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May 01, 2005 (Vol. 25, No. 9)

MetaNeuron Program

  • Useful Program
  • None
The word “virtual” is WAY overused. Lazy people use it to describe the use of the computer in simulations (virtual life), imaging (virtual reality), teaching (virtual classrooms/virtual laboratories), publishing (virtual library), and zillions of others I won’t describe here. These thoughts came to mind when I discovered the MetaNeuron program site. It provides downloaders with a program (Mac or Windows) that plots membrane potential under a dizzying array of user-definable conditions. Controls allow users to define resting membrane potential conditions, membrane time constants, axon action potentials, axon voltage clamps, and synaptic potential and current. Now that the nervous system has gone virtual, perhaps someone can put it together with a virtual brain and get one step closer to something that could actually be described as a virtual life form.
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*The opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as reflecting the viewpoints of the publisher, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing house, or employees and affiliates thereof.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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