Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's what I do

When I’m not writing lectures, giving lectures, grading papers, reading, writing, or meeting with students, I’m counting. Counting sounds like an easy task, right? I mean it is just numbers. When people call/email me while I’m at work & ask me what I’m doing and I say that I’m counting, this is what I’m staring at under the microscope……for hooooouuuurrrrrsssss. I have a love-hate relationship with these little brown dots. These “dots” by the way, are neural markers of resiliency and plasticity upregulated with the onset of chronic stress (yes, this is my inner nerd coming out).
A region of the brain associated with learning and memory, known as the hippocampus
And now for a "close-up"
A region of the brain associated with emotion, known as the amygdala
Up close and personal with cells in the amygdala

6 comments:

The Boyer's Brigade said...

Very interesting...thanks for filling my afternoon with a little bit of science that I love :)

Phil and Darby Hawley said...

haha no problem! Glad you're a science person like me :-)

Anne said...

Is it possible to have too many black dots?

Phil and Darby Hawley said...

Funny you should ask that.....scientifically no, there can never be too many, but as the Researcher who has to sit and count, YES!

Anne said...

HAHA, well I was thinking maybe I had too many in the emotion area. I'm a crier. J. thinks its hilarious because commercials or songs will make me tear-up... I'll have to tell him I'm normal per you. :)

Phil and Darby Hawley said...

Anne- Actually this brain region is specifically involved in emotions associated with fear and anxiety, and those black dots are a natural occurring chemical associated with resiliency and the ability to adapt. So unless you cry bc you’re super fearful of J. and trying to adapt (which I truly hope you’re not), this wouldn’t apply to your question. However, I would recommend picking up “His brain, her brain” by Walt and Barb Larimore. From a religious perspective it describes the scientifically correct neuroanatomical differences in the male and female brain which attribute to the differences in behaviors (i.e. crying over Hallmark commercials). From the neurological perspective we really are designed differently from men, but I like that view in conjunction with the positive religious perspective stating that we were made to be different to serve different purposes.

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