My father’s brain is missing  

Not my father's brain
Not my father’s brain

Certain that years of meds, scotch, steak and surliness had gotten to my Mad Men-era dad, we agreed to donate his brain to Harvard. He came up clean – not a trace of damage or plaque.

The findings are actually missing, not the samples.

The Boston Globe reports:

McLean Hospital said Tuesday that information about 12,600 people who donated their brains to research has gone missing. McLean, a psychiatric hospital in Belmont owned by Partners HealthCare, said most of the people affected are deceased. The others are people who have committed to donating their brain tissue to medical research upon their death. Some family members of brain donors also were affected.

The hospital said four backup data tapes at its Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center went missing on May 29. These tapes contained private information, including names, dates of birth, diagnoses, and some Social Security numbers. The tapes, which are unencrypted, were never found.

Memory altering research the stuff of sci-fi, cinema and Sherlock

In the BBC’s Sherlock, the title character –played by Benedict Cumberbatch — often resorts to his “mind palace” to piece together nebulous memories.

In the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a character played by Kate Winslet goes to a clinic to get  painful memories of a relationship erased.

.photoA bit of a stretch, but add Frank Booth’s gas sniffing psycho from the film Blue Velvet, and you pretty much find nods to all the research Carolyn Y. Johnson talks about in her Globe column this morning. 

In research published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, McLean Hospital researchers took rats that had learned to fear a tone because it was followed by a foot shock and erased the negative memory, by having them breathe xenon gas. In a separate study, Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists reported in the journal Nature they were able to use cutting-edge genetic tools to alter the emotional context of a memory, allowing them to replace the negative memory of receiving a mild electric shock with the pleasurable one of mingling with mice of the opposite sex.

That adds to a body of research from MIT over recent years that has shown that administering a drug can wipe out a negative memory in mice, or that it is possible to trigger an existing memory or plant a false one using genetic manipulation.

 

 

#Boston medical and health events: #Gun violence, #neuroscience and the #quantified self

The neuroscience events are technical, but the event on gun violence is rooted in the real world and available via a live stream. Also take note of a meet-up of the quantified self  crowd

  • QSBoston Quantified Self Show&Tell #11 (Cambridge Innovation Center) Tuesday, January 8, 2013 6:00 PM Cambridge Innovation Center 5th Floor – Havana Training Room, Cambridge, MA(map)

Please come join us for another fun night of self-tracking presentations, sharing ideas, and showing tools. If you are self-tracking in any way — health stats, biofeedback, life-logging, mood monitoring, biometrics, athletics, etc. — come and share your methods, results and insight. 6:00 -7:00 pm SOCIAL HOUR AND NETWORKING

Come early, connect with others and share your interest in QS. We’ll have healthy refreshments to get us started.

7:00 – 8:00 pm QS SHOW & TELL TALKSIf you’d like to talk about your personal self-tracking story, please let us know in your RSVP or write Joshua at [masked]. In your talk, you should answer the three prime questions: What did you do? How did you do it? What did you learn?If you’ve never been to a meetup before, you can get a sense of what the talks are like from watching videos of previous QS talks. Talk to the speakers, chat with new and old friends, ask other people what they’re tracking, and generally hang out and have a great time.

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  • Obsessive compulsive & related disorders lectures

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Affiliate of the International OCD Foundation
McLean Hospital, De Marneffe Cafeteria Building, Room 132
Belmont, MA 02478
(Directions)

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  • Neuroscience:

Mon Jan 7 12:00 pm

Lee Goldstein (Boston University School of Medicine). Blast Neurotrauma andChronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Humans and a Murine Model. Center forBrain/Mind Medicine Seminar Series, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Carrie Hall, 15Francis Street, Boston.MonJan 712:15 pm

Christopher Cowan (Harvard Medical School). Molecular Mechanisms of Synapse
Elimination: Implications for Drug Abuse, Fragile X Syndrome and Autism.
HMS/CHB Neurobiology Seminar Series. Children’s Hospital, Folkman Auditorium,
Enders Building, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston.

Wed
Jan 9
12:30 pm

Tamara King (University of New England). Preclinical assessment of the
affective dimensions of bone pain. Brigham and Women’s Hospital, CWN-L1 Lecture
Hall, 75 Francis Street, Boston.