Targeting the brain’s “bad opioids”
The stark reality of drug abuse hit home for Brendan Walker when two college classmates overdosed on heroin and Xanax. Their unsettling deaths steered Walker toward a career in the neuroscience of psychology and addictions.
Today, the associate professor of psychology and member of the Neuroscience Program at WSU is a leader in the study of alcohol and opioid drug dependence. His research is advancing the development of new pharmacotherapy treatments for addiction.
“Alcohol and abused opioids have a lot of similarity,” says Walker. “They both manipulate very powerful primitive systems in the brain that are critical for our motivation.”
One of those systems … » More …
Trip the light fantastic
When physicist Mark Kuzyk throws a science soiree he doesn’t mess around. Out come the lasers, high-tech origami, ornate wire sculptures, and sticky-stretchy gel that’s fun to throw at the wall. But it’s all for a greater purpose.
The Washington State University Regents professor is developing a shape-changing, laser-guided electrode for the treatment of pain, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and depression.
The ultra-thin electrode is designed for use in deep brain stimulation (DBS) and relies on optics and photomechanical materials to improve the precision and delicacy of the procedure. Sometimes known as the “brain pacemaker,” DBS holds promise for a wide range of conditions and may … » More …
Video: The Primal Power of Play
Play and depression may be opposite sides of a coin, says Dr. Jaak Panksepp, a neuroscientist and the Baily Endowed Chair of Animal Well-Being at Washington State University» More ...
The Animal Mind Reader
Beyond the notion that animals other than humans may indeed possess consciousness, Jaak Panksepp’s work suggests a litany of philosophical implications: How should we treat animals? Do we have free will? Where might we search for the meaning of life? Are our most fundamental values actually biological in nature?» More ...
The end of free will?
The wind said
You know I’m
the result of
forces beyond my control
—A.R. Ammons, “The Wide Land”
When the subject of free will resurfaced on the media horizon recently, all I could think of was that last dorm room bull session on said topic many, many years ago. But up it pops again, not just in philosophy journals, but in the esteemed science, and generally nonphilosophical, journals Nature and Science. A subject that has been fervently teased, manipulated, and debated (by scholars decidedly more rigorous than a clutch of college students with a couple of semesters of introductory philosophy under … » More …
When Memory Fades
With memory notebooks and smart apartments that use motion technology to track their residents' daily behaviors, WSU neuropsychologists are exploring ways to help patients and their families cope with age-related memory loss. Meanwhile, two scientists have discovered a means to restore neural connectivity.» More ...
The Song is You—An Instinct for Music
First We Eat
Video: Jaak Panksepp on the brain and searching the web
Washington State University neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp discusses how a simple web search can be driven by one of the brain’s most fundamental impulses.
Read what other WSU professors say about reading and thinking in the digital world in “Dear reader” in the Summer 2010 issue of Washington State Magazine.