Neury Thursday: Sleep and the Blood Brain Barrier, with some hesitation

The blood brain barrier (aka, BBB) can be a royal pain in the arse for pharmacologists and pharmaceutical companies. The ultimate goal of the neuro division of big pharm is to design drugs that can be taken orally and yet still cross the BBB with little issues. Billions of dollars can be gained or lost […]

It’s still 1927, sometimes: Women in Science

What is unique about the picture taken in 1927 at the Solvay Conference: a gathering of the elite physicists and chemists of the time?   There’s one lone female. In 1927, that was impressive, but if you look a many group photos from university departments in science, math, and engineering today, there is likely to […]

Vampire Diaries: Tales of Sleep

Blood is making a comeback in neuroscience and psychology research. Centuries ago, Galen thought that personality and behavior were governed by the four “humors” with blood being one of them. A few months ago, blood gained some credibility in neuroscience when a study published in Nature found that the donation of blood collected from a […]

History of Sleep by the Father of Sleep, Himself

Last week, my undergraduate advisor, Dr. Mary Carskadon, who could arguably be called the “mother of sleep” given her long-standing contributions as a female scientist, sent me the following article. The article is about the life’s work of William C. Dement who many regard as the “father of sleep medicine.” I won’t spoil the contents […]

For Sleep but Sleepless in Lake Arrowhead, California

For the past week, I have been residing in high altitude at the UCLA-owned resort of Lake Arrowhead, California in the San Bernardino Forest (and mountains) near LA. I was attending a scientific and professional development workshop devoted to sleep research, grantsmanship, responsible conduct of research, and networking. The theme of the workshop was “translational […]

A non-invasive system to replace EEG/EMG recording of sleep

This week, we resumed our biweekly journal club in sleep and circadian rhythms for the year. I presented a paper published last week in the journal Sleep. It was more of a methods papers, but still important because non-invasive tools for measuring sleep have become best-sellers: FitBit, Zeo, and other Nike/iPod-based physical activity software. This […]

Galen may have been (partly) right.

You may recall learning bits and pieces of ancient psychiatric history in some physiology or psychology course. I am referring to the four temperaments proposed by Galen who believed that four bodily fluids were uniquely responsible for some aspect of human behavior: blood, bile, black bile, and phlegm. After Galen, the medical and psychiatric community […]

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 […]

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