Winter blues and summer bummer link brains of rats and man
Nicholas Spitzer and Davide Dulcis felt for people in higher latitudes whose attitudes soured in the shorter daylight hours of winter.
The neuroscientists, who work in balmy San Diego, wondered whether summer was a bummer for rats. They’re nocturnal, after all.
That thought experiment has led the researchers to discover that an adult mammal’s brain can “rewire” itself in response to light by recruiting brain cells to change the signaling chemical they ordinarily produce.
Dulcis and Spitzer had already tinkered lower in the evolutionary ladder, showing that neurons in frogs switched transmitters - including one that determined pigment.
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