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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Caitlyn Jenner on the July 2015 cover of Vanity Fair magazine.

Bruce Jenner and Changing Your Brain’s Sex

The debut of Bruce Jenner’s sex change on the cover of Vanity Fair was stunning, but superficial.  A deeper question than her newfound beauty is:  What about her brain?

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Posted in Brain Development, by Douglas Fields, Chemicals, Diseases & Disorders, Educators, In Society, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Psychiatric Disorders, Uncategorized
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Poisoned Synapses not Crocodile Bile the Likely Killer of Mozambique Beer Drinkers

On January 11, 2015 news swept the globe reporting that scores of people died and 200 were sickened by drinking beer poisoned with crocodile bile in Mozambique.  Thinking is now shifting to the possibility of poisoned synapses, not reptilian bile as the cause of these deaths.

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Posted in About Neuroscience, by Douglas Fields, Cell Communication, Chemicals, Childhood, Childhood Disorders, Diet and Exercise, Injury, Pregnancy and Parenting
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The Absurdity of “Medical Marijuana”

Marijuana use is legal in many states for medical purposes, most of them dealing with neurological conditions (pain, epilepsy, tremor, multiple sclerosis, and many others).  From the perspective of a neuroscientist researcher, the situation with respect to “medical marijuana” is absurd.  Continue reading

Posted in Addiction, Animal Research, Brain Development, by Douglas Fields, Cell Communication, Chemicals, Degenerative Disorders, Diseases & Disorders, Epilepsy, Immune System Disorders, Movement Disorders, Neural Network Function, Neuroethics, Neurolaw, Policymakers, Psychiatric Disorders, Technologies, Uncategorized
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Why do nervous systems use slow voltage changes rather than fast electric currents along wires?

Richard Dawkins used his Twitter account to ask some unanswered questions about biology that he finds fascinating, inviting others to share ideas about hypothetical life forms that may or may not have evolved. By nature, these questions can only be addressed using some degree of speculation, but I find this one particularly interesting and I will attempt to answer it. He asks: Continue reading

Posted in Authors, Brain Basics, by Jean-Francois Gariepy, Cell Communication, Chemicals, Evolution, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Uncategorized
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The rhythm of lobster season

Today is the second and last day of “mini-season” here in South Florida. That is, the last Wednesday and Thursday of July where Florida lobsters are available for the taking by non-commercial lobster hunters. I grew up in New England and I love me some huge (i.e. 2-3 lb) Maine lobsters, but since establishing some roots down here in sunny Florida, I’ve grown to like the smaller, but still sweet tasting cockroaches of the sea. Continue reading

Posted in About Neuroscience, Animal Research, by Leanne Boucher, Cell Communication, Chemicals, Diet and Exercise, Diseases & Disorders, Movement, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Technologies
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