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
T. gondii cyst in a mouse brain.
For a simple protozoan, Toxoplasma gondii has experienced something of a meteoric rise in popularity over the past several years. Actually, to be fair T. gondii has garnered quite a bit of interest since the 1930s, when it was discovered the parasite could be transmitted from a mother to a fetus in the womb, sometimes resulting in severe congenital disorders. Curiosity about T. gondii grew significantly in the early 2000s, ........ Read more »
A remarkable case report describes the brain activity in a man at the moment that he underwent a revelatory experience.
According to the authors, Israeli researchers Arzy and Schurr, the man was 46 years old. He was Jewish, but he had never been especially religious. His supernatural experience occured in hospital where he was undergoing tests to help treat his right temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), a condition which he had suffered from for forty years. As part of the testing procedure, the pat... Read more »
Arzy S, & Schurr R. (2016) "God has sent me to you": Right temporal epilepsy, left prefrontal psychosis. Epilepsy , 7-10. PMID: 27176877
Recently, scientists discovered a new learning rule for a specific type of excitatory synaptic connection in the hippocampus. These synapses are located in the so-called CA3 region of the hippocampus, which plays a critical role for storage and recall of spatial information in the brain. One of its hallmark properties is that memory recall can even be triggered by incomplete cues. This enables the network to complete neuronal activity patterns, a phenomenon termed pattern completion.
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Mishra, R., Kim, S., Guzman, S., & Jonas, P. (2016) Symmetric spike timing-dependent plasticity at CA3–CA3 synapses optimizes storage and recall in autoassociative networks. Nature Communications, 11552. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11552
Sleep can often feel like a fall into annihilation and rebirth. One moment you have all the memories and aches of a long day behind you, the next you wake up from nothingness into the start of something new. Or: a rush from … Continue reading →... Read more »
Hengen, K., Torrado Pacheco, A., McGregor, J., Van Hooser, S., & Turrigiano, G. (2016) Neuronal Firing Rate Homeostasis Is Inhibited by Sleep and Promoted by Wake. Cell, 165(1), 180-191. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.01.046
Each year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These injuries occur most frequently from falling, but can also result from military combat, car accidents, contact sports or domestic abuse. Recently, physicians and researchers have become increasingly concerned that even mild cases of repetitive brain trauma could have long-term, unanticipated consequences.
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Barekat, A., Gonzalez, A., Mauntz, R., Kotzebue, R., Molina, B., El-Mecharrafie, N., Conner, C., Garza, S., Melkani, G., Joiner, W.... (2016) Using Drosophila as an integrated model to study mild repetitive traumatic brain injury. Scientific Reports, 25252. DOI: 10.1038/srep25252
Homicide rates in the U.S. represent a significant public health challenge. Homicide is a top ten leading cause of death in many groups in the U.S.One method to reduce homicide rates is to quickly identify and arrest individuals who have committed homicide. This is due to the fact that individuals committing homicide have a high rate of future homicide.A recent study from Michigan State University and Indiana University examined characteristics of U.S. police departments that have high rates of ........ Read more »
Carter, D., & Carter, J. (2015) Effective Police Homicide Investigations: Evidence From Seven Cities With High Clearance Rates. Homicide Studies, 20(2), 150-176. DOI: 10.1177/1088767915576996
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