Brain reward molecule helps learning to avoid unpleasant experience too

first_imgSpecial neurons in the brain send out a burst of dopamine in both negative and positive situations. However, the exact way in which dopamine neurons are wired and connected to the brain center called the hippocampus remains controversial among neuroscientists. Knowing exactly how the neurotransmitter dopamine shapes memory and behavior in association with an event or the surrounding environment is important to better understand such conditions as post-traumatic stress syndrome.“We showed in mice that a special circuit in the hippocampus has flexibility in combining with environmental input to shape behavior during an experiment in which the mice learn to avoid an unpleasant experience,” Dani said. “This is the first time that we have been able to show, as proof of principle, that the dopamine circuitry is also involved in learning to avoid aversive situations. ”Prevailing QuestionsIn previous animal experiments, when mice experience an unexpected reward, for example discovering a tube in which they can obtain a sugar-water treat, a burst of dopamine is emitted in the brain. The debate among neuroscientists centers on whether the neurotransmitter only shapes behavior when an animal is receiving a positive reward or if the neurotransmitter is also involved in shaping the way an animal learns how to avoid an uncomfortable situation.The team found that if the mice encounter an negative stimuli, a subgroup of neurons fires and releases dopamine in conjunction with the aversive environmental input. They also showed that when the dopamine signal to the hippocampus is chemically blocked in the mice, it prevents them from learning to avoid the negative stimulus. However, if the dopamine signal is chemically boosted in the mice, they remember to avoid the aversive event longer.“The bottom line of our study is that dopamine plays a role in both conditions, and that dopamine enables mice to learn and remember to avoid the negative situation, in this case avoid a light foot shock in one room of a two-room enclosure.” Share on Facebook LinkedIn Share Pinterestcenter_img Share on Twitter Email The brain chemical dopamine regulates how mice learn to avoid a disagreeable encounter, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.“We know that dopamine reinforces ‘rewarding’ behaviors, but to our surprise, we have now shown that situations that animals learn to avoid are also regulated by dopamine,” said senior author John Dani, PhD, chair of the department of Neuroscience.The team’s findings are published this month in Cell Reports.last_img read more

SRA preparing rules on forcing law firms to publish prices

first_imgRules for firms on publishing price information could be unveiled as soon as this summer, the Solicitors Regulation Authority confirmed today. The regulator says it will respond quickly to the request from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for more transparency in the legal services market. The CMA said regulators and firms should do more to satisfy unmet demand for legal services.The CMA, which published the findings of its year-long study into the market last month, has said it will revisit the sector in three years to see what progress has been made.Crispin Passmore, executive director of policy at the SRA, told the Westminster Legal Policy Forum today that a consultation on new rules is likely to start this summer.‘Price transparency will happen in the time the CMA put out [the update],’ he said. ‘We are not going to say all law firms must publish every price… You can discuss which areas it might be, evaluate it, work with behavioural scientists and develop it over a period of time.’ Crispin PassmoreHe added that initial requirements may be to publish prices for three or four areas of work, including some family law work and will-writing.The principle of forcing firms to publish this information met with scepticism from speakers at the forum. Sally Azarmi, founder of Azarmi & Co and chair of the Law Society’s small firms division, said the idea was ‘simply not practical’.Professor Cosmo Graham, director of the Centre for Consumers and Essential Services at the University of Leicester, doubted whether regulators were capable of coming up with a set of rules to satisfy the CMA.‘They are asking a bunch of regulators to work together – that is very difficult given the differences in scale,’ he said. ‘I am not sure the recommendations as put forward will make the difference. More information on its own doesn’t necessarily lead to better outcomes for consumers. It is the problem of choice overload which is particularly when you have complex problems and a lack of expertise.’The proposals were also questioned by Daniel van Binsbergen, chief executive of Lexoo, a business which runs an online platform giving clients a choice of lawyers to instruct based on reviews and price.Van Binsbergen said consumers are keen to know more about providers’ costs, but forcing firms to embrace transparency was the wrong way to facilitate that.‘It is not necessary to force lawyers to provide pricing up front as long as there is an environment which companies can operate and offer transparent services. As soon as clients get used to that level there will be a complete shift. I am in favour of the market solving that instead of lawyers coming up with very difficult [cost] grids.’last_img read more

Montserrat launches online visa application system

first_img Sharing is caring! NewsRegional Montserrat launches online visa application system by: – September 1, 2012 Photo credit: gov.msBRADES, Montserrat (GIU) — The government of Montserrat has achieved one of its major reform milestones with the announcement that, from September 1, visa applications can be processed online. The Department for Information Technology and eGovernment Services (DITES) spearheaded the project in collaboration with the Immigration Department to establish MOVA, the Montserrat Online Visa Application system. Travellers from countries that require a visa to travel to Montserrat will be able to go online and complete the process of applying for a visa. Once the visa is approved, an electronic visa will be issued to the applicant via email in PDF format. The online visa processing requires a US$50 transaction fee for each visa application.Director of DITES Denzil West said, “Effective Saturday 1 September 2012, all applications for a visa to enter Montserrat should be made via MOVA on www.immigration.ms.” He added that plans are already in progress to expand MOVA to include a number of other immigration and work permit related transactions via the Internet.Premier Reuben Meade welcomed the announcement and the progress being made to fulfil his commitment to offering more of government’s services online to facilitate easier transactions for those living at home and abroad. “This opens the door for the payments of property taxes, income taxes online.”The implementation of MOVA was managed by the Department of Information Technology and e-Government Services; with the design and coding outsourced to a Montserrat based IT start-up company LavaBits.MOVA is the first government application to be able to accept online payments via credit cards. This application is expected to be the first of a number of eGovernment applications through which the public will be able to access and pay for services online.ASYCUDA which was launched online last year is highly utilised and successful but does not have e-payment facilities as yet. The Montserrat Land Information System, being developed by the Physical Planning Unit in conjunction with LavaBits and supported by DITES will be available online within the next few months; this application will also have e-payment facilities.The complete listing of the countries that require a visa to travel to Montserrat is available on the website. Caribbean News Now Share 31 Views   no discussionscenter_img Share Share Tweetlast_img read more

Reese Dismukes, Gabe Wright to play in Senior Bowl

first_imgAUBURN — Reese Dismukes and Gabe Wright will play in 2015 Senior Bowl in January.The Auburn captains were among 16 players announced on Monday, bringing the current list of invitees to 41 of the 110 players that will compete in the annual game.Dismukes, a four-year starter and two-year captain, is one of six semifinalists for the Outland Trophy and a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award.A native of Spanish Fort, Dismukes will have a homecoming similar to former Auburn fullback and UMS-Wright product Jay Prosch last year.“We are thrilled to bring back one of our local products for the Reese’s Senior Bowl and Reese has represented Spanish Fort very well at Auburn as a four-year starter,” Reese’s Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage said in a statement.Wright, a preseason all-SEC selection and member of the Nagurski and Outland watch lists, has 22 tackles, with four for loss, a sack and 10 hurries this season.Practices for the 2015 Senior Bowl are scheduled to begin on Jan. 20 and the game is set to kickoff at 3 p.m. CT on Jan. 24 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile.last_img read more