‘Street Smart’ finches are generally more intelligent than their rural kin.... Read more »
Audet, J., Ducatez, S., & Lefebvre, L. (2016) The town bird and the country bird: problem solving and immunocompetence vary with urbanization. Behavioral Ecology, 27(2), 637-644. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arv201
Tebbich, S., & Teschke, I. (2014) Coping with Uncertainty: Woodpecker Finches (Cactospiza pallida) from an Unpredictable Habitat Are More Flexible than Birds from a Stable Habitat. PLoS ONE, 9(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091718
Kozlovsky, D., Branch, C., & Pravosudov, V. (2015) Elevation-Related Differences in Parental Risk-Taking Behavior are Associated with Cognitive Variation in Mountain Chickadees. Ethology, 121(4), 383-394. DOI: 10.1111/eth.12350
My photo of Mozart No one denies the importance of public education. Raising graduation rates and academic ability in the general population are highly accepted education system goals. Additionally, identification of learning disorders and the barriers to academic progress are the focus of many.However, the study of the gifted is perhaps no less important but this topic receives less attention and research.Matthew Makel and colleagues at Duke University and Vanderbi........ Read more »
Makel MC, Kell HJ, Lubinski D, Putallaz M, & Benbow CP. (2016) When Lightning Strikes Twice: Profoundly Gifted, Profoundly Accomplished. Psychological science. PMID: 27225220
Kell HJ, Lubinski D, Benbow CP, & Steiger JH. (2013) Creativity and technical innovation: spatial ability's unique role. Psychological science, 24(9), 1831-6. PMID: 23846718
"The brain is a three dimensional object." It would seem that this is one of the least controversial facts about the brain, something we can all agree on. But now, in a curious new paper, researchers Arturo Tozzi and James F. Peters suggest that the brain might have an extra dimension: Towards a fourth spatial dimension of brain activity
From topology, a strong concept comes into play in understanding brain functions, namely, the 4D space of a ‘‘hypersphere’s torus’’, undetectable by........ Read more »
Tozzi A, & Peters JF. (2016) Towards a fourth spatial dimension of brain activity. Cognitive neurodynamics, 10(3), 189-99. PMID: 27275375
In a fascinating new paper, researchers Hongmi Lee and Brice A. Kuhl report that they can decode faces from neural activity. Armed with a brain scanner, they can reconstruct which face a participant has in mind. It's a cool technique that really seems to fit the description of 'mind reading' - although the method's accuracy is only modest.
Here's how they did it. Lee and Kuhl started out with a set of over 1000 color photos of different faces. During an fMRI scan, these images were shown to... Read more »
Lee H, & Kuhl BA. (2016) Reconstructing Perceived and Retrieved Faces from Activity Patterns in Lateral Parietal Cortex. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 36(22), 6069-82. PMID: 27251627
Smog has been a part of modern life since the industrial revolution, unfortunately all that pollution isn't just hurting the environment -- but come on, you saw this coming... right? New research from Sweden indicates that dispensed medication for psychiatric diagnosis can be related to air pollution concentrations. More and more studies show that the brain and human cognitive development are affected by pollution.
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Oudin, A., Bråbäck, L., Åström, D., Strömgren, M., & Forsberg, B. (2016) Association between neighbourhood air pollution concentrations and dispensed medication for psychiatric disorders in a large longitudinal cohort of Swedish children and adolescents. BMJ Open, 6(6). DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010004
Mitochondria, sure it's the powerhouse of the cell, but maybe it can be much more that. At least that's what it looks like thanks to researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke who have discovered that boosting the transport of mitochondria along neuronal axons enhances the ability of mouse nerve cells to repair themselves after injury.
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Bing Zhou, Panpan Yu, Mei-Yao Lin, Tao Sun, Yanmin Chen, & Zu-Hang Sheng. (2016) Facilitation of axon regeneration by enhancing mitochondrial transport and rescuing energy deficits. Journal of Cell Biology. info:/10.1083/jcb.201605101
Headache, Guillaume DELEBARRE (Guigui-Lille)A recent neuroessay in the New York Times asked, Can Tylenol Help Heal a Broken Heart?What’s crazy about the pain of a broken heart is that your body perceives it as physical pain.No it does not. Do you feel heartbroken every time you stub your toe?Well... I guess the social pain = physical pain isomorphism is a one way street. Anyway, the author continued:In research published in 2010, scientists found that acetaminophen can reduce physical and neur........ Read more »
Butcher, B., & Carmody, J. (2012) Sex differences in analgesic response to ibuprofen are influenced by expectancy: A randomized, crossover, balanced placebo-designed study. European Journal of Pain, 16(7), 1005-1013. DOI: 10.1002/j.1532-2149.2011.00104.x
VANGELISTI, A., PENNEBAKER, J., BRODY, N., & GUINN, T. (2014) Reducing social pain: Sex differences in the impact of physical pain relievers. Personal Relationships, 21(2), 349-363. DOI: 10.1111/pere.12036
As basic and clinical sciences advance, it becomes increasing important to understand the role of multidisciplinary efforts in scientific progress. In this post, I propose rethinking and renaming the medically-related neuroscience disciplines into a new specialty called neuroscience medicine.Basic neuroscience research has evolved and emerged as a powerful discipline due to the increasing use of multidisciplinary research teams. Basic neuroscience involves collaboration of various scientifi........ Read more »
The mosquito-borne Zika virus linked to microcephaly and other neurological problems in newborns of affected mothers directly infects the brain progenitor cells destined to become neurons. The team of researchers used a strain of Zika currently impacting the Americas, and found that the virus infects about 20 percent of cells on average, evades immune system detection, and continues to replicate for weeks.
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Natasha W. Hanners,, Jennifer L. Eitson,, Noriyoshi Usui,, R. Blake Richardson,, Eric M. Wexler,, Genevieve Konopka,, & John W. Schoggins. (2016) Western Zika Virus in Human Fetal Neural Progenitors Persists Long Term with Partial Cytopathic and Limited Immunogenic Effects. Cell Reports. DOI: http://dx.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2016.05.075
I spent the majority of my career in medical education and saw significant changes over time.One encouraging sign was the emergence of neuroscience as a respected and beneficial academic discipline.Now, a new perspective on Neuroscience Training for the 21st Center has been written by Huda Akil and colleagues. This perspective is recently published in the journal Neuron with free access to the full-text manuscript.Here are my notes from reading this perspective. Readers can access the free full-........ Read more »
The development of speech and language impairment in dementia presents barriers in many clinical domains.One important clinical domain is assessment and management of pain. Dementia may preclude spontaneous or interview-elicited pain reporting.A report today in MedicalXpress noted reduced reporting of pain in patients with diabetes and cognitive impairment.I was able to locate one free full-text manuscript reviewing the prevalence of pain in various types of dementias. This literature review fou........ Read more »
van Kooten J, Binnekade TT, van der Wouden JC, Stek ML, Scherder EJ, Husebø BS, Smalbrugge M, & Hertogh CM. (2016) A Review of Pain Prevalence in Alzheimer's, Vascular, Frontotemporal and Lewy Body Dementias. Dementia and geriatric cognitive disorders, 41(3-4), 220-32. PMID: 27160163
by Piter Kehoma Boll In his work “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, Douglas Adams defined that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42. Now a group of scientists measured glucose metabolism in brains in a resting … Continue reading →... Read more »
Stender, J., Mortensen, K., Thibaut, A., Darkner, S., Laureys, S., Gjedde, A., & Kupers, R. (2016) The Minimal Energetic Requirement of Sustained Awareness after Brain Injury. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.04.024
Neuroamanda explains a recent study that showed how top-down signals during NREM sleep affect memory consolidation in mice.... Read more »
Miyamoto, D., Hirai, D., Fung, C., Inutsuka, A., Odagawa, M., Suzuki, T., Boehringer, R., Adaikkan, C., Matsubara, C., Matsuki, N.... (2016) Top-down cortical input during NREM sleep consolidates perceptual memory. Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf0902
A curious case report from Italian neuropsychologists Nicoletta Beschin and colleagues: Compulsive foreign language syndrome: a clinical observation not a mystery
The authors describe a 50 year old Italian man, JC, who turned into a 'caricature' of a Frenchman after a brain injury caused by a vascular anomaly. JC insisted in speaking French at all times, even though his knowledge of the language was rather poor (he had learned it at school, but not practiced it for decades.) What's more, ... Read more »
Beschin, N., de Bruin, A., & Della Sala, S. (2016) Compulsive foreign language syndrome: A clinical observation not a mystery. Cortex. DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2016.04.020
A team of scientists have shown that the brains of patients with schizophrenia have the capacity to reorganize and fight the illness. This is the first time that imaging data has been used to show that our brains may have the ability to reverse the effects of schizophrenia.
... Read more »
Guo, S., Palaniyappan, L., Liddle, P., & Feng, J. (2016) Dynamic cerebral reorganization in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia: a MRI-derived cortical thickness study. Psychological Medicine, 1-14. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291716000994
Have you read this sentence before? Perhaps it feels strangely familiar? The experience of déjà vu is a common one, but in rare cases, it can become a disorder. In a fascinating new Cortex paper, French psychologists Julie Bertrand and colleagues discuss the phenomenon of pathological déjà vu.
Bertrand et al. present an English translation of what is probably the first description of the condition, published in 1896 in French by the psychiatrist Francois-Léon Arnaud (1858-1927).
Ar... Read more »
Bertrand JM, Martinon LM, Souchay C, & Moulin CJ. (2016) History repeating itself: Arnaud's case of pathological déjà vu. Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior. PMID: 27188828
Not all habits are bad. Some are even necessary. It's a good thing, for example, that we can find our way home on "autopilot" or wash our hands without having to ponder every step. But inability to switch from acting habitually to acting in a deliberate way can underlie addiction and obsessive compulsive disorders.
... Read more »
Christina M. Gremel,, Jessica H. Chancey,, Brady K. Atwood,, Guoxiang Luo,, Rachael Neve,, Charu Ramakrishnan,, Karl Deisseroth,, David M. Lovinger, & Rui M. Costa. (2016) Endocannabinoid Modulation of Orbitostriatal Circuits Gates Habit Formation. Neuron. info:/10.1016/j.neuron.2016.04.043
The topic prevention of brain disorders is commonly neglected. This is despite increasing evidence for evidence-based support for prevention opportunities.This issue is highlighted in a recent study out of Finland that examined prenatal nicotine metabolite levels and offspring diagnosis of schizophrenia.In this study, Solja Niemela and the Finnish research team examined all live births in Finland between 1983 and 1998.What makes this study powerful is the measurement of maternal serum coti........ Read more »
Niemelä, S., Sourander, A., Surcel, H., Hinkka-Yli-Salomäki, S., McKeague, I., Cheslack-Postava, K., & Brown, A. (2016) Prenatal Nicotine Exposure and Risk of Schizophrenia Among Offspring in a National Birth Cohort. American Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.15060800
Talati A, Bao Y, Kaufman J, Shen L, Schaefer CA, & Brown AS. (2013) Maternal smoking during pregnancy and bipolar disorder in offspring. The American journal of psychiatry, 170(10), 1178-85. PMID: 24084820
An investigational app and online program to reduce alcohol intake is now available free to the public.This tool is an application of cognitive bias modification. A link to a study supporting cognitive bias modification is noted in the citation below. Click on the PMID link to get to the abstract.The program uses a 15 minutes per day tool for four days.The program was developed at the London School of Economics by Professor Paul Dolan.Users who sign up to use the tool will be providing data to f........ Read more »
Gladwin TE, Rinck M, Eberl C, Becker ES, Lindenmeyer J, & Wiers RW. (2015) Mediation of cognitive bias modification for alcohol addiction via stimulus-specific alcohol avoidance association. Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research, 39(1), 101-7. PMID: 25623410
There are many risk factors for Alzheimer's Disease (AD) including history of head trauma and family history of AD.The strongest risk factor is advanced age. Yearly risk for AD is about 1% per year in 70 year old populations jumping to around 7% in 90 year old groups.Now a recent study is shedding some light on a new risk for AD in men. This risk appears to be related to a chromosome Y phenomenon known to be associated with aging.Elderly men show a tendency to lose the Y chromosome from a small ........ Read more »
Dumanski JP et al. (2016) Mosiac loss of chromosome Y in blood is associated with Alzheimer's disease. American Journal of Human Genetics. info:/10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.05.014
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