The awesomeness of ocular anatomy and physiology: the scleral membrane and the oculocephalic reflex as defenses against insult

Today brings one of those dismal events that afflict us all from time-to-time: a stupid accident that makes you deeply thankful for that combined achievement of evolution – a tough scleral membrane and the oculocephalic reflex. Moving furniture outside, I manage to stab myself in the dorsolateral aspect of my right eye while bending down to… Read More

Dissociation of dorsal hippocampal regional activation under the influence of stress [Front Behav Neurosci. 2011] – PubMed – NCBI

(Available for download as OA on Frontiers – just click through the link) via Dissociation of dorsal hippocampal regi… [Front Behav Neurosci. 2011] – PubMed – NCBI. Passecker J, Hok V, Della-Chiesa A, Chah E, O’Mara SM. Source Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin Dublin, Republic of Ireland. Abstract Stress has deleterious effects on brain, body, and behavior… Read More

Hangover nation: What is it about Ireland and drink?

A piece I did for the Irish Examiner a little while back: We drink too much in Ireland. As a nation, we consistently place highly in the global heavy drinking league. Excess alcohol consumption causes many problems. It is, for example, the major cause of death in men aged 35 to 50 in Ireland. A HSE report… Read More

Terrorism, Torture and Memory: Royal Irish Academy | About | Science Series

[My book ‘Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation’ (Harvard UP) can be preordered from Amazon (.com) – more details at end of post] Royal Irish Academy | About | Science Series via Royal Irish Academy | About | Science Series. This links to a podcast of an unusual interdisciplinary evening, featuring a neuroscientist (me), a political scientist (Richard… Read More

The Brain Prize 2013: the optogenetics revolution

The Brain Prize 2013: the optogenetics revolution:  ‘The 2013 Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize was awarded to Ernst Bamberg, Edward Boyden, Karl Deisseroth, Peter Hegemann, Gero Miesenböck, and Georg Nagel ‘for their invention and refinement of optogenetics’.’ A great post on optogenetics from Kevin Mitchell. Optogenetics is transforming neuroscience.

Interactions Between Paired-Pulse Facilitation, Low-Frequency Stimulation And Behavioral Stress In The Pathway From Hippocampal Area CA1 To The Subiculum: Dissociation Of Baseline Synaptic Transmission From Paired-Pulse Facilitation And Depression Of The Same Pathway.

Here’s an old and difficult to access paper (Download: Commins & O’Mara Psychobiol) of ours from Psychobiology – from the days before all journals were online. Hard to remember those days now… Psychobiology evolved into Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience (see past titles here – scroll to bottom). (This is the longest title on any paper I have ever published…) Commins,… Read More

Suppressing the encoding of new information in memory: a behavioral study derived from principles of hippocampal function.

Take-home message: We show here that mixing tasks that involve executive control (the n-back task, requiring continual updating and discarding of information held presently ‘in mind’) inhibits dramatically performance on an explicit memory task (associative memory: face-name pair learning), but not performance on control recognition memory tasks. We therefore provide further behavioural evidence that memory subsystems… Read More

The anterior thalamus provides a subcortical circuit supporting memory and spatial navigation.

The anterior thalamus provides a subcortical circuit supporting memory and spatial navigation. Front Syst Neurosci. 2013 Aug 30;7:45. Jankowski MM, Ronnqvist KC, Tsanov M, Vann SD, Wright NF, Erichsen JT, Aggleton JP, O’Mara SM. Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin Dublin 2, Ireland. Abstract The anterior thalamic nuclei (ATN), a central component of Papez‘ circuit, are generally assumed to be key… Read More