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.
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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.
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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
In my daily review of neuroscience news I ran across an article flu vaccination and dementia risk in heart failure.This study was reported at the 3rd World Congress on Acute Heart Failure by Dr. Ju-Chi Liu from Taipei Medical University.So how might influenza vaccination be related to dementia risk? We do know acute influenza infection reaches the brain causing headache and increasing brain inflammation, at least temporarily. We also know brain inflammation may be involved in the mechanism........ Read more »
Liu JC, Hsu YP, Kao PF, Hao WR, Liu SH, Lin CF, Sung LC, & Wu SY. (2016) Influenza Vaccination Reduces Dementia Risk in Chronic Kidney Disease Patients: A Population-Based Cohort Study. Medicine, 95(9). PMID: 26945371
In the aftermath of violent acts such as mass shootings, many people assume mental illness is the cause. After studying the 2011 case of Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, researchers are suggesting a new forensic term to classify non-psychotic behavior that leads to criminal acts of violence.
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Rahman T, Resnick PJ, & Harry B. (2016) Anders Breivik: Extreme Beliefs Mistaken for Psychosis. The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 44(1), 28-35. PMID: 26944741
In my last post I reported on the use of machine learning to aid in predicting response to depression treatment.Another interesting depression prediction tool is being investigated in a trial in England funded by the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.This trial uses a visual facial recognition tool. The hypothesis is that early antidepressant action can be identified by changes in facial emotional recognition.This trial stems from work by Catherine Harmer Ph.D. from the University of Oxford. He........ Read more »
Pringle A, & Harmer CJ. (2015) The effects of drugs on human models of emotional processing: an account of antidepressant drug treatment. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 17(4), 477-87. PMID: 26869848
Treating depression is kind of a guessing game. Trying to find a medication that works without causing side effects can take months, or more likely, years. However, new research demonstrates the effectiveness of ketamine to treat depression in a mouse model of the disease and brings together two hypotheses for the cause of depression.
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Ren, Z., Pribiag, H., Jefferson, S., Shorey, M., Fuchs, T., Stellwagen, D., & Luscher, B. (2016) Bidirectional Homeostatic Regulation of a Depression-Related Brain State by Gamma-Aminobutyric Acidergic Deficits and Ketamine Treatment. Biological Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.02.009
Migraines are a very unpleasant variety of headaches, often associated with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, photophobia (aversion to light) and visual disturbances. Hundreds of millions of people around the world suffer regular migraines, but their brain basis remains largely unclear.
Now a new paper reports that the origin of migraines may have been pinpointed - in the brain of one sufferer, at least. German neuroscientists Laura H. Schulte and Arne May used fMRI to record brain... Read more »
Schulte LH, & May A. (2016) The migraine generator revisited: continuous scanning of the migraine cycle over 30 days and three spontaneous attacks. Brain : a journal of neurology. PMID: 27190019
A free full-text commentary in the Lancet summarizes recent evidence of the benefit of aspirin in stroke prevention.This commentary focused on what is called secondary prevention. Secondary prevention is defined as prevention following events related to the disease in question.So secondary prevention in stroke would be reduction in stroke risk in those who have had a stroke or pre-stroke syndromes such as transient ischemic attacks (TIA).The key take-home message from the commentary by Graeme Ha........ Read more »
Hankey, G. (2016) The benefits of aspirin in early secondary stroke prevention. The Lancet. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30511-6
In a recent paper (Ten Cate et al., 2016) we review the available experimental evidence for the perception of regularity and rhythms by birds, like the ability to distinguish regular from irregular stimuli over tempo transformations and report data from new experiments. ... Read more »
van der Aa, J., Honing, H., & ten Cate, C. (2015) The perception of regularity in an isochronous stimulus in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) and humans. Behavioural Processes, 37-45. DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2015.02.018
ten Cate, C., Spierings, M., Hubert, J., & Honing, H. (2016) Can Birds Perceive Rhythmic Patterns? A Review and Experiments on a Songbird and a Parrot Species. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00730
Treatment of depression remains primarily an uninformed clinical process. Several effective drug and psychotherapy interventions are available. However, there is no reliable way to determine which treatment is likely to be the most effective for an individual patient.A recent study that used machine learning techniques to address this problem has been published.A research team from Yale University used clinical data from the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) tr........ Read more »
Chekroud AM, Zotti RJ, Shehzad Z, Gueorguieva R, Johnson MK, Trivedi MH, Cannon TD, Krystal JH, & Corlett PR. (2016) Cross-trial prediction of treatment outcome in depression: a machine learning approach. The lancet. Psychiatry, 3(3), 243-50. PMID: 26803397
Well-designed large population-based studies of the prevalence and correlates of learning disabilities in preschool children are rare.A research group working out of University College London has address that issues with a large study of language disorder in a group of over 7000 4 and 5 year olds in England.A stratified group of 529 children received a comprehensive assessment of language along with assessment of IQ, social, emotional and behavior function.The study found the following important........ Read more »
Norbury, C., Gooch, D., Wray, C., Baird, G., Charman, T., Simonoff, E., Vamvakas, G., & Pickles, A. (2016) The impact of nonverbal ability on prevalence and clinical presentation of language disorder: evidence from a population study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12573
A new PNAS paper casts doubt on an influential theory of memory.
The reconsolidation hypothesis holds that when a memory is recalled, its molecular trace in the brain becomes plastic, meaning that the memory has to be consolidated or ‘saved’ all over again in order for it to persist. In other words, remembering makes a memory vulnerable to being modified or erased. Reconsolidation has generated lots of research interest and even speculation that blocking reconsolidation could be used as a t........ Read more »
Hardwicke TE, Taqi M, & Shanks DR. (2016) Postretrieval new learning does not reliably induce human memory updating via reconsolidation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(19), 5206-11. PMID: 27114514
No matter how smart and funny you think you are, those you follow on Twitter really do have a larger following than you. And the same holds true for Facebook. But there is no reason to feel badly about any of this. According to the research, it is all due to the inherently hierarchical nature of social media networks, where, in the social hierarchy of connections, people mostly either follow up or across; they rarely follow down.
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Momeni, N., & Rabbat, M. (2016) Qualities and Inequalities in Online Social Networks through the Lens of the Generalized Friendship Paradox. PLOS ONE, 11(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143633
Left: Belgian physician Dr. Wim Distelmans, a cancer specialist, professor in palliative care and the president of the Belgian federal euthanasia commission. Right: Generic acetaminophen.What (or who) is an “Empathy Killer“? An Angel of Death Kevorkian-type who helps terminal patients with ALS or cancer put an end their excruciating pain? This is a very selfless act that shows extreme empathy for the suffering of others.Or is an “Empathy Killer” a medication that dulls your numerical rat........ Read more »
Mischkowski, D., Crocker, J., & Way, B. (2016) From Painkiller to Empathy Killer: Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) Reduces Empathy for Pain. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsw057
The Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study has been a remarkably productive longitudinal health study.My wife has been a subject in this study and frequently completes interval questionnaires regarding her health status.A recent publication looked at the relationship between religious service attendance and mortality in the Nurses's Health Study cohort.This manuscript tried to provide a more valid look at the relationship between religiosity/spirituality and health. Previous studies have found a lin........ Read more »
Li, S., Stampfer, M., Williams, D., & VanderWeele, T. (2016) Association of Religious Service Attendance With Mortality Among Women. JAMA Internal Medicine. DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.1615
It's rare for scientists to get what they describe as "clean" results without spending a lot of time repeating the same experiment over and over again. But when researchers saw the mice they were working with doubling their weight within a month or two, they knew they were on to something.
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Djogo, T., Robins, S., Schneider, S., Kryzskaya, D., Liu, X., Mingay, A., Gillon, C., Kim, J., Storch, K., Boehm, U.... (2016) Adult NG2-Glia Are Required for Median Eminence-Mediated Leptin Sensing and Body Weight Control. Cell Metabolism, 23(5), 797-810. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.04.013
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