After providing all the funding for The Brain from Top to Bottom for over 10 years, the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction informed us that because of budget cuts, they were going to be forced to stop sponsoring us as of March 31st, 2013.

We have approached a number of organizations, all of which have recognized the value of our work. But we have not managed to find the funding we need. We must therefore ask our readers for donations so that we can continue updating and adding new content to The Brain from Top to Bottom web site and blog.

Please, rest assured that we are doing our utmost to continue our mission of providing the general public with the best possible information about the brain and neuroscience in the original spirit of the Internet: the desire to share information free of charge and with no adverstising.

Whether your support is moral, financial, or both, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Bruno Dubuc, Patrick Robert, Denis Paquet, and Al Daigen




Wednesday, 22 May 2013
Links on Pleasure and Drugs

This week, as I have before in this blog, I am posting a set of new links to other web sites that discuss a subject covered in The Brain from Top to Bottom. For each link, I also provide a brief description of the relevant article or other content on the site in question.

The subject this week is the sub-topic “Pleasure and Drugs” under the topic “Pleasure and Pain”, and the sites in question all provide insights into the way that various drugs affect our brains. As you see, the first two sites deal with alcohol. It is worth remembering that however legal alcohol may be, it too is a psychoactive substance—in other words, a drug.

Molecular Level

i_lien Intoxicating Studies: The Effects of Alcohol on Social Behavior

Psychologists examine how alcohol affects our behaviour when we philosophize, flirt, post graffiti, etc.

i_lien Booze and our brains.

In addition to its effects on the brain’s neurons, alcohol also apparently affects the brain’s immune cells, through their TLR4 receptors.

i_lien Chocolate cravings and the menstrual cycle

Like a number of other aspects of their lives, the strong craving that some women experience for chocolate may be influenced by their hormonal cycle.

i_lien COGNITIVE ENHANCEMENT

People consume “psychostimulant” drinks and other forms of “speed”, such as the nicotine in tobacco, to improve their concentration, among other reasons. But as with any other drug, this “cognitive improvement” comes at the cost of inevitable side effects.

a_exp Perinatal Caffeine, Acting on Maternal Adenosine A1 Receptors, Causes Long-Lasting Behavioral Changes in Mouse Offspring

Pregnant mice who were given modest doses of caffeine gave birth to offspring that, as adults, exhibited increased locomotor activity.

Psychological Level

i_lien Drogues et dépendances

A French-language general portal to content about drug consumption, drug dependency, risk factors, and protection factors.

i_lien Undoing cocaine’s consequences

A rich, stimulating environment has a beneficial effect on people with substance dependencies, even when these dependencies are well established.

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