Fight or flight

first_imgLife, with its endless barrage of conflicts, may have just gotten a bit easier thanks to Robert Mnookin.Mnookin, the Samuel Williston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and chair of its Program on Negotiation (PON), has authored “Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight,” a book that analyzes some of history’s most tumultuous conflicts while offering invaluable guidance on everything from business disputes to messy divorces.Focusing on unfair, even evil, actions — such as blackmail, labor disputes, extortion, theft — and the adversaries behind them, Mnookin dissects the trappings that interfere with rational thinking and reveals pragmatic approaches to elicit resolution and results.“Should you bargain with the devil?” Mnookin wondered. “My question, and this book, have their roots in Sept. 11.” A month after the attacks, the PON sponsored a debate about whether President George W. Bush should negotiate with the Taliban.“This debate led me to begin thinking about a more general question: In any particular conflict, how should you decide whether or not it makes sense to negotiate?”Mnookin examines the historical and political perils of the Holocaust and South African apartheid to illustrate the reasons why Britain’s Winston Churchill chose not to negotiate with Germany, while South Africa’s Nelson Mandela opted to bargain with a white government that had imposed horrific restrictions. According to Mnookin, both were groundbreaking tactical judgments, and are relevant to today’s fraught global arena.But everyday conflicts are featured, too. In 10 digestible chapters, Mnookin offers real-life scenarios that feature, for example, family members at odds with each other over an inherited vacation home.“Before you resort to coercive measures — such as warfare or litigation — you should try to resolve the problem,” said Mnookin. “To negotiate doesn’t mean you must give up all that is important to you. It only requires that you be willing to sit down with your adversary and see whether you can make a deal that serves your interests better than your best alternative does. You can’t hope to make peace with your enemies unless you are willing to negotiate.”last_img read more

The march is on

first_imgThe Earthwatch Institute will bring its scientists to the Allston-Brighton community on Aug. 30 (Monday) at 6:30 p.m. The talk, titled “Saving the Penguins of Robben Island, South Africa,” will be held at the Harvard Allston Education Portal on 175 N. Harvard St., and is co-sponsored by the University.Leading experts Peter Barham of the University of South Bristol, United Kingdom, and Les Underhill of Cape Town University, South Africa, will discuss how together with Earthwatch volunteers they are helping to reduce the impact of various threats on Robben Island, where 13,000 penguins were affected by the country’s worst oil spill in 2000. Most penguins were cleaned and released, but the future of this penguin population (reduced by 90 percent in the past century) is by no means assured.The Earthwatch Institute moved to the neighborhood of Allston in March.Tickets can be obtained by e-mailing events@earthwatch.org, or by calling 978.450.1212.last_img read more

$100K in grants for Allston-Brighton

first_imgCity Councilor Mark Ciommo praised both the Vocational Advancement  Center and the Harvard Allston Partnership Fund. “This generous contribution from the Harvard Allston Partnership Fund will help the VAC continue its important work on behalf of so many families and individuals,” said Ciommo.  “Harvard, the City of Boston and our local nonprofits are partnering to build community and improve the quality of life Allston-Brighton.”Other recipients in the latest round of HAPF grants include the following:A $10,000 grant to the Fishing Academy to support group fishing outings for youth, which helps to reinforce teamwork, discipline, and self-confidence.  (HAPF grants to the Fishing Academy have totaled $35,000 over three years.)A second $5,000 HAPF grant will help the Allston-Brighton Baby Diaper Pantry each month provide nearly 3,900 free diapers to 90 families with babies and toddlers who might not otherwise be able to afford diapers.The Gardner Pilot Academy’s $24,920 grant will fund the extended learning programs that serve children and their families through after-school programs, summer enrichment, and adult education/basic English instruction.  (HAPF grants to the Gardner Pilot Academy have totaled $50,000 over the past two years.)The Earthwatch Institute, a nonprofit organization new to the neighborhood, received $5,000 to support a lecture series for residents featuring environmental scientists who are doing field-work throughout the world.The West End House Girls Camp’s $4,800 grant will enable five girls from Allston-Brighton to attend a two-week camp in Maine, where leadership skills, teamwork, and confidence are built through outdoor activities, educational programs, arts, and sports.The Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center’s $15,480 grant will help to improve access to health care for 350 uninsured, unemployed, recently laid-off, new immigrants, or low-income residents in Allston-Brighton. (HAPF grants to the center have totaled $35,480.)The Literacy Connection, a Ministry of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston will use the first-time, $9,800 grant to fund a 15-week literacy training and citizenship preparation course that has helped new immigrants from Central and South America, Pakistan, and China who live in the community to gain their citizenship.For Sister Patricia “Pat” Andrews, who started the Literacy Connection’s citizenship class five years ago to fulfill a need among immigrant families, the HAPF grant means providing her army of volunteer tutors and their students with language texts and materials. The grant will help to sustain a place that has become a touchstone for new residents, that is providing a community space where people feel they belong, and that is giving women, who make up 70 percent of those she tutors, the confidence and language skills to help them to support their children more effectively.“We are a community, and the vitality of a community hinges on the ability of its people to work together and be together,” said Andrews.  “Harvard’s offerings of financial support and resources help us do our work, and Harvard is working with us to build community vitality.”Most of the nonprofits receiving HAPF grants this winter are connected to Harvard in multiple ways.  For example, the Vocational Advancement Center and Harvard have been cultivating a new jobs placement initiative with Harvard’s Dining Services department, resulting in a Harvard hire from the center in December.  Other connections range from Harvard arts and science programming for children, English as a second language scholarships, workforce development training at the Harvard Allston Ed Portal, or space for events and fundraisers.“Some people may not realize the symbiotic relationship between the community and Harvard,” said the VAC’s Campbell.  “People need to realize the incredible positive impact that Harvard has had and will continue to have in the Allston-Brighton community through the HAPF grants and in many other ways.”“I’m thankful for the Partnership Fund, and I’ve seen some of the positive impacts of the money within the community,” said John Eskew, a member of the Harvard Allston Partnership Fund Advisory Committee.  “At the end of each selection round so far, I’ve ended up wishing that more money was available to support the worthwhile proposals that didn’t get funding that round.”The next round of grant making will begin in the fall. Eight local nonprofit organizations serving the Allston-Brighton neighborhood received contributions last week totaling $100,000 from the Harvard Allston Partnership Fund (HAPF), providing critical support for community-based programming at a time when funding sources remain scarce for nonprofits.This latest HAPF grant installment marks a total of $300,000 in Harvard contributions, which over the past three years has supported 17 local nonprofits.“Harvard Allston Partnership Fund grants bring opportunity, education, and vital services to North Allston’s residents.  As nonprofits try to meet the increased demand for their services and programs during difficult economic times, we can help more families, youth, and our most vulnerable citizens connect to these organizations,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino.“Harvard is proud to be a part of a network of nonprofit organizations in Allston-Brighton that are addressing local needs and improving quality of life for residents. We’re working together on many levels to make a real difference in Allston-Brighton and beyond,” said Harvard President Drew Faust.The Harvard Allston Partnership Fund is a $500,000, five-year program created in 2008 by Harvard University and the City of Boston, in collaboration with the Allston community, to support neighborhood improvement projects, cultural enrichment, and educational programming in North Allston-North Brighton. Funding decisions are made by a volunteer board of community members, following their careful review of the many creative and constructive applications received.The HAPF is even more critical today.  The economic turmoil of the last two years has resulted in budget cuts for many local nonprofits.“When the Harvard Allston Partnership Fund was created, we had no idea that funds for nonprofit institutions would dry up so quickly,” said Allston Task Force member Cathi Campbell, who is on the board of the Vocational Advancement Center in Brighton, a new HAPF recipient.  “The Harvard Allston Partnership Fund is a lifeline to these organizations in Allston-Brighton and their ability to continue to exist and provide incredibly important life-changing services.”Critical funding for the Vocational Advancement Center The only nonprofit organization in Allston-Brighton providing career counseling and job placement for physically and developmentally disabled adults, the Vocational Advancement Center (VAC) will benefit from a $25,000 grant to hire and expand its offerings for the first time in two years.  The center currently serves 30 people inhouse with career and job skills training, as well as group work and activities. It provides support to 150 people at their jobs around Boston.  The HAPF grant will fund a new part-time staff position, enabling the center to offer career counseling to 30 more people.The center, which depends on the state for 60 percent of its budget needs, sustained a $300,000 funding cut in 2008-09, which was 30 percent of its operating budget. Center Executive Director Amy Bell, like so many other nonprofit leaders, responded by reducing staff and calling on others to do more. Bell has also become more creative and aggressive in her fundraising efforts.“These funds are critical.  It is through alliances with local companies, supporters, and partners like Harvard that VAC continues to play a vital role in helping to build a strong community,” said Bell.For the center, more financial resources mean more people with disabilities will learn critical employment and life skills, get connected to jobs, and have greater access to enriching activities. The center also provides ongoing support from a caring staff who serve as important and consistent advocates.Providing resources to build communitylast_img read more

Thoughtful leadership

first_imgMarcel Moran ’11 of Eliot House and Annie Douglas ’12 of Adams House have been named this year’s David and Mimi Aloian Memorial Scholars. The two will be honored at the Harvard Alumni Association’s (HAA) fall dinner. The criteria for the awards reflect the traits valued and embodied by the late David and Mimi Aloian — thoughtful leadership that makes the College an exciting place in which to live and study, and special contributions to the quality of life in the Houses. David Aloian was the HAA’s executive director, and he and his wife Mary ‘Mimi’ Aloian served as masters of Quincy House from 1981 to 1986.last_img read more

Ph.D. in education approved

first_imgHarvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) voted unanimously today to approve the creation of a new interfaculty Ph.D. program in education to be offered jointly by the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). The program will enroll its first cohort in fall 2014. The Ph.D. in education will build on the strengths of HGSE’s Ed.D. Program, which will enroll its final cohort in the fall of 2013.“The new interfaculty Ph.D. program in education will leverage the renowned strengths of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and will engage distinguished faculty from across the University,” President Faust said. “Bringing experts from several Schools together reflects a commitment both to advancing as one Harvard and to addressing urgent issues related to human progress.”Nearly 50 faculty members from other Harvard schools—28 from FAS and 18 from other professional schools including the Medical School, the School of Public Health, the Kennedy School, and the Law School—have agreed to affiliate with their Education School colleagues on the Ph.D. faculty.Read more Read Full Storylast_img read more

The jazz orchestra, brick by brick

first_imgJazz legend Wynton Marsalis and his virtuoso Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra treated a Sanders Theatre audience to a three-hour master class Thursday evening that re-created a pivotal quarter century of jazz innovation against the backdrop of American history.His combination lecture and performance, “Setting the Communal Table: The Evolution of the Jazz Orchestra,” centered on jazz’s exploding popularity from the 1920s to the early ’40s. It was the penultimate in a six lecture-performance series by Marsalis sponsored by the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost, with the goal of fostering “a conversation about the arts on campus,” according to Harvard President Drew Faust, who attended the event.A nine-time Grammy Award-winner and the first jazz musician to win a Pulitzer Prize for music, the New Orleans-born trumpeter and composer showed his skills as a teacher, not just of the music but of its social and historical underpinnings. Marsalis said that “the jazz ensemble reflected America itself,” both the good and bad, working together, allowing for group harmony while making space for individual brilliance, but also capable of having “intractable divisions,” and carrying a history of racial segregation.Marsalis explained how a song was arranged, asking his instrumentalists to perform snippets, and then layering those atop each other to build the larger musical composition. He took the audience under the hood of great jazz to explain how its powerful engine was built.Prohibition, explained Marsalis, accelerated the craze for jazz, which “was happy to serve its traditional function of being grease for a good time.” He proudly described the central role of his home city, always a melting pot of cultures, in shaping the music. Early ’20s jazz, when performed by segregated white bands, was mostly “genteel dance music” that “only occasionally allowed musicians to let loose” with solo virtuosity, he said. New Orleans’ Jelly Roll Morton would change all that, with innovations such as “a rhythm section that really grooved,” as well as “solo spaces that were passed around” to instrumentalists, creating a free-flowing ensemble style. Morton promoted the sonic polyphony that made New Orleans famous, said Marsalis: “It sounds like noise, but it sounds great.”Marsalis broke down the ensemble performance of Morton’s “Black Bottom Stomp,” explaining how the polyphony was built with trumpet and trombone at the sonic forefront and clarinet underneath. Under the aegis of Morton and great instrumentalists such as trumpeter Louis Armstrong, solo virtuosity became a major component of ensemble jazz performance, said Marsalis. As his band played, Marsalis often leaned casually on the piano, sometimes chatting with pianist Dan Nimmer or having a chuckle with band members such as saxophonist Sherman Irby, then punctuating song endings with a satisfied “mmmm!”Marsalis said the jazz ensemble reached its pinnacle with the arrival of Duke Ellington in the late ’20s. Ellington developed his arrangements and compositions “to accommodate the skills of the great soloists” in his band, such as trumpeter Cootie Williams and clarinetist Barney Bigard. Indeed, Marsalis played his trumpet for the first time when his band performed Ellington’s brilliant “Old Man Blues.” Former Duke Ellington Orchestra saxophonist Joe Temperley played right along with Marsalis and the ensemble. Great soloists of the era, noted Marsalis, pushed each other. “The musicians were interested in each other and each other’s virtuosity,” he said, and the music adapted to accommodate their genius.One of the evening’s highlights was the orchestra’s foot-stomping, pulsating performance of the Count Basie Orchestra’s signature song, “One O’Clock Jump.” Marsalis’ ensemble was precise and perfectly coordinated, but also performing with a joyful expressiveness and swinging abandon, especially during instrumental solos that left many saying “mmmm!”Marsalis detailed how segregation contaminated jazz, and how white jazz legend Benny Goodman courted ostracism when he began performing with African-American musicians in the late ’30s. But, as Marsalis deadpanned to audience laughter, “the nation somehow survived” white and African-American musicians swinging together. Marsalis explained the music’s inclusive philosophy as “come together, be together, stay together.”Improvising both musically and verbally, when he tripped over pronunciation of a word, he simply repeated it slowly, then invoked fellow trumpet legend Miles Davis, who said, “I don’t know if a note is wrong until I play the next one.” Throughout, the orchestra remained tight as the proverbial drum, performing with ensemble and individual virtuosity that earned multiple standing ovations.Marsalis closed by describing jazz as an inclusive music for people “who feel it so deeply that they can’t help but share it,” saying that jazz creates a community of musicians who create communities of those who appreciate it.That feeling of artistic community, expertly nurtured by Marsalis and his orchestra, was abundantly on display in the rollicking, music-filled theater. When Marsalis explained that jazz ensembles create “a great range of expressive possibilities,” he also described the evening.last_img read more

Treasures to have and to hold at the Loeb Music Library

first_imgStudents who attended “Treasures of the Loeb Music Library,” a Wintersession event hosted by Library Assistant Peter Laurence, Reference and Digital Program Librarian Kerry Masteller, and Music Reference and Research Librarian Liza Vick, arrived at the Merritt Room to a cross-section of the library’s rare recordings, medieval manuscripts, annotated scores and early edition songbooks.“The best part of a special collections open house is telling students they can turn the pages,” said Masteller.At her encouragement, a participant flipped through the heart-shaped “Chansonnier De Jean De Montchenu,” a facsimile of a 15th-century collection of French and Italian secular music bound in red velvet.Another paused at a set of three 1930s albums from the Timely Recording Company. The rare albums feature labor songs and artwork connected to the Communist Party, including compositions by Hanns Eisler and words by Berthold Brecht. Not long after the records were produced, growing concerns about the label’s leftist ties led its founder to deny he created the materials.“They’re really unique,” Laurence described. “These were the first three ever published on the label.”Other items on display hinted at the scope of the library’s collection. A 1609 score written for qin, a Chinese musical instrument, is one of 19 in existence, and underwent conservation during the Qing Dynasty.Also showcased was a more recent transcript of Bulgarian music as collected by Martha Forsyth in the early 1980s.“It’s interesting to look at even if you don’t understand all the words,” said Vick.last_img read more

A fountain of music

first_imgIt was a class assignment with a transcendent twist.Seven Harvard undergraduates in Richard Beaudoin’s course on music composition took on the challenge last fall of composing short works inspired by art from the collections of the recently reopened Harvard Art Museums. Last month, those compositions were performed publicly for the first time at a concert titled “Sounding Art,” held in the museums’ Calderwood Courtyard.Cellist Neil Heyde of London���s Royal Academy of Music performed the pieces by students Eric Corcoran, Sumire Hirotsuru, Auburn Lee, Cynthia Meng, Samuel Pottash, Brandon Snyder, and Fraser Weist. Before Heyde played the pieces, each student composer spoke briefly about how his or her piece related to the museums’ collections.When art and music come together Cellist Neil Heyde of London’s Royal Academy of Music performed pieces by students at Harvard Art Museums’ Calderwood Courtyard. Courtesy of Harvard Art MuseumsTheir compositions ranged in style from classical to jazz to atonal. Heyde bookended the student works with two different performances of Morton Feldman’s 1950 “Projection 1,” an iconic American composition notated on graph paper that changes each time it is played.As the afternoon program concluded, Beaudoin, a preceptor in the Department of Music, encouraged the audience to visit the University Study Gallery on Level 3, where they could view the works that inspired the student compositions, including Glenn Ligon’s 2004 print “Self-Portrait at Eleven Years Old” and Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour’s 1894 drawing “Music and Poetry.”The event was representative of “everything we do as a teaching museum,” said Laura Muir, the research curator for academic and public programs. “The concert was rooted in our collections and engaged students, faculty, and the public in an interactive moment tied to teaching, learning, and close looking.” <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ud4Hxv37wnA” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/ud4Hxv37wnA/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a>last_img read more

For the love of theater

first_imgAmy Brenneman ’87 and Sabrina Peck ’84 began their longtime collaboration when they were undergrads at Harvard and bonded over their love for theater.Though Brenneman majored in comparative religion and Peck in social studies, the two went on to drama careers at opposite ends of the country. Brenneman became a Hollywood actress, writer, and producer, with credits in TV shows such as “NYPD Blue,” “Judging Amy,” “Private Practice,” and HBO’s “The Leftovers.” Peck settled in New York City and found her calling as a theater director and choreographer.Thirty years later they remain close, and their working partnership is a testament to their belief that collaborators are almost as important as best friends or business partners.That was one of the takeaways of “Performing Our Experience: Tools for Creating Original Theater,” which Brenneman and Peck offered last week as part of the January Arts and Media Seminars sponsored by the Office for the Arts at Harvard.The pair taught students how to create scenes based on personal experiences during the five-hour session, but they also spoke about their longstanding collaboration.“It’s not only about teaching tools and methods,” said Peck. “We encouraged them to value their current collaborators on campus, to recognize that these people might become their important artistic allies in the future, as Amy and I have been for each other since college.”Thomas Peterson ’18 (from left), Connor Doyle ’19, and Miriam Huettner ’17 collaborated in a performance. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerIn the mid-1980s, the two co-founded Cornerstone Theater Company, a traveling ensemble that adapts classic plays to local communities. In 2011, they co-created “Mouth Wide Open,” a theater piece based on Brenneman’s experiences as she searched for spirituality in a place better known for its red carpets.Drawing from life to make art is one of Peck’s signature techniques when creating plays. The workshop offered methods and tools for students to “generate, distill and develop theatrical material that comes from a personal, authentic place,” she said.“These methods are valuable for their own creative self-expression, but they are also invaluable when collaborating with diverse communities,” Peck said. “They help elicit and develop the stories that often don’t get told, with the people from whom we seldom get to hear.”On a recent afternoon at the director’s studio in the Office for the Arts building, eight students sat on the floor listening to Brenneman and Peck. At Peck’s prompting, the students wrote brief stories around a personal object. Working in small groups, they chose a story and created a performance, all in 20 minutes. Students giggled and smiled as they worked on their scripts and incorporated the movement exercises they had learned in the morning.“Storytelling is the fun part,” said Peck, sitting on the floor next to Brenneman. “What could be more exciting than a moment of creation?”After the workshop, Brenneman praised Peck’s techniques. As an undergraduate, Peck created CityStep at Harvard University, a popular outreach program now in its 32nd year, whose members teach public schoolchildren in Cambridge dance and theater as a means of self-expression.“Sabrina has a unique way to generate material from everybody because everybody has a story to tell,” Brenneman said.Most of the students’ scripts dealt with the anxiety of being freshmen and the pressure of academic life while trying to find their places in the world.For the students, the workshop was an opportunity to create something on the spot and experience the thrill of improvisation.KeeHup Yong ’19 said the highlight was learning to turn words into a performance. Garrett Allen ’16 learned that “theater is a personal experience.” And Hanna Psychas ’18 relished the spontaneity.“I thought there is a need for a plan,” Psychas said to her peers at the end of the workshop. “But then I realized the first impulse is the playful impulse.”For students who want to go into show business, Brenneman offered a few words of wisdom.“Keep writing, creating, and keep at it,” she said. “And say yes to everything. It’s not a time to decide anything. Just to experience it.”And cultivate collaborators, partners in creation, said Peck.“Amy and I met when we were students,” she said. “We have a rich collaboration that has evolved over time, but every time we’re together, ideas fly.”last_img read more

‘Switch’ that could improve memory identified

first_imgA neural circuit mechanism involved in preserving the specificity of memories has been identified by investigators from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Regenerative Medicine and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI).They also identified a genetic “switch” that can slow down memory generalization — the loss of specific details over time that occurs in both age-related memory impairment and in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in which emotions originally produced by traumatic experiences are elicited in response to innocuous cues that have little resemblance to the traumatic memory.“The circuit mechanism we identified in mice allows us to preserve the precision or the details of memories over the passage of time in adult as well as aged animals,” says Amar Sahay of the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine and HSCI, corresponding author of a paper appearing in Nature Medicine. “These findings have implications for the generalization of traumatic memories in PTSD and for memory imprecision in aging.”Memories are generated in the seahorse-shaped brain structure called the hippocampus and stored in the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain. Memory formation involves cells in a portion of the hippocampus called the dentate gyrus, and memories are thought to be conveyed to the prefrontal cortex via the CA subregions of the hippocampus, specifically subregions CA3 and CA1. The hippocampus also is believed to play a continuing role in the stabilization of memories in the cortex — maintaining the precise details that keep one memory from being confused with another and preventing issues ranging from not being able to remember last week’s dinner selections to age-related memory loss. Related Study zeroes in on how humans interpret visual environment Hyperactivity of this hippocampal circuitry has been observed in aged animals — rodents, non-human primates, and humans — and alterations in hippocampal structure are seen in patients with PTSD. The current study was designed to investigate the hypothesis that inhibitory signals passing from dentate gyrus cells (DGCs) to the CA3 subregion help constrain hyperactivity and maintain the stability and precision of memories over time.A key finding by Sahay’s team was identification of a protein called abLIM3 — highly expressed in DGCs but absent in the CA field of mouse brains. The protein acts as a molecular brake on the inhibitory signals DGCs exert onto the CA3 subregion. Experimental manipulation of abLIM3 levels in DGCs in adult mice revealed that decreasing abLIM3 levels increased the delivery of inhibitory signals to CA3 neurons. A series of experiments with mouse models showed that manipulation of abLIM3 levels within DGCs could slow down the process of memory generalization.Using a classical behavioral-conditioning protocol, the investigators first trained the animals to expect an unpleasant sensation, a mild but not painful foot shock, in a particular context, such as being placed into a box with dark walls. Typically, when animals are placed in the same context, they will “freeze” in expectation of the shock but will not react to a context not associated with the shock, such as a box with light walls. But after two weeks, the memory will generalize and the animals will “freeze” when placed in any context, even one with little resemblance to that in which they received the foot shock.In contrast, decreasing abLIM3 levels within DGCs maintained the specificity of the memory over time so that, even two weeks later, the mice would only freeze when placed into the foot-shock-associated context. The investigators also found that decreasing abLIM3 levels in aged mice reversed age-related alterations in DGC-CA3 circuitry and improved memory precision. A recent study by another group found significantly increased abLIM3 levels in the circulation of aged humans who are beginning to show signs of memory impairment.“Our ability to improve memory precision in both adult and aged mice by essentially ‘flipping a genetic switch’ suggests that targeting abLIM3 expression in DGCs may lead to similar improvement in aged humans, a strategy we are actively pursuing,” says Sahay, who is an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and principal faculty of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. “Since overgeneralization of traumatic memories is a hallmark of PTSD, we are also keen to assess abLIM3 levels in patients with PTSD and investigate whether reducing abLIM3 expression could prevent the activation of traumatic memories.”Nannan Guo of the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine and Department of Psychiatry is lead author of the Nature Medicine paper. Additional co-authors are Charlotte Herber, Michael TaeWoo Kim, Antoine Besnard, and Paoyan Lin, MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine; Marta Soden and Larry Zweifel, University of Washington; and Xiang Ma and Constance Cepko, Harvard Medical School. Support for the study includes National Institutes of Health grants R01 MH104175, R01 AG048908, and 1R01 MH111729 and support from the Ellison Family Foundation. A patent application covering the targeting of abLIM3 to improve memory precision in aging and PTSD has been filed. Changes in memory tied to menopausal status Peeking between memory and perception Alzheimer’s-associated protein may be part of the innate immune system New understanding could lead to preventive, therapeutic strategies Memory changes may occur in women decades earlier than previously thought last_img read more

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