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Talking back

Talking back

A science blog, sans blague


Remember It Well: A New Type of On-Switch for Memory

Nicotine enhances the ability to focus and remember. The alkaloid acts in a similar manner to the brain's own signaling molecule, acetylcholine. It interacts with eponymous receptors on the surface of nerve cells to regulate signaling in the brain.The role of the nicotinic-acetylcholine receptors throughout the central nervous system is so wide-ranging that new discoveries about the molecule continue apace...

STAFFNovember 2, 2012 — Gary Stix

Can Wall Street Financial "Wizardry" Foster Drug Innovation?

Most articles in the journal Nature Biotechnology have titles like "Selective Enrichment of Newly Synthesized Proteins for Quantitative Secretome Analysis." They don't usually contain sentences like this:"The special-purpose vehicle's capital structure, priority of payments and various coverage tests and credit enhancements are collectively known as the 'cash flow waterfall'—a reference to the manner in which cash flow from the special purpose vehicle's assets spills over from senior to junior tranches..."Nothing to be found in that sentence or the rest of the article about the minutiae of monoclonal antibodies, RNA interference or the Nobel-winning biology of induced pluripotent stem cells.The article in the October issue of Nature Biotech arrives replete with esoterica about cash flow waterfalls and junior tranches, and includes that sentence penned by Andrew Lo, a prominent MIT professor of finance, and colleagues, Jose-Maria Fernandez and Roger M...

STAFFOctober 9, 2012 — Gary Stix

A Neurodegenerative Disease Improves Facets of Cognition

Huntington's disease, which killed folk singer Woody Guthrie, seems to put into overdrive the main chemical that turns on brain cells, ultimately leading to their death.The normal function of the neurotransmitter glutamate, the chemical overproduced in Huntington's, is also intimately involved with learning.Researchers from Ruhr University and the University of Dortmund in Germany have been intrigued by the question of whether the neurodegeneration initiated by glutamate in this genetic disorder is all bad...

STAFFSeptember 28, 2012 — Gary Stix

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