Long-term cognitive dysfunction in the rat following docetaxel treatment is ameliorated by the phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor, rolipram.

Incidence of commonly experienced non-haematol...

Incidence of commonly experienced non-haematological adverse effects reported for treatment with docetaxel. Data from 40 phase II and phase III studies (n=2045) with patients undergoing a one-hour infusion of 100 mg/m 2 docetaxel once every three weeks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Long-term cognitive dysfunction in the rat following docetaxel treatment is ameliorated by the phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor, rolipram.

Our latest paper [download] focuses on chemobrain – the mental fog or fuzziness that can accompany and follow chemotherapy.

Behav Brain Res. 2015 May 1;290:84-89. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.04.044. [Epub ahead of print]

Callaghan CK, O’Mara SM.

Clinical studies report evidence of long-term cognitive and other deficits following adjunctive chemotherapy treatment, which is often termed “chemobrain” or “chemo-fog“. The neurological bases of these impairments are poorly understood. Here, we hypothesize that systemic chemotherapy treatment causes long-term neurobehavioral deficits, and that these deficits are reversed by manipulation of cAMP by the PDE4 inhibitor, rolipram. Male han Wistar rats were treated with docetaxel (an adjunctive chemotherapeutic agent (1mg/kg i.v.)) or control solution (ethanol/Tween 20/0.9% Saline – 5/5/90) once per week for 4 weeks. They were allowed to recover for 4 weeks, administration of rolipram (0.5mg/kg po) or vehicle (maple syrup) then began and continued daily for 4 weeks. At the end of the treatment regime animals were tested for spatial and recognition memory deficits with the object exploration task and for depressive- and anxiety-like behavior in the forced swim test (FST) and open field exploration. We report docetaxel treatment impaired spatial memory but not object recognition memory, compared to control rats. Docetaxel-treated rats also spent significantly more time immobile than controls in the FST. Chronic rolipram treatment attenuated all of these docetaxel-associated changes, recovering spatial memory and reducing immobility. In conclusion, docetaxel-treated rats exhibit alterations in spatial memory and depressive-like behavior, which are reversed following chronic rolipram administration. These results detect long-term cognitive and mood changes following docetaxel treatment and identify PDE4 inhibition as a target treatment of neuropsychological changes associated with “chemobrain”.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:
Chemobrain; Chemotherapy; Cognition; Docetaxel; Mood; cAMP

[PS: My book Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation’ (Harvard UP) which also deals with, among other things, interrogating the memory systems of the brain under duress, can be preordered from Amazon (.com)]

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The Connected Hippocampus, 1st Edition, Preface and Table of Contents: O’Mara & Tsanov (ISBN-13: 978-0444635495)

The Connected Hippocampus: Preface

Available here (Elsevier) and here (Amazon).

The hippocampus is an intriguing and anatomically remarkable structure: it is possessed of a remarkable curvilinear appearance in coronal section, and it is easy to spot in anatomical section with the naked eye in just about any mammalian species. A special and important function has been ascribed to it as a result of the pioneering work of John O’Keefe (Nobel Laureate, 2014), who described the remarkable ‘place cells’, which fire as a function of the location of the rat in the environment. Two other important discoveries also give it great importance: long-term potentiation, and amnesia. Long-term potentiation, the demonstration that synapses are plastic, was first described in the hippocampus by Tim Bliss and Terje Lomo. The famous amnestic patient, HM, had a more-or-less complete surgical ablation of the hippocampus. Correspondingly, the hippocampus has been implicated in many important neurocognitive functions, with a particular latter-day emphasis on its role in spatial and cognitive mapping, and in declarative (or explicit) memory. A substantial body of data suggests that the hippocampal formation plays a critical role in the biological processes underlying at least some forms of memory. Sometimes, however, it feels when reading the many, many papers published annually on the hippocampus that it sits apart from the brain, with its functions analysed in a narrow hippocampo-centric framework – as if the purpose of the rest of the brain is to serve the information processing needs of the hippocampus! This point is made a little facetiously and exaggeratedly, of course. Nonetheless, we felt the need to assuage these feelings by assembling this volume to encourage researchers to situate the hippocampus as part of a network connected to the rest of the brain and not to consider it in isolation.

We therefore present a selection of chapters that concentrate on understanding the functions of the hippocampus in terms of the connectivity of the hippocampus itself: in other words, in terms of its cortical and subcortical inputs and outputs. To take just one important illustrative example: the anterior thalamic and rostral thalamic nuclei are abundantly connected with the hippocampal formation, and have the capacity to profoundly shape hippocampal spatial and mnemonic information processing, a key point sometimes be overlooked in analyses favouring of hippocampally-directed cortical processing. We also know that damage to the anterior thalamus results in episodic memory impairment more-or-less similarly severe as that resulting from hippocampal lesions; this may be a function of lost thalamo-hippocampal information transfer. However, the textbooks and the primary literature often heavily emphasise the lessons from patients with hippocampal damage, while neglecting the similarly instructive patients with thalamic damage who also suffer amnesia. The complexity of thalamic signals and their contribution to the encoding of experience-dependent memory traces in hippocampal formation needs further investigation, as signal processing in the hippocampal formation does not always follow a corticofugal route, but is also affected profoundly by thalamofugal signals. We should conclude that memory is not a specialized property of a limited set of cortical areas; rather, all areas of the cortex as well as several subcortical structures are capable of experience-dependent change over a wide range of time scales. We therefore hope that we will correct the common misconception that the hippocampus is a closed system, self-sufficiently responsible for the declarative memory formation.

We here would like to thank all the authors of the chapters presented in this volume – there is a considerable body of work to savour here, and the pleasant feeling of having one’s pet prejudices tested and changed a little to be enjoyed.

Shane O’Mara and Marian Tsanov, Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College, Dublin

Table of Contents

  1. Michael E. Hasselmo: If I had a Million Neurons: Potential Tests of Cortico-Hippocampal Theories
  2. Edmund T. Rolls: Diluted Connectivity in Pattern Association Networks Facilitates the Recall of Information from the Hippocampus to the Neocortex
  3. Maureen Ritchey, Laura A. Libby and Charan Ranganath: Cortico-hippocampal Systems Involved in Memory and Cognition: The PMAT Framework
  4. John P. Aggleton and Kat Christiansen: The Subiculum: the Heart of the Extended Hippocampal System
  5. Julie R. Dumont and Jeffrey S. Taube: The Neural Correlates of Navigation Beyond the Hippocampus
  6. Marian Tsanov: Septo-hippocampal Signal Processing: Breaking the Code
  7. Robert P. Vertes: Major Diencephalic Inputs to the Hippocampus: Supramammillary Nucleus and Nucleus Reuniens. Circuitry and Function
  8. Jean-Christophe Cassel and Anne Pereira de Vasconcelos: Importance of the Ventral Midline Thalamus in Driving Hippocampal Functions
  9. Seralynne D. Vann and Andrew J. D. Nelson: The Mammillary Bodies and Memory: More than a Hippocampal Relay
  10. Emilie Werlen and Matthew W. Jones: Modulating the Map: Dopaminergic Tuning of Hippocampal Spatial Coding and Interactions
  11. Sheri J. Y. Mizumori and Valerie L. Tryon: Integrative Hippocampal and Decision-making Neurocircuitry During Goal-relevant Predictions and Encoding

[PS: My book Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation’ (Harvard UP) which also deals with, among other things, interrogating the memory systems of the brain under duress, can be preordered from Amazon (.com)]

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TRAUMA – SCIENCE GALLERY DUBLIN – OPEN CALL DETAILS

TRAUMA SCIENCE GALLERY DUBLIN

Open for submissions from 11th May 09:00 to 4th June 16:00
Season dates: 20th November to 21st February

TRAUMA is an international, open-call exhibition and events programme at Science Gallery Dublin that will explore biological, psychological, societal, and cultural trauma.

A sudden, violent, stressful and disturbing event, often a physical injury, trauma can be short-lived or long-lasting with impacts that range from deeply personal to universal. Artistic reflections on TRAUMA are amongst the oldest human creations, yet they examine the same topic as cutting-edge neuroscience. At this fuzzy boundary between brain and body, pain and survival, memory and self, individual and collective, TRAUMA comes in many forms.

How does trauma affect the brain, the body, the national psyche, or all three? How do buildings and artworks record the traumas of our past? How do we bounce back after a trauma, and how is our understanding of trauma’s effects changing?

We’re looking for artists, scientists, doctors and designers to propose exhibits, artworks, and projects that connect with the emotional upheaval of trauma on a physical, biological and psychological level.

TRAUMA will also coincide with the centenary commemorations of the 1916 Easter rising, and raise questions about how society as a whole experiences trauma, how cities can show scars, and how social fabric can fray, tear, and ultimately be reinvented. At a unique time of commemoration, TRAUMA will offer a deeper understanding of the way we — as organisms, individuals and even nations —  experience pain, loss, injury, and ultimately recovery

Topics we’re interested in:

  • Injuries, medical interventions and methods for healing the human body
  • Conflict, PTSD and the psychological affects of war
  • Military conflicts, civil war, peace and reconciliation
  • Predator threat, and the ‘fight or flight’ response
  • Torture and the ‘ticking time bomb’ justification
  • Empathy, prejudice and sympathy to other people’s trauma
  • Memorials, re-enactments and remembrance of historical trauma
  • Buildings, bullet holes and boarded-up windows
  • Cultural revolution trauma and transgenerational transfer
  • Sexual violence and recovery
  • Artificial empathy (do robots fall in love?), and the three laws of robotics
  • How we heal, both mentally and physically, from trauma
  • The traumatised brain
  • Prevention of, and protection from, trauma
  • Trigger warnings

What makes a good Science Gallery Dublin open call proposal?

We are especially looking for projects that match Science Gallery Dublin’s three core aims: to Connect, Participate, and Surprise. Some tips for strong proposals:

  • We love works that invite the visitor to participate, create and discuss
  • Great projects bring together art and science in a creative way. We generally avoid paintings about science or science that is evaluating art.
  • Relevance to our core audience of 15-25 year olds is a factor in curatorial decisions.
  • Defying categories is good (“it’s kind of a hybrid sculpture, event, installation-puzzle, with a crowdsourced edible citizen-science archive, plus a performance component that will influence our design for a speculative organism…”)
  • Works can be playful or serious — most themes have room for both
  • 2D is nice, but 3D is usually nicer.  We don’t have a lot of wall space for screens, prints and the like, so we often opt for the actual object instead of just a picture of it
  • A true connection to the theme is a must — avoid shoehorning an unrelated work
  • Collaborations are great! Are you a cryptographer working with a cellist? Maybe you’re a comic book illustrator artist thinking of submitting a proposal with an immunologist? If you’re a marine geologist looking for a cheesemonger to work with, we might know just the person — just get in touch!

Budget

We are looking for up to 25 works for the TRAUMA exhibition. TRAUMA proposals will be funded up to a maximum budget of €3000 (please note this is a maximum, not a target). Two outstanding original works may be commissioned with a higher budget of up to €8000. Please note that these are maximum amounts, not targets. We are happy to write letters of support for applicants seeking funding from elsewhere.​

Confirmed Curators

  • Shane O’Mara, Professor of Experimental Brain Research at Trinity College Dublin
  • Caitriona Leahy, Assistant Professor of German at Trinity College Dublin
  • Daniel Glaser, Director of Science Gallery London at King’s College London
  • Ian Brunswick, Interim Director of Science Gallery Dublin at Trinity College Dublin

[PS: My book Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation’ (Harvard UP) can be preordered from Amazon (.com) – more details at end of post]

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TCIN is organising a MRI/fMRI Theory & Practical Course from Monday, 8 June 2015 at 14:00 to Thursday, 11 June 2015 at 18:30

Axial MRI slice at the level of the basal gang...

Axial MRI slice at the level of the basal ganglia, showing fMRI BOLD signal changes overlayed in red (increase) and blue (decrease) tones. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We would like to let you know that TCIN is organising a MRI/fMRI Theory & Practical Course from Monday, 8 June 2015 at 14:00 to Thursday, 11 June 2015 at 18:30. The course will be held in the Lloyd Building, theatre LB11.

This course will bring researchers together to provide basic knowledge about brain  neuroimaging. At the end of the lectures and practical workshops they will be able to carry  out basic imaging analyses and will have an idea, which advanced methods they would  need to further learn for their specific research area.

The course will have the style of a summer School and will be  interactive with practical lab based parts in order to learn pre-processing steps and  statistical analyses on sample data sets. It will further be complemented with  presentations  by experienced researchers in the field. A basic knowledge of statistics and  computer literacy is assumed in advance of taking this course. This course is part of the training offered within the EU FP7 Marie Curie Initial Training Networks: Brain Imaging Return to Health (Rebirth) http://www.rbirth.eu

The course has been awarded with 23.75 CPD credits by RCSI Faculty of Radiologists

If you feel this course might be of interest to anyone else, we’d be grateful if you could let them know.

Further details including registration are available here: http://www.eventbrite.ie/e/mrifmri-theory-practical-course-tickets-13159752173

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Would a younger president be more productive?

Originally posted on Fusion:

No one wants to be ageist. But given the almost quarter-century age gap between presidential contenders Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton, it’s impossible not to consider the role of age in performing one of the most difficult jobs in the world.

If Rubio, 43, gets elected president next year, the Florida senator will be among the youngest to ever hold the office—and if Clinton, 67, gets the nod, she’ll be among the oldest. But who has the advantage? Does youthful energy trump experience, or the other way around?

According to productivity experts, Ms. Clinton has the edge. Sorry, youngs.

Older workers make fewer serious mistakes

Alex Wong/Getty Images Alex Wong/Getty Images

True, older workers are often considered by prospective employers as curmudgeonly, unwilling to embrace new ideas, and expensive—but studies have shown they’re a wise investment. For example, researchers from the University of Mannheim found that in a study of Mercedes assembly line workers, older…

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‘Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation’ can be preordered

‘Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation’ can now be preordered from:

Amazon (.com)

Amazon (.co.uk)

Harvard University Press

Torture is banned because it is cruel and inhumane. But as Shane O’Mara writes in this account of the human brain under stress, torture should never be condoned because it does not work the way torturers assume it does.

In countless films and TV shows such as Homeland and 24, torture is portrayed as a harsh necessity. If cruelty can extract secrets that will save lives, so be it. CIA officers and others conducted torture using precisely this justification. But does torture accomplish what its defenders say it does? For ethical reasons, there are no scientific studies of torture. But neuroscientists know a lot about how the brain reacts to fear, extreme heat and cold, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, and immersion in freezing water, all tools of thetorturer’s trade. These stressors create profound problems for memory, mood, and thinking, and sufferers predictably produce information that is deeply unreliable—and, for intelligence purposes, even counter-productive. As O’Mara guides us through the neuroscience of suffering, he reveals the brain to be much more complex than the brute calculations of torturers have allowed, and he points the way to a humane approach to interrogation, founded in the science of brain and behavior.

Torture may be effective in forcing confessions, as in Stalin’s Russia. But if we want information that we can depend on to save lives, O’Mara writes, our model should be Napoleon: “It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile.”

Bio

Shane O’Mara is Professor of Experimental Brain Research at Trinity College, Dublin, and Director of the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience.

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I have an ISBN! 9780674743908 (preorder details for: Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation)

My forthcoming book (Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation, Harvard University Press, November 2015) now has an ISBN (9780674743908) and the book is starting to appear on searches in prepublication (see this) format. It even has a page on Amazon’s Japanese site! It is also available to pre-order via Amazon UK and Amazon USA.

Amazon (.com)

Amazon (.co.uk)

Harvard University Press

Blurb:

Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation

Shane O’Mara

Torture is banned because it is cruel and inhumane. But as Shane O’Mara writes in this account of the human brain under stress, torture should never be condoned because it does not work the way torturers assume it does.

In countless films and TV shows such as Homeland and 24, torture is portrayed as a harsh necessity. If cruelty can extract secrets that will save lives, so be it. CIA officers and others conducted torture using precisely this justification. But does torture accomplish what its defenders say it does? For ethical reasons, there are no scientific studies of torture. But neuroscientists know a lot about how the brain reacts to fear, extreme heat and cold, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, and immersion in freezing water, all tools of the torturer’s trade. These stressors create profound problems for memory, mood, and thinking, and sufferers predictably produce information that is deeply unreliable—and, for intelligence purposes, even counter-productive. As O’Mara guides us through the neuroscience of suffering, he reveals the brain to be much more complex than the brute calculations of torturers have allowed, and he points the way to a humane approach to interrogation, founded in the science of brain and behavior.

Torture may be effective in forcing confessions, as in Stalin’s Russia. But if we want information that we can depend on to save lives, O’Mara writes, our model should be Napoleon: “It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile.”

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