Another interesting psychopharmacology issue. We’ve covered the SSRIs here before but the newest trend is among high-school and college-age wanting something to help them focus, do better on tests, etc. Adderall, prescription amphetamine salts for ADHD, seems to be the drug of choice. Article from the Christian Science Monitor follows. (A quick search on Google News shows just how much press this issue has been getting.)
Last summer, I began to make an online mini-bibliography on neocortical synaptic plasticity. It currently contains over 160 citations divided into over 35 cross-linked subtopic listings.
http://www.citeulike.org is a free service that lets you bookmark papers online as you browse them, categorize them with keywords, share your lists with others, and export lists of citations into other formats such as BibTeX.
Rimonabant (aka SR141716), a CB1 receptor antagonist, is being investigated as a diet drug. This is disturbing to me because of the significant acute effects of cannibinoids on cognitive function.
CALL FOR PAPERS, CNS*2005:
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: February 1, 2005 midnight
Fourteenth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting CNS*2005
July 17 – July 21, 2005
Madison, Wisconsin, USA
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The way that general anesthetics work is still somewhat mysterious. Here’s one intriguing hypothesis.
Anesthetics increase conduction velocity in myelinated fibers. Perhaps they disrupt the carefully calibrated timing of axonal transmission. This may selectively interfere with spike timing-based computation, while leaving rate-based computation intact. If consciousness (or some general class of higher-order functions) is spike timing based, but lower-order functions are rate-based, this would explain why anesthetics selectively affect higher-order functions.
Swindale, Nicholas V. Neural Synchrony, Axonal Path Lengths, and General Anesthesia: A Hypothesis. Neuroscientist 2003 9: 440-445
I didn’t read the article yet (I don’t have access privs to that journal), but it looks cool.
(related NeuroWiki page: GeneralAnesthesia)