Santiago Ramón y Cajal originally described spines in the dendrites of neurons in the cerebellum back in the late 19th century, but it wasn’t until the mid 1950’s with the development of the electron microscope that these structures were shown to be synaptic structures. Although it has been known that the number of dendritic spines [...]... Read more »
Yang, G., Pan, F., & Gan, W. (2009) Stably maintained dendritic spines are associated with lifelong memories. Nature, 462(7275), 920-924. DOI: 10.1038/nature08577
Xu, T., Yu, X., Perlik, A., Tobin, W., Zweig, J., Tennant, K., Jones, T., & Zuo, Y. (2009) Rapid formation and selective stabilization of synapses for enduring motor memories. Nature, 462(7275), 915-919. DOI: 10.1038/nature08389
No more pain (no more pain)No more pain (no more pain)No drama (no more drama in my life, no ones gonna make me hurt again)No more in my lifeNo More Drama-----Mary J. BligeWomen who are victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), cognitive impairments (Twamley et al., 2009), and alterations in brain activity when anticipating aversive or threatening events (Simmons et al., 2008).In a neuroimaging study, 15 women with IPV-related PTSD were co........ Read more »
SIMMONS, A., PAULUS, M., THORP, S., MATTHEWS, S., NORMAN, S., & STEIN, M. (2008) Functional Activation and Neural Networks in Women with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Related to Intimate Partner Violence. Biological Psychiatry, 64(8), 681-690. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.05.027
TWAMLEY, E., ALLARD, C., THORP, S., NORMAN, S., HAMI CISSELL, S., HUGHES BERARDI, K., GRIMES, E., & STEIN, M. (2009) Cognitive impairment and functioning in PTSD related to intimate partner violence. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 15(06), 879. DOI: 10.1017/S135561770999049X
MEMORY is one of the biggest enduring mysteries of modern neuroscience, and has perhaps been researchered more intensively than any other aspect of brain function. The past few decades have yielded a great deal of knowledge about the cellular and molecular mechanisms of memory, and it is now widely believed that memories are formed as a result of biochemical changes which ultimately lead to the strengthening of connections between nerve cells.
However, it is also clear that memories are not enco........ Read more »
Chen, G., Wang, L., & Tsien, J. (2009) Neural Population-Level Memory Traces in the Mouse Hippocampus. PLoS ONE, 4(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008256
Routinely, I enjoy crapping on the common biological explanations of various mental illnesses (e.g., monoamine hypothesis). However, this does not mean that I do not believe in the importance biology plays in the development of mental illness.To say that a specific mental illness is the result of a "chemical imbalance" or one "bad gene" is ridiculous. The problem with biological explanations of mental illness is that they neglect the psycho/social aspects of illness development (they are also po........ Read more »
Lupien, S., McEwen, B., Gunnar, M., & Heim, C. (2009) Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behaviour and cognition. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10(6), 434-445. DOI: 10.1038/nrn2639
Previously we discussed the neurobiology of falling in love. But this is only the beginning, the process of attraction followed by the attachment process. This process can develop and last for a while or in some cases for ever. Biologically is falling in love the first step in pair formation.
Falling in love is more accompanied [...]
Related posts:The Neurobiology of Falling in Love Falling in love is the most overwhelming of all...Love is Great for Creativity, Sex for Analytical Thinking M........ Read more »
According to Mormon author and fruit grower "Dr" Robert O. Young, pretty much all diseases are caused by our bodies being too acidic. By adopting an "alkaline lifestyle" to raise your internal pH (lower pH being more acidic), you'll find that
if you maintain the saliva and the urine pH, ideally at 7.2 or above, you will never get sick. That’s right you will NEVER get sick!
Wow. Important components of the alkaline lifestyle include eating plenty of the right sort of fruits and vegetables, id........ Read more »
Ziemann, A., Allen, J., Dahdaleh, N., Drebot, I., Coryell, M., Wunsch, A., Lynch, C., Faraci, F., Howard III, M., & Welsh, M. (2009) The Amygdala Is a Chemosensor that Detects Carbon Dioxide and Acidosis to Elicit Fear Behavior. Cell, 139(5), 1012-1021. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.10.029
by David Gorski in Science-Based Medicine
It’s been about a year and a half since I’ve written about this topic; so I thought I’d better update the disclaimer that I wrote at the beginning:
Before I start into the meat of this post, I feel the need to emphasize, as strongly as I can, four things:
I do not receive any funding from [...]... Read more »
Myung, S., Ju, W., McDonnell, D., Lee, Y., Kazinets, G., Cheng, C., & Moskowitz, J. (2009) Mobile Phone Use and Risk of Tumors: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 27(33), 5565-5572. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2008.21.6366
Deltour, I., Johansen, C., Auvinen, A., Feychting, M., Klaeboe, L., & Schuz, J. (2009) Time Trends in Brain Tumor Incidence Rates in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, 1974-2003. JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute. DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djp415
Fig. 1 (Hakeem et al., 2009). Photomicrographs of VENs in the brain of the African elephant. A: VENs in frontoinsular cortex (area FI). Scale = 25 μm.Spindle neurons, or Von Economo neurons (VENs), are a unique type of large, bipolar neuron found in layers III and V in the anterior cingulate cortex and the frontoinsular cortex of humans. In 1999, Nimchinsky and colleagues discovered that among the 28 nonhuman primate species they examined, only great apes had VENs (see Spindle Neurons: The Nex........ Read more »
Butti, C., Sherwood, C., Hakeem, A., Allman, J., & Hof, P. (2009) Total number and volume of Von Economo neurons in the cerebral cortex of cetaceans. The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 515(2), 243-259. DOI: 10.1002/cne.22055
Songbirds have evolved special areas in the brain that are used for song learning and song production. Two types of output connections from a cortical area known as HVC (proper name) each go to two ‘separate’ pathways. Some HVC neurons connect directly with neurons in a brain area called RA (robust nucleus of the archopallium), [...]... Read more »
Leblois, A., Bodor, A., Person, A., & Perkel, D. (2009) Millisecond Timescale Disinhibition Mediates Fast Information Transmission through an Avian Basal Ganglia Loop. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(49), 15420-15433. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3060-09.2009
Arguably, the genesis of the most recent iteration of the anti-vaccine movement dates back to 1998, when a remarkably incompetent researcher named Andrew Wakefield published a trial lawyer-funded "study" in the Lancet that purported to find a link between "autistic enterocolitis" and measles vaccination with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) trivalent vaccine. In the wake of that publication was born a scare over the MMR that persists to this day, 11 years later. Although peer reviewers forced the........ Read more »
Mrożek-Budzyn D, Kiełtyka A, & Majewska R. (2009) Lack of Association Between Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccination and Autism in Children: A Case-Control Study. The Pediatric infectious disease journal. PMID: 19952979
"In 1896, the Scientific American published an article, Is Insanity Due to a Microbe?''," and thus started a lively discussion on infectious causes of schizophrenia, epilepsy and other diseases of the mind...... Read more »
da Silva RC, & Langoni H. (2009) Toxoplasma gondii: host-parasite interaction and behavior manipulation. Parasitology research, 105(4), 893-8. PMID: 19548003
Breaking news from the BBC -Testosterone link to aggression 'all in the mind' Work in Nature magazine suggests the mind can win over hormones... Testosterone induces anti-social behaviour in humans, but only because of our own prejudices about its effect rather than its biological activity, suggest the authors. The researchers, led by Ernst Fehr of the University of Zurich, Switzerland, said the results suggested a case of "mind over matter" with the brain overriding body chemistry. "Whe........ Read more »
Eisenegger, C., Naef, M., Snozzi, R., Heinrichs, M., & Fehr, E. (2009) Prejudice and truth about the effect of testosterone on human bargaining behaviour. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08711
How does memory work? What changes in the brain when we learn something?We don't know for sure. But two outstanding Nature papers have just provided an important piece of the puzzle, using a truly amazing technique which allowed them to examine the brain of a living, breathing mouse under the microscope.The approach uses mice genetically engineered such that some of their neurons contain yellow fluorescent protein (YFP). You may have already heard of the cute glowing mice who have green fluoresc........ Read more »
Xu, T., Yu, X., Perlik, A., Tobin, W., Zweig, J., Tennant, K., Jones, T., & Zuo, Y. (2009) Rapid formation and selective stabilization of synapses for enduring motor memories. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08389
Yang, G., Pan, F., & Gan, W. (2009) Stably maintained dendritic spines are associated with lifelong memories. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature08577
At least it sounds pretty horrible...Dide-Botcazo Syndrome, or "top of the basilar" syndrome, is a rare clinical condition caused by bilateral occlusion of the posterior cerebral arteries (labelled below in red).The arteries of the base of the brain.A case report by Cappellari et al., 2009 describes a 72 year old man who had a major stroke affecting the territories of both posterior cerebral arteries, resulting in damage to L and R occipital cortex, R thalamus, and R medial temporal lobe (see be........ Read more »
Cappellari, M., Tomelleri, G., Matteo, A., Carletti, M., Magalini, A., Bovi, P., & Moretto, G. (2009) Dide-Botcazo syndrome due to bilateral occlusion of posterior cerebral artery. Neurological Sciences. DOI: 10.1007/s10072-009-0179-7
Most of us realize that memory is fallible. We forget things all the time–car keys, passwords, whether we turned off the oven, etc. But how many of us would admit that our memory is susceptible to change from the outside? That’s different from simply forgetting–something everyone does on their own–because someone else changing our memory requires “getting in our heads” so to speak, right?
If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know I’m about to tell you that no........ Read more »
Henkel, L. (2009) Photograph-induced memory errors: When photographs make people claim they have done things they have not. Applied Cognitive Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/acp.1644
Cognitive empathy, or the ability to take another person's perspective, is closely related to (or even synonymous with) theory of mind,...the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own.On the other hand, emotional or affective empathy is "emotional contagion" - the ability to mirror an emotional response observed in another........ Read more »
Shamay-Tsoory, S., Aharon-Peretz, J., & Perry, D. (2009) Two systems for empathy: a double dissociation between emotional and cognitive empathy in inferior frontal gyrus versus ventromedial prefrontal lesions. Brain, 132(3), 617-627. DOI: 10.1093/brain/awn279
Shamay-Tsoory, S., Harari, H., Szepsenwol, O., & Levkovitz, Y. (2009) Neuropsychological Evidence of Impaired Cognitive Empathy in Euthymic Bipolar Disorder. Journal of Neuropsychiatry, 21(1), 59-67. DOI: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.21.1.59
Oh, you all thought oxytocin posts were DONE!? BY NO MEANS. For oxytocin lends itself to the truly weird science, and this one simply could not be ignored. In addition, Sci is compelled to blog this paper out of sympathy and understanding for the poor little grad student (or possibly the tech) who WITNESSED this entire experiment, on a weekly basis, for I don't know how long. Oh you devoted servant of science, Sci takes her hat off to you this day.
...moment of silence...
Pattij, et al......... Read more »
Pattij T, de Jong TR, Uitterdijk A, Waldinger MD, Veening JG, Cools AR, van der Graaf PH, & Olivier B. (2005) Individual differences in male rat ejaculatory behaviour: searching for models to study ejaculation disorders. The European journal of neuroscience, 22(3), 724-34. PMID: 16101754
Most (if not all) questions about neuroscience can be answered with <blah blah blah> Calcium (or so it was rumoured at the Neural Systems and Behaviour Course in the MBL back in the ‘90s). Humour aside, there is some truth to the statement, and Sheng Wang, Luis Polo-Parada and Lynn Landmesser examined the role of [...]... Read more »
Wang, S., Polo-Parada, L., & Landmesser, L. (2009) Characterization of Rhythmic Ca2 Transients in Early Embryonic Chick Motoneurons: Ca2 Sources and Effects of Altered Activation of Transmitter Receptors. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(48), 15232-15244. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3809-09.2009
If only we could make more constructive use of all the time that we spend asleep. People have tried playing various tapes to themselves while they're dozing, from foreign vocab lists to stop-smoking mantras, but they're all the wrong side of useless. What we do know for sure is that sleep is important for memory consolidation, if only we could tap into this somehow. Now, finally, John Rudoy and colleagues have provided some elusive evidence for how learning during sleep can be enhanced.Twelve pa........ Read more »
Rudoy, J., Voss, J., Westerberg, C., & Paller, K. (2009) Strengthening Individual Memories by Reactivating Them During Sleep. Science, 326(5956), 1079-1079. DOI: 10.1126/science.1179013
IBM’s Almaden Research Center announced in November that it had produced a “cortical simulation” of the scale and complexity of a cat brain. This simulation ran on one of IBM’s Blue Gene supercomputers, in this case at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL):
Scientists, at IBM Research – Almaden, in collaboration with colleagues from Lawrence Berkeley [...]... Read more »
R. Ananthanarayanan, S. K. Esser, H. D. Simon, & D. S. Modha. (2009) The Cat is Out of the Bag: Cortical Simulations with 109 Neurons, 1013 Synapses. Proceedings of the Conference on High Performance Computing Networking, Storage and Analysis , 1-12. DOI: 10.1145/1654059.1654124
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