Endocrine cells in the brain influence the optimization of behavior
A person exposed to stress can usually rapidly adapt
the own behavior to the specific situation. Biochemical messenger
substances in the brain or so-called neurotransmitters play a central
role in this rapid transformation process. We know that hormones also
have a stress-regulating function, but that their effects are more
slowly apparent. However, recent findings reported by the team under
Professor Soojin Ryu, leading researcher at the German Resilience Center
of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in Germany, indicate that
this may not actually be the case. Using a combination of genetic and
optical techniques, the research team has been able to demonstrate that
corticotrophs, the cell populations that stimulate the adrenal cortex
and produce the stress hormones of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal
axis, can rapidly influence avoidance behavior immediately after the
onset of a stress situation. This insight may contribute to the
development of effective treatments that can facilitate the management
of acute stress-induced reactions or might even be able to alleviate
acute stress-related conditions. The findings have recently been
published in the eminent journal Nature Communications.
The human body is controlled by two well-orchestrated
systems, i.e., the hormonal system and the nervous system. The
hypothalamus located in the middle of the basis of the brain has a key
role here providing the link between the body and the other regions of
the brain as well as directly and indirectly controlling a series of
essential physiological vegetative functions. In addition, it is the
most important control organ of the human endocrine system (hormonal
system), because it regulates when and how much of a hormone is
produced. Both the hypothalamus and its production of hormone are also
subject to the influences of emotional stress. The pituitary gland or
hypophysis is connected to the hypothalamus and together they form a
single functional unit called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)
Hormones secreted by the hypothalamus include the
so-called releasing hormones, such as the corticotropin-releasing
hormone (CRH). This stimulates the production of the adrenocorticotropic
hormone (ACTCH) in the pituitary gland. ACTH is a hormone secreted by
the anterior lobe of the pituitary and it regulates the production of
other hormones, such as the stress hormone cortisol (hydrocortisone).
It can be basically assumed that the neurotransmitters
of the central nervous system rapidly determine whether fight or flight
behavior is to develop in a given situation. To date, medical science
has conjectured that the stress-regulating effects of the hormones of
the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis come into play far more
slowly. Stress researchers found it very problematic to establish the
concrete role of the HPA axis in the rapid adaptation of behavior in a
stress situation in more detail in standard animal models. This is
because the location of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in mammals
makes them difficult to access. To overcome these obstacles, Professor
Soojin Ryu’s work group at the German Resilience Center at Johannes
Gutenberg University Mainz decided to create an innovative optogenetic
research technique. They managed to develop a genetically modified
zebrafish larva in which they were able to manipulate the activity of
the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis using light and thus observe the
resultant changes to the reactions of the modified cells.
Two original concepts have been brought together in
the new technique of Professor Soojin Ryu’s group: On the one hand, it
employs optogenetic methods, i.e., a combination of optical and genetic
techniques. This makes it possible to precisely control, in a targeted
and extremely rapid manner, the functional reactions of genetically
modified cells. The process first involves the modification of
light-sensitive proteins using genetic techniques. These are then
introduced into specific target cells or tissues. The functioning of
these proteins can then be regulated using light and the reaction of the
modified cells can be controlled. In addition, Ryu’s approach also
pioneers the use of a new animal model in stress research, here the
zebrafish. The advantage of the zebrafish, especially the transparent
larvae of these small tropical fish of the group of teleosts, is that
their development in the embryonic phase is similar to that in humans.
They also mature very rapidly and are thus ideal for the purposes of
genetic research. Moreover, the transparency of the larvae makes it easy
to observe the tissue sections of their bodies.
The researchers at the German Resilience Center in
Mainz introduced a synthetic enzyme into their animal model that
elevates the levels of the intracellular messenger substance cyclic
adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) only in the corticotropic cells of the
HPA axis. Their elevation is important for the release of hormones in
the corticotropic cells of the anterior pituitary. The levels of the
resulting so-called transgenetic animal stress hormones can be increased
by means of exposure to light. This means the researchers can thus
observe the accompanying changes to behavior.
The newly published research results of Professor
Soojin Ryu and her team at the German Resilience Center show that the
corticotropic cells in the pituitary become directly active on the onset
of a stress situation that is perceived as distressing. These then
influence both locomotion and avoidance behavior as well as the
sensitivity to the stimulus. The researchers interpret this as evidence
that the corticotropic cells in the pituitary play a significant role in
the rapid adaptation of behavior to local environments perceived as
(1) I’m not quite sure how long this gets but I’m trying to make it short: in my fictional world there are four countries. All are supposed to be monarchies. The first is absolute with an emperor/empress ruling, supported by his/her vassals as advisers. /This may sound dull, but it is actually really fleshed out as it is where my MC comes from. The second one is a nomad country: families send people to councils who send people to tribes who send people to the Racha (king) so everyone will be
(2) less) satisfied. The other two… well I ran out of ideas. I would like one country more religion centred and be based off Celtics – but I don’t know anything about their politics. And another one focused on economy. But how do I do this? Any help? If you’ve got any other suggestions how to build an interesting monarchy (constitutional/absolute) I’ll be glad to hear about them.
To begin with, there are six Celtic nations: Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany and the Isle of Man. One is an independent nation, one is part of France, and the other four are part of the UK -that means they have quite a variation in their political systems.
However, allow me to take a few liberties with this. When you say ‘religion-centred and based off the Celts’, I’m going to assume that you mean something based off the popular cultural idea of Druids (though do come back and correct me if I’m wrong). If I combine this with the fact that you want all of your countries to be monarchies, I’m going to suggest a theocracy.
A theocracy is a nation where all authority is divined from God or another religious figure, and are often ruled by a sole monarch-style figure. This can be seen in Iran, which is technically a theocratic republic, but is headed by the Ayatollah, a scholar of Islamic law who had wide-ranging powers across the state and is more powerful than Iran’s elected President. Simplifying and modifying this concept, you could have a nation wherein all power is divined from a god/dess figure or perhaps nature itself, with courts that run along laws/holy rules that have been ‘handed down’ by the divine figure. Your monarch figure could come in the form of a supreme religious ruler, who makes all the important decisions as an absolute monarch would and is both backed up by and chosen by the priesthood of the dominant religion.
Since all your countries are monarchies, I’m going to take another liberty is assuming we’re in the usual pseudo-Middle Ages fantasy time period here. As such, for you economy-based system, I’m going to suggest a Merchant Council. In a country where commerce and wealth are venerated, the wealthiest men and women (landowners, owners of big businesses, merchants etc.) could be the ones directly in charge of the country. Strict ledgers are kept on everyone’s wealth, and, say, the wealthiest three hundred people get to take seats in the House/Parliament, with the richest twelve or so forming the Merchant Council (the executive, or supreme ruling body). The Merchant Council could rule absolutely and merely consult with the larger body, or laws could be created by the larger body and passed/modified by the Merchant Council: really, it’s all up to you! If you need a monarch-style figure you could have the Merchant Council elect a supreme leader among themselves, or elect a Speaker of sorts to negotiate/deal with the other nations on their behalf. (Hint: as an economics student as well as a politics student, I really really love the idea of Merchant Councils and the like).
With regards to constitutional/absolute monarchies, this post may help. But on how to make an interesting monarchy? Here are some tips:
Think logically: how did this system arise? The US has a strong system of checks and balances because they wanted to prevent the autocratic rule found in Europe at the time. Likewise, a nation full of atheists isn’t going to want to live in a theocracy: it would take a religious populace or a hell of a lot of oppression for that to fly.
Think out of the box: I think you’ve largely got this covered with your four different systems, but they are all inherently still monarchies. So differentiate! Instead of four monarchs, you’ve got a more generic absolute Emperor/Empress system, a Racha perhaps beholden to the views of their people via the tribal election system, a religious figurehead and the Speaker of a Merchant Council. On this point I think you’re doing pretty dang well so far, but it’s always something to consider!
Think rivals: does the Emperor have a backstabbing, power-snatching little sibling? Is their another religious faction inside the theocracy that disagree with or hate the current ruler? A young upstart making their millions and trying to worm their way into the longstanding Merchant Council membership? There is always dissent within a state, and not everyone will agree with the system. And even when they do agree with the system, they might want to snatch power for themselves
Think people: finally, it’s often the people that make the system shine. A charismatic, popular leader can get a lot more done than someone widely loathed and/or with the personality of a damp dishrag. Maybe your Empress has a particularly clever adviser whose intellect sparkles like a rare jewel, or your Racha has a troublesome faction that they spend half their time trying to control. Whatever your political system, it really it the people in it that will bring it alive.
Hope that answers your questions! If you need any more help, feel free to come back for more!
Same request (AU where Catwoman replaces Batman as protector of Gotham), same original concept that requester asked to modify, totally different outcomes. I focus more on practicality than flashiness, I guess?
If you’ve been in the studyblrcommunity for very long you’ve probably heard of a style of planner called abullet journal. At its core it’s designed to be a catch-all for the varioustasks, appointments, thoughts, and lists you create as you go about your day,
allowing you to quickly jot down a note or to-do and be able to remember and
either complete or expand on it later–if you want to learn more, you can go to
the creator’s website, bulletjournal.com.
However, as with any system,
everyone has taken and modified it in their own way to fit their needs. I’ve
taken the basic concept and modified it to fit my needs as a student on a
quarter system, with work, classes, and extracurriculars to keep track of.
I use a Piccadilly essential
notebook for my bullet journal. It’s essentially a bargain Moleskine; it’s
about a third of the price, but likely about as durable. It also has better
paper, in my opinion. Mine’s a little run-down simply from being dropped and
thrown into my backpack over six months but it’s held together pretty well,
considering how much I use it. Mine also has graph paper, as I find it easier
to make my calendar pages and keep everything nicely lined up with all the
little squares. I also use post-it flags with mine to mark important pages:
purple is this quarter’s schedule and classes, blue is the current month, and
green is “project pages”, i.e. any lists or notes I’ll need to access
My index is on the first real
page of the bullet journal. Looking back I wish I’d skipped to the next page,
as this one is attached a little funny, but oh well. I mark down all my months,
quarters, and list/note pages in here. Even after seven months it’s not a very
long list as I tend to use my journal as more of a day-to-day planner than a book
of lists, so it’s mostly just months and quarters her
For each term of school I make a
quarter spread. Here I put down my weekly schedule for that quarter, including
classes, work, and clubs, as well as brief information on each of my classes.
You can see I had kind of a packed schedule this past quarter! For each class I
like to write down the professor’s name and what sort of assignments and tests
we’ll have; for example my scientific computing class (green) had only biweekly
quizzes and homework, while math (orange) had midterms, a final, and weekly
homework, which I noted. From this spread onwards everything is color-coded.
Work is always highlighted and sorority events and tasks are purple, and
anything super important, such as exams or deadlines, is red. Classes tend to
rotate between the same three or four colors (because I like them and chose
them to contrast against each other); for this quarter scientific computing was
green, mechanics of materials was blue, dinosaurs started out pink but went to
light blue (I got a new pen) and linear algebra was orange. Next quarter I’ll
use three of those same colors for my new classes
On to the monthly spread. I like
to do this sort of visual calendar instead of the one originally described for
the bullet journal, as I’m more of a visual person and this kind of calendar
helps me see amounts of time better. Once more things are color-coded, though I
tend to just use red, purple, and highlighter, as only larger events get put on
this calendar. I also like to put a diagonal line through completed days so I
can more easily track the passage of time (I just really like marking things
off, okay). The opposing page is the monthly overview; it tends to be pretty
short because most of my tasks and events are due/planned weekly. This is
really just for longer-running tasks, ones which don’t have to be done within a
short amount of time, and for making note of events past this month. The
original bullet journal system doesn’t really do too well in terms of planning past
the current month, so I’ve adapted it to have future events marked on the
monthly pages. Since I don’t really plan out further than about two months in
advance this works just fine.
This is my main change to the
original system: the weekly spread. Since my homework is due weekly and I have
very short terms of only about 10 weeks, I tend to think more in terms of weeks
than months; ergo I needed some sort of weekly to-do list. This list has
EVERYTHING due that current week, as well as things I should be thinking
about/working on for the next week, and events for the current and next weeks.
You can see my color coding system in action here, with important things marked
in red, and everything else marked in its appropriate color. You can also see
my symbols for different things. If a task has a couple of smaller subtasks
(like studying for my CEE exam) I’ll move those task boxes in one square so
they’re nested under that task. I also tend to write the shorthand of my
classes in front of each task as well as color coding them; it’s probably
overkill, but I started out doing that and just kind of stuck with it.
For most short-term lists I’ll
just use a post-it note or a page from a notepad, but for things I’ll need to
reference for a while or I want in a safer place, I’ll make a new page for them
in my notebook. I usually skip pages between weeks and months so I’ll often
just use one of those for the page instead of going ahead of my current week.
Here’s a couple examples of these kinds of pages.
A list of things I need to work
on as chair of my sorority’s social media committee. As you can tell I’ve been
a bit swamped with other stuff and unable to work on these much, heh. Note how
this is a mix of tasks and notes, sometimes with subnotes fleshing out a certain
A page of brainstorming for a job
interview last fall. I basically wrote down all sorts of examples of my various
strengths and successes, as well as tried to think of possible questions and
how I could answer them truthfully yet stressing my qualifications. I felt a
bit more prepared after doing this sort of brainstorming, as I was able to more
easily answer a question because I’d thought about examples beforehand. (For
those of you who are curious, I did get the job and have been happily working
it these past few months :) )
My study plan for finals during
winter quarter. I basically wrote down all sorts of tasks I wanted to do to
prepare myself and from that figured out what to do each day to use my time
most efficiently. After I took each final I would color in all the boxes for
that class, even if I hadn’t fully finished that task, and put a check next to
the name of the class. It was a nice way to see my progress. I’m happy to say I
did very well on all of my classes this quarter; only one was slightly lower
than expected, but for the most part I was very happy!
And that’s my bullet journal! Let
me know if you’d like more explanation/pictures of anything, or have questions!
I’d be happy to oblige. :)
Hey, I found your work while searching for DA:I fan art, and it's just beautiful. I know some artists don't want to give away all their tricks (which I totally understand), but I'm really interested in making my own DA:I inspired tarot art, and you seem to have nailed the texture/effects the official cards have. May I ask what tools or effects helped you bring your pieces to life? Thanks!
Sometimes it’s helpful to dissect the .psd file, so I’ll repost the one I used for the above piece.
You can see how many textures I’ve used, some that have come from photo stock, others have been made with a brush, but my favourites tend to be canvas textures since they give artwork a slightly more traditional look. You can see in the .psd file that I’ve basically dropped those textures over the top of the image, or parts of the image, set the layer mode to ‘overlay’ and tweaked the layer opacity sometimes to give more subtle effects.
The thing about the tarot cards is that they’re quite forgiving of art style because several different artists worked on them and some are just modified bits of concept art. Maybe look at some Gustav Klimt paintings, since I’m pretty sure the DAI artists took some of their inspiration from his work. Chalky brushes with a lot of texture work well, but you don’t need anything special. I think the primary thing to think about is the composition (lots of relatively simple profile and head-on views of characters) coupled with slightly abstract backgrounds with geometric shapes and straight lines. A lot of repeating motifs I’ve noticed are gold detailing, circles, triangles, dots and actual tarot symbols like cups and wands.
I hope that helps a bit, but if you have any more questions, feel free to ask.
The new Camaro Turbo AutoX concept combines the LTG 2.0L turbocharged engine with a performance suspension, brake system, air intake and exhaust system. It melds the Camaro’s excellent power-to-weight ratio with more agile handling that’s ideal for autocross enthusiasts.
The concept features the Chevrolet Performance suspension lowering kit, which includes stiffer springs and specifically tuned dampers and lowers the ride height up to 0.75 inch (20mm). It is matched with a concept “plus performance” handling kit including larger stabilizer bars and stiffer suspension links. A concept strut tower brace under the hood provides additional chassis stiffness. The whole system contributes to improved roll stiffness and quicker turn-in performance.