Dormice are well known for their habit of sleeping for much of the time. Their popular English name is thought to derive from the French word ‘dormir’ meaning ‘to sleep’. Dormice are known to hibernate for as much as seven months of the year. At the onset of colder weather in October, the animals will select a suitable site close to the ground to build a nest.
They then curl up and go to sleep until April. During hibernation, dormice slow down their bodily functions and enter a state of extreme torpor. In this state they feel cold to the touch and take some time to rouse themselves when handled. However, they do wake up periodically for a few hours at a time… (read more: http://eol.org/pages/327940/overview)
(photo credit: Danielle Schwarz via Wikimedia Commons)
Genetically engineered mice furnished with fluorescent proteins are providing the most detailed pictures yet of the brain’s intricate circuitry. The innovation offers an intimate peek into the development and inner workings of the nervous system at the level of individual neurons, researchers say.
“Imagine the brain as a radio for which we never had a good wiring diagram,” said Jeff Lichtman, a neurobiologist at Harvard University and a co-author of the study.
“The aim of this work is to tag the individual wires with their own color” to get a better idea of their connections, he added…
Better viewing through fluorescent nanotubes when peering into innards of a mouse
Developing drugs to combat or cure human disease often involves a phase of testing with mice, so being able to peer clearly into a living mouse’s innards has real value. But with the fluorescent dyes currently used to image the interior of laboratory mice, the view becomes so murky several millimeters under the skin that researchers might have more success divining the future from the rodent’s entrails than they do extracting usable data.
Now Stanford researchers have developed an improved imaging method using fluorescent carbon nanotubes that allows them to see centimeters deep into a mouse with far more clarity than conventional dyes provide. For a creature the size of a mouse, a few centimeters makes a great difference…