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August 1, 2011


Apparently having sex can facilitate an increased growth of new dendritic spines in the hippocampus (so memory formation is more readily done). This occurred ?despite? an increase in corticosteroid levels. Ultimately these rats have to remember that event by growing the dendritic spines that they?ve learned facilitate reproduction with their female counterparts. I take interest in this study, because it seems to be especially geared to the short-lived and shallow attentions of a quick Google flick of the wrist. One reader might take only one short apparent fact from this article: ?sex leads to better memory? so sex is good! Let?s have more sex!? Even as I finish reading the title of this article, I find myself making this brief aside as a joke to my comrade and companion. It is important to grasp the truest motives of the Neuroscientists behind this research: that these quick memory upgrades only last the moments of time surrounding the sexual experiences, and that this must be occurring because sex is an evolutionarily advantageous engagement for a mammal (and every other animal on this planet). So, we will remember better the days preceding a more sexy night than the days surrounding a more abstinent night.
I like the motive of this article, and I like the way it catches your attention with its pertinence to our current society, but I think that a follow-up should ensue concerning the sociological components of an everyman?s sexual habit. One what days do most Americans have sex? Does this differ among people with different Socioeconomic Status?? This would be the study of an entirely different realm of science, so it is not included in the discussion of this article. Another study that is very relatable is perhaps a study of the difference in corticosterone levels of the female rats versus the male rats, in the hours surrounding their sexual encounter. Measurements of the hippocampal growth of dendritic spines after sex could also be compared between males and females. This study too, is not specific enough to be combined with the article in question. Instead, the study in question has been specifically catered to get through to the mind of the fast-stimulus-oriented reader, right down to its very title, ?Sexual Experience Promotes Adult Neurogenesis??
This article, along with many other of the front covers of science, suggests to me that this realm of the scientific field is just as short-attention?d, high-socioeconomic-status?d, American, and male-oriented as the other predominant structures in our society (i.e. entertainment, art, religion, politics, media, etc.). This is truly nothing to be ashamed of, however, since we are simply responding to the societal pressures that be ? like molecules in an organism. We may become aware of it though, with the aid of some increased responsibility for our actions that comes with some awareness thereof. Since we scientists are facing similar challenges to the Christian Right and the Mexican Immigrant and the African Indigenous, etc. etc. and we have a similar God who expects similar things of us ? cannot we empathize and thus come together on this situation.
My argument is that the writers of articles such as the one I?ve referenced should not neglect that other 90% of their society in their analyses, though they do indeed feel compelled to by the natural competitive environment of the free market. They mustn?t neglect their own hypermasculinity and quick paced neglect of other social realms than that of the white human. We must try to include the understandings of the rat, in their context, as well as every other domain of species on earth. Also, expressing the article in other languages like Spanish and French would take in consideration the other 90% of the human world (audience) in a more comprehensive and co-aware article. The articles and documentaries and speeches which do tend to bring all the data together do exist in our society, but they are much fewer in number and much less frequently emphasized in our Westernized education. We have extended the silos of scientific knowledge deep into ourselves into understandings of the neutrinos and way out into space to view the large conglomerates of space dust and dark matter. Now, many are claiming, it is time to build bridges between the silos. Perhaps this can be done via a search engine that pairs the article we just discussed with others that are similar to it. Perhaps a sentence here and there to qualify the article or film or other piece of art (as it is done more often in non-western cultures). Fundamentally, what needs to occur in order for this article and many others to become more comprehensively representative of an ideal society is the cohesion of ideas ? relating them to other ideas from other fields, (including even a fair dispersal of those of religious symbolisms and sociopolitical ideologies). Maybe the opposing parties in politics will follow our example.
Posted by      Oliver Y. at 12:01 AM MDT


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