Science Caturday: Curiosity Revisited

curiosity

A study published this week in the journal Neuron suggests why people learn better when their curiosity is piqued.

Researchers from UC Davis conducted  fMRI scans on students and found evidence that activity in the midbrain was enhanced during states of high curiosity. The study indicated that curiosity was related to an increase in the activity of the brain chemical dopamine, which seemed to strengthen the students’ memories.

While this may be good news for human students and teachers, researchers have yet to test the findings on cats, a group to which curiosity is often said to be lethal. Good luck getting those proposals past IRB cat!

irb cat

 

Rabies, doing what it does best

Vampire_Bat_003While no one I know personally has ever been infected with rabies, I do recall a tale of my father donning a racing helmet and wielding a tennis racket to rid our house of a bat. Presumably, he was protecting us from rabid bat fangs. Rabies is relatively well controlled in the US through pet vaccinations and early prophylactic care when someone is bitten by a potentially rabid animal. While rabies as a health concern in the US may be fading, rabies as a molecular biology tool is a cutting edge new technology. Continue reading “Rabies, doing what it does best”