brain-on-drugs

bbc.com
Experts excited by brain 'wonder-drug' - BBC News
A drug for depression could stop all neurodegenerative diseases, including dementia, scientists hope.

Scientists hope they have found a drug to stop all neurodegenerative brain diseases, including dementia.

In 2013, a UK Medical Research Council team stopped brain cells dying in an animal for the first time, creating headline news around the world.

But the compound used was unsuitable for people, as it caused organ damage.

Now two drugs have been found that should have the same protective effect on the brain and are already safely used in people.

“It’s really exciting,” said Prof Giovanna Mallucci, from the MRC Toxicology Unit in Leicester.

She wants to start human clinical trials on dementia patients soon and expects to know whether the drugs work within two to three years.

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LSD is one of the most powerful drugs ever created, and for the first time ever, scientists at Imperial College London have successfully image scanned human brains that are under the influence of the psychedelic drug. The study has had profound impacts on our understanding of consciousness. As one researcher explained, “Normally our brain consists of independent networks that perform separate specialised functions, such as vision, movement and hearing - as well as more complex things like attention. However, under LSD the separateness of these networks breaks down and instead you see a more integrated or unified brain. In many ways, the brain in the LSD state resembles the state our brains were in when we were infants: free and unconstrained.”

anonymous asked:

I also really dislike the idea that science is apolitical in general. Literally nothing is apolitical. Even the concept of something being apolitical is political.

Yeah like, literally everything about science is political.

There’s the obvious: funding structures (our money literally comes from the government guys, like i am literally paid by the NSF, which is funded as a part of the federal government), academic hierarchies, the politics of what research areas are in vogue, the politics of who gets the necessary education to even get the chance to work in science, all the issues of certain groups (i.e. white men) being viewed as more intelligent and more competent and more objective/impartial than others. 

Did you know that there are things about the human body and it’s tolerances for extreme conditions that we know only because of Nazi experiments on living people in concentration camps? This data is often considered ethical to use because redoing the experiments is so deeply unethical. Tell me how that’s apolitical.

And there’s a lot of the obvious things like literally any study about gender differences in the human brain, or all the drug trials that used non consenting prisoners or black people or women in Puerto Rico because they were considered too risky to do on white people. Or Henrietta Lacks. 

And sure, you can say that of course those are issues, but we don’t do that anymore and it’s just biology and medicine, which are messy human fields and not the pure fields like physics and chemistry. But a lot of the development of modern particle physics was driven by the development of nuclear weapons. Modern chemistry runs on the cheap byproducts of the oil industry. 

But there’s also the less obviously political. We all carry around implicit, unconscious biases that we pick up from living in society. Most of the time it’s things we don’t even realize. These types of unconscious biases can and do influence how we view data. We may think we’re being objective but the vast majority of sciences carry the same set of biases (because academic science is a monoculture that abhors diversity), so we all end up viewing things in a similar way. And often times those biases have been baked into scientific thought for so long that we can’t even see them anymore, because they have influenced things that are now accepted as facts. 

Science isn’t divided between the beautiful elegant process that uncovers facts about the universe and the messy humans who reveal that truth the world. Science is created by the scientists. Without us it wouldn’t exist. And we are inherently political beings. 

Brigitte Kieffer (b. 1958) is a French molecular neurobiologist, working mostly with opiate receptors. She is an international expert in the field, and her research has significantly added to the understanding of how the brain processes pain and drug addiction.

She was a professor at the University of Strasbourg, and went on to do research in several institutes throughout France and the United States. Her research led to the development of a new analgesic medicine, used as a treatment for addiction. In 2013 she became a member of the French Academy of Sciences, and won several medals offered by the institution.

Falling in Love!!

Hello, brain people!

Love!! What on earth happens to your brain as you fall in love? There are three stages that we all go through as we fall in love with that special somebody: Lust, Attraction, Attachment

During Lust, sex hormones are released - this being oestrogen and testosterone in women and men respectively.

Throughout Attraction, you feel all wonderful and love-stricken! You can’t think of anything other than that special somebody. There are three main neurotransmitters that are involved in this stage, with each type acting within a specific pathway in the brain. These neurotransmitters are: Adrenaline (Epinephrine), Dopamine, and Serotonin.

Epinephrine is released during your body’s “stress response”, making your blood levels of adrenaline and cortisol increase. This means that even meeting with that somebody can make your heart race, as you also start to sweat. How lovely!

Dopamine is closely related to our brain’s “appetite system”, the system that is active whilst we are craving something. Dopamine stimulates “desire and reward”, and does this by triggering a rush of pleasure! This has a very similar affect to cocaine on the brain! Love is a drug!

Serotonin is an anti-depressant, and may also explain why, when falling in love, your love stays on your mind.

Finally, we have attachment! This is the tight bond that keeps couples together long enough for them to raise children. Yet again, we have chemicals to thank for this! These are: oxytocin and vasopressin.

Oxytocin, the cuddle hormone :), is a very powerful hormone released by men and women during orgasm, and is said to deepen the feelings of attachment between the couple, making them feel much closer to each other. As the theory goes, the more sex that the couple has, the deeper the connection they feel for one another. Sounds good to me! :) 

Vasopressin is an anti-diuretic hormone that works with your kidneys to control thirst. Although little is known about the affects of this hormone, when male prairie voles were given a drug that suppresses the effect of vasopressin, the bond with their partner fell apart immediately, as he then would fail to protect his partner.

So go out there! Bump into a complete stranger, tell them about yourself, and fall in love! :)

  • Jim: Who's that there?
  • Harvey: I don't know... Must be a king...
  • Jim: Why?
  • Harvey: He hasn't got shit all over him.
  • -----------------------
  • Ed: I am your king!
  • Selina: Well I didn't vote for you!
  • Ed: You don't vote for kings.
  • Selina: Well how'd you become king then?
  • [Angelic music plays...]
  • Ed: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering silmite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Edward, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king!
  • Butch interrupting: Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government! Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony!