(Image caption: This microscope image of tissue from deep inside a normal mouse ear shows how ribbon synapses (red) form the connections between the hair cells of the inner ear (blue) and the tips of nerve cells (green) that connect to the brain. Credit: Corfas Lab, University of MIchigan)
Scientists Restore Hearing in Noise-Deafened Mice, Pointing Way to New Therapies
Scientists have restored the hearing of mice partly deafened by noise, using advanced tools to boost the production of a key protein in their ears.
By demonstrating the importance of the protein, called NT3, in maintaining communication between the ears and brain, these new findings pave the way for research in humans that could improve treatment of hearing loss caused by noise exposure and normal aging.
In a new paper in the online journal eLife, the team from the University of Michigan Medical School’s Kresge Hearing Research Institute and Harvard University report the results of their work to understand NT3’s role in the inner ear, and the impact of increased NT3 production on hearing after a noise exposure.
Their work also illustrates the key role of cells that have traditionally been seen as the “supporting actors” of the ear-brain connection. Called supporting cells, they form a physical base for the hearing system’s “stars”: the hair cells in the ear that interact directly with the nerves that carry sound signals to the brain. This new research identifies the critical role of these supporting cells along with the NT3 molecules that they produce.
NT3 is crucial to the body’s ability to form and maintain connections between hair cells and nerve cells, the researchers demonstrate. This special type of connection, called a ribbon synapse, allows extra-rapid communication of signals that travel back and forth across tiny gaps between the two types of cells.
“It has become apparent that hearing loss due to damaged ribbon synapses is a very common and challenging problem, whether it’s due to noise or normal aging,” says Gabriel Corfas, Ph.D., who led the team and directs the U-M institute. “We began this work 15 years ago to answer very basic questions about the inner ear, and now we have been able to restore hearing after partial deafening with noise, a common problem for people. It’s very exciting.”
Using a special genetic technique, the researchers made it possible for some mice to produce additional NT3 in cells of specific areas of the inner ear after they were exposed to noise loud enough to reduce hearing. Mice with extra NT3 regained their ability to hear much better than the control mice.
Now, says Corfas, his team will explore the role of NT3 in human ears, and seek drugs that might boost NT3 action or production. While the use of such drugs in humans could be several years away, the new discovery gives them a specific target to pursue.
Corfas, a professor and associate chair in the U-M Department of Otolaryngology, worked on the research with first author Guoqiang Wan, Ph.D., Maria E. Gómez-Casati, Ph.D., and others in his former institution, Harvard. Some of the authors now work with Corfas in his new U-M lab. They set out to find out how ribbon synapses – which are found only in the ear and eye – form, and what molecules are important to their formation and maintenance.
Anyone who has experienced problems making out the voice of the person next to them in a crowded room has felt the effects of reduced ribbon synapses. So has anyone who has experienced temporary reduction in hearing after going to a loud concert. The damage caused by noise – over a lifetime or just one evening – reduces the ability of hair cells to talk to the brain via ribbon synapse connections with nerve cells.
Targeted genetics made discovery possible
After determining that inner ear supporting cells supply NT3, the team turned to a technique called conditional gene recombination to see what would happen if they boosted NT3 production by the supporting cells. The approach allows scientists to activate genes in specific cells, by giving a dose of a drug that triggers the cell to “read” extra copies of a gene that had been inserted into them. For this research, the scientists activated the extra NT3 genes only into the inner ear’s supporting cells.
The genes didn’t turn on until the scientists wanted them to – either before or after they exposed the mice to loud noises. The scientists turned on the NT3 genes by giving a dose of the drug tamoxifen, which triggered the supporting cells to make more of the protein. Before and after this step, they tested the mice’s hearing using an approach called auditory brainstem response or ABR – the same test used on humans.
The result: the mice with extra NT3 regained their hearing over a period of two weeks, and were able to hear much better than mice without the extra NT3 production. The scientists also did the same with another nerve cell growth factor, or neurotrophin, called BDNF, but did not see the same effect on hearing.
Next steps
Now that NT3’s role in making and maintaining ribbon synapses has become clear, Corfas says the next challenge is to study it in human ears, and to look for drugs that can work like NT3 does. Corfas has some drug candidates in mind, and hopes to partner with industry to look for others.
Boosting NT3 production through gene therapy in humans could also be an option, he says, but a drug-based approach would be simpler and could be administered as long as it takes to restore hearing.
Corfas notes that the mice in the study were not completely deafened, so it’s not yet known if boosting NT3 activity could restore hearing that has been entirely lost. He also notes that the research may have implications for other diseases in which nerve cell connections are lost – called neurodegenerative diseases. “This brings supporting cells into the spotlight, and starts to show how much they contribute to plasticity, development and maintenance of neural connections,” he says.




There’s 9 Types of Intelligence, just remember that and if anyone tells you otherwise, just shove with picture in their face


Even if you don’t particularly believe Gardner’s theory, even others (ie Sternberg) believe in multiple intelligences. For instance, Sternberg believed there is a conceptual intelligence associated with math, linguistic rules, etc, but there is a creative and experiential intelligence AND a contextual intelligence (like common sense or tact).

As somebody who is VERY good at math and science, I envy the people who have tact. There are no calculators that tell me when it is appropriate to share certain information with other people.

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trends guys hate:

  1. crop tops and high waisted shorts
  2. red lipstick

trends girls hate:

  1. being murdered
  2. being murdered for wearing crop tops and high waisted shorts

But note, women don’t hate being murdered when they wear red lipstick.

Probably because they aren’t the ones getting murdered.

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Look at my goofball of a dog. She’s more photogenic than me 🍂🐶🍁


The older I get and the more experience I get with illness, the more I see them as metaphors in kid’s TV shows.

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Sticking tape on a frosted glass makes it see through. Air and glass have a very different refractive index, so if you have a rough glass surface, the incoming light is scattered in all directions, thus blurring the image you see through it.
Tape has a similar refractive index as glass, so if you stick it to frosted glass, the sticky material will fill out the little bumps in the glass. The non-sticky side is practically flat, so by sticking tape to the frosted side of glass that’s frosted on one side, you are essentially making it flat again, and making the glass clear. 


(Image caption: Calcium imaging of neurons in a rat hippocampal slice through transparent graphene electrode. Black square at the center is transparent graphene electrode and neurons are shown in green. Yellow traces shows a representative example of electrophysiological recordings with graphene electrode. Credit: Hajime Takano and Duygu Kuzum)
See-Through, One-Atom-Thick, Carbon Electrodes are a Powerful Tool for Studying Epilepsy, Other Brain Disorders
Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine and School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have used graphene — a two-dimensional form of carbon only one atom thick — to fabricate a new type of microelectrode that solves a major problem for investigators looking to understand the intricate circuitry of the brain.
Pinning down the details of how individual neural circuits operate in epilepsy and other neurological disorders requires real-time observation of their locations, firing patterns, and other factors, using high-resolution optical imaging and electrophysiological recording. But traditional metallic microelectrodes are opaque and block the clinician’s view and create shadows that can obscure important details. In the past, researchers could obtain either high-resolution optical images or electrophysiological data, but not both at the same time.
The Center for NeuroEngineering and Therapeutics (CNT), under the leadership of senior author Brian Litt, PhD, has solved this problem with the development of a completely transparent graphene microelectrode that allows for simultaneous optical imaging and electrophysiological recordings of neural circuits. Their work was published this week in Nature Communications.
"There are technologies that can give very high spatial resolution such as calcium imaging; there are technologies that can give high temporal resolution, such as electrophysiology, but there’s no single technology that can provide both," says study co-first-author Duygu Kuzum, PhD. Along with co-author Hajime Takano, PhD, and their colleagues, Kuzum notes that the team developed a neuroelectrode technology based on graphene to achieve high spatial and temporal resolution simultaneously.  
Aside from the obvious benefits of its transparency, graphene offers other advantages: “It can act as an anti-corrosive for metal surfaces to eliminate all corrosive electrochemical reactions in tissues,” Kuzum says. “It’s also inherently a low-noise material, which is important in neural recording because we try to get a high signal-to-noise ratio.”          
While previous efforts have been made to construct transparent electrodes using indium tin oxide, they are expensive and highly brittle, making that substance ill-suited for microelectrode arrays. “Another advantage of graphene is that it’s flexible, so we can make very thin, flexible electrodes that can hug the neural tissue,” Kuzum notes.
In the study, Litt, Kuzum, and their colleagues performed calcium imaging of hippocampal slices in a rat model with both confocal and two-photon microscopy, while also conducting electrophysiological recordings. On an individual cell level, they were able to observe temporal details of seizures and seizure-like activity with very high resolution. The team also notes that the single-electrode techniques used in the Nature Communications study could be easily adapted to study other larger areas of the brain with more expansive arrays.
The graphene microelectrodes developed could have wider application. “They can be used in any application that we need to record electrical signals, such as cardiac pacemakers or peripheral nervous system stimulators,” says Kuzum. Because of graphene’s nonmagnetic and anti-corrosive properties, these probes “can also be a very promising technology to increase the longevity of neural implants.” Graphene’s nonmagnetic characteristics also allow for safe, artifact-free MRI reading, unlike metallic implants.
Kuzum emphasizes that the transparent graphene microelectrode technology was achieved through an interdisciplinary effort of CNT and the departments of Neuroscience, Pediatrics, and Materials Science at Penn and the division of Neurology at CHOP.
Ertugrul Cubukcu’s lab at Materials Science and Engineering Department helped with the graphene processing technology used in fabricating flexible transparent neural electrodes, as well as performing optical and materials characterization in collaboration with Euijae Shim and Jason Reed. The simultaneous imaging and recording experiments involving calcium imaging with confocal and two photon microscopy was performed at Douglas Coulter‘s Lab at CHOP with Hajime Takano.  In vivo recording experiments were performed in collaboration with Halvor Juul in Marc Dichter’s Lab. Somatosensory stimulation response experiments were done in collaboration with Timothy Lucas’s Lab, Julius De Vries, and Andrew Richardson.
As the technology is further developed and used, Kuzum and her colleagues expect to gain greater insight into how the physiology of the brain can go awry. “It can provide information on neural circuits, which wasn’t available before, because we didn’t have the technology to probe them,” she says. That information may include the identification of specific marker waveforms of brain electrical activity that can be mapped spatially and temporally to individual neural circuits. “We can also look at other neurological disorders and try to understand the correlation between different neural circuits using this technique,” she says.
Anonymous: I want to help with your post, but I'm a little lost as to what the actual question is sorry ><

Thanks for wanting to help! It’s not a question per se, just asking for input about writing. On one hand, I think it might help me feel like I can do something again, but on the other, it’s completely impractical and if I have time and energy and drive, I have work, school, and a place of my own (chores and stuff) that I actually need to do. I’m at a place where I’m unsure if it’s a worthwhile time investment, and I’m asking I guess for input. What do you think? Should I just keep trying to do what is necessary even if I feel like I’m not actually able to do it, or should I take time and see if I can increase my feelings of self-efficacy doing things that are otherwise a waste of time?


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Can I get your guys’ input for a minute?

So, not going to sugar coat it- the last couple weeks I have been fighting back some major depression. My official diagnosis from last spring was major depressive disorder, severe, recurrent. I’m pretty good at telling when I’m getting bad again, and yeah, it’s beginning.

I know my patterns well after 10ish years- it happens in the fall to spring, but only about every other year is it super bad and debilitating. That one is pretty much always constant. It doesn’t just go away in the summer, but it’s a lot better usually, with far fewer bad days, and while I know there is SAD which is linked to sunlight and vitamin D production, to me, it feels more linked to the weather and temperature. The winters that “aren’t so bad” may just be the winters that don’t get as cold and snowy.

But for some reason, here in Helena for the past over 3 years of my life, the pattern feels different, so I’ve been trying to figure out why and how. Usually things don’t get this bad until November, and I didn’t really start feeling better from last winter until April, and then probably because of my unstable housing arrangement, it didn’t really ever right itself the way it usually does.

Anyway, trying to think of why this may be has kinda stumped me. But the one thing I do feel, and I think it’s big: I feel trapped in a career path I’m scared I can’t make work with my illness and general oddities. While I’ve only been officially diagnosed with MDD, I suspect issues with anxiety as well, seeing how I nearly break down when I’m around people.

I’m not as bad as I was last winter, depression wise, and I don’t think I will be given my usual patterns, but even if I can predict them, it interrupts school and daily functioning to where I don’t think my professors can really give me good recommendation levels, and I feel like I can’t actually DO anything. Like I don’t get to choose. I can’t be selective anymore; my life is whatever others decide. My career will depend upon who admits me to the school and who hires me, and lately it seems that is at a large disconnect from my potential, and that is scary to me.

Even when I was severely depressed in high school, I could stay up on school and found solace in it- I don’t did that solace now. It’s like I’m not doing anything I love. My brain isn’t stimulated. It’s half memorizing, which when I get like this is nearly impossible, and the other half just discouraging. One bad day means that material I miss WILL be in the exam. I feel more punished for my actions than loved, like professors just want to “teach me to come to class” instead of understanding that some days I literally just can’t, and I recognize that poses serious problems for future employment too, but the main thing I’m getting at here is that I feel hopeless when it comes to my main dreams.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking maybe I will get back to writing. Not having time frames and people pushing expectations on me may help me regain some feeling of efficacy in life.

The only issue really is, I don’t know if I have any time. With school and work and physical therapy and my own place I’m trying to keep up on, I don’t really have TIME. I have breaks, but always something more to do. Even in perfect days where it doesn’t take me an hour to get up, there’s always more to do.

So idk. Thoughts? Please?

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My Guide to Cooking Amazing Tofu
As a single ingredient, tofu has a lot to offer and it’s worth learning how to cook it well. I’ve gathered together all of my tofu recipes, tutorials, tips, and tricks together into this all-inclusive tofu resource.  You’ll be enjoying amazing tofu dishes in no time!
Why do you need to learn how to cook tofu?
It’s high in protein (13g/serving)
A source of calcium and iron
Mild in flavour making it ideal for marinades
Versatile – it can be baked, sautéed, fried, grilled, you name it!
Quick and easy to prepare – it can be flavoured and prepared in as little as 10 minutes
Very cost effective, 1 block ($2.27) = 4 servings ($0.57/serving)
Tofu has some awesome health benefits too! Studies have shown that eating tofu can help to lower bad cholesterol, and 25g of soy protein per day may reduce the risk of heart disease (in combination with a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.) Check the label and look for non-GMO tofu.
4 Part Tofu Tutorial:
Types of Tofu
Draining and Preparing Tofu
Marinating Tofu {includes 3 easy marinades}
Cooking Tofu {Baking &amp; Sautéing}
My first post on preparing tofu: How to Prepare Tofu
Tofu Recipes {Mostly Gluten/Nut-free}:
Vegan Spinach &amp; Mushroom Mini Quiches – Gluten-free, Nut-free optional
Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Wrap – Nut-free
Scrambled Tofu – Gluten-free, Nut-free
Vegan Breakfast Sandwich – Nut-free
Lunch &amp; Dinner:
**Spinach, Avocado, Brown Rice and Seasoned Baked Tofu Salad – Gluten-free, Nut-free
**Burrito Bowl with Salsa Baked Tofu &amp; Chili Lime Kale – Gluten-free, Nut-free
Coconut Curry with Tofu &amp; Brown Rice – Gluten-free
Smoky Maple Tofu Sandwich – Nut-free
Almond Crusted Tofu
Salsa Baked Tofu – Gluten-free, Nut-free
**Tofu Vegetable Noodle Soup {Version 1 – Nut-free} {Version 2 – GF/Nut-free}
Taco Salad with Salsa Baked Tofu – Gluten-free, Nut-free
**Baked Sriracha &amp; Soy Sauce Tofu + 2 Quick &amp; Easy Recipes – Gluten-free, Nut-free
Spinach Avocado &amp; Marinated Tofu Salad
**good recipes to try if you’ve never eaten tofu.
Sides &amp; Multi-Purpose:
Baked Sriracha &amp; Soy Sauce Tofu - Gluten-free, Nut-free
Salsa Baked Tofu - Gluten-free, Nut-free
Asian Marinated Tofu
Read the full post here.
Allergen Disclaimer: Many of these recipes will be Gluten/Nut-free optional with simple substitutions to fit in with your dietary requirements. If you’re making food for someone with a food allergy or other dietary requirement, always make sure to show them the recipe and ingredients BEFORE you start cooking!


I’ve started watching Melissa and Joey on Netflix (I used to LOVE Sabrina the Teenage Witch…), and while I like the show, my favorite part is how there isn’t a long, annoying “theme song.” It’s literally just her and Joey standing back to back while there’s a short sing-songy “I guess you’re stuck with me” sentence. Two seconds. That’s it. Not two minutes. It is GLORIOUS.

I take that back.
Apparently this is the first episode with a theme song.

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I’ve started watching Melissa and Joey on Netflix (I used to LOVE Sabrina the Teenage Witch…), and while I like the show, my favorite part is how there isn’t a long, annoying “theme song.” It’s literally just her and Joey standing back to back while there’s a short sing-songy “I guess you’re stuck with me” sentence. Two seconds. That’s it. Not two minutes. It is GLORIOUS.

6 notes


omg yes