Do cephs sleep?

I am only a hobbiest so the clinical aspects are up to our biologists. Hopefully neurobadger will take some interest and have the opprotunity to experiment. Part of the problem with studying octopuses is the difficulty of attaching most anything. You might enjoy Robin's blog which can't yet give the results of the study but describes a study in squid and trying to devise blinders and analyze reactions.
 
First I'll put up my usual disclaimer: I'm an undergrad, verify all this with the person who's been doing work on the subject already.

I volunteered at an aquarium in the summer of 2010 and had the opportunity to observe their octopus twice a week. In addition, I have had the opportunity to observe the octopus at the nearby zoo.

While I still have my misgivings about the conditions in which she was kept (there's a discussion elsewhere about cephalopod ethics that spawned from me mentioning this), my anecdotal observations are this:

This octopus seemed to have varying levels of consciousness and alertness, often marked by the wideness or narrowness of her pupil. A larger pupil seemed to correlate with increased activity (as it does in vertebrates, certainly in mammals - it allows more light to be let in to the eye which allows for better visibility of surroundings). The keeper of the octopus at the aquarium did seem to notice cycles of activity where she was very difficult to rouse and stayed immobile in a corner.

Combine this with the fact that circadian rhythms corresponding to sunlight are preserved across animal phyla, and indeed across organismal kingdoms, and I think there's probably a pretty good jumping point for figuring out whether octopuses sleep, although then there's another issue to contend with: do mollusk brains do the same things when they're asleep that vertebrate brains do?

Regarding how to even measure it, Dr. Bernd Budelmann was kind enough to send me a whole packet of papers he'd produced when I inquired about them, and a lot of the methods for electrophysiology that are in use right now usually involve killing the animal afterwards.

I'd ask robyn and gjbarord on here about this; they're both grad students doing neurobiological research on cephalopods (robyn is doing pain research on squid, and gjbarord is doing something or other on nautiluses. My particular research interest when it comes to cephalopods is on the more benthic critters - cuttlefish and octopuses).

There are a lot of questions to answer.
 
Bernd Budelmann and JZ Young, I think, should be the first go-to resource on this.

I can churn out a couple of quotes from the articles Dr. Budelmann sent me if requested.
 
A more mundane concern, of course, is whether the Funding Powers That Be would fund a study like this. In this economy, I think getting funding for a project investigating whether cephalopods sleep would be a stretch, since study on vertebrate sleep is thriving.

Much more likely to get funded is a project investigating some area of neurobiological research that even the vertebrate researchers don't know much about, in which research on cephalopods could serve as a useful comparative reference.

You can always disguise it as something else. An example is intelligence research, which is one of my interests, and which is in fact such a pariah topic that people's lives have been threatened for researching it (for example, Bruce Lahn at the University of Chicago), usually for its unfortunate association with such nasty things as eugenics and racism, which is not due to intelligence research per se but due to the tendency of groups such as white supremacists to misinterpret the actual results of the research (which in the case of racists, for one, does not actually reflect what the racists want it to) for their own nefarious ends. People disguise it as Alzheimer's research.
 
A more mundane concern, of course, is whether the Funding Powers That Be would fund a study like this. In this economy, I think getting funding for a project investigating whether cephalopods sleep would be a stretch, since study on vertebrate sleep is thriving.

Research in that area would be invaluable!

Not only for curious Cephalopod Biophysicists - But Primate Biophysicists too!

A comparison of EM graphs would show (I expect) marked differences between humans and octopuses - But also, distinct and important similarities. Those similarities would help to hone in on human brain disorders that are currently un-fathomable, if only because they're so fundamental.

I mean, if we share an attribute with the octopus - Given the basic nature of our earliest common ancestor - Then it must be an extraordinarily big deal!

You can always disguise it as something else. An example is intelligence research, which is one of my interests, and which is in fact such a pariah topic that people's lives have been threatened for researching it (for example, Bruce Lahn at the University of Chicago), usually for its unfortunate association with such nasty things as eugenics and racism, which is not due to intelligence research per se but due to the tendency of groups such as white supremacists to misinterpret the actual results of the research (which in the case of racists, for one, does not actually reflect what the racists want it to) for their own nefarious ends. People disguise it as Alzheimer's research.

I'm aware of the use of IQ determinants in eugenics research. You might be interested to note that a British pseudo-research poll suggested that the further 'right' on the political spectrum a person may be - The less intelligence they present!

Basically ("Godwin's Law", forgive me!) The more of a 'Nazi' they are - The less of a functioning brain they have!

I thought though, that research involving Alzheimer's Disease, had included a study of Octopus Neuroprocessor inhibitors?

If so, what were the results? Or at least, the suggestions?(!)
 
Trent1;175503 said:
Research in that area would be invaluable!

Not only for curious Cephalopod Biophysicists - But Primate Biophysicists too!

A comparison of EM graphs would show (I expect) marked differences between humans and octopuses - But also, distinct and important similarities. Those similarities would help to hone in on human brain disorders that are currently un-fathomable, if only because they're so fundamental.

I mean, if we share an attribute with the octopus - Given the basic nature of our earliest common ancestor - Then it must be an extraordinarily big deal!

Possibly. I'm not up to speed on the current state of sleep research. It also depends on whether mollusks can experience these sleep disorders.

I'm aware of the use of IQ determinants in eugenics research. You might be interested to note that a British pseudo-research poll suggested that the further 'right' on the political spectrum a person may be - The less intelligence they present!

Basically ("Godwin's Law", forgive me!) The more of a 'Nazi' they are - The less of a functioning brain they have!

I thought though, that research involving Alzheimer's Disease, had included a study of Octopus Neuroprocessor inhibitors?

If so, what were the results? Or at least, the suggestions?(!)

Regardless of what your politics are and how much they agree with my politics, I'm pretty sure it's not de rigueur to discuss politics on here. Just a heads up.
 
Possibly. I'm not up to speed on the current state of sleep research. It also depends on whether mollusks can experience these sleep disorders.

The obvious lack of research only serves to highlight our collective ignorance. I'm beginning to think that my only avenue is to adopt a real Octopus, and test on it :P

A cruelty far too widely extended, I think :lol:

Basically ("Godwin's Law", forgive me!) The more of a 'Nazi' they are - The less of a functioning brain they have!

Regardless of what your politics are and how much they agree with my politics, I'm pretty sure it's not de rigueur to discuss politics on here. Just a heads up.

Well, with respect, if you're in lieu with neo-Nazis, then I have no more to say to you!


Cetainly, I doubt that Cephalopods ever consider their political positions either!
 
Trent1;175581 said:
Well, with respect, if you're in lieu with neo-Nazis, then I have no more to say to you!


Cetainly, I doubt that Cephalopods ever consider their political positions either!

Goodness, I hope I didn't make you think THAT.

My point was that this is a strictly apolitical website.
 
Goodness, I hope I didn't make you think THAT.
My point was that this is a strictly apolitical website.

I was only joking of course! :razz:

The issue of expenditure on "non-essential" scientific research is, however, political. And globally, too.

The amount of funding allowed on Cephalopod behavior is relative to the importance assigned to it by any collection of like-minded politicians (Or perhaps, indeed, their fear of a 'tabloid' media backlash).

Bearing in mind the neutral zeitgeist of this forum - I'm still happy to declare myself a proud Liberal.

And what we don't know now, about Octopuses (Or indeed any other animal) is something we might find beneficial to know - If the money was available for meaningful research!

You would not expect a right-wing politician to ever spend money on anything, voluntarily!

Yet voluntary expenditure is the only way forward, with respect to ALL Scientific Research (In this case, with particular respect to Cephalopod Biology.)
 
First, regarding electrophysiology in cephalopods, here's a pertinent quote from one of the papers I've read:

"To date, all electrophysiological recordings from cephalopod brains have been done either in brain slices (Williamson and Budelmann 1991) or isolated brain preparations (Mislin 1995; Laverack 1980), or in heavily restrained animals (Bullock and Uter 1976; Bullock 1984)."

The article goes on to describe a procedure wherein they first inserted electrodes into the animal's brain and then recorded activity as it was awake and behaving. There's still a ways to go, as far as I'm aware (I could be wrong); methods of recording, for one, are still not non-lethal eventually.

I'm not sure what kind of procedure would have to be done to get a reading of cuttlefish electric activity while they're asleep; sleep studies on humans are complicated enough. I don't know if we've done enough studies of cephalopod electrophysiology to study what happens in their brain when they're asleep.

I was only joking of course!

The issue of expenditure on "non-essential" scientific research is, however, political. And globally, too.

The amount of funding allowed on Cephalopod behavior is relative to the importance assigned to it by any collection of like-minded politicians (Or perhaps, indeed, their fear of a 'tabloid' media backlash).

Bearing in mind the neutral zeitgeist of this forum - I'm still happy to declare myself a proud Liberal.

And what we don't know now, about Octopuses (Or indeed any other animal) is something we might find beneficial to know - If the money was available for meaningful research!

You would not expect a right-wing politician to ever spend money on anything, voluntarily!

Yet voluntary expenditure is the only way forward, with respect to ALL Scientific Research (In this case, with particular respect to Cephalopod Biology.)

Indeed, though some might accuse you of being insufficiently cynical. :P

I have no idea what goes on in the NSF, but I know a little about how NIH funding goes (which would be most related to sleep research; from what I know of the NSF, they tell anyone who mentions 'health' in the medical sense in applications to send their application to the NIH), and what seems to be the trend is increase in funding of research that will more immediately translate into clinical benefits - translational research especially - and that means they're going to be funding studies on vertebrates, because their anatomy is most similar to humans.

As goes the money goes the science, unfortunately.

But we can get inventive in our grant-writing.
 
First, regarding electrophysiology in cephalopods, here's a pertinent quote from one of the papers I've read:

"To date, all electrophysiological recordings from cephalopod brains have been done either in brain slices (Williamson and Budelmann 1991) or isolated brain preparations (Mislin 1995; Laverack 1980), or in heavily restrained animals (Bullock and Uter 1976; Bullock 1984)."

The article goes on to describe a procedure wherein they first inserted electrodes into the animal's brain and then recorded activity as it was awake and behaving. There's still a ways to go, as far as I'm aware (I could be wrong); methods of recording, for one, are still not non-lethal eventually.

I'm not sure what kind of procedure would have to be done to get a reading of cuttlefish electric activity while they're asleep; sleep studies on humans are complicated enough. I don't know if we've done enough studies of cephalopod electrophysiology to study what happens in their brain when they're asleep.

To throw it out there, I wonder if there were a way of adapting the liquid environment of an Octopus under experiment, in such a way that limited (or obviated) the need for penetrative electrodes? A method and environment which allowed for the temporary attachment of 'dermal' sensors? (I don't know the equivalent term for Octopus 'skin'!)

Something non-invasive to consider, if possible! :cuttlehi:

Indeed, though some might accuse you of being insufficiently cynical. :P

I never let a good whine go unsaid! :razz:

As goes the money goes the science, unfortunately.

But we can get inventive in our grant-writing.

I'm not a Cephalopod biologist myself, but I'm reasonably aware of the latest findings. And of the brow furrowing process of (attempting to) secure grants :mad:! As much as I'd ike to 'beg a grant' in this field - I wouldn't have the reputation! :lol:

But do, yourself, keep trying! The positive implications seem limitless from where I stand.

(And please forgive my excessive use of emoticons! When I found that I could use little pictures of Cuttefish I was simply overwhelmed! :P)
 
Back from Experimental Biology 2011. Not Euroceph, but it'll do.

I saw a lot of great, great stuff that might benefit from an invertebrate angle, and what better model organism than Octopus vulgaris?

There was a dude doing work on urchins and their tube foot's response to light, and it was pretty awesome. I suggested that Aplysia might be a good model organism to compare it to, since they only have rudimentary light sensing and are mollusks, therefore protostomes.

There were people doing work on neurodegeneration, and I'm wondering if we might be able to take some cues from senility in octopuses, even though that's controlled by secretions from the optic gland.
 
Sorry about the 'hiatus'! I had stuff going on that was coming out of left, right center and above!

In response -

There were people doing work on neurodegeneration, and I'm wondering if we might be able to take some cues from senility in octopuses, even though that's controlled by secretions from the optic gland.

This is the key issue. I don't want to be glib, but could there be some tenuous link between the optic glandular origin of Octopus senescene, and some (Hitherto unobserved) degeneration in human optics? Obviously there are evolutionary differences - Certainly human eyes aren't affected by a gland (Tear ducts, at a long stretch, being a possible exception) - But are we missing something? Something which may appear as one thing in an Octopus, and as a completely different thing in Humans? :confused:

Something which can be definitively shown to catalyze "dementia" in an Octopus which also exists in Humans - Albeit evolved?

Argh!!! It just isn't there yet! The 'eureka' moment hasn't fallen on me so far! :hmm:
 
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