Nicht der «Bruder des Todes», sondern ein Helfer des Lebens

«Die Wachen haben eine gemeinsame Welt; im Schlafe wendet sich jeder seiner eigenen zu», befand der griechische Philosoph Heraklit von Ephesos, für den Schlaf eine Zwischenstufe zwischen Wachen und Tod war. Schlaf ist eine der wichtigsten Verhaltensformen von Mensch und Tier, doch wir wissen noch immer nicht, warum wir schlafen. Selbst zweieinhalb Jahrtausende nach Heraklit bleibt Schlaf eines der grossen ungelösten Rätsel der Biologie.

Diary from FENS 2014 - Day Five

Every attendant of the FENS today spent some of his time to greet and share the contact with the most relevant colleagues found during this conference. One of the most important and interesting aspects of these events is indeed the possibility of creating networks of contacts, collaborations and nonetheless friendship within this big and active community. The next appointment of this huge event will be in two years in Copenhagen thus… “Arrivederci” in Copenhagen!

3 – Lisa Holt, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Diary from FENS 2014 - Day Four

The fourth day of the FENS has been characterized by the controversial absence of Yoshiki Sasai, whose participation to the conference was in the schedule but it was very recently cancelled. It seemed to me that, as the proverbial elephant in the room, all of the attendants knew about it but few commented. Although no official communications were given, it would be easy to guess that her absence might be connected to the recent retraction of her paper by Nature.

Diary from FENS 2014 - Day Three

The third day of the FENS Forum opens with one negative note, the knowledge that the conference already reached his half-life. Most of the participant already visited at least once all of the stands of the guested companies, therefore the main focused returned to be aimed to the presentations and the new posters.

3 – Daniela Pietrobon, University of Padova, Italy

Diary from FENS 2014 - Day One

The opening of the 9th session of the FENS came with an unexpected surprise. After the organizer committee, represented by Marina Bentivoglio, made the mandatory honors, the ceremony continued with the “Fanfara del 1° commando areonautica”. Their participation enriched this first day of conference with beautiful music, ranging from the masterpieces of Puccini, Verdi, Modugno and Morricone, a participation that resulted in being just as much unexpected as appreciated.

Closing the gap between brain and computer

Our brain could resemble a circuit: 80 billion neurons and perhaps a hundred trillion synapses are interconnected within a complex organ. One of the greatest challenges facing 21st century science is brain whole structures and functions disclosure. While emerging technology are spreading in every field, Europe suggested to associate neurobiological studies to technological knowledge and future improvements.

The brain of synaesthetes

In this brief review I summarize some major findings demonstrating the specific anatomical and functional features of the brain of synaesthetes. There are several main findings of this research: (1) Brain areas, which are involved in controlling synaesthesia are anatomically different. (2) These brain areas are also differently activated during synaesthetic experiences. (3) There are not only anatomical and functional differences in those brain areas specifically involved.

Human Brain Project: a great european challenge

The brain is probably the most complex structure in the known universe, complex enough to coordinate movements, gather and organize lots of sensorial data, perform abstract reasoning and develop new ideas. Understanding the mechanisms underlying brain function is therefore one of the biggest challenges of contemporary science. A deeper comprehension of the brain is not only a central issue for pure science but would have an enormous impact for the whole society.

Betting on research: here is Obama's Brain Activity Map

Who said that research does not pay? That this is not the case is demonstrated by the Human Genome Project, launched by the U.S. in 1999 at a cost of slightly less than $ 4 billion in 10 years but that, to date, has yielded $ 796 billions in business activities and has created 310,000 new jobs.

Cannabis: why it is becoming dangerous

Cannabinoid Drugs and Medical Cannabis

On 2 May, the Regional Council of Tuscany approved by majority vote a law that will make it easier for residents to use cannabinoid drugs as opioid adjuvants in pain therapy and palliative treatment of chronic debilitating conditions (AIDS, anorexia, cachexia, etc.) . To this end, hospitals and local health authorities will ensure the import of cannabinoid drugs, which will be administered under the supervision and at the expense of the regional health system.