A behavioral neuroscientist at the University at Buffalo holds that the ingestion of afterbirth by a mother, a feature of pregnancy in nearly all non-human mammals, not only relieves postpartum pain, but optimizes the onset of maternal behavior by mediating the activity of specific opioid activity circuits in the brain.
Mark Kristal, Ph.D., professor of psychology at UB and director the graduate program in behavioral neuroscience, has received a two-year $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, to test his hypothesis. In 1986 Kristal discovered an opioid-enhancing molecule he called the Placental Opioid-Enhancing Factor or POEF. His discovery led to a series of studies that shed light on the way in which POEF modulates how opioids inhibit nociceptive processing in the nervous system -- processing in specific areas of the brain that recognize certain kinds of pain.
Kristal says this research may lead to novel ways of treating addiction in humans by manipulating the effectiveness of the opiates we produce in our own bodies. It also may enable physicians to obtain current levels of pain relief, he says, "by administering much, much, much smaller amounts of opioid analgesics." POEF is found in amniotic fluid and afterbirth. The new study, whose subjects will be mice, will test the hypothesis that it not only modulates pain, but operates on two specific brain centers to influence the subsequent emergence of maternal behavior. "We think that endogenous opioid activation in the central nervous system at the end of pregnancy and during delivery -- that is, activity produced within the mammal, not introduced from without -- has a complex effect on maternal behavior," Kristal says. "It is our contention that this activation not only suppresses pain during delivery, but is responsible as well for the emergence of caretaking behavior toward the young.
Patricia Donovan | EurekAlert!
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The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
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With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
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Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
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07.12.2017 | Event News
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08.12.2017 | Information Technology
08.12.2017 | Information Technology