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Click bait

‘Click bait’ is the derogatory term used to decry a flashy headline that encourages web users to click and read further. A typical example of this is ‘Drug reverses memory deficits following traumatic brain injury’ omitting the essential caveat… ‘in mice’. This report, however, has the potential for major therapeutic consequences. The integrated stress response (ISR) is a universal intracellular signalling pathway that responds to cellular conditions and regulates protein translation via phosphorylation of the translation initiation factor—eIF2α. In a murine model, suppression of the ISR with a drug-like small-molecule inhibitor produced beneficial and sustained cognitive benefits, even if it was given 2 weeks following injury. They show data to support their hypothesis that this is through restoration of long-term potentiation in the hippocampus.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2017. Jul 10 (Epub ahead of print).

Harry Potter and the recessive allele

Are you struggling with student satisfaction feedback and the Teaching Excellence Framework? Do you need a touchstone for your lectures that will engage the students? Researchers from Melbourne recommend using the Harry Potter series (20 years old this month) as the ideal vehicle from which to teach Mendelian genetics. Examples to try in the next term could include ‘Charlotte’s Pharyngeal Web’, ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinaemia’ and ‘The very hungry Catamenial Epilepsy’. Further suggestions can be mooted on Twitter, @PracticalNeurol

Figure 1

Teaching Mendelian genetics via high art.

Nature 2005;436(7052):776.

Park life

What is the role of autoimmunity in Parkinson’s disease? Genetic studies tell us that there are consistent associations with the major histocompatibility complex for example. Researchers demonstrated that peptides derived from alpha synuclein acted as antigenic epitopes and drove a helper and cytotoxic T cell response in Parkinson’s. This situation is analogous to the experimental autoimmune encephalitis model of multiple sclerosis. The authors suggest that autoimmune presentation of antigenic epitopes may unite the lysosomal and mitochondrial pathological mechanisms.

Nature 2017;546(7660):656–661.

Hot stuff

With hipster beards de rigueur and making junior and senior neurologists resemble psychiatrists (!), one must consider their primeval motivation. Are they paying homage to Mr Twit, hiding a weak chin or perhaps preparing for an Everest summit attempt? A recent study suggests that the excess of testosterone, that is so provocatively being displayed, is in fact a proxy for their tolerance and indeed preference for hot and spicy food. Although it will come as no surprise to see this machismo vindaloo-loving display of virility, it is tempered by contemplating which tasty morsels are now lodged among the face fungus.

Physiol Behav 2015;139:375–7.


  • Twitter @PracticalNeurol

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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