Today I was going to blog this paper, which says that you can predict which kids will grow up and be criminals by measuring their Pavlovian fear conditioning at age 8. In Mauritius. But The Last Psychiatrist already said everything I was going to.Luckily, there's another article in the American Journal of Psychiatry about crime in a tropical country for me to write about - Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Vigabatrin for the Treatment of Cocaine Dependence in Mexican Parolees........ Read more »
Brodie, J., Case, B., Figueroa, E., Dewey, S., Robinson, J., Wanderling, J., & Laska, E. (2009) Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Vigabatrin for the Treatment of Cocaine Dependence in Mexican Parolees. American Journal of Psychiatry, 166(11), 1269-1277. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2009.08121811
Andrew Gelman posted a link on his blog today to a paper by John Ioannidis I hadn’t seen before. In many respects, it’s basically the same paper I wrote earlier this year as a commentary on the Vul et al “voodoo correlations” paper (the commentary was itself based largely on an earlier chapter I wrote [...]... Read more »
Ioannidis, J. (2008) Why Most Discovered True Associations Are Inflated. Epidemiology, 19(5), 640-648. DOI: 10.1097/EDE.0b013e31818131e7
Yarkoni, T. (2009) Big Correlations in Little Studies: Inflated fMRI Correlations Reflect Low Statistical Power-Commentary on Vul et al. (2009). Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4(3), 294-298. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6924.2009.01127.x
I've opened up these scarsI'll make you face thisI pulled myself so farI'll make you, face, this, now!---Linkin ParkDeliberate self-harm, or self-injury, is becoming increasingly recognized as a problem affecting adolescents and young adults. Rates are difficult to determine, as the behaviors are often concealed. One recent study tracked a group of 1400 Midwestern US high school students over a 5 year period (Muehlenkamp et al., 2009). Rates of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) over 2001-205 were ........ Read more »
Kraus, A., Valerius, G., Seifritz, E., Ruf, M., Bremner, J., Bohus, M., & Schmahl, C. (2009) Script-driven imagery of self-injurious behavior in patients with borderline personality disorder: a pilot FMRI study. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2009.01417.x
This post brought to you by Ben and Jerry's Dublin Mudslide Ice Cream. Because the Twitter people are like little devils on my shoulder, making me eat the cake...
So Sci was going to do her final oxytocin post on another study in humans for oxytocin levels during male masturbation, but you know, you've seen one, you've seen them all. I know that they were looking at slightly different things, but...well...it all looked the same: oxytocin measured while a guy is in a room with some porn, m........ Read more »
Uckert S, Becker AJ, Ness BO, Stief CG, Scheller F, Knapp WH, & Jonas U. (2003) Oxytocin plasma levels in the systemic and cavernous blood of healthy males during different penile conditions. World journal of urology, 20(6), 323-6. PMID: 12811490
SYNAESTHESIA is a neurological condition in which there is a merging of the senses, so that activity in one sensory modality elicits sensations in another. Although first described by Francis Galton in the 1880s, little was known about this condition until recently. A rennaissance in synaesthesia research began about a decade ago; since then, three previously unrecognized forms of the condition have been described, and a possible explanation for how it arises have been put forward.
Of all the f........ Read more »
Jarick, M., Dixon, M., Stewart, M., Maxwell, E., & Smilek, D. (2009) A different outlook on time: Visual and auditory month names elicit different mental vantage points for a time-space synaesthete. Cortex, 45(10), 1217-1228. DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2009.05.014
Simner, J., Mayo, N., & Spiller, M. (2009) A foundation for savantism? Visuo-spatial synaesthetes present with cognitive benefits. Cortex, 45(10), 1246-1260. DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2009.07.007
Barn owls are the subject of many studies on auditory neuroscience because of their exquisite ability to localize sound. The auditory system is interesting from a neuronal computation point of view because the inner ear, where sounds are detected, relays no information to the brain as to the location of the sound source in space. [...]... Read more »
Hausmann, L., von Campenhausen, M., Endler, F., Singheiser, M., & Wagner, H. (2009) Improvements of Sound Localization Abilities by the Facial Ruff of the Barn Owl (Tyto alba) as Demonstrated by Virtual Ruff Removal. PLoS ONE, 4(11). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0007721
It's every man's dream - a pill to make women want more sex. According to Boehringer Pharmaceuticals, that dream could be a reality in a few years, in the form of the strangely-named flibanserin. But is it the latest wonder-drug or just a glorified sleeping pill? Read on.Flibanserin was originally developed as an antidepressant, but in clinical trials against depression it reportedly failed to perform better than placebo. The standard for getting approved as an antidepressant is low, s........ Read more »
Taken from Fig. 1 (Bewernick et al., 2009). Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (PDF) over time.Two and a half years ago, The Neurocritic wrote about the very early results of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the nucleus accumbens for severe, refractory depression. You can read about the details of the procedure and its scientific motivation here:More About the Nucleus AccumbensNAcc Localization for DBSBriefly, the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) is considered one of the brain's PLEASURE CENTRES:When the ........ Read more »
Bewernick, B., Hurlemann, R., Matusch, A., Kayser, S., Grubert, C., Hadrysiewicz, B., Axmacher, N., Lemke, M., Cooper-Mahkorn, D., & Cohen, M. (2009) Nucleus Accumbens Deep Brain Stimulation Decreases Ratings of Depression and Anxiety in Treatment-Resistant Depression. Biological Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.09.013
Fascinating research - often involving phantom limbs and smart sensory manipulations, -has shown that the brain’s body image relies heavily on learning via sensory feedback. This study shows the brain capable of reconstructing body image even in the absence of sensory feedback...... Read more »
Moseley GL, & Brugger P. (2009) Interdependence of movement and anatomy persists when amputees learn a physiologically impossible movement of their phantom limb. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(44), 18798-802. PMID: 19858475
Here's a brain-scanning study with a difference. Most such tudies try to work out which parts of the brain are activated when people have religious thoughts. This new one looks at whether religious people have more or fewer nerve cells in different parts of their brains.It's by the team lead by Jordan Grafman that published a study earlier in the year on brain activation. This latest study uses data from the same brain scans.Basically, the deal is that they boiled their subjects' religious belie........ Read more »
A while back I wrote about the possible adaptive function of somnambulism or sleep-walking. Well...I've come up with yet another hypothesis addressing a behavior falling under the category of parasomnias. Somniloquy or sleep-talking happens during stages of NREM sleep, the time declarative memory (i.e. factual knowledge) is consolidated. This seemingly bizarre behavior typically occurs in childhood and is outgrown by puberty. Presentation can vary from rhythmic nonsense words to long coherent sp........ Read more »
Gais S, & Born J. (2004) Declarative memory consolidation: mechanisms acting during human sleep. Learning , 11(6), 679-85. PMID: 15576885
In the middle of a fight with your significant other, word choice is usually not foremost on your mind. But it should be, particularly if you’re a man, according to a new study in the journal Health Psychology – and not just to save your partner’s feelings.
In the heat of stressful conflict, your brain is commanding the release of a stress-chemical cocktail comprised of proteins called cytokines–produced by cells in the immune system to help the body mount an immune re........ Read more »
Graham JE, Glaser R, Loving TJ, Malarkey WB, Stowell JR, & Kiecolt-Glaser JK. (2009) Cognitive word use during marital conflict and increases in proinflammatory cytokines. Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 28(5), 621-30. PMID: 19751089
When feeling down good music can cheer you up. But when depressed, I mean clinically depressed, can you enjoy music? How is music enjoyment processed by the brain and how is this influenced by depression?
All participants of this study enjoyed their favorite music more than the neutral music and depressed patients didn’t differ from the [...]
Related posts:The Neurobiology of Empathy through Pain Research There are patients with congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP) this...Neuroscienc........ Read more »
Osuch, E., Bluhm, R., Williamson, P., Théberge, J., Densmore, M., & Neufeld, R. (2009) Brain activation to favorite music in healthy controls and depressed patients. NeuroReport, 20(13), 1204-1208. DOI: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32832f4da3
"I feel your pain"Empathy for another person's pain is a hot topic of study in the glamorous field of social cognitive neuroscience. The capacity for empathy supposedly involves mirror neurons, those media darlings of The Young, [The Not-So-Young], and The Neuro:A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting.These magi........ Read more »
An article entitled University Public-Access Mandates are Good for Science by David Shulenburger was published in PLoS Biology this week. It is a great read, and a topic I feel passionate about. As the article states:
“Not many taxpayers know what university faculty are doing. In fact, not many university administrators or even other faculty know [...]... Read more »
David Shulenburger. (2009) University Public-Access Mandates Are Good for Science. PLoS Biology, 7(11). info:/
Herman Schatzl, who recently received an endowed chair at the University of Wyoming, and colleagues published an article in The Journal of Biological Chemistry early this year on the effects of prion proteins on the expression of cholesterol-associated genes. The experiment was an in vitro study using cultured neurons that were infected with the 22L prion strain. They examined gene expression of genes involved in the cholesterol pathway in neurons and supportive cells. The authors........ Read more »
Bach C, Gilch S, Rost R, Greenwood AD, Horsch M, Hajj GN, Brodesser S, Facius A, Schädler S, Sandhoff K.... (2009) Prion-induced activation of cholesterogenic gene expression by Srebp2 in neuronal cells. The Journal of biological chemistry, 284(45), 31260-9. PMID: 19748890
Previously I wrote about a small study finding that smoked marijuana helps with HIV-related pain. In the last month, two more clinical trials of medical marijuana - or rather, marijuana-based drugs - for pain have come out.First, the good news. Johnson et al tested a mouth spray containing the two major psychoactive chemicals in marijuana, THC and CBD. Their patients were all suffering from terminal cancer, which believe it or not, is quite painful. Almost all of the subjects were already taking........ Read more »
Johnson JR, Burnell-Nugent M, Lossignol D, Ganae-Motan ED, Potts R, & Fallon MT. (2009) Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study of the Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of THC:CBD Extract and THC Extract in Patients With Intractable Cancer-Related Pain. Journal of pain and symptom management. PMID: 19896326
Selvarajah D, Gandhi R, Emery CJ, & Tesfaye S. (2009) A Randomised Placebo Controlled Double Blind Clinical Trial of Cannabis Based Medicinal Product (Sativex) in Painful Diabetic Neuropathy: Depression is a Major Confounding Factor. Diabetes care. PMID: 19808912
IMAGINE sitting in a noisy restaurant, across the table from a friend, and having a conversation with them as you eat your meal. To communicate effectively in this situation, you have to extract the relevant information from the noise in the background, as well as from other voices. To do so, your brain somehow "tags" the predictable, repeating elements of the target signal, such as the pitch of your friend's voice, and segregates them from other signals in the surroundings, which fluctuate rand........ Read more »
Chandrasekaran, B., Hornickel, J., Skoe, E., Nicol, T., & Kraus, N. (2009) Context-Dependent Encoding in the Human Auditory Brainstem Relates to Hearing Speech in Noise: Implications for Developmental Dyslexia. Neuron, 64(3), 311-319. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.10.006
Rounding out Sci's first week of the Great Oxytocin Posting of 2009 (oh yes, there will be two weeks of this, hang tight), we've gotta do something weird. And luckily for everyone, oxytocin does lend itself to the strange types of studies. Like multi-orgasmic studies. Complete with measurements of anal contraction. You know you wanna volunteer for this one.
And luckily for all of you, Sci is the one doing the reading and the retelling of this study. Because reading the methods for this one........ Read more »
Carmichael, M., Warburton, V., Dixen, J., & Davidson, J. (1994) Relationships among cardiovascular, muscular, and oxytocin responses during human sexual activity. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 23(1), 59-79. DOI: 10.1007/BF01541618
A new study in PNAS looks at how observation learning is affected by sleep and - more importantly - the relative immediacy of sleep...... Read more »
Van Der Werf YD, Van Der Helm E, Schoonheim MM, Ridderikhoff A, & Van Someren EJ. (2009) Learning by observation requires an early sleep window. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(45), 18926-18930. PMID: 19884499
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