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In a new study by UC San Francisco scientists, running, when accompanied by visual stimuli, restored brain function to normal levels in mice that had been deprived of visual experience in early life.
In addition to suggesting a novel therapeutic strategy for humans with blindness in one eye caused by a congenital cataract, droopy eyelid, or misaligned eye, the new research—the latest in a series of UCSF studies exploring effects of locomotion on brain function—suggests that the adult brain may be far more capable of rewiring and repairing itself than previously thought.
In 2010, Michael P. Stryker, PhD, the W.F. Ganong Professor of Physiology, and postdoctoral fellow Cris Niell, PhD, now at the University of Oregon, made the surprising discovery that neurons in the visual area of the mouse brain fired much more robustly whenever the mice walked or ran.
Earlier this year, postdoctoral fellow Yu Fu, PhD, Stryker and a number of colleagues built on these findings, identifying and describing the neural circuit responsible for this locomotion-induced “high-gain state” in the visual cortex of the mouse brain.
Neither of these studies made clear, however, whether this circuit might have broader functional or clinical significance.
It has been known since the 1960s that visual areas of the brain do not develop normally if deprived of visual input during a “critical period” of brain development early in life. For example, in humans, if amblyopia (“lazy eye”) or other major eye problems are not surgically corrected in infancy, vision will never be normal in the affected eye—if such individuals lose sight in their “good” eye in later life, they are blind.
In the new research, published June 26, 2014 in the online journal eLife, Stryker and UCSF postdoctoral fellow Megumi Kaneko, MD, PhD, closed one eyelid of mouse pups at about 20 days after birth, and that eye was kept closed until the mice reached about five months of age.
As expected, the mice in which one eye had been closed during the critical developmental period showed sharply reduced neural activity in the part of the brain responsible for vision in that eye.
As in the previous UCSF experiments in this area, some mice were allowed to run freely on Styrofoam balls suspended on a cushion of air while recordings were made from their brains.
Little improvement was seen in the mice that had been deprived of visual input either when they were simply allowed to run or when they received visual training with the deprived eye not accompanied by walking or running.
But when the mice were exposed to the visual stimuli while they were running or walking, the results were dramatic: within a week the brain responses to those stimuli from the deprived eye were nearly identical to those from the normal eye, indicating that the circuits in the visual area of the brain representing the deprived eye had undergone a rapid reorganization, known in neuroscience as “plasticity.”
Interestingly, this recovery was stimulus-specific: if the brain activity of the mice was tested using a stimulus other than that they had seen while running, little or no recovery of function was apparent.
“We have no idea yet whether running puts the human cortex into a high-gain state that enhances plasticity, as it does the visual cortex of the mouse,” Stryker said, “but we are designing experiments to find out.”
To all you runners out there
Share it with the world #teacher #teachers #starwars #starwarsnerd
Haha gotta love Miguel Herrera! :D #seleccionmexicana #mexico #futbol #worldcup #mexicosoccer #miguelherrera
The way it makes you feel…
The intriguing science behind Bruce Lee’s one-inch punch
It’s a punch that has captivated our imagination for decades. From the distance of one-inch, Bruce Lee could break boards, knock opponents off their feet and look totally badass doing it. It’s one of the most famous — and fabled — blows in the world. Days ago, Popular Mechanics set out to solve the mystery behind it – and did.
Drawing upon both physical and neuro power, Lee’s devastating one-inch punch involved substantially more than arm strength. It was achieved through the fluid teamwork of every body part. It was his feet. It was hips and arms. It was even his brain. In several milliseconds, a spark of kinetic energy ignited in Lee’s feet and surged through his core to his limbs before its eventual release.
Now THAT’s what I call a useful application of science. The answer (at the link above) is a lot like how slender athletes can still whack the hell out of a golf ball or baseball. A fascinating blend of physics and neuroscience.
Next we’ll have to tackle the fluid dynamics of Bruce Lee:
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
The power of the mind and body
Scribble Ink lets users draw with colors that they find around them
If you want to sample a color that you encounter in the real world and then reproduce it on your computer, you might already be interested in devices like the SwatchMate Cube or the NODE Chroma module. Sometimes, though, you might just want to do some freehand pen-and-ink drawing using such “captured colors.” That’s just what Scribble’s upcoming Ink color picker pen is designed to let you do. The Scribble Ink has (or will have) a 16-bit RGB color sensor on one end, that is held up to the leaf, brick, person’s face, or whatever it is that you like the color of. An integrated ARM 9 microprocessor subsequently analyzes the color and stores it. When you later want to draw or write in that color, the pen reproduces it by mixing ink from its cyan, magenta, yellow, white and/or black refillable cartridges. It’s reportedly possible to reproduce over 16 million colors, 100,000 of which can be stored on the Ink’s 1GB of memory at one time. If you want to use and/or manage those colors on your smartphone or computer, the device also has a Micro USB port and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. Power is provided by an onboard rechargeable lithium-ion battery. (via Scribble Ink lets users draw with colors that they find around them)
May the 4th be with you #starwars #disney #disneystore #disneypins #lucasfilms #maythe4thbewithyou
Original Disney Oscars @waltdisneyfamilymuseum in #sanfrancisco #elpresidio #oscars #snowwhite #disney #waltdisney