Multiple sclerosis and thermoregulatory control

June 7, 2017

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, disrupting autonomic function. The progressive loss of adequate neural conduction in MS has been shown to cause a wide range of symptomatology, with many patients experiencing a profound heat intolerance known as Uhthoff’s phenomenon. Yet little progress has been made in regards to understanding the effect of MS on the control of thermoregulatory reflex responses, such as skin blood flow and sweating. In this podcast, Editor-in-Chief Bill Yates (University of Pittsburgh) and content expert Matthew Muller (Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute) talk with authors Scott Davis (Southern Methodist University) and Dustin Allen (Southern Methodist University) about their work examining the reflex control of thermoregulatory responses to a passive heat stress in individuals with MS. What are some of the challenges facing these types of studies, and what are the next steps to advance this area of research? Listen and find out.

Impaired sweating responses to a passive whole-body heat stress in individuals with multiple sclerosis
Dustin R. Allen, Mu Huang, Iqra M. Parupia, Ariana R. Dubelko, Elliot M. Frohman, Scott L. Davis
Journal of Neurophysiology, published online March 8, 2017. DOI: 10.1152/jn.00897.2016.


Fitness and the cortical response to autonomic challenge

May 5, 2017

Age-related cognitive and neural decline begins in healthy adults in the third decade of life and continues throughout advanced aging. Developing support strategies to prevent declines in brain health and achieve a better quality of life in later years requires identification of the cortical sites and patterns of these age-related neurological changes. In this podcast, Editor-in-Chief Bill Yates (University of Pittsburgh) and Associate Editor Sean Stocker (University of Pittsburgh) talk with author Katelyn Wood (University of Western Ontario) about some of the surprising findings in this study exploring the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and forebrain circuitry associated with cardiovascular control. What does this study tell us about the impact of cardiorespiratory fitness on cardiac and neural responses in healthy, middle- to older-aged adults? Listen and find out.

High cardiorespiratory fitness in early to late middle age preserves the cortical circuitry associated with brain-heart integration during volitional exercise
Katelyn N. Wood, Torri A. Luchyshyn, J. Kevin Shoemaker
Journal of Neurophysiology, published online April 1, 2017. DOI: 10.1152/jn.00592.2016 .


Voltage-gated sodium channel expression in muscle spindles

April 6, 2017

Our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying signaling of mechanical stimuli by muscle spindles is incomplete. In particular, the ionic conductances that sustain tonic firing during static muscle stretch are unknown. In this podcast, Editor-in-Chief Bill Yates (University of Pittsburgh) talks with researchers Tim Cope (Georgia Institute of Technology) and Dario Carrasco (Georgia Institute of Technology) about their work looking at the distribution of voltage-gated sodium channels in primary sensory endings of mammalian muscle spindles. Is it possible that voltage-gated sodium channels contribute to multiple steps in sensory signaling by muscle spindles? What do their findings tell us and where will they lead to next? Listen and find out.

Distribution of TTX-sensitive voltage-gated sodium channels in primary sensory endings of mammalian muscle spindles
Dario Ivan Carrasco, Jacob A. Vincent, Timothy C. Cope
Journal of Neurophysiology, published online January 25, 2017. DOI: 10.1152/jn.00889.2016 .


Can what we hear affect our sense of touch?

March 23, 2017

Our ability to process the number of events over time, so-called temporal frequency information, allows us to discriminate surface textures by touch or listen to a conversation in a noisy environment. Studies have actually shown that sounds can alter our detection of vibrations and even our subjective experience of textures. How does what we are hearing affect our brain's ability to understand what our hands are feeling? In this podcast, Editor-in-Chief Bill Yates (University of Pittsburgh), Associate Editor Christos Constantinidis (Wake Forest University), and content expert Carmel Levitan (Occidental College) talk with author Jeff Yau (Baylor College of Medicine) about his work investigating auditory adaptation and tactile frequency perception. Could it be that the neural circuits supporting tactile frequency perception also process auditory signals? Listen and find out.

Auditory adaptation improves tactile frequency perception
Lexi E. Crommett, Alexis Pérez-Bellido, Jeffrey M. Yau
Journal of Neurophysiology, published online January 11, 2017. DOI: 10.1152/jn.00783.2016 .



Thermoregulation and Thermal Sensitivity in Humans

February 14, 2017

In this podcast, Editor-in-Chief Bill Yates (University of Pittsburgh) talks with Davide Filingeri (Loughborough University, UK) about his research into understanding how the human body interacts with our surrounding thermal environments, both physiologically (e.g. body temperature regulation) and perceptually (e.g. perception of temperature, wetness, touch and pain), and on how neurological diseases (e.g. Multiple Sclerosis) alter these physiological functions.

Characteristics of the local cutaneous sensory thermo-neutral zone
Davide Filingeri, Hui Zhang, Edward A. Arens
Journal of Neurophysiology, published online February 1, 2017. DOI: 10.1152/jn.00845.2016 .



Caveolin-1 Regulates Gene Associated with Schizophrenia

February 6, 2017

Schizophrenia is a debilitating psychiatric disorder that manifests in early adulthood. Disrupted-in-schizophrenia-1 (DISC1), a susceptible gene for schizophrenia implicated in neuronal development, brain maturation, and neuroplasticity, is a promising candidate gene for schizophrenia, but the molecular mechanisms underlying its role in the pathogenesis of the disease are still poorly understood. In this podcast, Editor-in-Chief Bill Yates (University of Pittsburgh) and Associate Editor Sean Stocker (University of Pittsburgh) talk with author Brian Head (VA San Diego and University of California, San Diego) about the role of caveolin-1, a cholesterol binding and scaffolding protein that regulates neuronal signal transduction and promotes neuroplasticity, in mediating DISC1 expression in neurons in vitro and the hippocampus in vivo. Could this work lead to new treatments for schizophrenia? Listen and find out.

Caveolin-1 regulation of disrupted-in-schizophrenia-1 as a potential therapeutic target for schizophrenia
Adam Kassan, Junji Egawa, Zheng Zhang, Angels Almenar-Queralt, Quynh My Nguyen, Yasaman Lajevardi, Kaitlyn Kim, Edmund Posadas, Dilip V. Jeste, David M. Roth, Piyush M. Patel, Hemal H. Patel, Brian P. Head
Journal of Neurophysiology, published online November 2, 2016. DOI: 10.1152/jn.00481.2016 .



Aging Effects of Neural Processing of Speech in Noise

November 8, 2016

Humans have a remarkable ability to track and understand speech in unfavorable conditions, such as in background noise, but this ability to understand speech in noise deteriorates with age. In this podcast, Editor-in-Chief Bill Yates (University of Pittsburgh), Associate Editor Conny Kopp-Schienpflug (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), and content expert Gregg Recanzone (UC Davis) talk with authors Alessandro Presacco (University of California, Irvine), Jonathan Simon (University of Maryland), and Samira Anderson (University of Maryland) about their investigation into how aging affects midbrain and cortical encoding of speech when presented in quiet and in the presence of a single competing talker. What do the results tells us about the neural mechanisms contributing to impaired speech perception in older adults? Are there pharmacological or other interventions that could help aging-related impairments in speech processing? Listen and find out.

Evidence of degraded representation of speech in noise, in the aging midbrain and cortex
Alessandro Presacco, Jonathan Z. Simon, Samira Anderson
Journal of Neurophysiology, published online August 17, 2016. DOI: 10.1152/jn.00372.2016 .


The Neural Mechanisms of Decision Making

September 19, 2016

Associate Editors Michele A. Basso (University of California, Los Angeles) and Dan M. Merfeld (Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School) summarize their contributions to our collection of articles on the neural mechanisms related to decision making and discuss the breadth and significance of the topics covered in the collection.

Read our collection of articles on the neural mechanisms of decision making.


Development of Inhibitory Transmission in Central Circuits

September 1, 2016

Central vagal neurons receive both glycinergic and GABAergic inhibitory inputs at early postnatal timepoints, but adult vagal efferent motoneurons receive only inhibitory GABAergic synaptic inputs. This surely points to the loss of glycinergic inhibitory neurotransmission during postnatal development. But when exactly? Given the prominent role that GABAergic synaptic inputs play in regulating the excitability of vagal efferent motoneurons, this is an important question when considering the potential for developmental dysregulation of inhibitory synapse maturation. In this podcast, Editor-in-Chief Bill Yates (University of Pittsburgh) and content expert David Mendelowitz (George Washington University) talk with authors Caitlin Alannah McMenamin and Kirsteen Browning, both from Penn State College of Medicine, about their efforts to determine the critical timepoints and contributions of GABAergic versus glycinergic transmission to neurons of the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (DMV). Is this developmental transition from glycinergic to GABAergic neurotransmission unique to DMV neurons? What might the clinical significance of this change in inhibitory neurotransmission be? Listen and find out.

Developmental regulation of inhibitory synaptic currents in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus in the rat
Caitlin Alannah McMenamin, Laura Anselmi, R. Alberto Travagli, Kirsteen N. Browning
Journal of Neurophysiology, published online July 20, 2016. DOI: 10.1152/jn.00249.2016 .


What’s New at the Journal of Neurophysiology?

July 18, 2016

The monthly newsletters for the Journal of Neurophysiology are a great way to discover our latest initiatives and features. You can also find out about upcoming events and meetings. In this podcast, Editor-in-Chief, Bill Yates, discusses some of the newest initiatives of the Journal and highlights some of the more popular topics from past newsletters.

Read the July 2016 newsletter.