September 25, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010
Concordia University has published new research in the popular journal, Brain and Cognition, demonstrating that high levels of estrogen, such as those found during the female ovulation period, has an affect on attention and learning.
"Although estrogen is known to play a significant role in learning and memory, there has been no clear consensus on its effect," says senior author Wayne Brake, an associate professor at Concordia's Center for Studies in Behavioural Neurobiology. "Our findings, using a well-established model of learning called latent inhibition, shows conclusively that high estrogen levels inhibit the cognitive ability in female rodents."
Findings in this study resulted from experiments on the latent inhibition of rats. Latent inhibition is a term derived from Classical conditioning. It occurs when a subject takes longer to give meaning to a stimulus that had no previous significance than it would when associated with a new stimulus. It is a natural tendency to disregard or inhibit forming a memory by preventing associative learning of a stimulus with no associated consequence. It is an unconscious response and presumed to prevent sensory overload. “Latent inhibition is observed in many species, and is believed to be an integral part of learning, enabling an organism to interact successfully in an environment.”

The research team discovered that estrogen has a direct effect on the brain. In their experiment, rats were repeatedly exposed to a specific tone that had no consequence linked to it. After some exposure rats began ignoring the tone because they were used to it. The researchers then linked the tone with a different stimulus. Results showed that rats with higher levels of estrogen took much longer to form the association than rats with low levels of estrogen.
"We only observed this effect in adult female rats," says Brake. "This and our other findings indicate that estrogen directly effects the brain, perhaps by interfering with brain signaling molecules. Our study helps clear up the controversy about the effects of estrogen, the next step is to look at how this occurs."
Can't Focus? Maybe It's the Wrong Time of Month, Finds Estrogen Study on Attention and Learning
Latent inhibition

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September 11, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It estimated that as many as 70,000 people in New York could be suffering from PTSD because of the attacks on the World Trade Centre seven years ago today. Health officials have determined that more than 400,000 people were exposed to the tragedy on September 11, 2001. Recent data suggests that, of those who experienced the atrocity, 35,000 to 70,000 may have developed PTSD and 3,800 to 12,600 may have developed asthma. There are 71,437 people on the health registry who agreed to be monitored for up to 20 years since the disaster. "Half of those surveyed said they were in the dust cloud left by the collapsing towers, 70 per cent witnessed a traumatic sight – such as a plane hitting a tower or falling bodies – and 13 per cent were injured that day". Of the endless list of rescue and recovery workers, commuters, area workers, Lower Manhattan residents, and passersby, PTSD was highest among those who had sustained injuries (35%), followed by those with low-income (31%), and Hispanic (30%) respondents. Read More

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I have an educational background is in Psychology and Sociology. In addition, I have worked with many diverse individuals of all ages, with varying degrees of mental and/or physical illness. I enjoy following current news and research that impacts my area of expertise.

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