Strange But True X: Fish Have Insomnia, Stanford Reports

Self knew it all along, dear blog readers:  she knew she wasn’t the only one in the world with such severe insomnia that she can go to sleep at 3 AM and be up two hours later.  Now, while browsing Stanford website (as she does about once a day), she stumbles upon this article from the Stanford Medical Center, posted 17 October.  And, since self finds it so exceedingly entertaining, she has decided to share it with dear blog readers.

Article was written by one Brian Lee.   Thank you, Brian, for providing self with the answers to such questions as:  a)  How do we know whether a fish floating motionless in a tank of water is really asleep?  and b)  Why are zebra fish better subjects for scientific study than dogs or mice?

Researchers in the School of Medicine have hooked a fish that suffers from insomnia in their quest to understand the genetics behind sleep disorders.

The findings, published in the Oct. 16 issue of the journal Public Library of Science-Biology, show that even zebrafish—a common aquarium pet—can have a genetic mutation linked to sleep problems. The work represents a milestone in sleep research by Emmanuel Mignot, MD, PhD, who also uncovered the genetic cause of narcolepsy in dogs.

Since most fish lack eyelids, many people have wondered whether fish can even nod off. The paper from Mignot’s team provides proof that they do, and that zebrafish are a powerful new animal model for studying sleep disorders.Zebrafish are all the rage among developmental biologists because compared with mice they are inexpensive to breed. And unlike cheaper fruit fly and worm models, fish have a backbone—thereby better representing the human nervous system. And their babies reveal many details because they are see-through.

Self suspects that there is one glaring typo in above article, and that is in paragraph 4, the sentence: And their babies reveal many details . . . Shouldn’t the word be bodies rather than babies, dear blog reader???

“The fact that zebrafish larvae are transparent means you can look directly at their neuronal network, even in living fish,” said Mignot, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

Mignot’s laboratory found the gene responsible for narcolepsy in Dobermans and Labradors in 1999, helping reveal how the disorder occurs in humans.

Read the rest of this entry »

Magnificence

My God, it was a gorgeous day in the San Francisco Bay Area. Self is sure that blog readers from northern California will agree. The sun was shining, rain that was predicted to arrive today never showed, and self dragged a rocking chair to the deck (hope it’s still sunny tomorrow, so that self can sit on the deck and rock away to her heart’s content) and even bought another plant: a Japanese anemone.

Now, self is perusing yet another of her journals, Alimentum. Everything in this journal is about food or eating. There’s nothing high-brow about most of the articles. Take this one, for instance, by Pappi Tomas, called “Memories of Meat.”

I was very fond of bologna (pronounced bah-loh’-nee). Throughout most of grade school a bologna and mayonnaise sandwich was the only sandwich I could tolerate. Ham and mayonnaise was a close second, but all the while I was eating a ham sandwich I was thinking bologna. Even on a warm day, when the mayonnaise turned sweeter, the bologna softer, I would have chosen this sandwich over any other. Even over peanut butter and jelly, allegedly a favorite of children.

This is a pretty embarrassing admission, but all along self thought “bologna” and “baloney” were two separate things: that is, she thought “bologna” was that pale pink pole of sausage she saw on meat counters at the deli, next to the salami and prosciutto and Black Forest ham, and she had no idea what “baloney” was and didn’t want to know. And now, courtesy of Mr. Tomas, she has discovered that they are one and the same :-)

This evening, since self experienced such unbridled success with arroz caldo and tripe, she has decided to try her hand at yet another dish, something called Adobong Moderno. To judge by the recipe in The Philippine Cookbook, which self blogged about a little while ago, it is something like a cross between chicken adobo and fried chicken. That is, one starts with simmering chicken thighs in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper, just like adobo. But when all the liquid has simmered away, chicken is dipped in eggwhite, dredged in flour and cornstarch, and fried until crisp (Gaaah — the grease, the grease! Given their fondness for oily and fried food, it’s amazing that Filipinos are not all 200-plus pounds)

Now, since self is staring at flat-screen HDTV and it happens to be on The Food Network, self is watching Rachael Ray. Which reminds her that she’s been seeing headlines in the supermarket tabloids about Ms. Ray’s husband’s supposed philandering. And self admires Ms. Ray for being able to keep up such a bubbly demeanor. Self thinks it must be hard.

Then, self remembers two things that contribute immeasurably to her good mood:

    5th season of Nip/Tuck is beginning in less than two weeks, on Oct. 30.
    And son called last night, while self was having dinner with godson in Fuki Sushi, and confirmed that he will be driving up Thursday and can stay until Sunday.

Happy happy joy joy!! Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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