The Neuroscience Anthology project is a part of the INI Internship program. In addition to shadowing Dr. Vokshoor in clinic and in surgery, students in the internship program pick a neuroscience topic and complete an outside research project, giving students a chance to further investigate an area of neuroscience that particularly interests them. Their reports are compiled here to create a working, growing neuroscience curriculum.

Below you can explore what some of our interns have been researching:

Environmental Enrichment: An Alternative Therapy for Neurodegenerative Diseases

By Sanket Rege

Environmental enrichment (EE) is the effect of enhanced sensory, motor, and cognitive stimulation on the neural circuitry of the brain. The evidence for this has been established by studies with enriched housing conditions for rodents and its effects on their brains in comparison to those in normal housing conditions. The idea behind the experimental paradigm is that rodents exposed to an enriched environment have enhanced stimulation of their sensory, motor, and cognitive systems and thus have a more refined neural circuitry. The result is a modified progression of cognitive decline associated with aging and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Enrichment studies have been conducted on mouse models of AD to determine its precise cellular and molecular effects on disease pathology. A significant positive effect would mean a potential for new strategies in therapeutic research.

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The Future of Football: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Athletes

By Andrea Binley

Football is the great American pastime. Large numbers of athletes at the youth, high school, and college levels participate in organized football. At the professional level, the sport generates a huge amount of media attention, interest, and revenue. In recent years, however, warnings about the brain injury risks inherent in football have come from retired players, coaches, and medical professionals, along with increased public awareness about the danger of repeated head trauma.

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CRPS: From Past to Present

By Severija Saladziute

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a debilitating condition characterized by non-dermatomal patterns of pain, sensory abnormalities, autonomic dysfunction, and motor changes. It can be differentiated into two  types based on the absence (CRPS I) or presence (CRPS II) of detectable nerve trauma, yet the distinction is not often made in scientific literature due to limited clinical differences [1].

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Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) for the Treatment of Intracranial Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure

By Lauren Weiss

Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) was discovered in the 1950’s to be used as a useful treatment for a myriad of conditions. First discovered in its industrial applications, this essay will examine its properties and promise for treating various ailments including intracranial hypertension. Being a small molecule, slightly larger than water, DMSO penetrates into the skin almost immediately, making it useful as an agent to improve the transport of drugs deeper into targeted tissues.

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Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

By Melinda Ma

Every 15 seconds, someone suffers from a traumatic brain injury, due to car accidents, contact sports, or simply getting hit in the head. Although most people survive, concussions should not be taken lightly, because they impair neurological function. The effects of concussions are cumulative, thus, repeated head injuries can result in chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

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Mirror Neurons

By Lily Zhang

Mirror neurons have been referred to as the "most hyped concept in Neuroscience". Mirror neurons were first discovered in the 1990s by chance when a team of Italian scientists was studying the mechanisms behind certain actions and recording neuronal control of motor activity in macaque monkeys. These scientists saw that the same cells were activated when a monkey observed an action as when the monkey performed the same action itself. This fascinating discovery has allowed us to expand on our ambitions of a greater understanding and insight to certain behaviors.

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The Human Brain and the Ability to Generate Memories

By Vigen Tumoyan

The human brain is a complex neural network with countless abilities. An important part of the human brain is the ability to formulate memories. Additionally, sleep is an important state that is vital for adequate brain performance, such as memory formations. Individuals who generally receive low hours of sleep perform poorly the following day on various tasks, especially memory tests. Thomas et al. states, “Problematic sleep can be detrimental to the development of important cognitive functions, such as working memory, and may have the potential for negative consequences” (2014). In other words, sleep is required nightly for adequate daytime functioning and maintaining proper neural functioning. Receiving low hours of sleep and experiencing sleep problems can often correlate with poor mental performances, such as forgetfulness, absentmindedness, and/or misattribution.

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The Magic of the Limbic System

By Samara Khalil

Emotions: we all have them. In fact, you are experiencing this phenomenon at this very moment. But, what is an emotion, really? Is it a tangible anatomical function that scientists can map on a brain, or is it an abstract idea that humans have developed as a scapegoat for irrational behavior? As it turns out, emotions are a mixture of the abstract and the concrete.

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