Feeds

Snails on crystal meth: The facts

Profs spend days poking hopped-up molluscs with sticks

Build a business case: developing custom apps

In a development whose importance it would be difficult to exaggerate, scientists have produced research answering one of the great questions facing humanity in the 21st century: what happens if you get snails hopped up on crystal meth and poke them with sticks?

The drug-pushing scientists in question are Barbara Sorg of Washington State Uni and Ken Lukowiak of the University of Calgary. The mollusc they chose for their experiments was the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis.

The two snail savants placed their slimy drug-slaves into pond water which they had spiked with methamphetamine, described as "a highly addictive drug that seduces victims by increasing self-esteem and sexual pleasure, and inducing euphoria".

Having got their slippery subjects well addled on this delightful but damaging chemical treat, Sorg and Lukowiak then tested their memories by means of varying the amount of oxygen in the pondwater and poking them with sticks.

Perhaps we should explain. Low oxygen levels often occur in normal outdoor ponds not laced with illegal narcotics, and in this case the local L stagnalis will extend their "pneumostomes" (breathing tubes) above the surface to get more live-giving oxy.

However, it is possible to train them not to do this by sitting next to the pond or lab tank and poking any suffocating snail which dares to wave its squelchy snorkels. This is actually a standard, widely-used method among biologists for testing snails' intellectual powers.

After a lengthy and painstaking period of sitting in the lab poking snails immersed in various different mixtures of pondwater and drugs, Lukowiak and Sorg report that in fact methamphetamine makes snails' memories much better. According to a statement issued on their behalf:

Memories formed under the influence of meth seem to be harder to forget, possibly because the drug disrupts the mechanisms for forgetting, and could help us to understand how amphetamines enhance memory in humans.

The research is to be published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Sorg and Lukowiak have previously carried out similar studies involving snails on cocaine. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.