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A Crossover Study Comparing the Effect of a Processed vs. Unprocessed Diet on the Spatial Learning Ability of Zebrafish

Banga et al. | Sep 18, 2022

A Crossover Study Comparing the Effect of a Processed vs. Unprocessed Diet on the Spatial Learning Ability of Zebrafish

The authors compared the short-term effects of processed versus unprocessed food on spatial learning and survival in zebrafish, given the large public concern regarding processed foods. By randomly assigning zebrafish to a diet of brine shrimp flakes (processed) or live brine shrimp (unprocessed), the authors show while there is no immediate effect on a fish's decision process between the two diets, there are significant correlations between improved learning and stress response with the unprocessed diet.

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Association of agenesis of the corpus callosum with epilepsy and anticonvulsant drug treatment

Steger et al. | Feb 21, 2023

Association of agenesis of the corpus callosum with epilepsy and anticonvulsant drug treatment
Image credit: Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum (ACC) is a birth defect where an infant’s corpus callosum, the structure linking the brain’s two hemispheres to allow interhemispheric communication, fails to develop in a typical manner during pregnancy. Existing research on the connection between ACC and epilepsy leaves significant gaps, due to the lack of focused investigation. One important gap is the degree to which ACC may impact the course of epilepsy treatment and outcomes. The present study was conducted to test the hypotheses that epilepsy is highly prevalent among individuals with ACC, and that those with both ACC and epilepsy have a lower response rate to anticonvulsant drugs than other patients treated with anticonvulsant drugs. A weighted average of epilepsy rates was calculated from a review of existing literature, which supported the hypothesis that epilepsy was more common among individuals with ACC (25.11%) than in the general population (1.2%). An empirical survey administered to 57 subjects or parents of subjects showed that rate of intractable epilepsy among study subjects with both ACC and epilepsy was substantially higher than the rate found in the general population, indicating that individuals with both conditions had a lower response rate to the anticonvulsant drugs. This study contributes novel results regarding the potential for concurrence of ACC and epilepsy to interfere with anticonvulsant drug treatment. We also discuss implications for how medical professionals may use the findings of this study to add depth to their treatment decisions.

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The sweetened actualities of neural membrane proteins: A computational structural analysis

Chauhan et al. | Nov 03, 2022

The sweetened actualities of neural membrane proteins: A computational structural analysis

Here, seeking to better understand the roles of glycans in the receptors of active sites of neuronal cells, the authors used molecular dynamics simulations to to uncover the dynamic nature of N-glycans on membrane proteins. The authors suggest the study of theinteractions of these membrane poreins could provide future potential therapeutic targets to treat mental diseases.

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Modular mimics of neuroactive alkaloids - design, synthesis, and cholinesterase inhibitory activity of rivastigmine analogs

Yu et al. | Sep 12, 2022

Modular mimics of neuroactive alkaloids - design, synthesis, and cholinesterase inhibitory activity of rivastigmine analogs

Naturally occurring neuroactive alkaloids are often studied for their potential to treat Neurological diseases. This team of students study Rivastigmine, a potent cholinesterase inhibitor that is a synthetic analog of physostigmine, which comes from the Calabar bean plant Physostigma venenosum. By comparing the effects of optimized synthetic analogs to the naturally occurring alkaloid, they determine the most favorable analog for inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), the enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) to terminate neuronal transmission and signaling between synapses.

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Identifying Neural Networks that Implement a Simple Spatial Concept

Zirvi et al. | Sep 13, 2022

Identifying Neural Networks that Implement a Simple Spatial Concept

Modern artificial neural networks have been remarkably successful in various applications, from speech recognition to computer vision. However, it remains less clear whether they can implement abstract concepts, which are essential to generalization and understanding. To address this problem, the authors investigated the above vs. below task, a simple concept-based task that honeybees can solve, using a conventional neural network. They found that networks achieved 100% test accuracy when a visual target was presented below a black bar, however only 50% test accuracy when a visual target was presented below a reference shape.

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