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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“You Don’t Have Time to Think.” Heroic Veteran Capt. Florent Groberg’s Selfless Action

 

Today it was announced that Army Capt. Florent Groberg will receive the Medal of Honor for instantly tackling a suicide bomber in a split-second reaction of self-sacrifice to save the lives of his comrades.  “You don’t have time to think.  You react,” he explains.  But how is that possible?

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Posted in Awareness and Attention, by Douglas Fields, In Society, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Senses and Perception, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving, Stress and Anxiety, 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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To Eat or Not to Eat

Today’s New York Times has a nice video showing how stimulating a small set of neurons in the amygdala can turn off a rat’s motivation to eat. The stimulation relies on a newly discovered technology called ‘optogenetics’. Continue reading

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What’s in Your Nightmares? The Top 5 Recurring Dreams of Adults and Kids

We spend a third of our life in a completely altered state of consciousness, indeed madness.  Dreaming is a descent into what would otherwise be a severe form of psychosis, and often these hallucinations are terrifying.  Dreams that reoccur are especially disturbing, and nearly everyone has experienced them.  A new study reveals the most common content of recurring dreams and finds very different hallucinations in the dreaming minds of adults and children.

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Posted in by Douglas Fields, Childhood, Pregnancy and Parenting, Sleep, Stress and Anxiety
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