Structural differences between REM and non-REM dream reports assessed by graph analysis

Sidarta Ribeiro, Joshua M Martin, Danyal Wainstein, Natalia B Mota, Sergio A Mota-Rolim, John Fontenele Araújo and Mark Solms

Dream reports collected after rapid eye movement sleep (REM) awakenings are, on average, longer, more vivid, bizarre, emotional and story-like compared to those collected after non-REM. However, a comparison of the word-to-word structural organization of dream reports is lacking, and traditional measures that distinguish REM and non-REM dreaming may be confounded by report length. This problem is amenable to the analysis of dream reports as non-semantic directed word graphs, which provide a structural assessment of oral reports, while controlling for individual differences in verbosity. Against this background, the present study had two main aims: Firstly, to investigate differences in graph structure between REM and non-REM dream reports, and secondly, to evaluate how non-semantic directed word graph analysis compares to the widely used measure of report length in dream analysis. To do this, we analyzed a set of 125 dream reports obtained from 19 participants in controlled laboratory awakenings from REM and N2 sleep. We found that: (1) graphs from REM sleep possess a larger connectedness compared to those from N2; (2) measures of graph structure can predict ratings of dream complexity, where increases in connectedness and decreases in randomness are observed in relation to increasing dream report complexity; and (3) measures of the Largest Connected Component of a graph can improve a model containing report length in predicting sleep stage and dream complexity. These results indicate that dream reports sampled after REM awakening have on average a larger connectedness compared to those sampled after N2 (i.e. words recur with a longer range), a difference which appears to be related to underlying differences in dream complexity. Altogether, graph analysis represents a promising method for dream research, due to its automated nature and potential to complement report length in dream analysis.

Binding of Filamentous Actin to CaMKII as Potential Regulation Mechanism of Bidirectional Synaptic Plasticity by β CaMKII in Cerebellar Purkinje Cells

Thiago M. Pinto, Maria J. Schilstra, Antonio C. Roque and Volker Steuber

Calcium-calmodulin dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) regulates many forms of synaptic plasticity, but little is known about its functional role during plasticity induction in the cerebellum. Experiments have indicated that the β isoform of CaMKII controls the bidirectional inversion of plasticity at parallel fibre (PF)-Purkinje cell (PC) synapses in cerebellar cortex. Because the cellular events that underlie these experimental findings are still poorly understood, we developed a simple computational model to investigate how β CaMKII regulates the direction of plasticity in cerebellar PCs. We present the first model of AMPA receptor phosphorylation that simulates the induction of long-term depression (LTD) and potentiation (LTP) at the PF-PC synapse. Our simulation results suggest that the balance of CaMKII-mediated phosphorylation and protein phosphatase 2B (PP2B)-mediated dephosphorylation of AMPA receptors can determine whether LTD or LTP occurs in cerebellar PCs. The model replicates experimental observations that indicate that β CaMKII controls the direction of plasticity at PF-PC synapses, and demonstrates that the binding of filamentous actin to CaMKII can enable the β isoform of the kinase to regulate bidirectional plasticity at these synapses.

Microwave-Assisted Growth of Silver Nanoparticle Films with Tunable Plasmon Properties and Asymmetrical Particle Geometry for Applications as Radiation Sensors

E. J. Guidelli, L. F. Araujo, A. C. A. Assunção, I. C. S. Carvalho, D. R. Clarke and O. Baffa

We report a simple and fast microwave-assisted method to grow silver nanoparticle films with tunable plasmon resonance band. Microwaving time controls nucleation and growth as well as particle agglomeration, cluster formation, particle morphology, and the plasmonic properties. Films produced with times shorter than 30 s presented a single well-defined plasmon resonance band (~ 400 nm), whereas films produced with times longer than 40 s presented higher wavelength resonances modes (> 500 nm). Plasmon band position and intensity can be easily tuned by controlling microwaving time and power. SEM and AFM images suggested the growth of asymmetrical silver nanoparticles. Simulated extinction spectra considering particles as spheres, hemispheres, and spherical caps were performed. The films were employed to enhance the sensitivity of ionizing radiation detectors assessed by optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) via plasmon-enhanced luminescence. By tuning the plasmon resonance band to overlap with the OSL stimulation (530 nm), luminescence enhancements of greater than 100-fold were obtained, demonstrating the importance of tuning the plasmon resonance band to maximize the OSL intensity and detector sensitivity. This versatile method to produce silver nanoparticle films with tunable plasmonic properties is a promising platform for developing small-sized radiation detectors and advanced sensing technologies.

Dreaming during Covid-19 pandemic: Computational assessment of dreams reveals mental suffering and fear of contagion

Natalia B. Mota, Janaina Weissheimer, Marina Ribeiro, Mizziara de Paiva, Juliana D'Avila, Gabriela Simabucuru, Monica F. Chaves, Lucas Cecchi, Jaime Cirne, Guillermo Cecchi, Cilene Rodrigues, Mauro Copelli, Sidarta Ribeiro

Neuroscience and psychology agree that dreaming helps to cope with negative emotions and learn from experience. The current global threat related to the COVID-19 pandemic led to widespread social isolation. Does dreaming change and/or reflect mental suffering? To address these questions, we applied natural language processing tools to study 239 dream reports from 67 individuals either before the Covid-19 outbreak or during March-April, 2020, when quarantine was imposed in Brazil following the pandemic announcement by the WHO. Pandemic dreams showed a higher proportion of anger and sadness words and higher average semantic similarities to the terms contamination and cleanness. These features were associated with mental suffering related to social isolation, as they explained 39% of the variance in PANSS negative subscale (p=0.0092). These results corroborate the hypothesis that pandemic dreams reflect mental suffering, fear of contagion, and important changes in daily habits.

Adapting the export protocols of a system of neuroscience experiments management to the frictionless data specifications

João Alexandre Peschanski, Cassiano Reinert Novais dos Santos, Carlos Eduardo Ribas

The Neuroscience Experiments System (NES) was developed to manage information originated from neuroscience experiments. Through the NES export module, a researcher is able to download experimental data and metadata in interoperable formats; nevertheless, the understanding of what is downloaded is not always a simple task. In accordance with the agile methodology guidelines, we have worked within the Frictionless Data philosophical and technical framework in order to decrease friction that is commonly associated with understanding data and metadata. Working with Frictionless Data may lead to improving research efficiency; it is also an opportunity to create scripts and softwares to improve data analysis.

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