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Snails On Methamphetamine 93

sciencehabit writes "Science answers the question: What happens when you put a snail on speed? From the article: 'The results suggest that meth improves memory, something that has been previously observed in creatures with large, complex brains like rats and humans. But since the snails store their memories in a simple, three-neuron network, the team hopes that studying the meth effect in these gastropods will help pinpoint how the drug's memory magnification powers work.'"


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Snails On Methamphetamine

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  • Interesting (Score:5, Funny)

    by davidsinn ( 1438403 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:13PM (#32421418)

    Three neurons for a memory. Sounds like the congress.

    • stop insulting the snails (the ones with the shell on their backs)

    • by blair1q ( 305137 )

      Congress has a longer memory than you think. Especially when you hand them cash.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Three neurons for a memory. Sounds like the congress.

      I think you are thinking of morons, not neurons.

    • Clarification please: you mean Congress, or Libraries of Congress?

      • by ConceptJunkie ( 24823 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @12:11AM (#32440522) Homepage Journal

        OK. It's really simple.

        "Libraries of Congress" is a measure of information. It is unit based on the amount of printed data stored by the Library of Congress expressed in bytes. It's value is 10 terabytes, according to some random website I googled, but that value seems awfully low to me unless you're talking strictly text data.

        "Congress" is a measure of corruption and incompetence. It is a unit based on the measure of immoral and destructive acts committed by the U. S. Congress expressed in terms of bogon flux. A bogon is a quantum of stupidity (also referred to as an "anti-cluon" or "tau-moron"). All stupid and many evil people emit a bogon flux, which increases proportionally with the level of stupidity or petty evil a person commits. For instance, if a 10-year-old calls you "gay" because you like classical music, he is emitting approximately 1 bogon per cm^2*s (also referred to a having a "bogosity of 1"). If your boss forces you to work late and miss a concert because you neglected to put the new covers on your TPS reports, he has a bogosity of around 1000. A bogosity of a million (10e6) has been officially designed in the SI system as a "darl".

        Andy Dick registers in the 5 to 8 darl range. Steve Ballmer averages about 20 darls, but researchers measured a spike of nearly a kilodarl when he performed his "monkeyboy" dance. Although the U.S. Congress has been measured at bogosity levels as low as 800 kilodarls, measured shortly after they balanced the budget in 1998, all the way to well over 300 megadarls in the aftermath of 9/11 to nearly 4 gigadarls measured during the passage of the latest "stimulus" bill, a "Congress" was traditionally (and informally) considered to represent a bogon flux of 1 megadarl. This began to be regarded as woefully out of date by 2003. In recent years, the round number of 1 gigadarl has become the commonly accepted value of "Congress", which is equal to approximately 6.4 Kim Jong-Ils or an even six-pack of Mahmoud Ahmadinejads.

  • I think it would take someone who is quite familiar with drugs to ask a question like "What happens when you put a snail on speed".

    And I don't mean someone like a pharmacist.

    • Re:Not surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:19PM (#32422392)

      I think it would take someone who is quite familiar with drugs to ask a question like "What happens when you put a snail on speed".

      What's your judgment of the mental state of someone whom asks:

      What happens if "I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor. That's my dream; that's my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor... and surviving. ", on speed.

  • I think your giving Congress 2 neuron's too many.
  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:23PM (#32421570)
    What happens when you put a greyhound on qualudes?
  • is the way I first read this and talk about an excuse for meth users! But I came to my senses and was reminded that we can often extract potentially "good" byproducts from destructive ones. Look for new over the counter drugs promising to improve your memory soon.

    • by canajin56 ( 660655 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:02PM (#32422172)

      What? They'll never sell meth OTC, it's addiction potential is too high. And extract byproducts? Meth isn't a blend of a lot of chemicals, like say, an herbal product, it's a chemical. A single one. You can't extract juts the good parts. But, it's not unreasonable to imagine that, for severe memory problems, Meth might eventually get approved. It's already approved and prescribed for ADD, plus used off-label for narcolepsy and depression. Even if not approved for memory, a doctor might still prescribe it off-label for such a purpose. Just remember, for lots of the "designer" drugs like Meth, GHB, Ecstacy, etc. the recreational dose is much higher than the therapeutic dose. So, being prescribed it doesn't mean you go around tweaking on Meth all the time. The doses are low, and they don't let you fill the script all at once, because you COULD purify it into higher doses.

      The only way this could ever end up as something OTC would be if they figure out why, and design a new drug with the same memory enhancing effect, which by a stroke of luck has no serious side effects, isn't (too) addictive, and also evades the moral police by not having a euphoric or inebriating effect. Then it has to be tested for a few decades to PROVE it's totally harmless, then it MIGHT get approved for use without a prescription. (Of course, if they find this similar chemical in a plant, you can sell it as "herbal" straight away, with zero testing or oversight, since it's considered neither a food nor a drug, and the FDA has no jurisdiction).

      • Of course, if they find this similar chemical in a plant, you can sell it as "herbal" straight away, with zero testing or oversight, since it's considered neither a food nor a drug, and the FDA has no jurisdiction

        Yeah, that worked out really well for THC/cannabis and cocaine/coca.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Creepy ( 93888 )

        With the destructive effects that I've seen from meth abusers at my rental property (out of 15 renters in the past 10 years, two have self-destructed into meth abuse), I'm surprised it's still prescribed at all. I would think Modifinil would heavily replace it in that role for almost all of the roles it plays (or Adrafinil, though that hasn't been approved in the US). It mainly hits the same receptors as meth, but is not highly addictive and works on some of the same receptors. It has been petitioned to

      • OTC meth (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If you want "pharm-grade" you can get a script for "Desoxyn", that's the brand name for methamphetamine. Like you said, they give it to narcoleptics mostly now, they used to give it to ADHD types more but due to the media hype not very many doctors will go near it anymore. Which is really stupid if you think about it, if someone wanted meth to get high they can easily purchase it for much cheaper and with less hassle than the legal drug dealers offer.

        Personally, I've never touched the stuff. But I do take l

      • Reminds me of a friend who for some reason tries to say they have ADD so that's why they constantly vaporized marijuana and do meth.
        It's obviously a cure, ya know! (sarcasm)
        Funny to have someone try to legitimize it while talking to you, and act like your so far behind the times and not with the new generation... geez

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ...Meth has many amazing, life affirming affects. The down sides, while massive and long term, still cannot disaude thousands of intelligent, well informed new users every year.

      Living a short, soon-to-be-painful life with Meth is comparable to living 70 years without the cognitive, psychological, and emotional pinnicle reached after the first real hit from a Meth pipe.

      You are living in an ignorant bliss. Meth users need no new excuse; the omnipresent excuse is the return to that ultimate, probably-never-but

  • by diakka ( 2281 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:33PM (#32421716)

    Maybe this bit of science doesn't have much practical usage just yet, but maybe they could somehow exploit the improved memories of these snails on meth to prevent dups right here on Slashdot.

  • This... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ArsonSmith ( 13997 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:33PM (#32421718) Journal

    This is what happens when you put scientists on pot.

    scientist1: "DUDE!!! what would happen if we took a snail, (pause) and gave him speed?"

    scientist2: "PHHAAAA HAHAHAHAHA, lets' get to the lab!!"

  • by UncHellMatt ( 790153 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:35PM (#32421768)
    I can imagine these are the same folks who thought it was "BRILLIANT!" to blow smoke in their dog's face with a one hitter. However the "On meth it does" ads will get much more amusing. "A snail doing 60mph down the highway isn't normal. But on meth it is..."

    All joking aside, being no biologist I do wonder about the validity of such experiments. Anyone able to educate me on how they think that the effects on so different a neuron network will yield important information about how humans store / process memories? Are our brains THAT similar to ones found in a snail? Congress not withstanding, of course.
    • by logjon ( 1411219 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:39PM (#32421814)
      It's easier to monitor three neurons than it is the complex neural networks of larger life forms. Kind of the same way it's easier to administrate a three-computer home network than it is to administrate google's infrastructure. Did you really need this spelled out to you?
      • Informative, good analogy and insulting! Bravo! You're my new favorite person.

        Yes, actually, I did need it spelled out. To use that analogy, we're still talking about two rather different "network protocols" and topologies, aren't we? Again, I admit I know nothing about how neural networks function, but I would think that a drug like meth or even weed would have a vastly different effect on human minds and biology than that of a snail, and gleefully admit my ignorance, hence the questions.
    • Even worse, how are they to say their memories are improving? It may be just as likely that they are actually impaired by the effects and don't remember to try to breathe...
      • Hmmm... So you're suggesting that the whole Amy Winehouse problem could just go away eventually?

        /I keed
      • Well a proper control for that would be to have snails in meth-water which had not previously been poked. Really you need to be doing four tests: poked snails in water, poked snails in meth-water, non-poked snails in water, and non-poked snails in meth water.
    • by confused one ( 671304 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:18PM (#32422388)
      Well, since we're only just starting to understand how memory is stored at a molecular level... Starting with a super simple system (the snail) and looking at how a chemical alters that system, it's not impossible to see how this research might have some value in understanding how memory is processed and stored. There are similarities, even if a snail looks nothing like a human.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Biological mechanisms get reused all the time(*). It's plausible enough to be worth investigating that at least some of human memory storage uses mechanisms related to what simpler ancestors used.

      (*) The API for temperature control, for example, got reused across the transition from cold-blooded to warm-blooded. Get a lizard sick, and it spends more time basking so as to give itself a fever. Give it aspirin, and it goes back in the shade.

    • by mcrbids ( 148650 )

      Are our brains THAT similar to ones found in a snail?

      More similar than you'd think. While there are obvious physiological differences between the different species, animal cells can adapt quickly to very human activity, such as flying airplanes! []

  • Surprising (Score:5, Funny)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:39PM (#32421820) Journal
    Surprising. I would have thought that a story about snails on speed would have a "Look at that S-Car Go" comment by now.
  • ...if after prolonged use we can expect the snails to get meth mouth.
  • I'm bored, let's fuck some animals up. I'm sure we can disguise it as science somehow.

    Sadistic asshats...
  • I was thinking it was another rapid application deployment method.

  • Guys, seriously, the cadence worked for Ruby on Rails, and the silly reference might have worked for Python on Planes if they went through with it, but you're going to have to come up with a better name than Snails on Methamphetamine if you ever want to make COBOL a "cool" programming language.

  • "Snails on Speed" is a card in the game Munchkin. Life imitates art.
  • Well, if she has Alzheimers, why not giver her meth, her face may breakout with sores, but at least she will be able to remember who vistited her in the old folks home.

    Old people on Meth, Not Even Once, unless they don't remember that once.

    • About 7 years ago I worked for a biotech that was testing the left enantiomer of amphetamine in humans for mild cognitive impairment trials with some success (the right enantiomer is dexedrine). It got derailed due to some issues that another (similar) drug was having with the FDA at the time. There is plenty of positive data available in humans for improving memory with amphetamines, just look around...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by couchslug ( 175151 )

      Speed, if one doesn't grow to fond of it, is actually quite nice. It is easy, however, to grow too fond of it.
      An appropriate solution would be to invent friendlier speed for appropriate speedful uses.
      (Aircrew "go" pills come to mind as an ethical use of speed.)

  • Once again science has put some poor animal out of a job. The snailski's were great spokes family for high speed internet. Now what?...
  • Maybe I just don't know enough about the biology and mentality of snails, or even the psycological effects of meth... but did they really come to the most logical conclusion here?

    Maybe the snails that were submerged in the meth-water just remembered: "hey, last time i was in this situation, i got a wicked-high! Tube down! Tube down!" Whereas the normal-water snails were like "suffocation? Eff that noise."

  • Where's my revision timetable, Lister? It's Saturday night. No one works Saturday night. You don't work any night. You don't work any day. 'Skive hard play hard' that's our motto. Lister where'd you put my revision timetable? It's Saturday night. No one works Saturday night. You don't work any...

  • The Link (Score:3, Informative)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:41PM (#32424402) Journal

    TFA screwed up the link to the original journal article []

  • by bynary ( 827120 ) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:51PM (#32424550) Homepage
    So, they trained snails to stop using built-in survival mechanisms and then gave them drugs that prevented the snails from going back into survival mode. Seems to me like they're not improving memory but are instead prohibiting instinct.
  • Invertebrate rights now! Just say no to escargot!

  • Slimy business, to say the least.

    What did they expect, to get the snails to focus more? ... to do what?

interlard - vt., to intersperse; diversify -- Webster's New World Dictionary Of The American Language