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Long Term Potentiation (LTP)

LTP is a process by which synaptic connections between neurons become stronger with frequent activation. LTP is thought to be a way in which the brain changes in response to experience, and thus may be a mechanism underlying learning and memory.


There are a number of ways in which LTP can occur. The best-known mechanism involves a glutamate receptor known as the NMDA and AMPA receptor. In the postsynaptic neuron, both NMDA and AMPA receptors are together and activated by the binding of the neurotransmitter glutamate. AMPA receptor is permeable to the sodium ions, and NMDA is permeable to both sodium and calcium ions. In NMDA-receptor dependent LTP, glutamate release first activates a subtype of glutamate receptor known as the AMPA receptor. NMDA receptors are found nearby these AMPA receptors, but are not activated by low levels of glutamate release because the ion channel of an NMDA receptor is blocked by a magnesium ion. If frequent action potentials cause greater stimulation of AMPA receptors, however, this will cause the postsynaptic neuron to depolarize, which eventually causes the voltage-dependent magnesium blockage of the NMDA receptor to be removed, allowing calcium ions to flow in through the NMDA receptor. This influx of calcium initiates cellular mechanisms that cause more AMPA receptors to be inserted into the neuron’s membrane. The new AMPA receptors are also more responsive to glutamate, and allow more positively charged ions to enter the cell when activated.  Now, the postsynaptic cell is more sensitive to glutamate because it has more receptors to respond to it. Additionally, there are thought to be signals that travel back across the synapse to stimulate greater levels of glutamate release.
Thus, as said before LTP makes the synapses stronger and more likely to be activated in the future.

Academic Memo

Is the Security Dilemma an Inescapable Reality or Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

The above article, ‘Is the Security Dilemma an Inescapable Reality or Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?’ was written by Carl Bjork on March 04, 2015. In this article, the concept of security dilemma has been explained nicely with real life examples. In this article security dilemma has been coined as a conundrum in defining a state’s insecurities with other states. Not that these states are calling wars with the others, rather strengthening their own defense system, which might result in the escalation of conflict and the catastrophic possibility of war. An automatic concern of self defense grows among the nations and as a result whenever they see one state purchasing new weapons, military aircrafts, submarines, they feel threatened and they purchase these weapons as well. This never-ending weapons race among the states is called Security Dilemma. Security Dilemma has always been there on the face of the earth since the beginning of time. Classic and often referenced scenarios demonstrating the security dilemma have been the issues surrounding the Cold War, post-Cold War Europe and United States nuclear policy. 

According to the article, the security dilemma is more like a self fulfilling prophecy, a process through which an originally false expectation leads to its own confirmation. The government usually expects the worst possible scenarios to happen and always prepare their own nation to face any imminent danger. One example might be the cold war, the Soviet Union spending capital on arms and ammunition was the cause of fear of the Americans. Assuming the worst case, the US expanded their military and weaponry to an unreachable limit. In conclusion the security dilemma is an unfortunate and inescapable reality. 

Whereas the first world nations can spend on expanding the defense structure of the nation without any second thoughts, things might not be the same for the third world countries. Watching the big nations constantly spending on weapons, it is normal for the low income countries to feel insecure. Reality is hard, with a limited budget it is impractical for low income nations to spend big bucks on defense as they have to think about lots of other issues. This is when alliances are formed. Alliances are a group of nations with a similar interest formed to strive for a joint competitive advantage which is based on combining strengths or mitigating weaknesses. In the world, where nations are constantly considering other nations as a threat, alliances can be a real help for the low income countries because in the time of catastrophe, the states in the alliances fight as one. Thus, these alliances not only saves the nations a huge sum of money but also creates a friendly and assurance pact that the states inside an alliance won’t call wars against each other. This lessens the security dilemma and effectively reduces the weapons race. Aside from helping with the security dilemma, alliances are helpful to mitigate world affairs as a group of nations agrees on a decision beneficial to every member of that alliance. 

With nations cooperating with one another, the world would be a better place. It’s high time the world leaders agree on making this world beautiful by working side by side rather than thinking about their own safety rather than immersing themselves in the constant fears of being attacked.  

 

Resource Guidelines

Module 1

 

Tech tips: It is important to know about different softwares and websites. Important ones are: Office 365, Box, Google Drive, Adobe Acrobat, Carmen, different features of Google.

 

Organizing: Files can be organized in Google drive, Onedrive, Box and similar cloud softwares as they can be accessed any moment very easily.

 

Setting goals: Goals and plans needed to be made before starting, thus procrastination can be avoided. 

 

Campus resources: Ohio State University provides several resources like OSU Library, MLSC tutors, academic advisors, Dennis learning center and many more. 

 

Module 2

 

Netiquettes: Netiquettes means the etiquettes in internet. It is really important to behave nicely and mannerly with everyone on the internet. https://youtu.be/gvkbDc1LiVI 

 

Emailing: Emailing to professors takes proper rules for eg, good grammar, straight forward point, politeness, maintaining a good email structure, signature.   https://youtu.be/d3zCLMWR38E

 

Collaborating: To make collaboration with group members a success, the group leader must make a detailed plan and work schedule, short checkpoints of work should be assigned with a deadline, and finally the final project would be composed under the leader’s guidance.  https://youtu.be/NZRyDgDlvqA

 

Module 3

 

Procrastination: It can be dealt with by 10 mins rule, Ultimate goal vs Immediate desire techniques. https://youtu.be/VA8D1cGW5Qk

 

Time Management: Time can be managed by tracking daily activities in excel sheets. Also setting up google calendar, google tasks can help here a lot. https://youtu.be/b3fVtWfhitc

 

Digital Distractions and Supportive Environment: Distractions like mobile notifications, social medias etc should be put off and supportive distraction less should be created. 

 

Module 4

 

Memory and Learning Strategy: Proper learning strategy needs to be adapted in accordance with memory. Memory are of 4 types, Sensory memory, Working memory, Short term memory and Long term memory. Chunking, Priming, Mnemonics are effective ways of learning. 

https://youtu.be/QwOBQsjClo0  https://youtu.be/SZbdK9e9bxs

 

Study tools and Study apps: Significant study tools and apps are Ease.ly, Bubble.us, Timetoast etc

 

Module 5

 

Note taking strategies:Some mentionable note taking strategies are Cornell method, Outline method, Flow stem method, Bullet point method, Writing in slide method etc. 

Notes can be taken both in paper and digitally by iPad, Onenote etc. 

https://youtu.be/Yc5qyMTjO3k  https://youtu.be/LoRl9uL1J0w 

 

Module 6

 

Finding and evaluating resources: Resources after finding needs to be evaluated by criteria of reliability,quality and utility,

 

Search engines search: We can conduct search in google, yahoo and similar web browsers. Scholarly articles can be found in Google Scholar and Ohio State Library. 

https://youtu.be/dc-vKk205c8   

 

Memory and Study Strategy

Human brain is like a computer. Brain is the Central Processing Unit (CPU) of the human body. Just like the computer has different types of memory like RAM, ROM, HDD, humans have memory like Sensory Memory, Working Memory, Short Time Memory, Long Term Memory. These can be illustrated properly by using the Atkinson-Shiffrin Model and study strategy in respect to that. 

Our memory works on the basis of 3 pillars. These are Encoding, Storage and Retrieval. Just like it sounds, Encoding means transferring the information obtained from one form to another like the computer does from complex info to binary data. Thus after transferring into simpler mode, the data is stored in our brain. And when we want to get the stored data back from our brain, it follows the retrieval process. The Atkinson-Shiffrin model is illustrated below. 

As we can see, the sensory input in our brain immediately passes into our Sensory memory. Sensory memory is the memory where all sorts of information goes first and the data is stored for a significantly short period of time (~1s) as it picks up visual, acoustic and haptic codes. To store the important information, we need to send it to the Short Term Memory (STM). STM holds the information for a larger time than the Sensory memory, for about 30 seconds. To permanently store the information in our brain for later usage, we need to shift it to the Long Term Memory (LTM). This can be related with our studies. When we first learn anything, it is stored in our Short Term Memory. But to use this knowledge later, we need to get it in our long term memory. To do this, there are some techniques. Chunking, Maintain Rehearsal, Mnemonics are some of them. Chunking means to group out some words or letters to make a rhythm that helps us to remember something better. Maintain Rehearsal is the technique where the data is repeated over and over again to remember. Mnemonics is one of the best ways to put information in long term memory, mnemonics means to relate the gained knowledge to something so that whenever the data is heard, we relate to the mnemonics immediately. Besides staying fit, going to gym, not cramming before the exam night, eases the transition from short term memory to long term memory better. 

 

Thus, effective study strategy is really important to learn and utilize the knowledge in context of human memory.