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Biologists 'transfer’ memory from one snail to another
David Glanzman holding a marine snail.

Research could lead to new ways to restore lost memories

Biologists at the University of California, Los Angeles, have used ribonucleic acid (RNA) to ‘transfer’ a memory from one marine snail to another.

The research is the first of its kind and it is hoped that it could lead to new ways to lessen the effects of Alzheimer’s disease or post-traumatic stress disorder.

When snails are tapped, they withdraw back into their shell. Using mild electric shocks, researchers were able to enhance this withdrawal reflex, which the snails use to protect themselves from potential harm.

The researchers then extracted RNA from the shocked snails and injected it into snails that had not been shocked. Incredibly, these snails behaved as if they had themselves received the shocks. They displayed a defensive contraction that lasted on average 40 seconds.

“It’s as though we transferred the memory,” said senior author David Glanzman.

RNA is an essential molecule for the production of protein and is understood to be important in the regulation of cellular processes involved in development and disease.

Glanzman believes that RNA could be used to awaken and restore memories that have gone dormant in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. He now wants to identify the specific kinds of RNA that can be used to transfer memories.

The study, RNA from trained aplysia can induce an epigenetic engram for long-term sensitization in untrained aplysia, is published in the journal eNeuro.

Image (C) Christelle Snow/UCLA

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ISFM announces first veterinary nurse conference

News Story 1
 The International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM) - the veterinary division of International Cat Care - has announced its first annual conference dedicated to veterinary nurses. The day offers an opportunity to meet up with colleagues and enjoy more than five hours of stimulating CPD.

The conference is being held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Stratford-Upon-Avon, on Saturday 15 September 2018. Tickets are £95 per person and include lunch, coffee breaks, downloadable proceedings and CPD certificate. For details and to book your place visit www.eventbrite.co.uk  

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WSAVA awards Australian vet with 'Next Generation’ award

Australian vet Dr Guyan Weerasinghe has been crowned winner of the WSAVA ‘Next Generation’ Veterinary Award. The award recognises those who graduated within the last 10 years and have made a significant contribution to the welfare of companion animals and the veterinary profession as a whole.

Besides maintaining a small animal caseload, Dr Weerasinghe works for the Queensland Government’s Department of Agriculture where he is involved with animal disease surveillance and increasing the public health risks in veterinary practice. He also collaborates on various One Health projects across Australia and gives regular talks on the impact of climate change on animal health and welfare.

Dr Weerasinghe will receive his award at the WSAVA World Congress 2018 (25-28 September).