UHNW Blog

 
  • neurosciencestuff: Protein Linked to Cognitive Decline in Alzheimer’s Identified Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have demonstrated that a protein called caspase-2 is a key regulator of a signaling pathway that leads to cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease. The findings, made in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s, suggest that inhibiting this protein could prevent the neuronal damage and subsequent cognitive decline associated with the disease. The study was published this month in the online journal Nature Communications. One of the earliest events in Alzheimer’s is disruption of the brain’s synapses (the small gaps across which nerve impulses are passed), which can lead to neuronal death. Although what drives this process has not been clear, studies have indicated that caspace-2 might be involved, according to senior author Michael Shelanski, MD, PhD, the Delafield Professor of Pathology & Cell Biology, chair of the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, and co-director of the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain at CUMC. Several years ago, in tissue culture studies of mouse neurons, Dr. Shelanski found that caspace-2 plays a critical role in the death of neurons in the presence of amyloid beta, the protein that accumulates in the neurons of people with Alzheimer’s. Other researchers have shown that caspase-2 also contributes to the maintenance of normal synaptic functions. Dr. Shelanski and his team hypothesized that aberrant activation of caspase-2 may cause synaptic changes in Alzheimer’s disease. To test this hypothesis, the researchers crossed J20 transgenic mice (a common mouse model of Alzheimer’s) with caspase-2 null mice (mice that lack caspase-2). They compared the animals’ ability to negotiate a radial-arm water maze, a standard test of cognitive ability, with that of regular J20 mice and of normal mice at 4, 9, and 14 months of age. The results for the three groups of mice were similar at the first two intervals. At 14 months, however, the J20/caspase-2 null mice did significantly better in the water maze test than the J20 mice and similarly to the normal mice. “We showed that removing caspase-2 from J20 mice prevented memory impairment — without significant changes in the level of soluble amyloid beta,” said co-lead author Roger Lefort, PhD, associate research scientist at CUMC. Analysis of the neurons showed that the J20/caspase-2 null mice had a higher density of dendritic spines than the J20 mice. The more spines a neuron has, the more impulses it can transmit. “The J20/caspase-2 null mice showed the same dendritic spine density and morphology as the normal mice—as opposed to the deficits in the J20 mice,” said co-lead author Julio Pozueta, PhD. “This strongly suggests that caspase-2 is a critical regulator in the memory decline associated with beta-amyloid in Alzheimer’s disease.” The researchers further validated the results in studies of rat neurons in tissue culture. Finally, the researchers found that caspase-2 interacts with RhoA, a critical regulator of the morphology (form and structure) of dendritic spines. “It appears that in normal neurons, caspase-2 and RhoA form an […]

     
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  • Some hard numbers on the Western banking system

    christianveit: At our Offshore Tactics Workshop in Santiago three months ago, Jim Rickards (author of the acclaimed Currency Wars) told the audience of roughly 500 people– (paraphrased) ‘If one of you stands up right now and heads for the exit, the rest of the audience probably won’t pay much attention. If ten of you do it, one or two people may notice and follow. But if 400 of you suddenly head for the exit, the rest of the audience would probably follow quickly.’ Continued Some hard numbers on the Western banking system

     
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  • The relative decline of majors like English is modest when accounting for the increased propensity of Americans to go to college. In fact, the number of new degrees in English is fairly similar to what it has been for most of the last 20 years as a share of the college-age population. In 2011, 3.1 percent of new bachelor’s degrees were in English language or literature. That figure is down from 4.1 percent 10 years ago, 4.7 percent 20 years ago, and 7.6 percent 40 years ago, in 1971. But as a proportion of the college-age population, the decline is much less distinct. In 2011, 1.1 out of every 100 21-year-olds graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English, down only incrementally from 1.2 in 2001 and 1.3 in 1991. And the percentage of English majors as a share of the population is actually higher than it was in 1981, when only 0.7 out of every 100 21-year-olds received a degree in English. As More Attend College, Majors Become More Career-Focused – NYTimes.com (via infoneer-pulse)

     
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  • The average office worker spends around 16 hours in meetings each week. That’s over 800 hours a year. For a grand total over an entire career of—are you sitting down?—37,440 hours of meetings. That’s more than 4 years of your precious time… So you better make them good. Here are 11 tips for having better meetings from some of the world’s most productive people, including Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Nilofer Merchant, Clay Shirky, and more.   (via fastcompany)

     
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  • neurosciencestuff: Past Brain Activation Revealed in Scans Weizmann Institute scientists discover that spontaneously emerging brain activity patterns preserve traces of previous cognitive activity What if experts could dig into the brain, like archaeologists, and uncover the history of past experiences? This ability might reveal what makes each of us a unique individual, and it could enable the objective diagnosis of a wide range of neuropsychological diseases. New research at the Weizmann Institute hints that such a scenario is within the realm of possibility: It shows that spontaneous waves of neuronal activity in the brain bear the imprints of earlier events for at least 24 hours after the experience has taken place. The new research stems from earlier findings in the lab of Prof. Rafi Malach of the Institute’s Neurobiology Department and others that the brain never rests, even when its owner is resting. When a person is resting with closed eyes – that is, no visual stimulus is entering the brain – the normal bursts of nerve cell activity associated with incoming information are replaced by ultra-slow patterns of neuronal activity. Such spontaneous or “resting” waves travel in a highly organized and reproducible manner through the brain’s outer layer – the cortex – and the patterns they create are complex, yet periodic and symmetrical. Like hieroglyphics, it seemed that these patterns might have some meaning, and research student Tal Harmelech, under the guidance of Malach and Dr. Son Preminger, set out to uncover their significance. Their idea was that the patterns of resting brain waves may constitute “archives” for earlier experiences. As we add new experiences, the activation of our brain’s networks lead to long-term changes in the links between brain cells, a facility referred to as plasticity. As our experiences become embedded in these connections, they create “expectations” that come into play before we perform any type of mental task, enabling us to anticipate the result. The researchers hypothesized that information about earlier experiences would thus be incorporated into the links between networks of nerve cells in the cortex, and these would show up in the brain’s spontaneously emerging wave patterns. In the experiment, the researchers had volunteers undertake a training exercise that would strongly activate a well-defined network of nerve cells in the frontal lobes. While undergoing scans of their brain activity in the Institute’s functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner, the subjects were asked to imagine a situation in which they had to make rapid decisions. The subjects received auditory feedback in real time, based on the information obtained directly from their frontal lobe, which indicated the level of neuronal activity in the trained network. This “neurofeedback” strategy proved highly successful in activating the frontal network – a part of the brain that is notoriously difficult to activate under controlled conditions. To test whether the connections created in the brain during this exercise would leave their traces in the patterns formed by the resting brain waves, the researchers performed fMRI scans on the resting subjects before the […]

     
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  • picsandquotes: Want awesome posts on your dash? follow picsandquotes.com now!

     
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  • nasdaq: 0 0 1 20 115 ESPN The Magazine 1 1 134 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} A little Wednesday Wisdom from our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt.

     
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