Drawing of neurons from the cerebellum. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuron#mediaviewer/File:PurkinjeCell.jpg

From

Drawing of neurons from the cerebellum. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuron#mediaviewer/File:PurkinjeCell.jpg

The ability to reset the circadian clock, which controls when animals are awake or asleep, could help people suffering from a variety of sleep and mood disorders. Authors of a new study in Nature Neuroscience claim to have made significant progress towards this goal, with clear applications to human health.

Unfortunately, the above popular press article exaggerates the findings of the study. Like all other studies involving the stimulation of individual neurons, the human health applications are still many years away. Furthermore, the authors of the study don’t actually generate any new strains of mice to accomplish their work and simply rely on combining already well studied models. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this study simply replicates the finding of a 1982 paper using updated techniques.

For the article upon which the press release was based see below:
Manipulating circadian clock neuron firing rate resets molecular circadian rhythms and behavior.

Special thanks to Liza Litvina, from the Program in Neuroscience at Harvard University. Edited by SITN Waves Lead Editor Adam Brown.

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