Join me in this podcast where we travel with Dr Lea T. Grinberg, a professor at the University of California San Francisco, to Brazil to explore her career and her path towards creating the Brazilian Aging Brain Study Group in São Paulo and her own laboratory. Dr Grinberg dives into the hardships and the rewards involved with creating a brain bank and sharing brain tissues. This initiative had a great impact on research opportunities in Brazil and research output from Brazil because it was the first community-based autopsy service, which allowed them to observe and examine people’s brain at different stages of dementia. Today, many groups around the globe work and study the Brazil brain bank!
From the sudden agony of stepping on a Lego block to persistent aching from chronic conditions, everyone experiences pain. Sometimes we know the pain will subside quickly and we can just tough it out, but other times it’s more than we can (or want to) handle on our own. The quest for pain relief has led humans to explore a vast array of treatments, from traditional painkillers to alternative therapies like massages and ice packs. Pain is an essential evolutionary mechanism, serving to ensure our survival and reproduction. Even so, I’m sure most people would opt to take an Advil to stop a headache rather than worrying about the growth of our family tree.
In this third episode of the QBIN podcast (in French), we talk about sleep and neuroimaging with postdoctoral researchers Claire André and Valentin Ourry. Through this conversation we explore how sleep is related to different physical, emotional, and cognitive processes. We also discussed how positron emission tomography scans (PET), magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI) and electroencephalograms have helped us understand sleep and its relation to overall health and the processes of aging. André and Ourry teach us what it means to have good sleep and how that can have positive impacts in our lives. We also discuss how sleep deprivation is glamorized in society and how that can impair our performance.
In our everyday lives, we all process and recognize hundreds of different objects (colors, shapes, animals, faces…), and although we may not think about it, developing this ability is actually an intricate learning process. Much like people, machines can be taught object recognition by mimicking the learning process of the human brain. This process, called Deep Learning, is an application of artificial intelligence that, although designed to learn through a specific set of data at first, can continue to learn on its own and improve from experience, without being explicitly programmed to do so.
In Canada, 38% of adults between the age of 20 and 79 years old suffer from hearing loss, and many never receive treatment. Furthermore, scientists have found that hearing loss often precedes diagnoses of age-related dementia by 5 to 10 years, suggesting that difficulty in hearing may contribute to cognitive decline – an interesting link that is supported by imaging studies showing functional and anatomical changes in the brains of older adults.
It is the end of the semester again and your exams are fast approaching. Your new year’s resolution was to go from expert in procrastination to expert in time management, and yet here you are again, trying to learn three and a half months of school material in one week. Like always, you have convinced yourself that in one week, you will be able to learn, understand, and memorise all the facts and theories you need to know to pass your exams. At first, cramming doesn’t sound so bad, but as the sleepless nights turn to exhausting days, you notice it becomes harder and harder. You find yourself reading the same sentence over and over as if it’s written in a foreign language. Your flash cards and clever mnemonic devices aren’t helping as much as they did yesterday. Panic starts to set in as you realise that this is taking more time than you have left, and you wonder: “why is my memory failing me now?!”. Well, it’s likely that those sleepless nights could be taking a toll on your brain because of the interesting relationship between sleep and memory.
How many times have you asked yourself whether your research has a broader impact on society? Why is it so hard to quantify the impact of our scientific endeavors? I recently sat down with a few prominent neuroscientists who are members of both QBIN and the Transforming Autism Care Consortium (TACC) network. I wanted to get a sense of the state of the art in autism bio-imaging research and what the motivating factors and benefits are behind collaborative science and inter-network initiatives in Quebec.
Exceptionally this year, QBIN will be awarding two Professors the Rising Star in Bio-Imaging in Quebec award, Profs. Sylvia Villeneuve and Hassan Rivaz, who will present their work at the 2022 QBIN Scientific Day in Sherbrooke on June 2nd along with this year’s William Feindel lecturer, Louis Collins. In order to learn more about their research and interests, the QBIN blog team conducted interviews with each of them. Stay tuned for interviews with Hassan Rivaz and Louis Collins soon and enjoy this first interview with Sylvia Villeneuve!
Most academics have at some point in their lives been asked by a well-meaning friend or relative when they will get a “real job”. While the natural response is to defensively explain that completing a PhD or a postdoc is in fact a real job, the question itself is not completely out of line. While for many career paths, people enter the job market directly after an undergraduate degree or an apprenticeship, research training takes many more years – up to ten years from the start of a PhD program to landing a permanent position (with no guarantees!).