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595 posts · 671,671 views

I am a physician interested in clinical neuroscience research. I will use this blog to post more detailed analysis of recent studies in addition to my @WRY999 Twitter scientific reading log. I will also post some of my wildlife/sports photography. Aim to educate and amuse. Not selling anything.

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  • October 21, 2013
  • 11:46 AM
  • 842 views

Can Vision Training Improve Baseball Hitting Performance?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The visuomotor process involved in hitting a baseball is complex and not completely understood.At one time, hitters were told they must follow the path of the baseball until it hit their bat in order to succeed.However, further study found the speed of a baseball exceeds the speed of the human eye for tracking objects.It is unclear whether using vision training exercises increases hitting ability above and beyond that associated with hitting practice.A study from the University of Cincinnati att........ Read more »

  • October 16, 2013
  • 11:48 AM
  • 914 views

Depression, Inflammation and Novel Treatments

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There is growing evidence of a role for inflammation in the etiology of some types of mood disorders. Patients receiving the antiviral inflammatory drug interferon commonly demonstrate symptoms of depression. Depression rates are increased in patients suffering from other known inflammatory diseases such as type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.A recent animal study of depression induced by inflammation supports further research into the potential for anti-inflammatory drugs as novel ant........ Read more »

  • October 9, 2013
  • 12:37 PM
  • 947 views

Stress, Antidepressants and Cardiovascular Function

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There is increased interest in the relationship between mood and anxiety disorders and cardiovascular function.Presence of depression appears to be an independent risk factor for the future development of cardiovascular disease.Patients with depression and myocardial infarction demonstrate increased risk for future cardiac events including cardiac death.The exact mechanism for the interaction of depression and cardiovascular function is unclear.  Depression appears to be associated with a f........ Read more »

  • September 26, 2013
  • 12:29 PM
  • 892 views

Notes on the Suicide in U.S. Freakonomics Podcast

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The Freakonomics podcast is about one of ten that I follow regularly. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner have written two popular books, Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics.Levitt and Dubner utilize advanaces in statistical analysis techniques to examine important societal issues related to economics.In a recent podcast, the replayed an episode that looked at suicide.  This episode is an interesting review of some of the current issues in suicide epidemiology.Here are my notes from the episode........ Read more »

Gunn Iii JF, & Lester D. (2012) Media guidelines in the internet age. Crisis, 33(4), 187-9. PMID: 22820640  

Wray M, Miller M, Gurvey J, Carroll J, & Kawachi I. (2008) Leaving Las Vegas: Exposure to Las Vegas and risk of suicide. Social science , 67(11), 1882-8. PMID: 18938005  

Niederkrotenthaler T, Fu KW, Yip PS, Fong DY, Stack S, Cheng Q, & Pirkis J. (2012) Changes in suicide rates following media reports on celebrity suicide: a meta-analysis. Journal of epidemiology and community health, 66(11), 1037-42. PMID: 22523342  

Rihmer Z, Gonda X, Kapitany B, & Dome P. (2013) Suicide in Hungary-epidemiological and clinical perspectives. Annals of general psychiatry, 12(1), 21. PMID: 23803500  

  • September 25, 2013
  • 11:09 AM
  • 851 views

Autism, Risperidone and the Genetics of Weight Gain

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Weight gain is an key adverse event associated with many drug classes in psychopharmacology.Understanding this adverse event is important in patient selection and management.Genetics may play a key role in the risk for the type and severity of adverse events.  EL Nurmi and colleagues recently published an exploratory study of the role of genetics in weight gain associated with autism in children and adolescents participating in a clinical trial. The key elements of the design of this s........ Read more »

  • September 17, 2013
  • 07:17 AM
  • 901 views

Brain Insular Cortex Function in Bulimia and Obesity

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In a previous post, I summarized some of the evolving research highlighting the function of the human brain insular cortex.A recent review article examined the role of the insular cortex in processes related to hunger, eating and obesity.Sabine Frank and colleagues from Tubingen, Germany published this summary in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.I will outline some of their review relevant to bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and obesity.Food Processing Role of InsulaWhile the hypothalamus plays ........ Read more »

Frank S, Kullmann S, & Veit R. (2013) Food related processes in the insular cortex. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 499. PMID: 23986683  

  • September 9, 2013
  • 08:11 AM
  • 904 views

Bulimia Nervosa, ADHD and Inattention

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Mental health clinicians struggle with understanding complex presentations when more than one psychiatric diagnosis is present.Typically, the greater the number of diagnoses, the more challenging is both diagnosis and treatment.I have previously published a study of ADHD symptoms and diagnosis in a series of subjects with a variety of eating disorders.  This study found inattention as a common symptom in adults with eating disorders.However, when examining the origin of inattention, few ano........ Read more »

Seitz J, Kahraman-Lanzerath B, Legenbauer T, Sarrar L, Herpertz S, Salbach-Andrae H, Konrad K, & Herpertz-Dahlmann B. (2013) The role of impulsivity, inattention and comorbid ADHD in patients with bulimia nervosa. PloS one, 8(5). PMID: 23700439  

Yates WR, Lund BC, Johnson C, Mitchell J, & McKee P. (2009) Attention-deficit hyperactivity symptoms and disorder in eating disorder inpatients. The International journal of eating disorders, 42(4), 375-8. PMID: 19040267  

  • September 5, 2013
  • 12:14 PM
  • 764 views

The Epidemiology of Eating Disorders

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Incidence and prevalence rates are two key measures in epidemiology.  Incidence refers to the number of new cases over a period of time.  Prevalence refers to the total number of cases in a given period of time (incidence rates plus number of previous cases).One method of examining trends in medical disorders is to look at records from physicians offices.  The United Kingdom designed and uses a database known as the General Practice Research Database.  This database is a powe........ Read more »

  • September 3, 2013
  • 12:06 PM
  • 880 views

Brain Regions Involved in Immediate Reward Decisions

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Humans make multiple decisions in the course of daily life that lead to important outcomes.Understanding the brain mechanisms involved in reward decisions has implications across consumer behavior, gambling and drug addiction.Konstanze Albrecht from Germany along with colleagues in Austria and Italy recently published an informative fMRI study of the brain regions involved in reward decision making.Their study was aimed at examining brain regions activated during decision making while varying th........ Read more »

  • August 28, 2013
  • 11:57 AM
  • 1,320 views

Effects of Testosterone Deprivation on Brain Structure

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The evils of testosterone deficiency are trumpeted from the television, radio and internet on a daily basis. Some of this is driven by the pharmaceutical industry and the explosion of products available for testosterone replacement.I think quite a bit of this is overblown, but I did find a recent study on the effects of androgen deficiency on brain structure and function.Testosterone is the major androgen in men and this hormone contributes to risk of prostate cancer progression.  Men with ........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2013
  • 11:29 AM
  • 1,126 views

Brain Connectivity Patterns in Depression and Schizophrenia

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The validity of psychiatric diagnostic classification is limited by lack of biological markers.One method of establishing validity of specific disorders is discriminant validity. Discriminant validity is supported when two disorders felt to be distinct have different patterns on a biological test.Depression and schizophrenia represent two key psychiatric categories.  The discriminant validity of these two diagnoses are supported by distinct symptom patterns, distinct response to psychopharm........ Read more »

  • August 26, 2013
  • 11:12 AM
  • 861 views

Brain Imaging: Incidental Findings in Older Adults

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Sensitive brain structural imaging like MRI is being completed in more individuals throughout the world.This type of imaging is often ordered to rule out a brain-based cause for medical symptoms. Clinicians are commonly challenged to interpret brain MRI findings and to determine their clinical significance.It important to understand MRI changes in normal populations. This understanding allows clinicians to weigh the potential pathological significance for symptomatic patients.Sandeman and collea........ Read more »

  • August 20, 2013
  • 11:24 AM
  • 862 views

Claustrophobia Linked to Chromosome 4 Abnormality

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Claustrophobia is a fear of closed spaces commonly occurring in individuals with other anxiety disorders.Brain imaging techniques typically involve placement in a enclosed space.  In the clinical setting, claustrophobia can impair brain CT and MRI imaging assessment. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine recently published an interesting study of the genetics of claustrophobia in mice and humans.They noted the glycoprotein Gpm6a, a neuronal membrane protein contrib........ Read more »

El-Kordi A, Kästner A, Grube S, Klugmann M, Begemann M, Sperling S, Hammerschmidt K, Hammer C, Stepniak B, Patzig J.... (2013) A single gene defect causing claustrophobia. Translational psychiatry. PMID: 23632458  

  • August 15, 2013
  • 12:52 PM
  • 828 views

Screening Guidelines For Postpartum Depression

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) publishes free reviews related to a variety of healthcare topics.Recently, AHRQ published an 85 page summary of their review of published studies on screening for postpartum depression.A group of leading experts in postpartum depression performed a comprehensive review of medical literature published between 2004 and 2012.They identified 45 key manuscripts for review addressing important components of the screening process.The six compon........ Read more »

Myers ER, Aubuchon-Endsley N, Bastian LA, Gierisch JM, Kemper AR, Swamy GK, Wald MF, McBroom AJ, Lallinger KR, Gray RN.... (2013) Efficacy and Safety of Screening for Postpartum Depression. AHRQ Publication No. 13-EHC064-EF. PMID: 23678510  

  • August 14, 2013
  • 10:39 AM
  • 1,108 views

Sleep Hygiene For New Mothers and Postpartum Depression

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Postpartum blues and postpartum depression are common and important clinical issues in the postpartum period. A contributing problem for depression risk in the postpartum period is maternal sleep disruption.A important clinical question is "Can behavioral sleep interventions for new mothers help establish more normal sleep patterns and reduce risk for postpartum depression?"Stremler and colleagues from the University of Toronto recently published a randomized clinical trial addressing this quest........ Read more »

  • August 7, 2013
  • 01:48 PM
  • 1,095 views

Cannabis Smoking and Driving Performance Skills

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

A trend of increasing liberalization of laws related to cannabis use is emerging in the United States.  As cannabis becomes more available it will be important to monitor for any adverse effects of increased cannabis use.One area of concern is the potential for cannabis to influence driving performance.  I have previously posted a review of two studies of cannabis and motor vehicle accident risk.   A Belgium study estimated cannabis use increased accident risk to about the le........ Read more »

  • August 6, 2013
  • 12:56 PM
  • 897 views

Prescription Opiates, Heroin and Overdose

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

I have previously reviewed research related to prescription opiate drug overdose including:EpidemiologyRisk FactorsToxicologyThese research studies documented the increased rates of prescription opiate drug overdose.  Risk appears increased in those with other substance abuse problems and in those with significant affective disorders, PTSD or schizophrenia.Now a recent research study has been published in PLOS One examining the interrelationship between opiate overdoses and heroin overdoses........ Read more »

  • August 5, 2013
  • 11:40 AM
  • 1,127 views

Working Memory and Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Prenatal alcohol exposure is linked to a variety of structural and functional brain changes.  One of the key problems in studying the effects of prenatal alcohol on the brain is teasing out direct alcohol toxic effects from potential genetic contributions.Since many heavy drinking mothers also have a family history of alcoholism, the specific prenatal toxic effects of alcohol on the brain is often unclear.Andria Norman from San Diego State University recently published the results of an fMR........ Read more »

  • July 23, 2013
  • 11:35 AM
  • 1,098 views

Alcohol, Drugs and Risk of Death By Drowning

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

It is common knowledge that it is dangerous to drink alcohol before operating a motor vehicle.  However, this elevated risk for injury and death with alcohol extends across a variety of situations.Kristin Ahlm and colleagues recently conducted an analysis of the pattern of alcohol and drug use in drowning deaths in Sweden.  This analysis was published in the journal BMC Public Health.In their study, they examined a series of drowning deaths that included autopsy.  Over the period ........ Read more »

  • July 22, 2013
  • 11:24 AM
  • 1,005 views

Beer, Liquor and Risk for Parkinson's Disease

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There are several known protective factors in risk for Parkinson's disease including exercise, moderate coffee consumption and cigarette smoking.  Rui Liu and colleagues recently examined the effect type and quantity of alcohol consumption with risk of Parkinson's disease.They examined alcohol consumption patterns in a cohort of subjects from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study (over 300,000 subjects).  Consumption patterns came from a questionnaire  completed in 1995-1996 from a c........ Read more »

Liu R, Guo X, Park Y, Wang J, Huang X, Hollenbeck A, Blair A, & Chen H. (2013) Alcohol Consumption, Types of Alcohol, and Parkinson's Disease. PloS one, 8(6). PMID: 23840473  

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