The irregular firing properties of thalamic head direction cells mediate turn-specific modulation of the directional tuning curve

Take-home message: Anterior thalamic head direction cells are interesting in all sorts of ways. Here, we show that head direction cells remain active during sleep (how interesting is that?!), replicate the finding that these cells fire at different rates depending on whether the head makes clockwise or counterclockwise movements, and that the origin of this difference might… Read More

‘The Integrative Action of the Nervous System’ and other works: The beautiful writing style of Sir Charles Sherrington

Sir Charles Sherrington is one of the greatest names in the history of neuroscience, and especially in neurophysiology. His book ‘The Integrative Action of the Nervous System’ – dating from a series of lectures in Yale (1906) is still an absolutely amazing read. Sherrington was a most beautiful and elegant writer. Introducing the term ‘the synapse’,… Read More

Selective disconnection of the hippocampal formation projections to the mammillary bodies produces only mild deficits on spatial memory tasks: implications for fornix function.

Selective disconnection of the hippocampal formation projections to the mammillary bodies produces only mild deficits on spatial memory tasks: implications for fornix function. Take-home message: the mammillary bodies can  support spatial memory without their dense subicular complex inputs, revealing the importance of the other afferents for sustaining mammillary body function. This new evidence for independent functions… Read More

Is there really a replication crisis in science? And is there really a problem with the reliability and validity of the published literature?

A tiny post here (30 words) linking to another blog on problems with the published scientific literature attracted lots of hits – and left me wondering about the vexed issue of replication and reproducibility (these are not the same things) in science, and what these things mean for the working scientist. I should clarify that there is a certainly a… Read More

Exercise, but not environmental enrichment, improves learning after kainic acid-induced hippocampal neurodegeneration in association with an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

Take-home message: further evidence that aerobic exercise provides substantial neuroprotection against brain insult, even if there are equivalent losses of neurons in key brain regions compared to sedentary controls. [Download the paper] Much more on exercise. Exercise, but not environmental enrichment, improves learning after kainic acid-induced hippocampal neurodegeneration in association with an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic… Read More

Respiratory cycle entrainment of septal neurons mediates the fast coupling of sniffing rate and hippocampal theta rhythm

Our latest paper: Respiratory cycle entrainment of septal neurons mediates the fast coupling of sniffing rate and hippocampal theta rhythm Take-home message: We suggest that the respiratory system entrains septal neurons, and this entrainment in turn results in the coupling of sniffing and hippocampal theta. Pharmacological inactivation of the medial septum  decreases both theta and… Read More

Oscillatory entrainment of thalamic neurons by theta rhythm in freely moving rats.

Take-home message: The thalamus plays a key role in  learning and memory. However, the neurons of the anteroventral nucleus have not been characterised in vivo. Here, we provide a framework for the classification of neuron type, based on their electrophysiological phenotype, and show that many of these cells are theta-modulated (a strong 7-12 Hz oscillation in the EEG, studied most frequently in… Read More

CREB selectively controls learning-induced structural remodeling of neurons.

Learn Mem. 2012 Jul 18;19(8):330-6. doi: 10.1101/lm.025817.112. CREB selectively controls learning-induced structural remodeling of neurons. [download] Middei S, Spalloni A, Longone P, Pittenger C, O’Mara SM, Marie H, Ammassari-Teule M. Source CNR-National Research Council, Rome 00143, Italy. s.middei@hsantalucia.it Abstract The modulation of synaptic strength associated with learning is post-synaptically regulated by changes in density and shape of dendritic spines. The transcription factor… Read More