All posts by Michael Drew

Michael’s SFN 2010 List

Culling through the SFN abstract browser is an imperfect process.  Keyword searches can be helpful, particularly if you’re interested in a fairly specific topic, like, say, “1-bromopropane” (1 hit).  But if you’re interested in “postnatal neurogenesis” (292 hits) or “hippocampus memory” (1118 hits), make sure your scrolling finger is rested and well-fed.  Because there will be scrolling. Or you might try searching by name.  You’ll avoid delayed-onset finger soreness, but you’ll inevitably forget about so-and-so and that other guy, and -worse- you’re certain not to discover anyone new.

So you end up supplementing your name searches with some combinatorial keyword strategy.  You find some cool posters.  And then you discover that your blogging partner already found the same posters and posted about them two days ago.  So you ice your scrolling finger and post about a few cool abstracts he didn’t already mention. Continue reading Michael’s SFN 2010 List

Pattern separation: 370,000,000 papers 2050?

pubmed 2If you’ve been paying attention to the adult hippocampal neurogenesis literature at all, you noticed that “pattern separation” is gaining popularity as a research topic. A few quick searches on Pubmed confirm that a trend is indeed afoot.  For the years prior to 1999, only 15 Pubmed-indexed papers answer to the keyphrase “pattern separation.”  This number holds roughly steady through about 2003, and then it begins to take off.  As of this moment (September 24, 2010 @ 3:27pm CST), we are up to 81 papers. According to my back-of-the-envelope calculations, we are in a period of exponential growth.  Should this trend hold –and I see no signs of it abating– we can expect upwards of 370 million pattern separation papers by 2050. Can you imagine what a comprehensive exam will be like?  Your child (grandchild?) will face a stack of journal articles almost 500 miles high!  Al Gore, from atop his famous scissor lift, will inveigh against the massive deforestation wreaked by our prolific little research community.  What’s that you say? We’ll all be using iPads? Fair enough.
Continue reading Pattern separation: 370,000,000 papers 2050?

Cell Nov. 13, 2009: Adult Neurogenesis Modulates the Hippocampus-Dependent Period of Associative Fear Memory

Adult Neurogenesis Modulates the Hippocampus-Dependent Period of Associative Fear Memory

Kitamura et al. (2009) Adult Neurogenesis Modulates the Hippocampus-Dependent Period of Associative Fear Memory. Cell. 139:814-827.

It’s great to see this paper finally in print. At SFN 2008 the authors had a poster that generated a lot of excitement, at least in our circles.  And the poster was quite a sight: there was such a profusion of data that the poster poured off the easel, nearly reaching the floor. With 27 (!) supplemental figures in the final article, one has to wonder if this is the final straw that led to this article.

The authors use an ingenious approach to address an idea that has been floating around for a while: that adult neurogenesis regulates memory turnover in the hippocampus. Continue reading Cell Nov. 13, 2009: Adult Neurogenesis Modulates the Hippocampus-Dependent Period of Associative Fear Memory