Methamphetamine, the drug of choice for long-distance truckers and college students pulling all-nighters, appears to do a similar trick for fruit flies, too. This finding is one of several in a new study that demonstrates a critical role for the neurotransmitter dopamine in the modulation of sleep, wake, and arousal states.
The work is reported by Dr. Ralph Greenspan and colleagues at The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego.
The researchers found that long, sleepless nights, heightened locomotor activity, frenetic brain activity, and frenzied (but ultimately ineffective) courtship behavior are all characteristics of fruit flies on methamphetamine, the effects of which are known to act through the neurotransmitter dopamine. In the new work, the researchers showed that genetically engineered flies whose dopamine cells could be turned off experimentally, or flies that have received dopamine inhibitors, show converse behavioral effects to those seen in normal flies that have ingested methamphetamine. The results suggest that the right balance of dopamine is necessary for proper brain functioning, as has been seen in human studies of attention and distraction. Dopamine has been implicated in numerous aspects of brain function in humans and other animals, and many of these brain functions involve the modulation of neuronal activity and the ability to assign proper saliency (or relevance) to sensory stimuli.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
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Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
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In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
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By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
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COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
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'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
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