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Re: [Channel-talkbio] Unit 10 Neurobiology

From: Karen Blaustein <kblaustein@haverhill-ps.org>
Date: Mon Mar 19 2007 - 14:28:04 EDT

Hi Mary and Ed,
I also thought this unit was very interesting. I was glad to learn that
studies have shown that stimulating environments in the "golden years"
can increase neurogenesis and therefore increase quality of life. My
grandmother had dementia, but she lived into her 90's and I believe her
dementia started in her mid eighties. She was not very mentally active
during her lifetime, so there is still hope for me especially if it is
inherited! However, analyzing myself I must admit that I have a
horrible memory for names including movie and book titles. I am always
kidding with my husband that "Al" has the information. I recently
watched a program about memory contests. A man who was diagnosed with a
disease that eventually retards the memory decided to become active with
the contests in order to stimulate his memory. The contestants can
memorize the order of cards in a shuffled deck, 100 or more new names
with the associated faces, hundreds and thousands of numbers in a
sequential order. This is very impressive. The trick to doing this is
to associate what you are memorizing with objects or people that you are
familiar with. I think I will try to start working improving my own
memory by using this method.
 
As far as the other subject concerning the medical use of marijuana, I
can see both sides of the controversy. As we discussed in our weekly
meeting with Mary and Natalie, I believe we all decided that caffeine
and alcohol were the most detrimental to society. Both alcohol and
caffeine are legal and can be extremely addictive. As far as I know, I
don't believe marijuana is addictive or at least not as addictive as
either alcohol or caffeine. Alcohol and caffeine have extremely
negative affects on our health care system instigating an abundance of
illnesses that all of society has to pay for with increased medical
insurance and medical costs. Alcohol is also known to cause impairment
inducing violent behavior, breaking up families, and causing thousands
of alcohol related deaths due to car accidents. Marijuana is not know to
cause any of the forementioned problems. Should we ban the possible
medical benefits because of the unacceptable view of the drug in society
knowing that its affects are much less detrimental to society than drugs
that are legal? On the other hand, as Mary mentioned why should we
continue to "numb" our society more than it already is?
 
-Karen

________________________________

From: channel-talkbio-bounces@learner.org on behalf of Mary Johnston
Sent: Thu 3/15/2007 11:52 AM
To: channel-talkbio@learner.org
Subject: Re: [Channel-talkbio] Unit 10 Neurobiology

Hey Karen and Ed,
  I don't know about you two but I found this unit to be quite heavy in
a lot of material. I was really interested, however, in the
neurogenesis aspect of the unit. That old saying that "You can't teach
an old dog new tricks," turns out to be wrong because studies have shown
that stimulating environments result in the creation of neurons. Rats
given stimulating environments had 15% more neurons than rats kept on
boring ordinary lab situations. I think we have all experienced this in
our classrooms. On days, when we have a novel activity or lab or fun
video, the kids are much more receptive than on a day when we are doing
lecture notes. Of course, we need both activities to complete our
learning, but if we stagnate and always do the same thing, I think
students don't learn material as well. I think the same is true going
in the other direction. If you did a lab every day and never had an
opportunity for direct teaching students would probably miss out on some
vital pieces of information. I guess I am an advocate for trying to do
a little bit of everything each week to keep kids stimulated and keep
those neurons growing!
     Another aspect that I wanted to discuss was the medical use of
marijuana. I am against this. I was just watching on TV the other day
that students in California high schools where the medical use of
marijunana is legal are getting signed notes from doctors that say
things like stress should allow them to be able to smoke pot. Right on
school grounds kids are lighting up and fighting to get away with it.
Of course, marijuana is illegal on school grounds, but you can easily
see that this has opened the door to make getting high for non-medical
reasons a lot easier. Soon doctor's notes will be faked or sold and
people will abuse the system. Yes, there are a small amount of people
that marijunana might comfort or help out, but the vast majority of
people who smoke it are not doing so for medical reasons and it is they
who will try and take adavnatage of the system. Besides, there are so
many over-the counter and prescriptio analgesics as it is. Do we really
need to "numb" our society any more? Let me know what you think.
Mary Johnston

________________________________

From: channel-talkbio-bounces@learner.org on behalf of
channel-talkbio-request@learner.org

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Received on Mon Mar 19 14:52:54 2007

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