Archive by category | Society for Neuroscience

Neuroscience 2008: New ‘epigenetic’ memory drug

Michael Ahlijanian, a vice-president of the small biotech company EnVivo, told the meeting that the company’s new compound EVP-0334 is to enter clinical trials for treating memory disorders ‘very soon’. That it has made it so far is surprising and scientifically interesting, particularly since it acts by interfering with epigenetic phenomena in the brain.  Read more

Neuroscience 2008: Brain, meet machine; machine, meet brain

I’m a sucker for the rather trendy area of brain-machine interfaces, which is why I poked my nose into the symposium on Advanced Neurotechnologies for Chronic Neural Interfaces this afternoon. This is the kind of work that aims to take brain activity and use it to control prosthetics, or even to control an individual’s own limb. The first speaker was Eberhard Fetz of the University of Washington in Seattle, whose team recently published this paper (here’s the Nature News story) on controlling muscles directly with electrical activity from neurons routed through a computer.  Read more

Neuroscience 2008: History lessons

I always enjoy, as a bit of a departure from the rest of the conference, checking out the History of Neuroscience posters, typically situated in row ZZ through ZZZ of the enormous hall, and not so well-attended as the rest of the selection. Which is a shame, as many provide a really nice way to step back from calcium channel agonists or dopamine activity in area LMAN of the zebra finch brain, and take a wider-angle look at the field. Sunday’s highlights: Aristotle; and a neuroscience of neuroscience.  Read more

Neuroscience 2008: Some NIH stats

The directors of each of the neuro-related National Institutes of Health convened for a press conference this morning. Those of us who were after hard news were a little disappointed, but I found the short talks a useful basis for the rest of the sessions, many of which I of course won’t be able to get to given that the committee love to run at least six interesting things concurrently (like the Queen of Hearts, we are running to stay in the same place, but unlike her we cannot attend six impossible talks before breakfast).  Read more

Neuroscience 2008: But how does the cat feel about dogs?

Neuroscience 2008: But how does the cat feel about dogs?

Posted on behalf of Ashley Yeager The parasite Toxoplasma gondii causes rodents to enter the lion’s den: They go against their instincts and sniff out the scent of cat urine. Now, new research has identified the specific regions in the brain involved in this game of cat-and-mouse. Toxo is a parasite that can only reproduce in the gut of a cat, so it “basically co-opts certain brain circuits in the rats’ amygdala to change their fear into a sexual attraction,” says Patrick House, a neuroscientist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. The team scanned the brains of both healthy  … Read more

Society for Neuroscience 2008

The annual behemoth of a conference that is the Society for Neuroscience meeting kicks off here in Washington today. They expect about 30,000 neuroscientists to attend – probably using about that many calories each running from poster session, to symposium, to lecture througout the event. Together with Alison Abbott and Ashley Yeager, I’ll be blogging about what’s going on.  Read more

Sfn: hope in stroke

Amid the dazzling high-tech displays of new-generation brain-machine interfaces (including brain implants with which monkeys can operate robotic arms) was a less glamorous but elegantly simple study which promises to improve quality of life for stroke victims, or victims of traumatic brain injury, whose ability to balance has been obliterated.  Read more

SfN: Social butterfly

I’m sure you’ll consider it an entirely selfless act on my part to put in an appearance at various social events in order to give those of you who couldn’t make it to SfN an idea of how well neuroscientists like to party. So here’s a rundown of just a few of them. Let me assure you that my attendance was definitely not related to the copious amounts of free food. Ahem.  Read more