Episode 18: Destroying Dendrites 3

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While this episode won’t provide the awesome guest host that was promised to us all last week, we’ve got a pile of kick-ass neuroscience to talk about, as always.

We’re attacking our science at full speed this week.  Kat is trying to wrap her head around managing her data and Liam is sharpening his presentation skills.  And, as it turns out, Adel really excels at writing too much for a paper but too little for a thesis.

Kat’s had some of her core neuroscience beliefs shaken this week when she read about a new, high tech imaging study showing that speech production isn’t  necessarily lateralized to the left hemisphere.  We’ll get into a spirited discussion about the darkside of genius that starts with a story about the impact of vitamin C and Liam inspires us with the idea of a journal that edits science for kids, by kids.

This week, we’re going back to our basic science roots and discussing a paper by Stone et al. called Dendrite Injury Triggers DLK-Independent Regeneration (Open PDF).  Traditionally, neuron injury and regeneration has been studied mostly with respect to axon damage.  In fact, the processes and signal cascades involved in regrowing a damaged axon in the peripheral nervous system are fairly well defined.  Dendrites, on the other hand, have been more difficult to study because of their complex arborisation and tiling patterns.  This study takes a new approach to this issue and severs the entire dendritic arbor of two classes of sensory neurons in Drosophila larvae.  They show that damaged neurons can regenerate dendrites in a cell-specific manner and that these cells retain their ability to regenerate throughout the animal’s lifespan.

Since the mechanism of axon regeneration is well known, this study investigates whether dendrite regeneration uses a similar molecular pathway.  Somewhat refreshingly, when the mechanism turns out to be different, this paper doesn’t attempt to fill in all the blanks and suggests suggestions for further research


This Weeks Paper (PDF, Open Access)

Sensory–motor transformations for speech occur bilaterally by Cogan et al (paywall) & the Press Release (free)

Frontiers Young Minds

Vitamin C induces Tet-dependent DNA demethylation and a blastocyst-like state in ES cells (PDF hosted by authors)

The Dark side of Linus Pauling’s Legacy by Dr Stephen Barrett

Kary Mullis Nobel acceptance speech *Note: He does not deny HIV causes AIDS in the acceptance speech, just in many subsequent instances. This is, however, still wacky and totally worth the read


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