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  • April 23, 2014
  • 06:48 AM
  • 11 views

Why are some syllables preferred?

by Janet Kwasniak in Neuro-patch

 In a recent paper by Berent and others (citation below) they investigate language universals in syllable structure. Their argument goes: there is a preference for certain syllables over others across languages and even in people whose language does not include those syllables; a set of four syllables which do not occur in English shows this […]... Read more »

Berent, I., Pan, H., Zhao, X., Epstein, J., Bennett, M., Deshpande, V., Seethamraju, R., & Stern, E. (2014) Language Universals Engage Broca's Area. PLoS ONE, 9(4). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095155  

  • April 22, 2014
  • 10:40 PM
  • 20 views

Autism, SSRIs, and Epidemiology 101

by in Neuroscientifically Challenged

I can understand the eagerness with which science writers jump on stories that deal with new findings about autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). After all, the mystery surrounding the rapid increase in ASD rates over the past 20 years (see right) has made any ASD-related study that may offer some clues inherently interesting. Because people are anxiously awaiting some explanation of this medical enigma, it seems like science writers almost have an obligation to discuss new findings concerning the c........ Read more »

  • April 22, 2014
  • 10:21 AM
  • 34 views

Religious Belief Linked to Brain Cortex Thickness

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In a previous post, I reviewed a longitudinal study of religious belief and major depression.This study by Lisa Miller and colleagues found a reduced risk of depression in subjects who rated religious belief or spirituality as an important factor in their lives.Reduction in depression risk with religiosity/spirituality was largest (90% smaller risk) in those with a family history of depression.This correlation may not be causal and may be explained by some common third factor between religion an........ Read more »

  • April 22, 2014
  • 04:22 AM
  • 33 views

Are Neuroimaging researchers headed the Sheldon Cooper way?

by Harsha Radhakrishnan in United Academics

The ultimate goal of all these projects is to be able to reconstruct the human brain – have a definitive computer model or a database of every neuron and its cell type and the connections between each individual cell. Is this feasible?... Read more »

Oh SW, Harris JA, Ng L, Winslow B, Cain N, Mihalas S, Wang Q, Lau C, Kuan L, Henry AM.... (2014) A mesoscale connectome of the mouse brain. Nature, 508(7495), 207-14. PMID: 24695228  

  • April 20, 2014
  • 03:34 PM
  • 90 views

420: How Marijuana Messes With the Brain

by Alexis Delanoir in How to Paint Your Panda

Cannabis use has previously been associated with cognitive impairment, and Smith et al. (2013) showed that heavy marijuana use was associated with poor working memory and brain abnormalities. Now, Gilman et al. (2014) propose that even casual use of marijuana is associated with such negative effects. Is this an issue of correlation/causation, of funding bias, or are the world's weed smokers really in neurological danger? In this post, in celebration of 4/20, I provide context for the recent........ Read more »

Meier, M., Caspi, A., Ambler, A., Harrington, H., Houts, R., Keefe, R., McDonald, K., Ward, A., Poulton, R., & Moffitt, T. (2012) Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(40). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1206820109  

  • April 19, 2014
  • 05:32 AM
  • 184 views

The nose knows: How to pick your friends

by Teodora Stoica in CuriousCortex

The importance of human odor in a social context. ... Read more »

  • April 18, 2014
  • 01:07 PM
  • 43 views

Overcomming Social Phobia with CBT and Pharmacotherapy

by Vivek Misra in Uber Notions

photo credit: ParadigmMalibu.comSocial phobia, a type of anxiety disorder, is characterized by persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others (1). The individual fears that he or she will act in a way (or show anxiety symptoms) that will be embarrassing and humiliating.  Exposure to the feared situation almost invariably provokes anxiety, which may take the form of a situationally bou........ Read more »

Domschke K, Stevens S, Beck B, Baffa A, Hohoff C, Deckert J, & Gerlach AL. (2009) Blushing propensity in social anxiety disorder: influence of serotonin transporter gene variation. Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996), 116(6), 663-6. PMID: 18629430  

Nahshoni E, Gur S, Marom S, Levin JB, Weizman A, & Hermesh H. (2004) QT dispersion in patients with social phobia. Journal of affective disorders, 78(1), 21-6. PMID: 14672793  

  • April 17, 2014
  • 11:02 PM
  • 174 views

Dear CNRS: That mouse study did not "confirm" the neurobiological origin of ADHD in humans

by in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Late last week the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS - the acronym is based on the French translation) put out a press release describing a study conducted through a collaboration between several of its researchers and scientists from The University of Strasbourg. CNRS is a large (30,000+ employees), government-run research institution in France. It is the largest research organization in Europe, and is responsible for about 1/2 of the French scientific papers published annual........ Read more »

  • April 15, 2014
  • 11:43 AM
  • 69 views

Religious Belief and Depression Resilience

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Identifying risk factors for brain disorders is a key element in clinical research.Understanding protective or resilience factors for brain disorders is also important and receiving increased attention in clinical research.Factors that promote resilience to brain disorders may come from a variety of domains. Religious belief is one domain receiving attention as a potential resilience factor.Miller and colleagues recently published a longitudinal study of religious belief and risk for major ........ Read more »

Miller L, Wickramaratne P, Gameroff MJ, Sage M, Tenke CE, & Weissman MM. (2012) Religiosity and major depression in adults at high risk: a ten-year prospective study. The American journal of psychiatry, 169(1), 89-94. PMID: 21865527  

  • April 12, 2014
  • 11:54 PM
  • 83 views

Early brain development and heat shock proteins

by in Neuroscientifically Challenged

The brain development of a fetus is really an amazing thing. The first sign of an incipient nervous system emerges during the third week of development; it is simply a thickened layer of tissue called the neural plate. After about 5 more days, the neural plate has formed an indentation called the neural groove, and the sides of the neural groove have curled up and begun to fuse together (see pic to the right). This will form the neural tube, which will eventually become the brain and spinal cord........ Read more »

  • April 11, 2014
  • 05:59 AM
  • 110 views

Don’t forget the cerebellum

by Janet Kwasniak in Neuro-patch

Many theories of humanness rely on a simple idea that the cerebral cortex is enlarged in humans relative to other primates and in primates relative to other mammals. So it must be the cerebral cortex that is the important part of the brain, giving us our smarts and our skills. What is often overlooked is […]... Read more »

  • April 11, 2014
  • 03:48 AM
  • 144 views

Brain Scans: Don’t Throw Out The Baby With The Dead Salmon

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Is neuro-skepticism in danger of going too far? Is it time to take a critical look at critiques of neuroscience? Martha Farah of the University of Pennsylvania says yes, in a Hastings Center Report just published: Brain Images, Babies, and Bathwater: Critiquing Critiques of Functional Neuroimaging Farah covers a broad spectrum of criticisms, ranging from […]The post Brain Scans: Don’t Throw Out The Baby With The Dead Salmon appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • April 9, 2014
  • 08:45 PM
  • 106 views

Why do I procrastinate? I'll figure it out later

by in Neuroscientifically Challenged

If you are a chronic procrastinator, you're not alone. Habitual procrastination plagues around 15-20% of adults and 50% of college students. And, depending on the nature of the responsibilities one is neglecting, procrastination can have consequences. In a chronic procrastinator, repeated failure to efficiently complete important tasks can lead to lower feelings of self-worth. In certain contexts, it can also result in very tangible penalties. For example, a survey in 2002 found that 29% of Amer........ Read more »

  • April 9, 2014
  • 10:36 AM
  • 69 views

Did You Hear That? Specific Brain Activity Linked With Imagined Hearing

by amikulak in Daily Observations

Being able to distinguish what is real and what is not may seem pretty basic, but the inability to perform this task could be a marker of many psychiatric disorders. […]... Read more »

Sugimori, E., Mitchell, K., Raye, C., Greene, E., & Johnson, M. (2014) Brain Mechanisms Underlying Reality Monitoring for Heard and Imagined Words. Psychological Science, 25(2), 403-413. DOI: 10.1177/0956797613505776  

  • April 8, 2014
  • 11:05 AM
  • 84 views

Information theory of behavior

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

Biology can tell us what but theory tells us why. There is a new issue of Current Opinion in Neurobiology that focuses on the theory and computation in neuroscience. There’s tons of great stuff there, from learning and memory to the meaning of a spike to the structure of circuitry. I have an article in this issue and […]... Read more »

Sharpee, T., Calhoun, A., & Chalasani, S. (2014) Information theory of adaptation in neurons, behavior, and mood. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 47-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.conb.2013.11.007  

  • April 8, 2014
  • 06:07 AM
  • 75 views

Knowing your grandmother

by Janet Kwasniak in Neuro-patch

There is a spectrum of ways in which the brain may hold concepts that range from very localized to very distributed, and there is little agreement of where along that spectrum various concepts are held. At the one end is the ultimate local storage: a single ‘grandmother’ neuron that recognizes your grandmother in matter how […]... Read more »

  • April 7, 2014
  • 08:33 PM
  • 115 views

Is ketamine really a plausible treatment for depression?

by in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Last week, a publication in the Journal of Psychopharmacology made international news by reporting that patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) showed improvement after being given the dissociative hallucinogenic drug ketamine. Ketamine, which is traditionally used as an anesthetic in humans and other animals, is probably better known for its use as a party drug (in this context it is often called "special K"). However, a growing body of evidence has begun to suggest that ketamine may........ Read more »

  • April 7, 2014
  • 04:12 PM
  • 113 views

Did I Do That? Distinguishing Real from Imagined Actions

by Rebecca Schwarzlose in Garden of the Mind

If you’re like most people, you spend a great deal of your time remembering past events and planning or imagining events that may happen in the future. While these activities have their uses, they also make it terribly hard to keep track of what you have and haven’t actually seen, heard, or done. Distinguishing between memories of real experiences and memories of imagined or dreamt experiences is called reality monitoring and it’s something we do (or struggle to do) all of the ........ Read more »

Brandt, V., Bergström, Z., Buda, M., Henson, R., & Simons, J. (2014) Did I turn off the gas? Reality monitoring of everyday actions. Cognitive, Affective, , 14(1), 209-219. DOI: 10.3758/s13415-013-0189-z  

  • April 7, 2014
  • 11:37 AM
  • 101 views

The Genetics of Religious Belief

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In the next few posts, I will review some of the recent brain-related research related to religious belief.Religious belief and religious affiliation run in families. This effect is not surprising as parents influence their children's type of religious experience during development.However, there is increasing evidence that adult religious belief and behavior is also influenced by genetic factors independent of family environment experience.Twin studies represent a powerful research model to tea........ Read more »

  • April 5, 2014
  • 07:11 AM
  • 90 views

Curious publicity

by Janet Kwasniak in Neuro-patch

Our conscious image of what we are seeing usually appears complete; it is the whole visual field. This is an illusion. The image is built up from many narrower views of parts of the scene that we attend to in rapid succession. Our visual system also establishes a knowledge of the general balance of the […]... Read more »

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