Author Archives: naylorsa

Narcolepsy update!

Last year, I wrote a post about the potential link between autoimmune dysfunction and narcolepsy. Today, a major study published in Science Translational Medicine linking narcolepsy and autoimmunity targeted at hypocretin expressing neurons has been retracted. Ed Yong wrote about the original study when it was released and posted this update on his blog at National Geographic.

Sometimes, even things in big journals (especially big journals?) turn out to be not quite true.

Reach out and grab some cash

512px-Left_Hand_-_Kolkata_2011-04-20_2350I use twitter primarily to keep up with what’s new and newsworthy in science and science communication. It’s a great tool to quickly catch up on new discoveries or  controversies. It also can expose opportunities you had no idea existed. The other day I saw a tweet about small grants to fund science outreach projects. So cool! I didn’t realize these small scale funding mechanisms existed to help encourage scientific outreach.

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Better Trials, So Failure Isn’t All Bad

Image courtesy of Zachary Veach

Image courtesy of Zachary Veach

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is rolling out new rules for clinical trials testing psychiatric drugs or interventions. For years, applications have proposed testing to see if Drug X helps with a particular condition, like depression, schizophrenia, anorexia etc.

If a drug does show an effect on the particular condition being tested, we have learned that we may have a new treatment for that condition. “Hooray!” If a drug does not show an effect on the particular condition being tested, we have learned that we may not have a new treatment for that condition, which is pretty much what we knew before the expensive clinical trial.

The NIMH has created new funding rules in an attempt to address this issue. Continue reading

White coats are gross

White coat. Image courtesy of Samir via Wikimedia Commons.

White coat. Image courtesy of Samir via Wikimedia Commons.

For physicians, the white coat that comes with their profession is a badge of honor. At the beginning of medical school, new students receive their first white coat, albeit a short one, in a special ceremony. It’s a momentous occasion when at the end of medical school they receive their full length white coats. The coats represent their status and position at a glance to anyone in the hospital. They should also ring an alarm bell in anyone about to see a physician because those coats are often TEEMING with all sorts of gross things.

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So THAT’s why you get the munchies…

Chowing down. Image courtesy of Joel Telling under a creative commons license. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Chowing down. Image courtesy of Joel Telling under a creative commons license. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

While not the actual title or tag-line on a recent Nature Neuroscience paper, it is certainly a punchline that first comes to mind upon reading the title “The endocannabinoid system controls food intake via olfactory processes”. The endocannabinoid system responds to the active components in marijuana among other signaling molecules in the body including endocannabinoids made by the body. However, even if you’re not partaking of marijuana, this system is active in regulating how your body responds when it begins to get hungry.

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