Try this at Home (take consent of your physician first!):
Village Smitty, from the Hippocampy, lists a simple exercise for balance, posture and spatial awareness that was found useful for a person suffering from cerebellar meningioma.

In Focus:
Last, but not the least, the In Focus cover article for this special Mouse Trap issue of Synapse, that has the theme of Mouse embedded in it- an article by Jake from Pure Pedantry about various methods used for measuring 'depression' in mice and how knocking the TREK-1 gene bestows the same effects on mice as if they had been treated by anti-depressants and also works by the same pathway. Long live the mice!

The next edition of Synapse would be hosted at GNIF Brain Blogger on Sept.17th. Do submit your articles before the September 16th deadline. Submission guidelines here.

Happy blogging till then!

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2 comments:

Village Smitty said...

Well duh, he was under physician's orders.

Probably should have said 'coming back from" instead of 'suffering from'.

Molecules are great, but function comes first.

Village Smitty said...

P.S. - You'll love my stuff about restorative properties of sleep on myelin, later at The Synapse!