Space travelers beware: High-speed solar protons may mess up your hashish high

Stanford neuroscientist Ivan Soltesz, PhD, is a very serious researcher with a focus on the causes of, and treatments for, chronic epileptic seizures in children. But sometimes he goes off-topic, just to keep his mind loose. Several days ago, Soltesz sent me a study to read, “purely for the fun of it.” Hmmm. In the rarified — and often dry as dust — world of scientific publications, fun is a rare event. “Not many neuroscience studies have such a title and first sentence in the abstract,” Soltesz helpfully explained in his accompanying email. I peeked at the study’s title, which was: “Neurophysiology of space travel: Energetic solar particles cause cell type-specific plasticity of neurotransmission.” Okay. Hmmm again. I nibbled on. The first sentence of the abstract read, “In the not too distant future, humankind…


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