Gene therapy to reduce deleterious effects of stress on memory

Paraphrasing the abstract: Glucocorticoids, the adrenal steroid hormones secreted during stress, can impair memory. Estrogen can enhance spatial memory and can block at least some of the bad effects of glucocorticoids on memory. Andrea Nicholas, Carolina D. Munhoz, Deveroux Ferguson, Laura Campbell and Robert Sapolsky constructed a chimeric gene (“ER/GR”) containing the hormone-binding domain of the glucocorticoid receptor and the DNA binding domain of the estrogen receptor. As a result, ER/GR transduces deleterious glucocorticoid signals into beneficial estrogen signals.

They tested this gene on male mice with a water maze. They found that it enhances spatial memory and blocks the impairing effects of stress.

References:

Andrea Nicholas, Carolina D. Munhoz, Deveroux Ferguson, Laura Campbell and Robert Sapolsky. Enhancing Cognition after Stress with Gene Therapy. J. Neurosci. 26: 11637-11643.

pop sci article

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Cognitive and Neural Systems Conference in Boston

HOW DOES THE BRAIN CONTROL BEHAVIOR?

HOW CAN TECHNOLOGY EMULATE BIOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE?

The conference is aimed at researchers and students of computational neuroscience, cognitive science, neural networks, neuromorphic engineering, and artificial intelligence. It includes invited lectures and contributed lectures and posters by experts on the biology and technology of how the brain and other intelligent systems adapt to a changing world. The conference is particularly interested in exploring how the brain and biologically-inspired algorithms and systems in engineering and technology can learn. Single-track oral and poster sessions enable all presented work to be highly visible. Three-hour poster sessions with no conflicting events will be held on two of the conference days. Posters will be up all day, and can also be viewed during breaks in the talk schedule.

ELEVENTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
ON COGNITIVE AND NEURAL SYSTEMS

May 16 – 19, 2007

Boston University
677 Beacon Street

Boston, Massachusetts 02215 USA

http://www.cns.bu.edu/meetings/

Sponsored by the Boston University

Center for Adaptive Systems and
Department of Cognitive and Neural Systems (http://www.cns.bu.edu/)
with financial support from the National Science Foundation (http://cns.bu.edu/CELEST/)

Who Cares About Theory?

Is science just about facts, or are theories and conceptualizations important too? Should we worry about having good theories, or do the facts pretty much give us everything we need to know. This article, entitled “Facts, concepts, and theories: The shape of psychology’s epistemic triangle“, discusses this issue for the field of Psychology, though its contents are also applicable to Neuroscience and AI.

Help Please: Future of Neural Engineering: From Job perspective

Dear Members,
I am a prospective graduate student interested in taking up Neural Engineering under EE or Biomedical Engg for research. But I have a lot of concerns and need help from a person who knows about the field well.
1. I have studied VLSI, DSP, Image Processing, Wireless Communication, Control Systems and Embedded Systems as graduate and undergraduate courses and have some research interest in Neural Networks and Machine Learning(That’s how I got interested in Neural Engg and Prosthetics). Which of these subjects will be of help in Neural Engg/Prosthetics research. Which will be of most relevance. Please list them in the order of relevance(high->low).
2. What are the applications of the research ?
3. What is the research and JOB scope for this field? Are there any companies who recruit people with this specialisation? How is the job scene in academia? How many univs are doing research in this field in US? Please let me know about the career progression in academia, like how much time does it take to get full time academic position after PhD?
4. Especially, what are the applications of this research in Robotics?
5. What are the current problems and research themes in universities?
6. What imaging technologies are used in this research?

Though my queries may seem a bit ameteuristic, it is very important for me to get clarity on these doubts.
Hope my queries will be answered.
Thanking all of you in advance,
sudhi