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Stoned mice lead to breakthrough in understanding memory

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Scientists hoping to allow users of medical marijuana to avoid the impairment of short-term memory that typically goes along with the drug have made a dramatic breakthrough in the understanding of how memory functions.

According to Scientific American, Giovanni Marsicano and his colleagues at the University of Bordeaux in France removed cannabinoid receptors from neurons in mice, then fed them THC, the primary active ingredient in marijuana. The mice turned out to do just as badly at remembering the location of a hidden platform in a pool as regular stoned mice.

The researchers then removed the cannabinoid receptors from the astrocytes surrounding the neurons — and suddenly the stoned mice were memory whizzes.

Astrocytes are a form of glial cells, which were once thought to serve only as scaffolding and “glue” to keep neurons in place. Recent studies have connected the glial cells with many unconscious processes, but this is the first experiment to show they also play a major role in conscious thought.

“It’s very likely that astrocytes have many more functions than we thought,” Marsicano says. “Certainly their role in cognition is now being revealed.”

The pain-relieving properties of THC appear to work through the neurons and not the glial cells, so it may prove possible to separate those properties out from the effects on memory. However, there’s no word yet on which kinds of cells are responsible for getting you high.

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Photo from Laurie Avocado [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Mississippi fast food cashier ‘terminated immediately’ for ugly racist slur on customer’s receipt

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The owner of a fast food restaurant in Mississippi "terminated immediately" an employee after a racist and misogynistic slur of patrons.

When Lex Washington visited Who Dat's Drive-Thru in Oxford with her roommate, the cashier listed them on the receipt as "black b*tches in a silver car."

A manager reportedly refused to apologize at the time, and instead "laughed in her face."

A photo of the receipt then spread on social media.

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George Conway calls out fears Trump will compromise new US intelligence initiative aimed at Russia

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On Saturday, George Conway drew attention to a specific passage of a new article from The New York Times about the intelligence community's efforts to counterattack the Russian power grid, in response to years of covert Kremlin attacks on our own:

“[O]fficials described...hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern...that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation...to the Russian foreign minister.” https://t.co/BXTjjXBmia

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Trump goes on ‘TOTAL LOSERS’ tirade with manic tweet attacking ‘totally out of control’ media

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