125 posts · 34,596 views
Comments on neurobiology, neuroimaging, and psychiatry from a skeptical neuroscientist.
Can sick people gain mental clarity just before they die? University of Virginia researchers Michael Nahm and Bruce Greyson explore this issue in a gripping (if macabre) paper published in the journal Omega: The death of Anna Katharina Ehmer: a case study in terminal lucidity.The authors discuss the case of Anna Katharina Ehmer, a German […]The post Terminal Lucidity: Myth, Mystery or Miracle? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Nahm M, & Greyson B. (2013) The death of Anna Katharina Ehmer: a case study in terminal lucidity. Omega, 68(1), 77-87. PMID: 24547666
According to a provocative paper just published, it’s possible to accurately determine how narcissistic someone is by asking them just one thing. Here’s the question in full: To what extent do you agree with this statement: I am a narcissist? (Note: The word ‘narcissist’ means egotistical, self-focused, and vain.) Answer on a scale from 1 […]The post Do Narcissists Know They’re Narcissists? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Konrath S, Meier BP, & Bushman BJ. (2014) Development and Validation of the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS). PLoS ONE, 9(8). PMID: 25093508
Scholars on both sides of the science-humanities divide have been known to feel that their counterparts just don’t think in the same way. But could it be that their brains are actually different? Yes, it could, say Japanese neuroscientists Hikaru Takeuchi and colleagues, who have just published a paper about Brain structures in the sciences […]The post Do Sciences and Humanities Students’ Brains Differ? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
As a “World Cup tie in post” this one’s a bit late, but here’s a story that’s been getting a lot of attention: According to scientists, Neymar uses instinct and not his brain when playing football Yes, if you believe the headlines, research has shown that legendary Brazilian forward Neymar da Silva Santos is so […]The post Functional Neuroimaging’s Neymar Problem appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Eiichi Naito, & Satoshi Hirose. (2014) Efficient foot motor control by Neymar’s brain. Front. Hum. Neurosci. info:/
Are we selfish? Economists like to say that, to a first approximation, we are. In other words, that we tend to seek to maximize our own rewards, in a more or less rational manner. The trouble is that this theory (at least, a straightforward interpretation of it) doesn’t describe how people behave in many situations. […]The post Spotted at last: “Homo economicus”? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Writing in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation, three Dutch researchers say that All preclinical trials should be registered in advance in an online registry Citing the fact that all clinical trials are (in theory) already registered, authors Jansen of Lorkeers et al say that the system should be extended to cover preclinical medical research, […]The post Preregistration for All Medical Animal Research appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Jansen of Lorkeers, S., Doevendans, P., & Chamuleau, S. (2014) All preclinical trials should be registered in advance in an online registry. European Journal of Clinical Investigation. DOI: 10.1111/eci.12299
A fascinating little paper in Brain examines Neurology and psychiatry in Babylon. It’s a collaboration by British neurologist Edward H. Reynolds and Assyriologist James V. Kinnier Wilson. The sources they discuss are almost 4,000 years old, dating to the Old Babylonian Dynasty of 1894 – 1595 BC. Writing in cuneiform script impressed into clay tablets, […]The post Babylonian Neurology and Psychiatry appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
An entertaining paper just out in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience offers a panoramic view of the whole of neuroscience: Enlarging the scope: grasping brain complexity The paper is remarkable not just for its content but also for its style. Some examples: How does the brain work? This nagging question is an habitué from the top […]The post Can We Grasp The Brain’s Complexity? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
The infamous dead salmon brain scan study may just have been eclipsed, in the ‘most ghoulish demonstration of a methodological pitfall in fMRI‘ stakes. A new study examines the issue of motion artifacts, a major concern in much neuroimaging research – and it does so by scanning dead people. The new paper has the unwieldy […]The post fMRI Motion Correction: The Quick and the Dead appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
A provocative and important paper just out claims to have identified a pervasive flaw in many attempts to map the function of the human brain. University College London (UCL) neuroscientists Yee-Haur Mah and colleagues say that in the light of their findings, “current inferences about human brain function and deficits based on lesion mapping must […]The post Is It Time To Redraw the Map of the Brain? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
What does neuroscience have to say about the educational value of lectures? Not much, says pedagogist Ken Masters in a lively article just published in Medical Teacher: Nipping an education myth in the bud: Poh’s brain activity during lectures Masters lays into an emerging slice of neurononsense. The claim is that neuroscientists have shown that, […]The post Another Education Neuromyth Debunked appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Masters, K. (2014) Nipping an education myth in the bud: Poh’s brain activity during lectures. Medical Teacher, 1-4. DOI: 10.3109/0142159X.2014.916785
We read this week that ‘Black Box’ Warning on Antidepressants Raised Suicide Attempts A so-called “black box” warning on antidepressants that the medications increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in kids may have had a horrible side-effect. New research finds the warning backfired, causing an increase in suicide attempts by teens and young […]The post The FDA’s Antidepressant Warning Didn’t Really “Backfire” appeared first on Neuroskept........ Read more »
Lu CY, Zhang F, Lakoma MD, Madden JM, Rusinak D, Penfold RB, Simon G, Ahmedani BK, Clarke G, Hunkeler EM.... (2014) Changes in antidepressant use by young people and suicidal behavior after FDA warnings and media coverage: quasi-experimental study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 24942789
Multivoxel Pattern Analysis (MVPA) is the latest big thing in the neuroimaging world. MVPA is a multivariate statistical technique that can be applied to fMRI brain scan results as an alternative to conventional univariate methods of finding brain activation. Neuroscientists love MVPA for two reasons: first, it offers more ‘blobs for your buck’ – it […]The post fMRI: Can MVPA Really Help Crack The Neural Code? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Davis, T., LaRocque, K., Mumford, J., Norman, K., Wagner, A., & Poldrack, R. (2014) What do differences between multi-voxel and univariate analysis mean? How subject-, voxel-, and trial-level variance impact fMRI analysis. NeuroImage, 271-283. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.04.037
An interesting study just published examines the rates of clinical depression experienced by workers in different jobs. It turns out that people involved in ‘Local and Interurban Passenger Transport’ are most likely to be treated for depression. By contrast, those employed in ‘Amusement and Recreational Services’ are less than half as likely to experience it […]The post America’s Most Depressing Jobs? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Wulsin L, Alterman T, Timothy Bushnell P, Li J, & Shen R. (2014) Prevalence rates for depression by industry: a claims database analysis. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology. PMID: 24907896
What if it were possible to measure your conscious experience, in real time, using a brain scanner? Neuroscientists Christoph Reichert and colleagues report that they have done just this, using fMRI – although in a limited fashion. Their research has just been published in Frontiers in Neuroscience: Online tracking of the contents of conscious perception […]The post Tracking Conscious Perception in Real-Time With fMRI? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Reichert C, Fendrich R, Bernarding J, Tempelmann C, Hinrichs H, & Rieger JW. (2014) Online tracking of the contents of conscious perception using real-time fMRI. Frontiers in neuroscience, 116. PMID: 24904260
When we’re drowsy, and on the point of falling asleep, our awareness of the outside world tends to dim. But a fascinating new paper reports that, for most people, it’s the left side of the world that dims the most. The study comes from neuroscientists Corinna Bareham and colleagues from the Cognition and Brain Sciences […]The post At The Right Hand of Sleep appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Bareham CA, Manly T, Pustovaya OV, Scott SK, & Bekinschtein TA. (2014) Losing the left side of the world: Rightward shift in human spatial attention with sleep onset. Scientific reports, 5092. PMID: 24867667
There was nothing special about Albert Einstein’s brain. Nothing that modern neuroscience can detect, anyway. This is the message of a provocative article by Pace University psychologist Terence Hines, just published in Brain and Cognition: Neuromythology of Einstein’s brain As Hines notes, the story of how Einstein’s brain was preserved is well known. When the […]The post The Myth of Einstein’s Brain? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Zen Faulkes of the Neurodojo and Better Posters blogs (the former being established way back in 2002!) has just published an article in major neuroscience journal Neuron on the rise of blogs and social media as forums for scientific debate: The Vacuum Shouts Back: Postpublication Peer Review on Social Media I get a passing mention: […]The post Two Cheers for Social Media In Science appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Faulkes Z. (2014) The vacuum shouts back: postpublication peer review on social media. Neuron, 82(2), 258-60. PMID: 24742455
A man developed a passionate love for the music of Johnny Cash after being implanted with a brain stimulation device. The unique story is told in a case report in the Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience journal, published on the 6th May. The authors, Mariska Mantione and colleagues, describe the case of “Mr. B”, a 58 […]The post Brain Stimulation Makes Man A Johnny Cash Fan? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Mantione, M., Figee, M., & Denys, D. (2014) A case of musical preference for Johnny Cash following deep brain stimulation of the nucleus accumbens. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00152
As you might have noticed, I blog (and tweet and comment) under a pseudonym. Recently, I defended the use of pseudonymity and anonymity in science in a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal – published under my pseudonym. So I was, at first, alarmed to see that Italian physicist Lorenzo Iorio has just published a […]The post Science Pseudonyms vs Science Sockpuppets appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Iorio, L. (2014) A new type of misconduct in the field of the physical sciences: The case of the pseudonyms used by I. Ciufolini to anonymously criticize other people's works on arXiv. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. DOI: 10.1002/asi.23238
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