Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Mouse Party

Check out what the Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah has put together. Mouse Party shows how drugs interact with the synapse. Quite a fun and interesting way to learn about drug use and the brain.

You can even download worksheets to go along with the animation!


800 pound gorilla said...

It was a very frustrating game - due to my mouse inefficiency. It seemed repetitive however, because all drugs seemed to do basically the same thing: bind with dopamine receptors and disrupt the normal flow of natural painkillers. These drugs seem to act as a cheap way to get the effects of an exercise regimen - without investing the time and energy. And, as stated in my book, none of these methods of getting high is nearly as reliable as an exercise regimen. There are no shortcuts to a healthy lifestyle - despite all the hype one sees and hears from the all pervasive ads put out by big pharma.

The one thing I as an older adult find troubling about this exercise is how it seems to reinforce the "drugs made me do it" alibi that I find so revolting. I've used several of the drugs in the exercise and never did anything that I haven't done completely sober - except for the four or five times I drove impaired [alcohol was the culprit]. That seems to be the main appeal for using drugs - for both adults and kids: it seems like the perfect cover for doing something that you want to do but are afraid to held accountable for. I made a point of never considering sex with an impaired partner for the simple reason that that person would inevitably disavow the mutual attraction and disavow their responsibility. Sex should be a wonderful act of mutual love. However, when you can deflect responsibility for behaviors to drug use that just cheapens the act. Of course my book only intimates that aspect; the main reason given is that sex using drugs tends to be less thoughtful with regards to birth control measures and results in more unwanted pregnancies than sober sex.

Whether it's sex or acts of violence, blaming your ill advised behaviors on drug use is grossly irresponsible. The common demonization of drugs as culprits in irresponsible behaviors by law enforcement is just short of criminal! Where are the purveyors of "personal responsibility" on mainstream talk radio when it comes to use of illegal drugs being blamed for crime and violence?? Are they afraid of bringing in embarrassing truths to the drug policy discussion?

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad the SSDP staff have better things to do with their time than develop these complex animations.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely bit of marketing for vivisection - making it look like happy mice are all living together in a tank, administered drugs and not killed and dissected after. Totally sanitises the whole vivisection business for children - and is utterly misleading.

Bit worried about the accuracy of some of the animations - and the assumptions that it makes: so for example the understanding of how THC works at CB1 receptors is not 100% clear; there's evidence that it interacts with opiate receptors, and my increase dopamine in reward centres while down-regulating it in movement centres.

KFx drugs

Jonathan Perri said...

I think your going a little overboard saying that the animation is "utterly misleading" on the topic of killing mice. I think we all know that ther is also no tiny mechanical plush chair that picks mice up out of their cage. If anything, this has a comedic value to it that makes younger people enjoy learning more than looking at the average textbook or watching a bullshit VHS about drugs from your highschool health teacher.

It is clear that Mouse Party does not go into full detail about the effects of drugs on the brain. It states this before the animation even begins.

Anonymous said...

Cute picture. Like all of the pics. Toner

800 pound gorilla said...

The animation doesn't specify what level of usage is needed for effects. For example: some people with ADHD will experience very positive improvement in their brain functioning for all the drugs - except alcohol and LSD [the drug variety - Long Slow Distance running will give the same positive returns even if you don't suffer from ADHD]. But being entirely accurate and truthful detracts from the message of alarm that most authority figures want to convey to young people [We know what's best for you - just don't pay attention to the ways adults become drug dependent on medications, all the harmful effects of these multiple drug dependencies have on their health, and please don't note how often adults bond either by using drugs or feasting - leading to health problems. And please don't note how many successful admired authority figures have current drug abuse problems].
I make a point in my drug ed curriculum [free download in PDF format btw], of having exercises involving kids checking out adult drug practices.