Dreaming of animals and other warning signs of neurodegeneration

The research shows that people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and several other neurodegenerative conditions often experience sleep disturbances many decades before any symptoms appear, and that these disturbances are somehow linked to disruptions of the circadian rhythm. They include common sleeping difficulties such as insomnia, sleep apnoea, and daytime drowsiness, and some slightly more unusual ones. According to one small study published in 2011, for example, the early stages of Parkinson’s disease are characterised by alterations in the content of dreams, particularly the presence of animals and increased aggressiveness.

‘Ware the dreams of animals and aggressiveness …

Dreaming of animals and other warning signs of neurodegeneration

Creating a False Memory in the Hippocampus

Our system uses c-fos-tTA transgenic mice, in which the promoter of the c-fos gene drives the expression of the tetracycline transactivator (tTA) to induce expression of a gene of interest downstream of the tetracycline-responsive element (TRE) (8–12). We injected an adeno-associated virus (AAV) encoding TRE-ChR2-mCherry into the DG or CA1 of c-fos-tTA animals (Fig. 1A). Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2)–mCherry expression was completely absent in the DG of animals that had been raised with doxycycline (Dox) in the diet (on Dox) (Fig. 1B). Exploration of a novel context under the condition of Dox withdrawal (off Dox) elicited an increase in ChR2-mCherry expression (Fig. 1C). We confirmed the functionality of the expressed ChR2-mCherry by recording light-induced spikes in cells expressing ChR2-mCherry from both acute hippocampal slices and in anaesthetized animals (Fig. 1, D to F). Furthermore, optical stimulation of ChR2-mCherry–expressing DG cells induced cFos expression throughout the anterior-posterior axis of the DG (fig. S1, A to I).

And that, my friends, is all you need to know if your looking to engage in an inception or any other non-nefarious memory-creation activities you might desire. 

Creating a False Memory in the Hippocampus

Fermi Paradox and Von Neumann Machines

The Fermi Paradox is far and way my favorite paradox:

An alien civilization could send probes traveling no faster than 10% the speed of light to every single solar system in the galaxy in only 10 million years. Which is incredible … As the researchers conclude … “a fleet of self-replicating probes can indeed explore the Galaxy in a sufficiently short time to warrant the existence of the Fermi Paradox.”

It’s Easier for Aliens to Visit Us Than Previously Thought | io9

Fermi Paradox and Von Neumann Machines