Ectoplasm–Ghostbusters to spooky twitching nerves

“He slimed me!”  Venkman spits out in disgust, writhing in sticky ectoplasm in a memorable scene from the 1984 movie Ghostbusters.

Ectoplasm, the mysterious stuff of the supernatural world, also makes nerve axons twitch every time they fire, but almost nobody talks about it.

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Posted in by Douglas Fields, Cell Communication
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How the Neurotoxin in Dungeness Crab Causes Brain Damage

The California Fish and Game Commission has banned crab fishing until further notice after detecting high levels of a neurotoxin in Dungeness and rock crabs. The toxin, domoic acid, is produced by certain types of planktonic algae, and it becomes concentrated in tissue of crabs and other marine organisms during plankton blooms. People who consume sufficient quantities of the toxin develop amnesic shellfish poisoning, so named because it kills neurons in a part of the brain that is critical for memory. Here’s how it works.

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Posted in Animal Research, by Douglas Fields, Cell Communication, Chemicals, Diet and Exercise, Diseases & Disorders, Epilepsy, Learning and Memory, Policymakers, Uncategorized
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New discovery explains why binge drinking leads to alcohol dependence and suggests new treatments

“Why can’t you stop drinking?” This week at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago announced a new finding that provides a fresh answer to this persistent question that plagues people addicted to alcohol. The discovery offers an entirely new approach to treatment.

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Posted in Addiction, by Douglas Fields, Cell Communication, Diet and Exercise, Learning and Memory, Neuroanatomy, Psychiatric Disorders
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