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  • January 26, 2015
  • 06:23 AM
  • 2 views

Is it necessary to use brain imaging to understand teen girls' sexual decision making?

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

“It is feasible to recruit and retain a cohort of female participants to perform a functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI] task focused on making decisions about sex, on the basis of varying levels of hypothetical sexual risk, and to complete longitudinal prospective diaries following this task. Preliminary evidence suggests that risk level differentially impacts brain activity related to sexual decision making in these women [i.e., girls aged 14-15 yrs], which may be related to pas........ Read more »

  • January 25, 2015
  • 03:41 PM
  • 14 views

The unsolved mysteries of protein misfolding in common neurodegenerative diseases

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Throughout the 1970s, biochemist Stanley Prusiner was obsessed with trying to find the causative agent for a mysterious group of diseases. The diseases, which included kuru and Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in humans and scrapie in sheep, were characterized by slowly-developing symptoms and neurodegeneration so severe it eventually caused the brain to take on the appearance of a sponge (due to myriad little holes that developed where grey matter was lost). By the time Prusiner began studying these........ Read more »

Brettschneider, J., Tredici, K., Lee, V., & Trojanowski, J. (2015) Spreading of pathology in neurodegenerative diseases: a focus on human studies. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 16(2), 109-120. DOI: 10.1038/nrn3887  

  • January 24, 2015
  • 01:39 PM
  • 54 views

Lucid dreaming: The similarities between dreaming and wakefulness

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

To control one’s dreams and to live out there what is impossible in real life — a truly tempting idea. Some people — so-called lucid dreamers — can do this. Researchers have discovered that the brain area which enables self-reflection is larger in lucid dreamers. Thus, lucid dreamers are possibly also more self-reflecting when they are awake.... Read more »

Filevich E, Dresler M, Brick TR, & Kühn S. (2015) Metacognitive mechanisms underlying lucid dreaming. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 35(3), 1082-8. PMID: 25609624  

  • January 23, 2015
  • 07:16 PM
  • 69 views

Mothers don’t speak clearly to their babies

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

People have a distinctive way of talking to babies and small children: We speak more slowly, using a sing-song voice, and tend to use cutesy words like "tummy". While we might be inclined to think that we talk this way because it is easier for children to understand, new research suggests that, surprisingly, mothers may actually speak less clearly to their infants than they do to adults.... Read more »

Andrew Martin, Thomas Schatz, Maarten Versteegh, Kouki Miyazawa, Reiko Mazuka, Emmanuel Dupoux, and Alejandrina Cristia. (2015) Kouki Miyazawa, Reiko Mazuka, Emmanuel Dupoux, and Alejandrina Cristia. Mothers Speak Less Clearly to Infants Than to Adults: A Comprehensive Test of the Hyperarticulation Hypothesis. Psychological Science. info:/10.1177/0956797614562453

  • January 22, 2015
  • 05:50 PM
  • 142 views

Belief’s effect on biochemistry in cases of addiction

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever wonder what makes people susceptible to addiction? Think about it, some people can stop addictive painkillers without a problem and others, well others are not so lucky. So the big question is are there more than biophysical factors at play in addiction? A new study shows that cognitive beliefs play a significant role in a person’s neurological response to an addictive substance and that belief can diminish the neurological effects of an addictive drug.... Read more »

Gu, X., Lohrenz, T., Salas, R., Baldwin, P., Soltani, A., Kirk, U., Cinciripini, P., & Montague, P. (2015) Belief about nicotine selectively modulates value and reward prediction error signals in smokers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201416639. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1416639112  

  • January 22, 2015
  • 07:36 AM
  • 81 views

Wolf to dog

by Janet Kwasniak in Neuro-patch

Why were dogs domesticated so early? How was it done? A recent paper (citation below) looks at how much of dog behaviour might have been already in the wolf with no effort needed to produce it in the dog. All that may have been needed was to have the wolf lose its fear of man […]... Read more »

  • January 22, 2015
  • 06:29 AM
  • 74 views

A Tribute to Neuroscience Luminary Dr. Allison Doupe

by Sick Papes in Sick Papes

We were devastated by the news that Dr. Allison Doupe, a much-loved neuroscientist at UCSF, passed away late last year, following a long battle with cancer, a struggle that she refused to let mitigate the exuberance and overflowing passion with which she carried out her research. A symposium in Allison’s honor is being held tomorrow as an opportunity to reflect upon her intellectual and personal life.... Read more »

  • January 21, 2015
  • 03:56 PM
  • 64 views

Fish, mercury, and pregnancy: Good news for seafood lovers

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

People freak out when they hear mercury is in something and sometimes for good reasons. In vaccinations for example a very small amount of ethyl-mercury WAS used as a preservative in vaccines, people got scared so now it is not used in most vaccines. Methylmercury* however is found in seafood and larger fish in particular (in much, much higher concentrations than in vaccines mind you). They may sound the same, but the methylmercury in fish is far more toxic. That said, it turns out that fish isn........ Read more »

Gutiérrez, F., & Leon, L. (2000) Elemental Mercury Embolism to the Lung. New England Journal of Medicine, 342(24), 1791-1791. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM200006153422405  

JJ Strain,, Alison J Yeates,, Edwin van Wijngaarden,, Sally W Thurston,, Maria S Mulhern,, Emeir M McSorley,, Gene E Watson,, Tanzy M Love,, Tristram H Smith,, Kelley Yost,.... (2015) Prenatal exposure to methyl mercury from fish consumption and polyunsaturated fatty acids: associations with child development at 20 mo of age in an observational study in the Republic of Seychelles. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition . info:/10.3945/​ajcn.114.100503

  • January 20, 2015
  • 11:55 PM
  • 68 views

Truthiness of irrelevant detail in explanations from neuroscience to mathematical models

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Truthiness is the truth that comes from the gut, not books. Truthiness is preferring propositions that one wishes to be true over those known to be true. Truthiness is a wonderful commentary on the state of politics and media by a fictional character determined to be the best at feeling the news at us. Truthiness […]... Read more »

Weisberg, D.S., Keil, F.C., Goodstein, J., Rawson, E., & Gray, J.R. (2008) The seductive allure of neuroscience explanations. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20(3), 470-7. PMID: 18004955  

  • January 19, 2015
  • 03:05 PM
  • 90 views

Fear, PTSD, and newly found neural circuits in the brain

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

People with anxiety disorders, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), often experience prolonged and exaggerated fearfulness. Now, an animal study suggests that this might involve disruption of a gradual shifting of brain circuitry for retrieving fear memories. Researchers have discovered in rats that an old fear memory is recalled by a separate brain pathway from the one originally used to recall it when it was fresh.... Read more »

Penzo MA, Robert V, Tucciarone J, De Bundel D, Wang M, Van Aeist L, Varvas M, Parada LF, Palmiter R, He M, Huang ZJ, Li B. . (2015) The paraventricular thalamus controls a central amygdala fear circuit. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature13978  

  • January 19, 2015
  • 10:09 AM
  • 85 views

Mediterranean Diet and Aging

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There is a growing research body of evidence to support beneficial effects of a Mediterranean diet on brain health.In previous posts I have reviewed research on the Mediterranean diet and:Cognitive DeclineAlzheimer's Disease PreventionA recent study adds an important element in potential mechanisms for the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet.Marta Crous-Bou and colleauges from Harvard University and the University of Washington published a study of the Mediterranean diet and chromosome ........ Read more »

Crous-Bou M, Fung TT, Prescott J, Julin B, Du M, Sun Q, Rexrode KM, Hu FB, & De Vivo I. (2014) Mediterranean diet and telomere length in Nurses' Health Study: population based cohort study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 25467028  

  • January 19, 2015
  • 06:57 AM
  • 21 views

Another sensory channel

by Janet Kwasniak in Neuro-patch

There is another recent discovery to highlight how little we know about our nervous system. Theories are accepted because we believe we have a handle on the anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and biophysics of the nervous systems. But the ‘facts’ change regularly. This time it is connections between the gut and the brain – a direct […]... Read more »

Bohórquez, D., Shahid, R., Erdmann, A., Kreger, A., Wang, Y., Calakos, N., Wang, F., & Liddle, R. (2015) Neuroepithelial circuit formed by innervation of sensory enteroendocrine cells. Journal of Clinical Investigation. DOI: 10.1172/JCI78361  

  • January 19, 2015
  • 05:32 AM
  • 75 views

Interfering With Traumatic Memories of the Boston Marathon Bombings

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

The Boston Marathon bombings of April 15, 2013 killed three people and injured hundreds of others near the finish line of the iconic footrace. The oldest and most prominent marathon in the world, Boston attracts over 20,000 runners and 500,000 spectators. The terrorist act shocked and traumatized and unified the city.What should the survivors do with their traumatic memories of the event? Many with disabling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) receive therapy to lessen the impact of the trauma........ Read more »

  • January 18, 2015
  • 09:59 AM
  • 79 views

BPA, BPA-free and why Internet titles can be misleading

by EE Giorgi in CHIMERAS

A few years ago, when I still had both kids in preschool, I became painfully aware that plastic is made of oil. I know, I know, where had I been until then? Underground, I guess. All the bottles I'd used to feed milk and drinks to my kids were scratched and chewed and horrid. I screeched in panic, threw them all away and replaced everything with stainless steel. My kids hated the new bottles and refused to take them to school. Yeah, the joys of parenthood.So, imagine my joy when BPA-free came ar........ Read more »

Machluf, Y., Gutnick, A., & Levkowitz, G. (2011) Development of the zebrafish hypothalamus. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1220(1), 93-105. DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05945.x  

  • January 18, 2015
  • 08:29 AM
  • 84 views

Machine Learning: Exceeding Chance Level By Chance

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A simple statistical misunderstanding is leading many neuroscientists astray in their use of machine learning tools, according to a new paper in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods: Exceeding chance level by chance.



As the authors, French neuroscientists Etienne Combrisson and Karim Jerbi, describe the issue:
Machine learning techniques are increasingly used in neuroscience to classify brain signals. Decoding performance is reflected by how much the classification results depart from the... Read more »

  • January 16, 2015
  • 03:41 PM
  • 83 views

New genetic clues in fragile x syndrome

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Scientists have gained new insight into fragile X syndrome — the most common cause of inherited intellectual disability — by studying the case of a person without the disorder, but with two of its classic symptoms.... Read more »

Myrick LK, Deng PY, Hashimoto H, Oh YM, Cho Y, Poidevin MJ, Suhl JA, Visootsak J, Cavalli V, Jin P.... (2015) Independent role for presynaptic FMRP revealed by an FMR1 missense mutation associated with intellectual disability and seizures. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 25561520  

  • January 16, 2015
  • 01:50 PM
  • 96 views

Breaking Research: Fruit flies help uncover the brain’s link between sleep and memory

by Bethany Christmann in Fly on the Wall

Researchers at Brandeis University have found that the link between sleep and memory is stronger than we thought. It is well known that sleep is important for learning and memory, and many people can attest to having a hard time focusing and remembering things after a bad night’s sleep. Students often receive advice about getting […]... Read more »

  • January 16, 2015
  • 11:08 AM
  • 102 views

Know your brain: Reward system

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Where is the reward system?The term reward system refers to a group of structures that are activated by rewarding or reinforcing stimuli (e.g. addictive drugs). When exposed to a rewarding stimulus, the brain responds by increasing release of the neurotransmitter dopamine and thus the structures associated with the reward system are found along the major dopamine pathways in the brain. The mesolimbic dopamine pathway is thought to play a primary role in the reward system. It connects the ventral........ Read more »

Wise RA. (1998) Drug-activation of brain reward pathways. Drug and alcohol dependence, 51(1-2), 13-22. PMID: 9716927  

  • January 15, 2015
  • 02:25 PM
  • 112 views

Scientists use the brain to direct fat burning

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Does it seem like no matter what you do, you still can’t shed the pounds? You know what to eat, how to eat and workout regularly, but the weight just won’t go away, well you may not be alone. There are many different medical conditions that limit your ability to lose weight, but thankfully science has now found how to use your brain to shed the weight.... Read more »

Dodd, G., Decherf, S., Loh, K., Simonds, S., Wiede, F., Balland, E., Merry, T., Münzberg, H., Zhang, Z., Kahn, B.... (2015) Leptin and Insulin Act on POMC Neurons to Promote the Browning of White Fat. Cell, 160(1-2), 88-104. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.12.022  

  • January 14, 2015
  • 03:54 PM
  • 106 views

The hidden neurological impact of explosions on military members

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

More bad news for war Veterans, the brains of some Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans who survived blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and died later of other causes show a distinctive honeycomb pattern of broken and swollen nerve fibers throughout critical brain regions, including those that control executive function. The pattern is different from brain damage caused by car crashes, drug overdoses or collision sports, and may be the never-before-reported signature of blast injuri........ Read more »

Ryu J, Horkayne-Szakaly I, Xu L, Pletnikova O, Leri F, Eberhart C, Troncoso JC, & Koliatsos VE. (2014) The problem of axonal injury in the brains of veterans with histories of blast exposure. Acta neuropathologica communications, 2(1), 153. PMID: 25422066  

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