"Our results revealed characteristic patterns of brain activity associated with Gangnam Style". So say the authors of a new paper called Neural correlates of the popular music phenomenon.
The authors, Qiaozhen Chen et al. from Zhejiang in China, used fMRI to record brain activity while 15 volunteers listened to two musical pieces: Psy's 'Gangnam Style' and a "light music" control, Richard Clayderman's piano piece 'A Comme Amour'.
Chen et al. say that Gangnam Style was associated with "... Read more »
Chen Q, Zhang Y, Hou H, Du F, Wu S, Chen L, Shen Y, Chao F, Chung JK, Zhang H.... (2017) Neural correlates of the popular music phenomenon: evidence from functional MRI and PET imaging. European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging. PMID: 28083689
Brain activation during challenges to political vs. non-political beliefs (Figure modified from Kaplan et al., 2016).
Lately I've been despairing about the state of America.
I'm not sure how denying access to affordable health care, opposing scientific facts like global warming and the benefits of vaccines, alienating our allies, banning Muslims, building a wall, endorsing torture, and
... Read more »
Feinberg, M., & Willer, R. (2015) From Gulf to Bridge: When Do Moral Arguments Facilitate Political Influence?. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(12), 1665-1681. DOI: 10.1177/0146167215607842
Kaplan, J., Gimbel, S., & Harris, S. (2016) Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence. Scientific Reports, 39589. DOI: 10.1038/srep39589
A remarkable and troubling new paper: Addressing reverse inference in psychiatric neuroimaging: Meta-analyses of task-related brain activation in common mental disorders
Icahn School of Medicine researchers Emma Sprooten and colleagues carried out an ambitious task: to pull together the results of every fMRI study which has compared task-related brain activation in people with a mental illness and healthy controls.
Sprooten et al.'s analysis included 537 studies with a total of 21,427 ... Read more »
Sprooten E, Rasgon A, Goodman M, Carlin A, Leibu E, Lee WH, & Frangou S. (2017) Addressing reverse inference in psychiatric neuroimaging: Meta-analyses of task-related brain activation in common mental disorders. Human Brain Mapping. PMID: 28067006
Two new papers outline urge scientists to make research more reproducible.
First off, Russ Poldrack and colleagues writing in Nature Reviews Neuroscience discuss how to achieve transparent and reproducible neuroimaging research. Neuroimaging techniques, such as fMRI, are enormously powerful tools for neuroscientists but, Poldrack et al. say, they are at risk of "a ‘perfect storm’ of irreproducible results". because the "high dimensionality of fMRI data, the relatively low power of mos... Read more »
Poldrack RA, Baker CI, Durnez J, Gorgolewski KJ, Matthews PM, Munafò MR, Nichols TE, Poline JB, Vul E, & Yarkoni T. (2017) Scanning the horizon: towards transparent and reproducible neuroimaging research. Nature reviews. Neuroscience. PMID: 28053326
Marcus R. Munafò, Brian A. Nosek, Dorothy V. M. Bishop, Katherine S. Button,, Christopher D. Chambers, Nathalie Percie du Sert, Uri Simonsohn, Eric-Jan Wagenmakers,, & Jennifer J. Ware and John P. A. Ioannidis. (2017) A manifesto for reproducible science. Nat Hum Behav. info:/
Earlier this year, neuroscience was shaken by the publication in PNAS of Cluster failure: Why fMRI inferences for spatial extent have inflated false-positive rates. In this paper, Anders Eklund, Thomas E. Nichols and Hans Knutsson reported that commonly used software for analysing fMRI data produces many false-positives.
But now, Boston College neuroscientist Scott D. Slotnick has criticized Eklund et al.'s alarming conclusions in a new piece in Cognitive Neuroscience.
In my view, ... Read more »
Slotnick SD. (2016) Resting-state fMRI data reflects default network activity rather than null data: A defense of commonly employed methods to correct for multiple comparisons. Cognitive neuroscience. PMID: 28002981
The neural machinery that forms new memories is fragile and vulnerable to insults arising from brain injuries, cerebral anoxia, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. Unlike language, which shows a great deal of plasticity after strokes and other injuries, episodic memory – memory for autobiographical events and contextual details of past experiences – doesn't recover after
... Read more »
Jacobs, J., Miller, J., Lee, S., Coffey, T., Watrous, A., Sperling, M., Sharan, A., Worrell, G., Berry, B., Lega, B.... (2016) Direct Electrical Stimulation of the Human Entorhinal Region and Hippocampus Impairs Memory. Neuron, 92(5), 983-990. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.10.062
Kim, K., Ekstrom, A., & Tandon, N. (2016) A network approach for modulating memory processes via direct and indirect brain stimulation: Toward a causal approach for the neural basis of memory. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 162-177. DOI: 10.1016/j.nlm.2016.04.001
Suthana, N., Haneef, Z., Stern, J., Mukamel, R., Behnke, E., Knowlton, B., & Fried, I. (2012) Memory Enhancement and Deep-Brain Stimulation of the Entorhinal Area. New England Journal of Medicine, 366(6), 502-510. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1107212
A review of classic "split brain" research and critique of a new paper regarding "functional" splits in brain function.... Read more »
Sasai, S., Boly, M., Mensen, A., & Tononi, G. (2016) Functional split brain in a driving/listening paradigm. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(50), 14444-14449. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1613200113
When you're doing two things at once - like listening to the radio while driving - your brain organizes itself into two, functionally independent networks, almost as if you temporarily have two brains. That's according to a fascinating new study from University of Wisconsin-Madison neuroscientists Shuntaro Sasai and colleagues. It's called Functional split brain in a driving/listening paradigm
In referring to 'split brains' in their title, Sasai et al. are linking their work to the litera... Read more »
Sasai, S., Boly, M., Mensen, A., & Tononi, G. (2016) Functional split brain in a driving/listening paradigm. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201613200. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1613200113
Where is the septum?
The term septum, when used in reference to the brain (it is a common anatomical term used to refer to a partition), indicates a subcortical structure in the forebrain that is found near the midline of the brain. The septum in humans can be separated into two structures: the septum pellucidum and septum verum. Each of these is sometimes........ Read more »
Sheehan, T., Chambers, R., & Russell, D. (2004) Regulation of affect by the lateral septum: implications for neuropsychiatry. Brain Research Reviews, 46(1), 71-117. DOI: 10.1016/j.brainresrev.2004.04.009
Insomnia of sufficient severity to meet clinical significance is estimated to affect up to 20% of the general population.This makes insomnia an important public health challenge.Effective, inexpensive and accessible programs to treat insomnia are needed.One recent controlled clinical trial supports the promise of an online intervention that incorporates key elements of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).Lee Ritterband and colleagues at the University of Virginia recently published a controlled c........ Read more »
Ritterband LM, Thorndike FP, Ingersoll KS, Lord HR, Gonder-Frederick L, Frederick C, Quigg MS, Cohn WF, & Morin CM. (2016) Effect of a Web-Based Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia Intervention With 1-Year Follow-up: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA psychiatry. PMID: 27902836
Most neuroscientists will tell you that long-term memories are stored in the brain in the form of synapses, the connections between neurons. On this view, memory formation occurs when synaptic connections are strengthened, or entirely new synapses are formed.
However, in a new piece in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, Austrian researcher Patrick C. Trettenbrein critiques the synapse-memory theory: The Demise of the Synapse As the Locus of Memory.
Trettenbrein acknowledges that "t... Read more »
Trettenbrein, P. (2016) The Demise of the Synapse As the Locus of Memory: A Looming Paradigm Shift?. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnsys.2016.00088
Fig. 4 (Wexler, 2016). Lindstrom's Electro-Medical Apparatus (ca. 1895), courtesy of the Bakken.
Think the do-it-yourself transcranial direct current stimulation movement (DIY tDCS) is a technologically savvy and hip creation of 21st century neural engineering? MIT graduate student Anna Wexler has an excellent and fun review of late 19th and early 20th century electrical stimulation
... Read more »
William James authored a seminal book titled The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature that was published in 1902.In this work, James reviewed the nature of religious experiences and noted a lack of scientific inquiry into this human phenomenon.James would have been extremely interested in a recent scientific inquiry into the religious experience from brain researchers at the University of Utah and Harvard University.In this study, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI........ Read more »
Ferguson MA, Nielsen JA, King JB, Dai L, Giangrasso DM, Holman R, Korenberg JR, & Anderson JS. (2016) Reward, Salience, and Attentional Networks are Activated by Religious Experience in Devout Mormons. Social neuroscience. PMID: 27834117
Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828), a founding father of phrenology
Phrenology was the pseudoscience of identifying a person's character and mental abilities on the basis of skull morphology (“bumps on the head”). The enterprise was based on four assumptions (Gross, 2009):
intellectual abilities and personality traits are differentially developed in each individual
these abilities and traits
... Read more »
Eling, P., Finger, S., & Whitaker, H. (2016) On the Origins of Organology: Franz Joseph Gall and a Girl Named Bianchi. Cortex. DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2016.11.010
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegerative disorder estimated to affect 7 to 10 million individual worldwide.The primary mechanism for Parkinson's disease is a reduction in the neurotransmitter dopamine in the midbrain region of the substantia nigra highlighted in red in the figure.PD impairs motor and cognitive functions and leads to significant decline in psychosocial functioning.Drugs for PD can be effective in reversing and slowing the progression of the illness. However, resp........ Read more »
Lauzé M, Daneault JF, & Duval C. (2016) The Effects of Physical Activity in Parkinson's Disease: A Review. Journal of Parkinson's disease, 6(4), 685-698. PMID: 27567884
Rates of myocardial infarction and stroke have been declining over the last decade in the U.S. and Europe. However, a recent manuscript suggests there are still significant missed opportunities to prevent stroke.This manuscript presents results of review of electronic primary care records in the United Kingdom.The authors examines a group of over 29,000 subjects with a diagnosis of stroke or transient ischemic attack over a 10 year period.Records were reviewed to assess for compliance with guide........ Read more »
Turner GM, Calvert M, Feltham MG, Ryan R, Fitzmaurice D, Cheng KK, & Marshall T. (2016) Under-prescribing of Prevention Drugs and Primary Prevention of Stroke and Transient Ischaemic Attack in UK General Practice: A Retrospective Analysis. PLoS medicine, 13(11). PMID: 27846215
I ran into an interesting article at ScienceDaily providing data on a small sample size study of the anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib (Celebrex) in depression.Access the ScienceDaily report on this study by clicking HERE.This study focused on subjects with bipolar depression. All subjects were in a depressed phase and received the antidepressant drug escitalopram (Lexapro).Although only 55 subjects participated in this study, the results were significant and large. Adding Celebrex to escitalopra........ Read more »
Savitz, J., Preskorn, S., Teague, T., Drevets, D., Yates, W., & Drevets, W. (2012) Minocycline and aspirin in the treatment of bipolar depression: a protocol for a proof-of-concept, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2×2 clinical trial. BMJ Open, 2(1). DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000643
Do you find gruyère gross? Are you repelled by roquefort?
Neuroscientists are now investigating why this might be. A new paper claims to reveal The Neural Bases of Disgust for Cheese.
French (heh) researchers Jean-Pierre Royet and colleagues used fMRI to scan 15 people who liked cheese and 15 who "hated" it. During the scan, the participants were shown images of cheese and were exposed to cheese odors.
The six neuro-cheeses were blue cheese, cheddar, goat cheese, gruyère, parmesan, ... Read more »
Royet JP, Meunier D, Torquet N, Mouly AM, & Jiang T. (2016) The Neural Bases of Disgust for Cheese: An fMRI Study. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 511. PMID: 27799903
A new paper could prompt a rethink of a basic tenet of neuroscience. It is widely believed that the motor cortex, a region of the cerebral cortex, is responsible for producing movements, by sending instructions to other brain regions and ultimately to the spinal cord. But according to neuroscientists Christian Laut Ebbesen and colleagues, the truth may be the opposite: the motor cortex may equally well suppress movements.
Ebbesen et al. studied the vibrissa motor cortex (VMC) of the rat, ... Read more »
Ebbesen CL, Doron G, Lenschow C, & Brecht M. (2016) Vibrissa motor cortex activity suppresses contralateral whisking behavior. Nature Neuroscience. PMID: 27798633
Aerobic exercise increases brain blood flow and has demonstrated beneficial effects on cognition.The effects of weight training exercise on the brain is less frequently studied. Hence, we know little about the effect and mechanism of weight training on brain function and performance.A recent study provides some needed insight on this topic.A study by C Suo and colleagues from Australia examined the effects of resistance training and cognitive skills training on brain structure and function.The k........ Read more »
Suo C, Singh MF, Gates N, Wen W, Sachdev P, Brodaty H, Saigal N, Wilson GC, Meiklejohn J, Singh N.... (2016) Therapeutically relevant structural and functional mechanisms triggered by physical and cognitive exercise. Molecular psychiatry, 21(11), 1645. PMID: 27090304
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