Steve Kimock Plans Five-Night Residency

first_imgGuitarist Steve Kimock has announced an extended residency at the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley, CA. The renowned musician will be performing from June 5-7, 9 and 10, with tickets on sale beginning next Wednesday, April 29th at 9 AM Pacific.Details about the five nights are scarce, but we’ll be sure to update once we know who Kimock is performing with.last_img

Pennsylvania Paramedic Fights for His Own Life

first_imgALLENTOWN, Pa. (WFMZ) — A Pennsylvania paramedic is in the hospital with a severe brain bleed, fighting for his life. On a day off in June, he fell down a flight of stairs at home. He’s unable to communicate or breathe on his own.last_img

Activist for World Peace, Nassiri, records children all over the world singing, “Love Sees No Color”

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore“In an effort to promote worldwide peace and healing through music, Nassiri is currently preparing to film a music video in several countries around the world. The music video will feature Nassiri with children singing the chorus of his “Love Sees No Color” song in their native languages. A unique performer with a positive message, Nassiri is dedicated to spreading love, peace, understanding and unity through music. The focus of Nassiri’s mission is peace.”See his website for more info: www.nassiri.comAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

Student body president delivers State of the Student Union Address

first_imgWith student government turnover on the horizon, student body president senior Gates McGavick reflected on his administration’s accomplishments in a State of the Student Union address Wednesday evening in the LaFortune Ballroom.In an effort to promote student government transparency and student body engagement, McGavick and student body vice president senior Corey Gayheart opened the event to the public for the first time.McGavick opened by noting improved student government accessibility as a particular focus of his administration. To encourage greater student body engagement, McGavick said he, Gayheart and chief of staff senior Briana Tucker met with groups around campus once a week over lunch.“It quickly became the favorite part of our week,” McGavick said. “We feel it’s important that student government’s connected to more of its students.”The administration also pushed for a greater presence on social media, he added.“We posted more frequently on every platform than any previous administration in Notre Dame’s history,” he said.McGavick said these efforts, as well as his team’s commitment to live streaming student senate and other public meetings, have made strides in improving student government’s online visibility.“More student are getting information from student government than ever before,” he said. “More students are interacting with student government online than ever before.”The McGavick-Gayheart administration also collaborated with the University on several of their initiatives this year, McGavick said.The team worked closely with Campus Dining to make changes at the dining halls as well as at retail dining locations. Most notably, McGavick said, their work with Campus Dining helped bring Pizza Pi, a new restaurant expected to open in May, to campus.“We were thrilled to work with [Campus Dining director Chris Abayasinghe] on Pizza Pi, the restaurant replacing Reckers in the spring, which will offer alcohol to students over 21,” McGavick said.Partnering with the Notre Dame Police Department, student government also held its first Campus Safety Summit last fall, where students were able to speak with a panel of campus safety representatives. McGavick said student government plans to host a similar event later this semester.McGavick said he considers promoting diversity on campus to be another one of his administration’s greatest accomplishments. The Diversity Council helped to organize and co-sponsor a number of events promoting multiculturalism and inclusion, including Walk the Walk Week and Race Relations Week, he said. He and Gayheart also recently met with the Board of Trustees to discuss the results of the Inclusive Campus Climate Survey, he added.“We believe it is of utmost importance that Notre Dame be … committed to fostering a more diverse, more inclusive culture,” he said.Moving on, McGavick commended student senate for its work this year, which he said passed a number of significant resolutions.“The senate recently passed a resolution recognizing Notre Dame as being built on Potawatomi land,” he said. The resolution was “an important sign of respect” to the Potawatomi people, McGavick added.Senate also passed a resolution to include a module on sustainability in the Moreau First Year Experience as well as a resolution calling for professors to include mental health resources in their syllabi.“Students who need help, especially those who have just arrived at college, should be able to get it,” McGavick said.McGavick said he was especially proud of his administration’s “fiscal prudence.”“Our budget this year was tens of thousands of dollars lower than the last student governments’ budgets,” he said.He also noted his team’s commitment to political neutrality, particularly their policy to not comment on national political events not directly related to the University, encouraging future administrations to do the same.“A partisan student government is inherently liable to value the opinions of some students over others,” he said. “To avoid this unfair outcome, we believe it is absolutely imperative that student government continue to be an apolitical organization.”Despite this, McGavick said he felt it was important for his administration to take a stance against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was accused of sexual abuse last June and officially defrocked by the Vatican via a canonical trial in February.Since allegations against McCarrick surfaced, several members of the Notre Dame community urged the University to revoke the honorary degree awarded to him in 2008. Student government joined those voices in February with an Observer Letter to the Editor calling for the removal of the degree and holding meetings with Campus Ministry and other University organizations on the matter, McGavick said.Though the University revoked the degree following the results of the canonical trial, McGavick criticized it for not acting sooner. If the University is to celebrate its past as a moral leader, McGavick said, it must continue to act in accordance with its Catholic mission.“Our moral victories cannot exist only in the past,” he said.McGavick and Gayheart’s term will end April 1, when president and vice-president elect junior Elizabeth Boyle and sophomore Patrick McGuire will officially take office. McGavick said though he and Gayheart leave the student union in “strong” condition, he looks forward to what Boyle and McGuire will accomplish.“If you don’t know Elizabeth and Pat … know this: they’re passionate, hard-working and deeply devoted to the well-being of this community,” he said.Tags: McGavick-Gayheart, state of the student union address, Student governmentlast_img read more

Planning Your Move

first_imgRelocating to a new home can be one of the most stressful situations in life. Whether moving across town or the nation, preparation and organization make all the difference.For military moves, visit for information about moving resources and to learn about the allowances and responsibilities of a military-sponsored move.Regardless of which method you choose, the first step should be to inventory your personal belongings. The list, with photographs of any valuables, will be important for both insurance purposes and to help keep you organized during transit.Plan for one full day to pack each room — though the kitchen and garage may take longer. Make a rough estimate of your packing schedule and then add 50 percent more time. It always takes longer than predicted to pack. Toss or donate unused items to lighten your load. Visit, or for locations near you or to arrange a pickup.Pack for success:Consider what you are packing and control box weight. Books should go in small boxes while bedding can easily fill a larger box.Wrap fragile items with cardboard dividers, tissue paper or air bubble wrapping.Use bright colors when wrapping small items so they don’t get thrown out accidentally.Use crumpled paper or newspaper to line the top and bottom of boxes.Tape a copy of your inventory list to boxes to identify what’s inside and where it should go.last_img read more

Weekly unemployment claims fall under 1,000

first_imgThere were 876 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance in Vermont last week. Claims continued to subside after a spike over the holidays and are back under 1,000 for the first time this year. By comparison, new claims last summer were running under 500. In this latest report, new claims decreased 341 from the week before and are 39 above last year’s total.Altogether 10,256 new and continuing claims were filed, a decrease of 36 from a week ago and 2,577 fewer than a year ago. The Department also processed 1,538 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 25 fewer than a week ago. In addition, there were 626 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program, which is 2 fewer than the week before. The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: is external). Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at: is external)  Vermont’s unemployment rate fell three-tenths to 5.1 percent in December. See story HERE.last_img read more

Brattleboro Retreat and America Works to help individuals recovering from opioid addiction

first_imgBrattleboro Retreat,Vermont Business Magazine As the opioid epidemic continues to spread throughout the country, America Works, Inc, and the Brattleboro Retreat have teamed up to offer important workforce development services to individuals who are seeking addiction treatment and who need help establishing a path to meaningful employment. America Works, one of the country’s leading workforce development services, recently opened its first Vermont office, which is located at the Brattleboro Retreat. The goal is to provide clients in recovery from opioid addiction with critical workforce development services including mock interviews, access to free professional attire, help with resume writing, skills to navigate the online job application process and make connections with local employers as well as ongoing post-hire guidance.In recent years the Brattleboro Retreat has been on the front line of the opioid crisis in New England providing hundreds of patients with both inpatient detox services and medication assisted therapy through its HUB outpatient program.“The decision to partner with America Works is a natural extension of the Retreat’s overall commitment to help people with opioid dependence and other mental health problems not only regain their health, but to establish a strong sense of self-sufficiency that can serve as the foundation for building more rewarding lives,” said Kurt White, MSW, senior director of Ambulatory Services at the Brattleboro Retreat. “That includes the ability to find and hold a job, and perhaps even launch a meaningful career.”In addition to serving individuals who are receiving care at the Brattleboro Retreat, workforce development services through America Works of Vermont are available to Ticket to Work participants as well as members of the greater local community.Ticket to Work program is a free and voluntary program for everyone age 18 through 64 who receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Ticket to Work(link is external) focuses on workforce development and employment services with incentives, which is ideal for many people recovering from addiction with next steps to getting a job that may lead to a career.“Our mission is to help each client achieve their goals. By easing the stress of finding a job, clients may focus on their recovery while becoming self-sufficient,” said Squeak Stone, program director of America Works of Vermont and also director of the Ticket to Work program. “We are here to provide every opportunity for our clients, from transportation to interview clothes, job search to interviewing preparation, and of course, landing the right job.”For more information about America Works Vermont and the Ticket to Work Program please contact Squeak Stone at 802-490-2292 or by email at [email protected](link sends e-mail).About America WorksAmerica Works(link is external) lifts people out of poverty using its unique brand of intensive, personalized employment services. Called “a company with a conscience,” America Works was founded in 1984 by social activist and entrepreneur Peter Cove, who wanted to put his ideals about poverty and the American dream into practice. Joined by Dr. Lee Bowes as the CEO, America Works has helped more than 800,000 individuals increase their self-sufficiency through gainful employment, including military veterans, welfare and SNAP recipients, young adults, the criminal justice involved, homeless, non-custodial parents, individuals receiving disability, among others. America Works uses a blended model that includes work readiness training, vocational training, career placement, career advancement, and employment retention services.About the Brattleboro RetreatThe Brattleboro Retreat(link is external), founded in 1834, is a not-for-profit, specialty psychiatric hospital and addiction treatment center in southern Vermont providing a full range of diagnostic, therapeutic, and rehabilitation services for individuals and families across the region. Recognized as a leader in the treatment of mental illness and addiction, the Brattleboro Retreat offers a high quality, individualized, comprehensive continuum of care for children, adolescents, and adults that includes inpatient, partial hospital, residential, and outpatient treatment services.Source: (Brattleboro, VT, June 19, 2018)—Brattleboro Retreatlast_img read more

It’s OK to talk directly with public officials

first_imgSo long as it is not related to litigation; then you need to go through their lawyers Senior EditorLawyers are not constrained from directly approaching government officials unless it involves a matter in which the government agency is specifically represented by counsel, according to the Professional Ethics Committee.The committee ratified a Bar staff ethics opinion that had been modified by a subcommittee, addressing a question raised by a law firm. The firm deals with a financial regulatory agency and has four lawsuits pending on behalf of various clients.The firm wanted to know if it could approach agency employees directly, without going through the agency’s general counsel when representing clients on matters not related to the litigation.Aside from that question, the committee also rejected a proposed Bar rule to regulate lawyers when they outsource paralegal work to other countries and debated and ultimately tabled a question on whether a lawyer could own a nonlegal firm that attempts to negotiate a reduction in medical liens due when a client’s personal injury case is concluded.The staff opinion on approaching government officials analyzed Rule 4-4.2 It delineated three scenarios, and concluded, “Rule 4-4.2, as clarified by its comments, prohibits communications with protected employees about the subject matter of a specific controversy or matter on which an attorney knows or has reason to know that a governmental attorney is providing representation unless the agency’s attorney first consents to the communication. The rule does not prohibit an attorney from communicating with other agency employees who are not protected employees, nor does it prohibit an attorney from communicating with protected employees on subjects unrelated to those controversies in which the agency attorney is actually known to be providing representation.”The opinion defines a “protected employee” as one “who supervises, directs, or regularly consults with the organization’s lawyer concerning the matter or has authority to obligate the organization with respect to the matter, or whose act or omission in connection with that matter may be imputed to the organization for purposes of civil or criminal liability.” This definition is taken from the comment to Rule 4-4.2.The opinion also cautioned that attorneys must be careful not to discuss matters under litigation or likely to become the subject of litigation when they contact government employees.Committee member Jay Martus, a corporate general counsel, said the opinion, which had been reworked by a subcommittee, was more lax than the rule.“It says as a consequence the inquiring attorneys are not prohibited from communicating with decisionmakers on other topics,” he said. “The rule does require those parties in state agencies who are in fact represented by the general counsel, that the general counsel should be in a position to be consulted with before those state agency officials are contacted.. . . “What you’re doing is saying Rule 4-4.2 only applies when they have actual knowledge that the general counsel is involved in this specific matter. And that the general counsel can be avoided if the general counsel is not known to be involved in this particular issue.”In the private arena, Martus said, “If someone is known to be represented, you don’t go to that lawyer’s client, you go to the lawyer.”Others disagreed, noting the comment to the rule recognizes that there is a constitutional right in normal circumstances to discuss issues with public officials.“Isn’t there a distinction that we’re making here between the general counsel of a private corporation and the general counsel to a government body to which there are constitutional rights?” asked committee member Lee Haas. “Or how to deal with the general counsel who says you can’t meet with anyone from the agency because he represents the whole agency?”Bar Board of Governors members Larry Sellers said the committee should make sure that restrictions are not more severe for lawyers — when they are acting in a nonlegal capacity — than for nonlawyers, such as lobbyists, who regularly deal with government agencies.The committee eventually voted to approve the staff opinion, with minor changes, with Martus casting the only dissenting vote.On sending outsourcing paralegal services to other countries — a practice known as “offshoring” — a subcommittee headed by Martus presented a suggested rule. The Bar Board of Governors, after approving a PEC-approved ethics opinion, asked the committee to look at the issue further to see if guidelines or a rule change was needed.The committee recommended guidelines, which were approved by the board and are posted on the Bar’s Web site, and the subcommittee continued to look at a possible rule change.Martus said the proposed rule defined the offshore work as including only legal support services that do not constitute the practice of law. It would then require that the client give informed consent to sending the information overseas, that the lawyer investigate the qualifications of the person or company performing the work, and that the attorney has a responsibility to supervise the work.“In short, do an investigation, and get informed consent before you send the work to a jurisdiction that may have totally different rules,” he said.But other committee members expressed skepticism about the proposal.Committee member Bill Wagner said it was too complex and perhaps unneeded. Any rule should be limited to a requirement that the client be informed about the offshoring and its risks and give consent, he said.Committee member Tim Chinaris agreed, saying trying to write a rule on offshoring would be like trying to write a rule on using cell phones, e-mails, and other fast-changing technologies because it will always be behind actual practice. He said existing rules and the approved guidelines are adequate.Dore Louis, who served on the subcommittee, said he doesn’t think offshoring should be allowed, “but the rule is needed if that is going to happen.. . . It’s a rule that recognizes the problems inherent in sending a client’s information all over the world. In my opinion, it’s going to happen, but there needs to be a rule of professional conduct that addresses it.”Others argued the rule didn’t supply enough details, such as whether those doing the work in other countries should have to read and be familiar with Florida ethics rules, and whether lawyers should be required to make sure that happens.The committee, after extensive debate, rejected the proposed rules by a 9-17 vote.The medical lien resolution involved an appeal from an inquiry which asked “whether it was permissible [for a lawyer] to hold an interest in a lien resolution business that would resolve medical liens in personal injury cases and would bill out the use of that service as a cost to clients in personal injury cases.” A Bar staff opinion said that activity would be impermissible because it raised questions involving excessive fees, exceeding the allowed contingency fee schedule, failed to provide competent representation to the client, and implicated unlicensed practice of law issues.Martus said he was concerned that negotiations to reduce medical liens, especially with governmental agencies, could involve complex legal matters that would seem to raise UPL issues.Wagner said it would be difficult for a personal injury attorney to advise a client on settling a case if it was unclear how much the client would net because lien issues had not been negotiated. “To farm it out and charge the client more money seems unfair,” he added.But former Bar President Howard Coker, who attended the meeting to address the issue, said there can be benefits for clients.“Many times [settlement] companies have better lines of communications [with Medicaid, Medicare, and medical providers] than the attorney who calls up out of the blue,” he said. “We always make the attempt to reduce the liens, but what I’m concerned about is it takes an awful amount of time and it ties up the money. If the firm can do it quicker, then it’s in the client’s interest.”Dan Alvarez, representing the company proposing to do the lien negotiating and which asked the PEC for its opinion, said the company can hire people with expertise and contacts with government agencies and thereby expedite settling those liens.But after further discussion, the committee approved a motion to table the matter pending input from the Bar’s UPL office.The committee also considered a related ethics inquiry, which asked if an attorney could take a case to negotiate a reduction of medical liens under a reverse contingency fee contract. The committee, after discussion, voted to uphold the staff opinion, with a minor change: that such an agreement would not be ethical because attorneys typically agree to handle such lien negotiations under the original case contingency fee agreement, and, therefore, any additional fee for negotiating the lien would constitute an excessive fee.On another matter, the committee voted to recommend amendments to Rules 4-1.12, 4-2.4, and 4-8.3. Those amendments would specify that an attorney is exempt from the professional misconduct reporting requirement when the attorney gained the information when acting as a mediator, arbitrator, or other third neutral and in a setting that is privileged or confidential under applicable law.That recommendation now goes to the Bar Board of Governors for its review. August 15, 2009 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News It’s OK to talk directly with public officialscenter_img It’s OK to talk directly with public officialslast_img read more

John Kundla, prolific University of Minnesota basketball coach celebrates milestone

first_imgThe decision proved to be a good one. Kundla won a championship in five of his first six seasons as the team’s head coach. Kundla coached hall-of-famers George Mikan, Jim Pollard and Elgin Baylor during his tenure, so it was no surprise that Kundla himself was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for his achievements with the Lakers in 1995.Kundla also coached Bob Harrison, one of the first black players in the NBA. Harrison — who later coached at Harvard University — said he still stays in contact with Kundla. “If anybody deserved to be in [The Hall of Fame], he did,” Harrison said.From Lakers to GophersThough the Lakers moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles in 1960, Kundla’s coaching days were far from over. His new venture took him back to his roots – Williams Arena. Kundla had a 110-105-career record in his 9 seasons as head coach of the Gophers.The Gophers finished as high as second place in the Big Ten under Kundla’s coaching and was ranked as high as No. 7 in the country during his tenure.“He had already coached a professional team, so he coached like a professional,” said Archie Clark, a former player. “Our team was relatively like a professional team; that’s what he brought to our team. There wasn’t a whole lot of rah-rah-rah. Do your job. That was it.”One of Kundla’s more notable achievements came through the integration of basketball teams. Kundla was the first University of Minnesota coach to give scholarships to black athletes. Archie Clark was one of them, along with fellow future NBA star Lou Hudson. “I sure went through hell with that thing,” Kundla said. “I got a lot of heat and nasty letters for them. We played in the South looking for games, and hotels wouldn’t take us because of blacks and often we’d have to sleep in a black hotel. You’d go to eat and they wouldn’t feed you and tell you to ‘get out of here.’”The coach also integrated the Lakers in a time where many professional basketball rosters only had white players.“He was always respectful of me and my heritage and my basketball ability,” Harrison said. “I appreciated John.”Runs in the FamilyKundla traded coaching for teaching in 1968 and took time to slow down and focus on his family.   Kundla was married to his wife Mary Kundla for 68 years. The two had six children, and their grandchildren also went on to have athletic success in basketball. Kundla’s granddaughter, Rebekah Dahlman, was the first player in Minnesota high school history to score more than 5,000 points and was named 2013 Minnesota Miss Basketball in her senior year. She now plays Division I college basketball for Vanderbilt University. Rebekah’s brother Noah Dahlman plays professional basketball for CS Dinamo Bucuresti in Romania. He also graduated with an Elite Eight appearance and All-American honors as a collegiate player at Wofford College. Isaiah Dahlman is the fourth-top scorer in Minnesota high school basketball history and played college basketball at Michigan State, making an appearance in the NCAA championship game with the Spartans in 2009.“They’ve all graduated from college,” said Jim Larson, a friend of Kundla. “Most of them, I think, at least five of the six grandchildren played collegiate athletics, and they’re very outstanding young people. [Kundla] is extremely proud of them, every one of them.”No. 100It has been nearly 80 years since John Kundla began his journey as a Gophers basketball player and almost 60 since he took the helm of the program. He is the oldest living member of any national basketball, football, baseball or hockey fall of fame, but the game is still fresh in his mind.Kundla passed his triple-digit milestone on July 3, which now matches his prolific victory numbers, and a century of basketball and family memories starts right on campus. “What an experience — and thanks to the University for making it possible,” Kundla said. “With meeting my wife at the University, I can’t say [thank you] enough.” John Kundla, prolific University of Minnesota basketball coach celebrates milestoneKundla was the first coach of the Minneapolis Lakers and a Gophers coach for nine seasons. Jack WhiteJuly 20, 2016Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintHis jersey isn’t retired. There are no statues in his honor, and the banners he helped hang are almost as aged as Williams Arena itself. Even many of the prolific players he coached are only memorialized now, but John Kundla, a legend himself, has a century behind him and almost 80 years of stories he’s still telling.Kundla — a Minnesota basketball staple — played for the Gophers and later coached the team, as well as the former Minneapolis Lakers. He won four NBA Championships, one Basketball Association of America trophy and coached six members of the Basketball Hall of Fame during his career. He also was the first coach at the University of Minnesota to offer scholarships to black athletes.Recently, Kundla added a new title to his list of accolades: centenarian. The storied coach turned 100 years old on July 3 and credits his beloved game in helping him reach the milestone. “I was lucky to get great ball players,” Kundla said. “The University of Minnesota helped a lot with my health. Being a gym teacher … helped for my age.”Player firstKundla started his sports career as a prominent player, playing two sports while at Minnesota. He started on the freshman basketball team for the Gophers before playing guard for the varsity squad from 1937-39.Kundla helped lead the Gophers to a Big Ten Championship under head coach Dave McMillan in his 1937 sophomore campaign. A Minnesota Daily story from Feb. 9, 1937, described sophomore Kundla as “elusive and sharpshooting,” and praised his 20-point performance that led the way during a victory for the “underdog” Gophers over the Purdue Boilermakers.Kundla later helped lead the same team to the Big Ten Championship, which ended an 18-year first-place drought for the Gophers.As a two-sport participant, Kundla was named the Minnesota Athlete of the Decade for the 1930s, an honor still on display at Williams Arena. He also served as Minnesota’s primary first baseman on the baseball team. Kundla carried his baseball career on after college but played just one season with the minor league Paducah Indians before heading back to Minnesota.Coaching beginningsKundla returned to Minnesota to earn a master’s degree but also started his career as a coach.He served as an assistant to the man who helped him find success in the game, Minnesota’s second-longest-tenured head coach, Dave McMillan.“McMillan taught me basketball fundamentals,” Kundla said. “I think when we won a championship in ’37, he was responsible for it.” Kundla coached grade school and high school after his stint at Minnesota and then enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served for two years during World War II. “I became an officer,” Kundla said. “That was a big help when I started coaching, to be an officer in the Navy.”After his military service, Kundla coached at the University of St. Thomas for one season.Going proProfessional basketball came to Minneapolis in 1947 when Ben Berger and Morris Chafen bought the Detroit Gems and renamed the team the Lakers.The franchise needed a head coach for the young team, and Kundla was at the top of the list. The Lakers gave Kundla an offer, but he was hesitant to accept. “I turned them down twice,” Kundla said. “Finally, they came to me for the [third] time and came up to my house, talked to my wife, and I finally signed.”last_img read more

Precise technique tracks dopamine in the brain

first_imgEmail Furthermore, because the array is so tiny, it has the potential to eventually be adapted for use in humans, to monitor whether therapies aimed at boosting dopamine levels are succeeding. Many human brain disorders, most notably Parkinson’s disease, are linked to dysregulation of dopamine.“Right now deep brain stimulation is being used to treat Parkinson’s disease, and we assume that that stimulation is somehow resupplying the brain with dopamine, but no one’s really measured that,” says Helen Schwerdt, a Koch Institute postdoc and the lead author of the paper, which appears in the journal Lab on a Chip.Studying the striatumFor this project, Cima’s lab teamed up with David H. Koch Institute Professor Robert Langer, who has a long history of drug delivery research, and Institute Professor Ann Graybiel, who has been studying dopamine’s role in the brain for decades with a particular focus on a brain region called the striatum. Dopamine-producing cells within the striatum are critical for habit formation and reward-reinforced learning.Until now, neuroscientists have used carbon electrodes with a shaft diameter of about 100 microns to measure dopamine in the brain. However, these can only be used reliably for about a day because they produce scar tissue that interferes with the electrodes’ ability to interact with dopamine, and other types of interfering films can also form on the electrode surface over time. Furthermore, there is only about a 50 percent chance that a single electrode will end up in a spot where there is any measurable dopamine, Schwerdt says.The MIT team designed electrodes that are only 10 microns in diameter and combined them into arrays of eight electrodes. These delicate electrodes are then wrapped in a rigid polymer called PEG, which protects them and keeps them from deflecting as they enter the brain tissue. However, the PEG is dissolved during the insertion so it does not enter the brain.These tiny electrodes measure dopamine in the same way that the larger versions do. The researchers apply an oscillating voltage through the electrodes, and when the voltage is at a certain point, any dopamine in the vicinity undergoes an electrochemical reaction that produces a measurable electric current. Using this technique, dopamine’s presence can be monitored at millisecond timescales.Using these arrays, the researchers demonstrated that they could monitor dopamine levels in many parts of the striatum at once.“What motivated us to pursue this high-density array was the fact that now we have a better chance to measure dopamine in the striatum, because now we have eight or 16 probes in the striatum, rather than just one,” Schwerdt says.The researchers found that dopamine levels vary greatly across the striatum. This was not surprising, because they did not expect the entire region to be continuously bathed in dopamine, but this variation has been difficult to demonstrate because previous methods measured only one area at a time.How learning happensThe researchers are now conducting tests to see how long these electrodes can continue giving a measurable signal, and so far the device has kept working for up to two months. With this kind of long-term sensing, scientists should be able to track dopamine changes over long periods of time, as habits are formed or new skills are learned.“We and other people have struggled with getting good long-term readings,” says Graybiel, who is a member of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research. “We need to be able to find out what happens to dopamine in mouse models of brain disorders, for example, or what happens to dopamine when animals learn something.”She also hopes to learn more about the roles of structures in the striatum known as striosomes. These clusters of cells, discovered by Graybiel many years ago, are distributed throughout the striatum. Recent work from her lab suggests that striosomes are involved in making decisions that induce anxiety.This study is part of a larger collaboration between Cima’s and Graybiel’s labs that also includes efforts to develop injectable drug-delivery devices to treat brain disorders.“What links all these studies together is we’re trying to find a way to chemically interface with the brain,” Schwerdt says. “If we can communicate chemically with the brain, it makes our treatment or our measurement a lot more focused and selective, and we can better understand what’s going on.” LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twittercenter_img Share MIT researchers have devised a way to measure dopamine in the brain much more precisely than previously possible, which should allow scientists to gain insight into dopamine’s roles in learning, memory, and emotion.Dopamine is one of the many neurotransmitters that neurons in the brain use to communicate with each other. Previous systems for measuring these neurotransmitters have been limited in how long they provide accurate readings and how much of the brain they can cover. The new MIT device, an array of tiny carbon electrodes, overcomes both of those obstacles.“Nobody has really measured neurotransmitter behavior at this spatial scale and timescale. Having a tool like this will allow us to explore potentially any neurotransmitter-related disease,” says Michael Cima, the David H. Koch Professor of Engineering in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and the senior author of the study. Pinterestlast_img read more