(Image caption: This colorful graph shows a peak of abnormal epileptic brain activity in a brain’s hippocampus in which an inhibitory protein called InSyn1 has been depleted. To test whether this protein was indeed applying ‘brakes’ to brain activity, Duke researchers depleted it in individual neurons, causing surrounding brain tissue to become overexcited. Credit: Akiyoshi Uezu, Dan Kanak and Scott Soderling)

Brain connections are more sophisticated than thought

In 1959, a scientist named Edward Gray showed that the miniscule gaps between neurons where chemical messages are sent, called synapses, come in two main varieties, which researchers later dubbed “excitatory” and “inhibitory.”

Inhibitory synapses act as the brakes in the brain, preventing it from becoming overexcited. Researchers thought they were less sophisticated than their excitatory counterparts because relatively few proteins were known to exist at these structures. But a new study by Duke University scientists, published Sept. 9 in Science, overturns that assumption, uncovering 140 proteins that have never been mapped to inhibitory synapses.

“It’s like these proteins were locked away in a safe for over 50 years, and we believe that our study has cracked open the safe,” said the study’s senior investigator Scott Soderling, an associate professor of cell biology and neurobiology at Duke. “And there’s a lot of gems.”

In particular, 27 of these proteins have already been implicated by genome-wide association studies as having a role in autism, intellectual disability and epilepsy, Soderling said, suggesting that their mechanisms at the synapse could provide new avenues to the understanding and treatment of these disorders.

Synapses are common targets of drugs used to treat brain diseases, but they are also changed by drugs of abuse. About 40 proteins were already known to cluster on the inhibitory synapses, which are important not only for preventing overexcitement, which can trigger seizures, but also sculpting patterns of brain signals.

“The inhibitory synapse is just as important as the excitatory synapse, but we didn’t have a good way of purifying the proteins that were there, so we didn’t understand how it worked,” Soderling said.

In the new study, postdoctoral researcher Akiyoshi Uezu in Soderling’s group used a relatively recent labeling technique called BioID, which uses a bacterial enzyme to fish for any nearby proteins and bind to them irreversibly inside a living mouse. The captured proteins are then recovered from the tissue and identified using established methods for characterizing proteins.

The afternoon Soderling and Uezu realized the technique was pulling new proteins from the inhibitory synapse “we both almost fell out of our chairs,” Soderling said. “We saw this huge list of these really exciting proteins that no one had ever seen before.”

Two of the proteins had no known function, and unlike other proteins, their gene sequences provided no clues. The researchers dubbed those Inhibitory Synapse 1 (InSyn1) and Inhibitory Synapse 2 (InSyn2). Depleting InSyn1 levels in individual neurons caused surrounding brain tissue to become overexcited, suggesting that the protein is crucial for the normal function of inhibitory synapses.

Most exciting to Soderling was that previous genetics studies had shown several of the proteins cause an inherited form of epilepsy. The specific role of the proteins was unknown, however.

“Finding them at the inhibitory synapse really gives us important insights,” Soderling said. “The hypothesis now is that these mutations are impairing the ability of neurons to inhibit activity. That’s something that we’re actively studying.”

In addition, neurons have other structures with incomplete parts lists of proteins. Soderling’s team is collaborating with other researchers who are interested in probing these other spots using BioID, which had been originally developed for cells in the petri dish. Soderling will post a protocol on his lab’s webpage so that others can learn how to implement this method in mice.

Lastly, the team plans to explore the role of inhibitory synapses in the formation of long-term memory, which is enabled by synapses changing the strength of their connections over time. How inhibitory connections operate in memory is much less understood than in excitatory synapses, Soderling said.

Story time

So alcohol really doesn’t cause seizures for me, unless paired with pot for some reason. I can have a few glasses of wine; or a couple beers; or even partake in the occasional drinking game with friends and get “smashed” - all for the comfort of knowing that I will not seize. For this, I am grateful. Not that I’m a particularly big drinker, myself, but I do enjoy a good bottle of wine (or two), and I have a soft spot for a craft beers, or the occasional sake - so knowing that it won’t give me a seizure, is a tremendous comfort to me.

I was having dinner with my family this evening. I had half a glass of wine (my “limit” before adieuing sobriety is around 3 glasses).

I suddenly started to slur my speech. My fine motor skills started to go. Mentally I was still with it-just enough to be humiliated and anxiously think “Omg! Everyone’s going to think I’m drunk!”

I may have also broke a candelabra….

…. this was at a rather nice restaurant, I should add.

I bring this up, because I’m sure there are some of you out there, like myself, who get caught off guard by something like this. Perhaps you recently started a new medicine. Perhaps you’re new the whole epilepsy realm of complications. Or perhaps, you’re not new at all, and you can drink like a sailor, and yet, once in a blue moon, you feel like you’re out of commission after half a glass.
Annnnd if your also like me, you’ll not only be startled by this sensation of sudo-drunkenness, but you may also be embarrassed.

Don’t be. This is normal.

Yes, I myself, was completely embarrassed, but there was no reason to be. There are conflicting neurological chemicals at work in moments like these. Now idk about you, but I nearly flunked chemistry, and I am by no means a neurologist lol! So what more can one do than sit back, relax, pop some Advil, and DRINK THAT WATER!

It’s all good my friend. And remember, you’re not the first person this has happened to. You won’t be the last. Lol.

so for some ungodly reason tumblr staff decided it’d be a good idea to allow flashy gifs or incredibly bright images to be a background for the login screen. a lot of people i know are photosensitive and prone to headaches or other, worse things that can be caused by this. so naturally i wrote a small script to disable those completely. hopefully permanently.

you can find it here. you’ll need the browser extension/addon stylish for it to work, which you should be able to get from the website itself if i remember correctly. hope it helps someone o7

PSA FOR EVERYONE

If you have epilepsy, seizures, or anything that can be caused by excessive light use, DO NOT WATCH STRANGER THINGS ON NETFLIX. It has a lot of flashing lights, strobe lights, and can cause episodes. Idc if you reblog this or not, but if you know someone that this can possibly happen to, let them know. It already happened to a friend of mine while she was watching it. 

*small edit: it’s a great show, so if you can watch it you should! If you’re photosensitive, please just be careful. It won’t happen to everyone.

EPILEPSY WARNING FOR HUNGER GAMES

During the evacuation in District 13, when everyone is decending the stairs, there is a very strong flashing blue light.

Please be aware of this if you’re seeing the movie and your epilepsy could be triggered by this.

The flashing ends once the 3 characters are through the doors (sorry, trying not to spoil too much as well).

Please reblog to spread the word.

Do you have epilepsy and can't have gifs on your dash?

There’s are several ways to turn off all gifs on your dashboard.

  1. If you have XKit, you can download the “Disable Gifs” extension.
  2. If you want to (permanently) disable any gifs on the web, follow this handy guide (works for Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera).
  3. There is a Chrome extension that pauses all gifs until you click to start them.

Know more / other ways? Please share!

As a person with severe and very frequent seizures, I am constantly in fear of other people’s lack of knowledge about my condition. There are a lot of epilepsy myths and whenever someone has a seizure, there is ALWAYS some self important douche that insists he/she knows what she is doing because they took a semester of nursing school in 1976. I have had seizures in public places many times (my seizures are almost daily) and I have had people try to stick dirty spoons in my mouth, their wallets, rolled up cloth napkins and all sorts of gross and dangerous things. I have had people start praying because they think I am possessed by the devil (seriously), and I have had people put me in their car and drive me to their home (which is terrifying, and sort of kidnap). 

One of the worst parts about having epilepsy in my opinion is having to trust other people, usually strangers, not just because I don’t trust strangers but also because I don’t feel ok about putting a responsibility in their hands that they did not sign on for. Because my seizures are almost daily, I am almost always accompanied by my husband or a friend or assistant who knows how to deal with my condition and has agreed to do so, but I can’t be watched 24 hours a day.

This evening, I went shopping with a friend who is a bit shy and not very assertive. (She is lovely, I adore her, but she is not used to people’s reactions when I have a seizure. She did not know that there is always that one self important douche in every crowd.) I had a seizure. Of course, that one self important douche was there - a man in his late 50’s who insisted on putting something in my mouth; in this case his wallet which had a metal closure and frame that covered most of it. My friend repeatedly asked him to stop and he did not. Unfortunately, my friend was not very assertive (not her fault, she is just sweet and shy) and the guy  pushed her out of the way and took over, even as she explained that you’re not supposed to do that with epileptics. He insisted that in the army in the 70’s, that’s the way it was done. My friend argued that this was not the army, nor the 70’s, but he would not listen and she kind of froze up.

The result is that I now have seven stitches in the side of my left cheek and a chipped front tooth, both caused by the man’s metal wallet cutting my face open. 

Please, if you know someone with a seizure disorder, take a few minutes to learn how to deal with a seizure. It isn’t complicated and your knowing and being ready and ok with helping will relieve a lot of fear. Please take the time to pass this on, as it could save someone’s life, or at least their face.

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Please click on them - Tumblr’s resizing is KILLING me right now. Click here to see the high quality version.

Obviously, this series means a great deal to me, and I needed to pay my respects with horrifying fanart.
oldsidelinghill: Thank you (and the rest of your fantastic production crew) so, so much for creating this series - I can only hope that someday, I’ll be able to produce or work on something as gut-wrenchingly beautiful as Over the Garden Wall. ;v;

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One Punch Man S1 mid-episode sequences 1-12