In the nervous system, a synapse is a structure that permits the passage of an electrical or chemical signal from one neuron to another. The word “synapse” was not widely used until the late 19th century, when physiologist Michael Foster coined the term in the seventh edition of his Textbook of Physiology with the assistance of Charles Sherrington, who is credited with developing and advocating the physiological concept of a synapse in the first place. It comes from the Greek synapsis (συνάπσις), meaning “conjunction” which is derived from both “together” (συν) and “to fasten” (ἅπτειν). (Sidenote: For more information on the fascinating history of this simple word, see E.M. Tanseya’s “Not Committing Barbarisms: Sherrington and the Synapse, 1897” in History of Neuroscience in 1997.)
This year at the HAPS annual conference, you will have the chance to attend the second annual Synapse! event in the main hall on Sunday 5/22 at 3:15pm. The name for this presentation format (designed specifically for HAPS) is meaningful, for a synapse is a dynamic location where information travels quickly. This is the goal of Synapse! itself – to provide a setting for knowledge to flow from presenters to audience and on, sparking new ideas and providing the potential for change. Last year we heard from many great speakers and their talks sparked conversations for days afterward. We know that many people attend the HAPS annual conference to hear about new, novel, and exciting developments in the field of A&P, and we are here to deliver.
Therefore, the Synapse! presentations this year will be delivered by a group of textbook authors who are also HAPS members. The theme is “You thought you knew X, but really…” with the goal of dispelling misconceptions and bringing awareness to recent discoveries in their respective fields or areas of interest. Rather than a long and in depth view of one topic, the Synapse! 2016 presenters will each provide dynamic five minute perspectives on a set of very diverse A&P topics.
- Kerry Hull – “Lactic Acid: Friend or Foe?” will give us the ins and outs of lactic acid and muscle fatigue. Is it a metabolic villain, an innocent bystander, or a bit of both?
- Robin McFarland – “Human Ancestors, Exercise, and the Brain” will focus on connections between recent brain research and exercise and patterns of activities of our hominin ancestors.
- Judi Nath – “More Than You Bargained For: RAAS and the Transcending Role of ACE Inhibitors” will be a look at the relationship between the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors for the treatment of hypertension. We’ll learn that the role of ACE inhibitors transcends their ability to lower blood pressure.
- Mark Nielsen – “Muscle Patterns in the Body Wall” will describe the two distinct parts of the external oblique muscle and tell us which other muscles the superficial part of the external oblique is homologous with. You may be surprised!
- Kevin Petti – “A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words!” will explore ideas about how to best utilize images in anatomy and physiology education when teaching complex topics.
- Dee Silverthorn – “Isosmotic is Not Always Isotonic” will clarify once and for all the difference between osmolarity and tonicity. Several major resources have this wrong, and here we will be privy to the final word on this issue.
We are so excited to hear from these presenters, and learn more about their fields and areas of expertise. So don’t forget to come over to the main hall on Sunday 5/22 at 3:15pm to hear about all of the above topics at Synapse! 2016. Catch ya on the post-synaptic flipside!