The discovery of a new “reset” button for the brain’s master biological clock could eventually lead to new treatments for conditions like seasonal affective disorder, reduce the adverse health effects of working the night shift and possibly even treat jet lag. The finding is reported in the Feb. 2 issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience.
“We found we can change an animal’s sleep/wake rhythms by artificially stimulating the neurons in the master biological clock, which is located in an area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), with a laser and an optical fiber,” said Douglas McMahon, Stevenson Professor of Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University who directed the study.
Until now, neuroscientists had thought that the firing rate of SCN neurons was strictly an output of the biological clock’s activity. They did not think altering the level of neuronal activity could affect how the clock operates. But the Vanderbilt researchers have shown that stimulating and suppressing the SCN’s neurons in a fashion that emulates their day and night activity levels can force the clock to reset.
The study was done using mice. Neuroscientists have found that mice possess a biological clock nearly identical to that of humans with the exception that it is tuned for a nocturnal lifestyle.
The researchers used a new technique called optogenetics to manipulate the firing rate of the SCN neurons. The technique inserts genes that express optically sensitive proteins into target cells in order to make the cells respond to light.
“This puts clock neurons under our control for the first time,” said doctoral student Jeff Jones, who conducted the study with fellow doctoral student Michael Tackenberg.
A US pastor's book that advocates whipping children with branches and belts has sold hundreds of thousands of copies. But alleged links between the pastor's teachings and the deaths of three children have provoked a growing backlash.
Parents are told to "use whatever force is necessary is the child is rebellious,,"... Teach kids to use violence and aggression to make others surrender...??Lily
Children who are exposed to negative parenting -- including abuse, neglect but also overprotection -- are more likely to experience childhood bullying by their peers, according to a meta-analysis of 70 studies of more than 200,000 children.
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It’s not enough to give these devices to students and teachers and expect classroom practice to shift. The preservice teachers I work with are using technology in ways that are familiar to me. Some of the obvious examples: they not-so-discretely text in class and they occasionally get wrapped up in Facebook or online chats with friends when the class is engaged in a class wide discussion. These examples are akin to what I’ve seen in my high school experience. And if these are the students who are going to be our future teachers soon, do we really expect radical shifts in how they treat and adapt technology in schools?
Scientists have completed a study that finds a clear link between rates of breastfeeding and the likelihood of developing Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, even when typical risk factors were taken into consideration.
Mobile devices are everywhere and children are using them more frequently at young ages. The impact these mobile devices are having on the development and behavior of children is still relatively unknown. Researchers review the many types of interactive media available today and raise important questions regarding their use as educational tools, as well as their potential detrimental role in stunting the development of important tools for self-regulation.
Eleanor Lutz is a designer whose knowledge of molecular biology and love of science is translated into beautifully-designed infographics. Her colorful and educational images contain interesting bits of information about how the human body works and birds fly, but with a novel twist - they’re animated GIFs. Lutz’s addition of movement makes these images more engaging, and we get a better sense of how things actually work.
Parents who physically abuse their children appear to have a physiological response that subsequently triggers more harsh parenting when they attempt parenting in warm, positive ways, according to new research.
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The ability to pay attention to relevant information while ignoring distractions is a core brain function. Without the ability to focus and filter out "noise," we could not effectively interact with our environment.
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