Characterizing Sleep-Wake States in a Cat

For those of you not schooled in the history of sleep, the use of a cat as an animal model of sleep may seem novel. However, the cat was used as an animal model of sleep decades before rats, mice, hamsters, monkeys, and other non-human mammals. In fact, one of the first studies to identify […]

Highlights from the Gordon Conference on Sleep Regulation

I have been idle the past week because I have been in Galveston, TX for a secret society meeting of sleep researchers. It wasn’t really secret, but it was an invite only conference limited to less than 200 participants worldwide. The focus of the meeting was the neural mechanisms of sleep, namely those studied in […]

Life sucks without Bmal1

The clock gene Bmal1 should ring a bell to my regular readers. Obviously, the qualifier “clock gene” indicates that Bmal1 is part of the molecular feedback loop that drives biological rhythms. Bmal1 also happens to be a priori in this molecular feedback loop because its transcription in the nucleus and translocation to the cytoplasm to […]

Neury Thursday: Genotypic Insights on Dopamine, Modafinil, and Sleep

This seems like a no brainer. Dopamine is an arousal-promoting neurotransmitter (in most cases). It excites other nerve cells, and is the primary neurotransmitter of the central reward circuit. Dopamine agonists like modafinil have saturated the pharma market for years in order to combat daytime sleepiness and shift work. Nowadays, the focus has shifted to […]

Plant Neurobiology. Yay or Nay?

Very recently, I read an article written by Michael Pollan in The New Yorker  about a bizarre new sector of neuroscience: plant “neurobiology.” I put neurobiology in quotations because plant neurobiology turns out to be a bunch of snake oil, woo science, or whatever your term is for bullshit. The exciting new science of plant […]

5 Years of Dormivigilia

Five years ago, a few graduate students in the biology department and I decided that we wanted to become better science writers, professionally and publicly. Around the same time, the three of us also happened to co-found a campus group called The Kent State Freethinkers to provide a social and educational outlet for skeptics and atheists […]

Best of Dormivigilia in 2013

This year was incredible–scientifically, athletically, and personally. I had a lot of firsts that will, in some cases, likely never be seconds. I got both NIH grants that I first applied for in 2012 and then re-applied for in 2013; an F32 to investigate skeletal muscle regulation of sleep and metabolic processes and a loan […]

How Not to Write an Original Research Paper

Usually when I highlight a recent paper that I have read, I give the researchers the benefit of the doubt and refrain from commenting or criticizing poor organization and data presentation. I don’t like to be “that asshole” because we know that science has plenty of cantankerous and persnickety reviewers and researchers. However, when I […]

Sleep drugs: are we there yet?

Every time I attend the annual sleep meeting, there’s a disconnect between pharmaceutical research presented in the poster hall versus the exhibit hall; the former hall often showcases negative side effects and behaviors like sleep driving, sleep eating, sleep gambling, sleep shopping, and sleep sex-ing (ie. people taking sleep meds initiate sex with their partners […]

Rethinking the Nucleus Accumbens: Regulating Sleep

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you realize that most of my addiction-related posts focus on the nucleus accumbens, which makes up most of the lower forebrain. The nucleus accumbens is one of two major components of the mesolimbic reward circuit. When it’s manipulated pharmacologically or ablated, an animals’ drug-seeking and consumption […]

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