To Sleep, Perchance to Feed the Cat

To Sleep, Perchance to Feed the Cat

We all have an anecdote or two about real-life sensations—the smell of cooking food, the noise of thunderstorms, or the pressure of a full bladder—that made appearances in our dreams. It’s not that rare for external stimuli, when they happen to occur during dream-producing REM sleep, to be incorporated into dream content. Becca Krock discusses one such case, involving dreams, drums, and an impatient cat.

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Newsflash from 1976: neurons can release more than one neurotransmitter

Newsflash from 1976: neurons can release more than one neurotransmitter

Neuroscience has a lot of mantras. I blame textbooks.

The concept of “one neurotransmitter per neuron” nicely streamlines any discussion of neuron types. The problem: it’s at best reflection of 80-year-old dogma, and a wild over-simplification. So the fact that evidence to the contrary is rarely found in textbooks should … not surprise you.

The 1930s gave us many things: instant coffee, trampolines, and most relevant to this post, Dale’s Principle, which states that, “the nature of the chemical function … is characteristic for each particular neurone, and unchangeable”. Although this assumption remains the default, co-release of neurotransmitters has been formally discussed (read: published about) since at least 1976. In the past decade, the idea that neurons can release more than one neurotransmitter has gained ever wider acceptance amongst neuroscientists, with the list of brain regions containing co-releasing neurons growing rapidly. 

But what does co-release look like at the level of synapses? And why is there an image from my PhD qualifying proposal in this post?

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Ask a Neuroscientist: On Sleep and Memory

Ask a Neuroscientist: On Sleep and Memory

Is there any connection between memory and sleep?

Common beliefs are that a good night’s sleep will enhance recall of old and learning of new memories, prevent memories from decaying, and improve insight. But how much of these premises are actually true? Does the right amount of sleep really work miracles when it comes to learning and remembering information? And if so, how can we use these insights in school?

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How to diagnose anterograde amnesia

How to diagnose anterograde amnesia

How do we tell when someone is experiencing anterograde amnesia?

Anterograde amnesia, refers to the ability to lay down new memories. Persons with anterograde amnesia may not perceive any symptoms, or they may be profoundly confused and disoriented. Kelly Zalocusky describes the symptoms of anterograde amnesia, and explains the differences between this particular type of memory deficit, and another common form, dementia. 

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