Sunday, March 19, 2017

Week 7

I found the Ayhan et al. paper really enjoyable and interesting. At my last co-op my project used optogenetics to manipulate parvalbumin interneurons in the visual cortex which acted in an inhibitory manner. I'm always interested to see how this class of interneurons acts in other areas of the brain and in terms of other behaviors. I really like the Dox techniques used to determine the influence of mutant hDISC1 present at various developmental periods. I do wonder why there is a discrepancy between the start/end period of Dox for the post and pre groups - why take the pre mice off Dox at E12 while post mice don't start receiving Dox until E17. It would make more sense to me to have the start and end day either the same or within a day of the other to make sure and not exclude parts of development. I would definitely be interested in further experiments to determine more specific sex differences. I'm not familiar enough with schizophrenia to be know much about behavioral gender differences; but I think trying to relate brain activity and morphology sex differences with potential corresponding behavioral differences would be a good way to advance the understanding of schizophrenia.

After reading Brain on Fire I was excited to read more about NMDA and how it can influence the symptoms found in the NMDA autoimmune disorders and schizophrenia. I also really appreciate that after the countless times I've heard the "nature vs nurture" debate, this paper actually addresses that concept directly with its paradigm. I've read about environmental enrichment before with therapies, and I thought this application was a creative way to analyze potential predisposing nurture factors for schizophrenia.

I like that the papers we've read have encompassed a variety of models, approaches and neural circuits and chemicals involved in schizophrenia. I'm still having trouble trying to come to terms with which is the best model for schizophrenia out of what we currently have as options. Schizophrenia itself is just so complex and includes so many neurobiological and behavioral alterations that it's hard to figure out what the best way to start unraveling it really is. I still think that schizophrenia is extremely interesting, but I feel that I have a more realistic idea of how difficult of a condition it is to tackle scientifically; especially in terms of just having a reliable and representative model to manipulate.

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