Chronic cocaine use changes gene expression in the hippocampus, according to research in mice recently published in JNeurosci.
Chronic drug users learn to associate the drug-taking environment with the drug itself, reinforcing memories that contribute to addiction. These memories are thought to be created by changes in gene expression in the hippocampus and potentially involve the gene FosB, but the exact mechanism is unknown.
A.J. Robinson and colleagues at Michigan State University examined how cocaine exposure affected expression of the FosB gene in the hippocampus. Mice that were administered cocaine daily showed increased expression of FosB compared to mice that received saline. Chronic cocaine use caused epigenetic modification of the gene, leading it to becoming more active. Additionally, when the scientists blocked the changes made to FosB, the mice were unable to form associations between cocaine and the environment where they received it, implicating epigenetic regulation of the gene in drug memory formation.
Full story at Science Daily
New research from the American Psychological Association has examined the effects of a missile strike alarm — which turned out to be false — on the anxiety levels of Twitter users.
On the morning of January 13, 2018, the residents of Hawaii received an emergency alert urging them to seek shelter.
They received a message stating that a missile strike was headed toward them.
The message quickly became viral; an employee of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (EMA) mistakenly sent the alarm over radio, television, smartphones, and other wireless devices, accompanied by the disclaimer “this is not a drill.”
Full story at Medical News Today
The doors open wide, you enter, and they close behind you. As the elevator begins its ascent, you realize it’s just you and one other person taking this ride. The silence soon grows uncomfortable.
Pop quiz. What’s your go-to move?
- A) stare at your shoes
- B) pull out your cell phone
- C) make brief eye contact
- D) initiate chit chat
If your answer was B, you’re like far too many of us, eyes glued to our phones, attention focused on the digital world.
Many of us tend to do just about anything to avoid conversation or even eye contact with strangers. And smartphones make it easier than ever to do that: A recent study found the phones can keep us from even exchanging brief smiles with people we meet in public places. But a body of research has shown that we might just be short-changing our own happiness by ignoring opportunities to connect with the people around us.
Full story at NPR
People who go to bed late and wake up late can often experience health problems because their body clock does not align with the regular rhythms of modern society. However, a new study suggests that a few easy routine adjustments could go a long way for night owls.
Research from earlier this year found that night owls — people who naturally keep late hours — experience an effect similar to jet lag on a daily basis.
This occurs, at least in part, because they have to meet the requirements of a world that we created for “morning people,” in which 9 to 5 jobs are standard, and there is the expectation that people should primarily work in the mornings.
Full story at Medical News Today