A previously unrecognized system that drains waste from the brain at a rapid clip has been discovered by neuroscientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The findings were published online August 15 in Science Translational Medicine.
By the way, Richard Dawkins was in my dreams last night, and James Noonan was in my dreams in the previous night. I can't recall the details of the Dawkins dream (though the mood of the dream was not cheerful), but the Noonan one was about his research of the non-coding regions of DNA. This area used to be called "junk DNA" because no one knew what the fuck it did. Now we are learning that it contains sequences that regulate the expression of genes. In 2008, one such sequence, HAC-NS1, was discovered by Noonan, whose lab is at Yale, to control the development of the human hand in way that's different from the hand of a chimpanzee and other primates. The importance of this work for me, and this is something Noonan expressed in a short lecture titled The Genetics of Humanness, is that changes in the regulatory sequences are more likely to influence evolution than changes in coding genes. The simple reason for this is a change in the former is far less dangerous than one in the latter. The reason why this is interesting to me is because it takes some more air out of the kind of the gene-centered (evolutionary change happens by mutations of genes) thinking that Dawkins represents and my favorite biologists and philosophers reject.