Longtemps nous avons considéré les animaux comme ceux que la nature avait privés des qualités que nous, les humains, possédons : l'aptitude à raisonner, apprendre, communiquer, s'adapter, décoder, transmettre, enseigner, progresser... Les travaux scientifiques ont pulvérisé cette idée reçue et, depuis la dernière décennie, ils nous surprennent encore plus. Qui sont vraiment les animaux ?
On les savait joueurs, blagueurs, rieurs, féroces parfois ; on les découvre tricheurs, menteurs, trompeurs, mais aussi aimants, mélancoliques ou encore émotifs, stratèges, sensibles aux intentions d'autrui, capables de respecter une morale ou d'élaborer une culture.
La très grande ingéniosité des tests et l'extraordinaire diversité des observations scientifiques (éthologie, génétique, psychologie, zoologie, primatologie, neurosciences) nous révèlent les facettes de l'intelligence et de l'identité animales, et prouvent l'absurdité qu'il y a à réduire les compétences de la bête à la seule force de son instinct. Car en dépit des caractéristiques qui fondent l'homogénéité de son espèce, chaque animal est un individu à part entière, un être social unique, complexe, et par là même un sujet de droit.
Des singes aux léopards, des éléphants aux antilopes, des baleines aux dauphins, l'auteur nous propose une approche de l'altérité qui apporte beaucoup au débat sur l'exploitation et la manipulation animales. Un plaidoyer fort documenté en faveur de la personne animale.
Koko le gorille, Alex le perroquet, Ake le dauphin, et bien d'autres, ont prouvé aux scientifiques passionnés leur intelligence logique, langagière, sociale et affective. Ils jonglent avec les chiffres et les mots, pleurent leurs morts, chérissent leur famille : on croit reconnaître ici les critères classiques de la définition de l'Homme par les anthropologues, ou ceux de la " personne " chère aux philosophes. Mais les animaux, eux aussi, sont des " personnes " ! Dans un ouvrage qui fait partager au grand public les avancées de la recherche, Yves Christen nous permet de rencontrer ces fortes personnalités et nous conduit, de façon limpide et révolutionnaire, à remettre en question nos préjugés sur l'animalité et l'humanité, dont la séparation semble bien artificielle.
Dans le domaine de la pensée, le XXe siècle n'est pas né en 1900, mais en 1859. Une année bien remplie : Napoléon III s'active, Cavour aussi, qui va unifier l'Italie. Mais, plus important encore, Marx publie sa Contribution à la critique de l'économie politique et Darwin, De l'origine des espèces. Le XXe siècle vient de naître. Les grandes idéologies, qui le secoueront d'une façon parfois terrifiante, vont trouver dans les évènements intellectuels de cette année 1859 leurs racines métapolitiques : une double révolution, biologique et sociale, vient de s'accomplir. À travers l'étude des relations entre Marx et Darwin, ce sont les idéologies d'aujourd'hui qui montrent leur vrai visage. Tout, croirait-on, devait rapprocher les deux grands précurseurs, mais le destin contribua à les séparer sans cesse davantage. En apparence, tout avait été dit sur cette question. Mais aucune des vérités admises ne résiste à l'enquête des historiens des sciences. Une enquête qu'Yves Christen a suivie pas à pas. On apprend ainsi que Marx n'a jamais proposé à Darwin de lui dédicacer l'édition anglaise du Capital, que le darwinisme social était plus une idéologie de gauche que de droite ; que Darwin était moins raciste que Marx ; que ce dernier s'enticha, conte le biologiste, d'un pseudo-évolutionniste français pour élaborer une vision raciste complète de l'histoire jusqu'alors inconnue, etc. Le grand affrontement entre le marxisme et le darwinisme contraint toutes les idéologies à se situer dans un camps ou dans l'autre. Il force galement les successeurs de l'auteur du Capital à renoncer à la science pour rejoindre le camp de la métaphysique.
This volume starts with an elementary introduction covering stem cell methodologies used to produce specific types of neurons, possibilities for their therapeutic use, and warnings of technical problems. In addition the authors report successes in achieving the derivation of a specific type of neuron. The dopamine neuron offers an important example and is discussed in more detail. Additional chapters cover problems obviously approachable with cells derived from stem cells, including their need in surgeries for pituitary cancers. The last chapter provides an overview of this particular field of research and presents a vision for its future directions.
This book brings together leading investigators who represent various aspects of brain dynamics with the goal of presenting state-of-the-art current progress and address future developments. The individual chapters cover several fascinating facets of contemporary neuroscience from elementary computation of neurons, mesoscopic network oscillations, internally generated assembly sequences in the service of cognition, large-scale neuronal interactions within and across systems, the impact of sleep on cognition, memory, motor-sensory integration, spatial navigation, large-scale computation and consciousness. Each of these topics require appropriate levels of analyses with sufficiently high temporal and spatial resolution of neuronal activity in both local and global networks, supplemented by models and theories to explain how different levels of brain dynamics interact with each other and how the failure of such interactions results in neurologic and mental disease. While such complex questions cannot be answered exhaustively by a dozen or so chapters, this volume offers a nice synthesis of current thinking and work-in-progress on micro-, meso- and macro- dynamics of the brain.
Recent years have seen spectacular advances in the field of circadian biology. These have attracted the interest of researchers in many fields, including endocrinology, neurosciences, cancer, and behavior. By integrating a circadian view within the fields of endocrinology and metabolism, researchers will be able to reveal many, yet-unsuspected aspects of how organisms cope with changes in the environment and subsequent control of homeostasis. This field is opening new avenues in our understanding of metabolism and endocrinology. A panel of the most distinguished investigators in the field gathered together to discuss the present state and the future of the field. The editors trust that this volume will be of use to those colleagues who will be picking up the challenge to unravel how the circadian clock can be targeted for the future development of specific pharmacological strategies toward a number of pathologies.
This book has brought together leading investigators who work in the new arena of brain connectomics. This includes `macro-connectome' efforts to comprehensively chart long-distance pathways and functional networks; `micro-connectome' efforts to identify every neuron, axon, dendrite, synapse, and glial process within restricted brain regions; and `meso-connectome' efforts to systematically map both local and long-distance connections using anatomical tracers. This book highlights cutting-edge methods that can accelerate progress in elucidating static `hard-wired' circuits of the brain as well as dynamic interactions that are vital for brain function. The power of connectomic approaches in characterizing abnormal circuits in the many brain disorders that afflict humankind is considered. Experts in computational neuroscience and network theory provide perspectives needed for synthesizing across different scales in space and time. Altogether, this book provides an integrated view of the challenges and opportunities in deciphering brain circuits in health and disease.
Traditionally, neuroscience has considered the nervous system as an isolated entity and largely ignored influences of the social environments in which humans and many animal species live. However, there is mounting evidence that the social environment affects behavior across species, from microbes to humans.This volume brings together scholars who work with animal and human models of social behavior to discuss the challenges and opportunities in this interdisciplinary academic field.
The authors address in particular the role of hormones and their links with other maternal environmental mediators in developmental programming. The crucial nature of the placenta as an interface and target between maternal and foetal environments is addressed. Emphasis is made on the emerging science of epigenetics as a potential explanation for how environmental events that occur during brief windows of development may exert effects that impact upon somatic cells through many rounds of mitosis for much of the life span of the subsequent organism.
This volume provides the reader with a pathophysiological perspective on the role of CNS in puberty and adolescence, starting from genetic/molecular aspects, going through structural/imaging changes and leading to physical/behavioral characteristics. Therefore, renowned investigators involved in both animal and human research shared recent data as well as overall appraisal of relevant questions around CNS control of puberty and adolescence. No doubt that this volume will inspire those involved in either scientific research or clinical practice or both in the fascinating field of puberty and adolescence.
The health of the proteome depends upon protein quality control to regulate the proper synthesis, folding, translocation, and clearance of proteins. The cell is challenged constantly by environmental and physiological stress, aging, and the chronic expressions of disease associated misfolded proteins. Substantial evidence supports the hypothesis that the expression of damaged proteins initiates a cascade of molecular events that leads to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington's disease, and other diseases of protein conformation.
Recent years have seen spectacular advances in the filed of epigenetics. These have attracted the interest of researchers in many fields and evidence connecting epigentic regulation to brain functions has been accumulationg. Neurons daily convert a variety of external stimuli into rapid or long-lasting changes in gene expression. A variety of studies have centered on the molcular mechanisms implicated in epigentic control and how these may operte in concert. It will be critical to unravel how specifity is achieved. The focus of this volume is on critical epigenetic regulation and chromatin remodeling events that occur in the nervous system and on the presumed mechanisms that operate within neurons to translate them into long-lasting neuronal responses.
The recent advances in Programming Somatic Cell (PSC) including induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS) and Induced Neuronal phenotypes (iN), has changed our experimental landscape and opened new possibilities. The advances in PSC have provided an important tool for the study of human neuronal function as well as neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases in live human neurons in a controlled environment. For example, reprogramming cells from patients with neurological diseases allows the study of molecular pathways particular to specific subtypes of neurons such as dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's Disease, Motor neurons for Amyolateral Sclerosis or myelin for Multiple Sclerosis. Detecting disease-specific molecular signatures in live human brain cells, opens possibilities for early intervention therapies and new diagnostic tools. Importantly, once the neurological neural phenotype is detected in vitro, the so-called "disease-in-a-dish" approach allows for the screening of drugs that can ameliorate the disease-specific phenotype. New therapeutic drugs could either act on generalized pathways in all patients or be patient-specific and used in a personalized medicine approach. However, there are a number of pressing issues that need to be addressed and resolved before PSC technology can be extensively used for clinically relevant modeling of neurological diseases. Among these issues are the variability in PSC generation methods, variability between individuals, epigenetic/genetic instability and the ability to obtain disease-relevant subtypes of neurons . Current protocols for differentiating PSC into specific subtypes of neurons are under development, but more and better protocols are needed. Understanding the molecular pathways involved in human neural differentiation will facilitate the development of methods and tools to enrich and monitor the generation of specific subtypes of neurons that would be more relevant in modeling different neurological diseases.
The misfolding and aggregation of specific proteins is an early and obligatory event in many of the age-related neurodegenerative diseases of humans. The initial cause of this pathogenic cascade and the means whereby disease spreads through the nervous system, remain uncertain. A recent surge of research, first instigated by pathologic similarities between prion disease and Alzheimer's disease, increasingly implicates the conversion of disease-specific proteins into an aggregate-prone b-sheet-rich state as the prime mover of the neurodegenerative process. This prion-like corruptive protein templating or seeding now characterizes such clinically and etiologically diverse neurological disorders as Alzheimer´s disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Understanding the misfolding, aggregation, trafficking and pathogenicity of the affected proteins could therefore reveal universal pathomechanistic principles for some of the most devastating and intractable human brain disorders. It is time to accept that the prion concept is no longer confined to prionoses but is a promising concept for the understanding and treatment of a remarkable variety of diseases that afflict primarily our aging society. ?
Characterizing the computational architecture and neurobiological mechanisms underlying consciousness remains a major unsolved problem in cognitive neuroscience, but it has become an area of intense research. Thanks to new advances in stimulation paradigms, brain imaging techniques, and neuronal theorizing, the issue now appears to be empirically addressable. Yet a major challenge still confronts these novel empirical and theoretical proposals: will they be able to help clinicians confronted with patients in coma or vegetative state? Can they help define novel diagnostic or even therapeutic tools? In the present book, thirteen renowned neuroscientists and clinicians examine whether consciousness research is ripe for applications, from cognition to the clinic.
In theoretical terms, sex differences in brains and behaviors of laboratory animals offer the possibility of fascinating scientific studies on a range of molecular phenomena such as genomic imprinting, DNA methylation, chromatin protein modification, non-coding DNA, potentially resulting in important neuroanatomical and neurochemical sex differences in the brain. Such sex differences could arise consequent to exposures to testosterone early in development, or to other effects deriving from the Y chromosome. However, this general subject has been treated with much hyperbole. Historically, sex differences were assumed to be present where they did not really exist, e.g. with respect to mathematics, executive leadership, etc. etc. Under what circumstances do we really care about sex differences in brain and behavior? These circumstances concern human maladies whose diagnoses are much different between boys and girls, or between women and men. Prominent examples discussed in this volume include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders and congenital adrenal hyperplasia. In fact, infant boys are more susceptible than infant girls to a variety of disorders that arise early in development. This volume then ends with a consideration of effects of estrogenic hormones on the injured brain, and their roles as protective agents.
Homeostasis involves a delicate interplay between generative and degenerative processes to maintain a stable internal environment. In biological systems, equilibrium is established and controlled through a series of negative feedback mechanisms driven by a range of signal transduction processes. Failures in these complex communication pathways result in instability leading to disease. Cancer represents a state of imbalance caused by an excess of cell proliferation. In contrast, neurodegeneration is a consequence of excessive cell loss in the nervous system. Both of these disorders exhort profound tolls on humanity and they have been subject to a great deal of research designed to ameliorate this suffering. For the most part, the topics have been viewed as distinct and rarely do opportunities arise for transdisciplinary discussions among experts in both fields. However, cancer and neurodegeneration represent yin-yang counterpoints in the regulation of cell growth, and it is reasonable to hypothesize that key regulatory events mediated by oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes in cancer may also affect neurodegenerative processes