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  • May 22, 2015
  • 03:11 PM
  • 18 views

Air pollution is causing your baby problems, but breastfeeding can help

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Aitana Lertxundi has conducted her research work within the framework of the INma (Childhood and Environment) programme led by Jesús Ibarluzea of the Department of Health of the Government of the Basque Autonomous Community (region). The aim is to assess how exposure to environmental pollution during pregnancy affects health and also to examine the role of diet in physical and neurobehavioural development in infancy. The study focusses on the repercussions on motor and mental development during........ Read more »

  • May 22, 2015
  • 03:02 PM
  • 22 views

Are infections making you stupid?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

New research shows that infections can impair your cognitive ability measured on an IQ scale. The study is the largest of its kind to date, and it shows a clear correlation between infection levels and impaired cognition. Anyone can suffer from an infection, for example in their stomach, urinary tract or skin. However, a new Danish study shows that a patient’s distress does not necessarily end once the infection has been treated.... Read more »

  • May 21, 2015
  • 04:05 PM
  • 60 views

You can make people less religious by flicking their brain with magnetic pulses

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

Many years ago, a guy called Michael Persinger achieved a certain amount of fame with a claim that stimulating the right part of the brain with a magnetic field could give people a religious experience. Although others weren’t able to get the same results, studies since then have found that brain damage to parts of [Read More...]... Read more »

  • May 20, 2015
  • 05:35 AM
  • 37 views

Further support for the Gradual Audiomotor Evolution (GAE) hypothesis?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Four chimpanzees born at the Primate Reserach Institute, Kyoto University recently participated in a finger-tapping experiment much like those that have been done for decades with humans (Repp, 2005). Two of them, Chloe and Cleo, showed signs of synchronization, according to a study that just came out in Scientific Reports.... Read more »

Merchant, H., & Honing, H. (2013) Are non-human primates capable of rhythmic entrainment? Evidence for the gradual audiomotor evolution hypothesis. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7(274). info:/

  • May 19, 2015
  • 12:30 PM
  • 10 views

When did we start using information theory in neuroscience?

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

This question came up in journal club a little while ago. The hypothesis that neurons in the brain are attempting to maximize their information about the world is a powerful one. Although usually attributed to Horace Barlow, the idea arose almost … Continue reading →... Read more »

Dimitrov, A., Lazar, A., & Victor, J. (2011) Information theory in neuroscience. Journal of Computational Neuroscience, 30(1), 1-5. DOI: 10.1007/s10827-011-0314-3  

MacKay, D., & McCulloch, W. (1952) The limiting information capacity of a neuronal link. The Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics, 14(2), 127-135. DOI: 10.1007/BF02477711  

von Neumann. (1956) Probabilistic logics and the synthesis of reliable organisms from unreliable components. Automata Studies. info:/

  • May 18, 2015
  • 10:45 AM
  • 35 views

Brain Imaging and Conduct Disorder: Temporal Lobe Abnormalities

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Conduct disorder is a complex behavioral disorder with significant risk for later adult psychopathology.There is increasing evidence for a biological basis for conduct disorder.Twin studies show a significant genetic contribution to the disorder.Brain imaging studies also point to biological factors in conduct disorder.Gregory Wallace and colleagues recently published a structural MRI study of conduct disorder in 22 adolescents between the ages of 10 and 18. Conduct disorder subjects were compar........ Read more »

Wallace GL, White SF, Robustelli B, Sinclair S, Hwang S, Martin A, & Blair RJ. (2014) Cortical and subcortical abnormalities in youths with conduct disorder and elevated callous-unemotional traits. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 53(4), 456-650. PMID: 24655655  

  • May 14, 2015
  • 10:31 AM
  • 79 views

Male Depression Risk Via Childhood Conduct Disorder

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Conduct disorder represents an important childhood-onset condition that commonly persists into adulthood.Adult antisocial personality disorder and substance abuse are known risks associated with conduct disorder.A recent study by Kenneth Kendler and Charles Gardner identified male conduct disorder as a risk factor for adult major depression.Their study using the Virginia Twin Registry examined 20 developmental risk factors in male and female twins for presence of recent adult major depression.A ........ Read more »

  • May 14, 2015
  • 09:30 AM
  • 83 views

Darwin Can Dance! The Evolution Of Pop Music

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Just like biological organisms, music evolves - and where there is evolution, there is science. Researchers analyzing pop music charts have identified the greatest musical revolution in recent times. What do you think it was? Elvis, British Invasion, Disco, Synth-pop, Heavy Metal, Hip-hop, Grunge, or Punk?... Read more »

  • May 13, 2015
  • 04:07 PM
  • 83 views

Can drinking alcohol harm the child before the mother knows she is pregnant?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

These days pregnant “moms to be” have lots of things to worry about, from second hand smoke to the chemicals in their make-up. Well they can unfortunately add one more thing to that list, a new study finds that alcohol drunk by a mouse in early pregnancy changes the way genes function in the brains of the offspring. The early exposure was also later apparent in the brain structure of the adult offspring. The timing of the exposure corresponds to the human gestational weeks 3-6 in terms of fe........ Read more »

Heidi Marjonen, Alejandra Sierra, Anna Nyman, Vladimir Rogojin, Olli Gröhn, Anni-Maija Linden, Sampsa Hautaniemi, & Nina Kaminen-Ahola. (2015) Early Maternal Alcohol Consumption Alters Hippocampal DNA Methylation, Gene Expression and Volume in a Mouse Model. PLOS ONE. info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0124931

  • May 13, 2015
  • 12:38 PM
  • 72 views

Know your brain: Orbitofrontal cortex

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged







Orbitofrontal cortex (in green)






Where is the orbitofrontal cortex?The orbitofrontal cortex is the area of the prefrontal cortex that sits just above the orbits (also known as the eye sockets). It is thus found at the very front of the brain, and has extensive connections with sensory areas as well as limbic system structures involved in emotion and memory.What is the orbitofrontal cortex and what does it do?The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is a poorly underst........ Read more »

Stalnaker, T., Cooch, N., & Schoenbaum, G. (2015) What the orbitofrontal cortex does not do. Nature Neuroscience, 18(5), 620-627. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3982  

  • May 12, 2015
  • 02:21 PM
  • 80 views

Rethinking the rebound: The unexpected effects of rejection

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

It’s portrayed in movies again and again – a character gets rejected by someone attractive and then falls willingly into the arms of someone perhaps less attractive. According to a new study, it’s not so simple: Rejection by an attractive man actually led women to socially distance themselves from an unattractive man, even when he offered acceptance.... Read more »

Geoff MacDonald1, Patricia L. Baratta, & Rebecca Tzalazidis. (2015) Resisting Connection Following Social Exclusion Rejection by an Attractive Suitor Provokes Derogation of an Unattractive Suitor. Social Psychology and Personality Science. info:/10.1177/1948550615584196

  • May 8, 2015
  • 04:32 PM
  • 92 views

(More) bad news for Vets: PTSD linked to accelerated aging

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Before PTSD had a name there was shellshock. It was mysterious and much like today, not everyone showed symptoms and for the most part, it was written off. In recent years however, public health concerns about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have risen significantly, driven in part by affected military veterans returning home. While this has opened the door for better care for people suffering from PTSD, it has also lead to some startling revelations about the extent of damage. New researc........ Read more »

Lohr, J., Palmer, B., Eidt, C., Aailaboyina, S., Mausbach, B., Wolkowitz, O., Thorp, S., & Jeste, D. (2015) Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Associated with Premature Senescence? A Review of the Literature. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2015.04.001  

  • May 7, 2015
  • 10:30 AM
  • 103 views

Conduct Disorder: Predictors, Gender and Genetics

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Genetic factors contribute to risk for many childhood mental disorders.Gender issues in childhood psychopathology are also important factors.Boys show higher rates for conduct disorder (CD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).Nora Kerekes and colleagues in Sweden and Australia examined a large twin study of childhood behavioral and neurobehavioral disorders. The aims of this study were to better understand the developmental and genetic feature........ Read more »

  • May 6, 2015
  • 10:06 PM
  • 118 views

Limitations of the consensus: How widely-accepted hypotheses can sometimes hinder understanding

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

To those who believe strongly in the scientific method, it really is the only approach to understanding the relationship between two events or variables that allows us to make assertions about such relationships with any confidence. Due to the inherent flaws in human reasoning, our non-scientific conclusions are frequently riddled with bias, misunderstanding, and misattribution. Thus, it seems there is little that can be trusted if it hasn't been scientifically verified.The scientific method, ho........ Read more »

  • May 6, 2015
  • 03:26 PM
  • 112 views

Researchers find new clues in treating chronic pain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A chemical in the brain typically associated with cognition, movement and reward-motivation behavior — among others — may also play a role in promoting chronic pain, according to new research. The chemical, dopamine, sets the stage for many important brain functions, but the mechanisms that cause it to contribute to chronic pain are less well understood.... Read more »

Kim, J., Tillu, D., Quinn, T., Mejia, G., Shy, A., Asiedu, M., Murad, E., Schumann, A., Totsch, S., Sorge, R.... (2015) Spinal Dopaminergic Projections Control the Transition to Pathological Pain Plasticity via a D1/D5-Mediated Mechanism. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(16), 6307-6317. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3481-14.2015  

  • May 5, 2015
  • 02:36 PM
  • 129 views

Mind reading: Researchers observe moment a mind is changed

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers studying how the brain makes decisions have, for the first time, recorded the moment-by-moment fluctuations in brain signals that occur when a monkey making free choices has a change of mind. The findings result from experiments led by electrical engineering Professor Krishna Shenoy, whose Stanford lab focuses on movement control and neural prostheses – such as artificial arms – controlled by the user’s brain.... Read more »

  • May 5, 2015
  • 12:38 PM
  • 113 views

3 Reasons Octopus Locomotion Is the Weirdest

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Of course there's nothing ordinary about an octopus. It's the animal that showed us spinelessness doesn't have to mean a lack of smarts. But when researchers brought some octopuses into the lab to study exactly how the animals move, their findings were bizarre—both predictably and unpredictably.

Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem studied nine common octopuses (Octopus vulgaris) that fishers had scooped out of the ocean for them. Once the animals got comfortable in the lab, t........ Read more »

  • May 5, 2015
  • 11:12 AM
  • 102 views

Bad Boy. Bad Boy. Is It Conduct Disorder?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Defining the line between normal childhood behavior and more serious problems like conduct disorder (CD) is important.Conduct disorder is linked to a significant risk for a lifelong problem with aggression. Identifying CD early in life provides the hope that early intervention might reduce the later consequences of the disorder.The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has an excellent online resource center to understand conduct disorder. They note the condition is characteri........ Read more »

  • May 4, 2015
  • 10:08 AM
  • 12 views

Man with Restored Sight Provides New Insight into How Vision Develops

by amikulak in Daily Observations

California man Mike May made international headlines in 2000 when his sight was restored by a pioneering stem cell procedure after 40 years of blindness. A study published three years […]... Read more »

Huber, E., Webster, J., Brewer, A., MacLeod, D., Wandell, B., Boynton, G., Wade, A., & Fine, I. (2015) A Lack of Experience-Dependent Plasticity After More Than a Decade of Recovered Sight. Psychological Science, 26(4), 393-401. DOI: 10.1177/0956797614563957  

  • May 3, 2015
  • 03:54 PM
  • 184 views

Procrastinate much? Science offers a way to stop

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Procrastination is the thief of time that derails New Year’s resolutions and delays saving for college or retirement, but researchers have found a way to collar it.

The trick? Think of the future as now. ... Read more »

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