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593 posts · 661,246 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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  • November 12, 2015
  • 11:51 AM
  • 700 views

Screening for Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson's Disease

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Sunset in Blanchard, OK courtesy of Dr. Tim YatesThere is a significant need for improvement in the tools available for screening for cognitive impairment in a variety of disorders in neuroscience medicine.The Mini-Mental State Examination Score (MMSE) is a widely used 30-item scale for screening dementia and other neurological conditions.However, the MMSE has some significant weaknesses for use in the clinical setting.Jin Qiao and colleagues from China recently published a study testing th........ Read more »

  • November 10, 2015
  • 11:35 AM
  • 692 views

Brain Inflammation in Dementia with Lewy Bodies

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The role of inflammation in the brain is receiving increased attention in dementia and other disorders in neuroscience medicine.Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is the third leading cause of dementia. This disorder has received increased attention with the finding of the condition in the autopsy of comedian and actor Robin Williams.Patrick Ejlerskov and colleagues from Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom recently published an informative study in the journal Cell on this topic.Cytokin........ Read more »

Ejlerskov P, Hultberg JG, Wang J, Carlsson R, Ambjørn M, Kuss M, Liu Y, Porcu G, Kolkova K, Friis Rundsten C.... (2015) Lack of Neuronal IFN-β-IFNAR Causes Lewy Body- and Parkinson's Disease-like Dementia. Cell, 163(2), 324-39. PMID: 26451483  

  • November 4, 2015
  • 01:50 PM
  • 798 views

Brain Imaging in Diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Brain image highlighting right insula implicated in DLBRecent information has emerged concerning the suicide death of the comedian/actor Robin Williams.Autopsy results have demonstrated that Robin Williams suffered from dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).This public case demonstrates the difficulty in making a correct diagnosis of DLB prior to the findings at autopsy.In a previous post I reported on a screening tool for clinicians that appears to have some promise for screening for high-risk DLB pa........ Read more »

  • October 30, 2015
  • 11:06 AM
  • 986 views

Wii Fit Games for Children with Coordination Problems

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Among the types of development problems of childhood is developmental coordination disorder or DCD.In DCD, children show delay and subnormal performance in coordinated motor skills.This may be noted as a general tendency of clumsiness with difficulties in activities such as catching a ball, using scissors, handwriting or riding a bike.Computer games such as the Nintendo Wii platform provide a method to improve a variety of motor and coordination skills in a fun environment.A South African team r........ Read more »

  • October 27, 2015
  • 11:10 AM
  • 973 views

Improving Diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

This month I have been focusing on research advances in neuropsychology in neuroscience medicine.My daily feed screener picked up a report of a screening tool for Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) today.LBD is often confused with Alzheimer's disease. Distinguishing the two is important for management and selection of appropriate drug treatment.This research is not published in a free full-text manuscript format but there is a link to the scale for readers with more interest.The research study examined th........ Read more »

  • October 22, 2015
  • 11:27 AM
  • 615 views

Early Birds, Night Owls and Working Memory

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There is a growing body of research showing the individual preference for mornings or evenings influences human performance and disease.Early birds is common term for individuals who arise early and prefer activity in mornings. Night owls often stay up late at night and find they are more productive in the evenings.This day time preference pattern is known scientifically as chronotype.Christina Schmidt and colleagues from Belgium recently published an interesting study of the effect of chronotyp........ Read more »

  • October 20, 2015
  • 12:50 PM
  • 663 views

Hopelessness as Risk Factor for Alzheimer's Disease

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Original figure from Hakansson K et al. (citation below)I have been reviewing advances in neuropsychology in neuroscience medicine.One important relevant topic is the art of neuropsychological testing for the early diagnosis and monitoring of Alzheimer's and other dementias.Another important focus is finding neuropsychological risk factors for later development of cognitive impairment.Mid-life depression has been identified as a risk factor for later life cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's dis........ Read more »

  • October 15, 2015
  • 11:54 AM
  • 728 views

Tools for Alzheimer's Screening: BrainCheck

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Screening for cognitive decline and early Alzheimer's disease presents a clinical challenge for primary care providers.A variety of tests and tools are available for use but limited research has focused on testing in primary care settings.Michael Ehrensperger and colleagues recently published a study of a brief tool for screening for cognitive decline called BrainCheck.This tool combines a patient interview, an informant interview and the Clock Drawing Test administered in combination.The import........ Read more »

  • October 12, 2015
  • 11:29 AM
  • 752 views

Neuroplasticity and Training the Older Brain

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Neuroplasticity is the brain and nervous systems ability to evolve and to repair deficits.At a basic level it represents the ability to learn and develop a structural and functional system to interact with the environment.The brain's neuroplasticity is maximized during childhood and adolescence. This adaptability wanes with age. However, some neuroplasticity ability persists in the older brain.This persistence was highlighted in a study from Hong Kong recently published in the journal Neural Pla........ Read more »

Leung NT, Tam HM, Chu LW, Kwok TC, Chan F, Lam LC, Woo J, & Lee TM. (2015) Neural Plastic Effects of Cognitive Training on Aging Brain. Neural plasticity, 535618. PMID: 26417460  

  • October 8, 2015
  • 11:36 AM
  • 785 views

Brain Reward and Anabolic Steroids

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Pine Cone and Peacocks from Vatican MuseumTestosterone displays effects on brain function in both males and females.Emanuela Mhillaj and colleagues recently published a nice summary of what is currently known about the effects of anabolic-androgen steroids (AAS) on the brain.Their review highlighted the potential for AAS to modulate brain reward function and potentially lead to a drug dependence type of abuse pattern.Here are some of my notes on their discussion of AAS and the brain reward syste........ Read more »

Mhillaj E, Morgese MG, Tucci P, Bove M, Schiavone S, & Trabace L. (2015) Effects of anabolic-androgens on brain reward function. Frontiers in neuroscience, 295. PMID: 26379484  

Yates WR, Perry PJ, & Andersen KH. (1990) Illicit anabolic steroid use: a controlled personality study. Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica, 81(6), 548-50. PMID: 2378247  

  • October 7, 2015
  • 10:53 AM
  • 854 views

Leading Causes of Early Death in U.S. 1990-2010

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The manuscript in this post is two years old but I thought it was worthy of comment.The Global Burden of Disease study seeks to provide an estimate of the relative contribution of a variety of medical disorders on disability and death.I have summarized data with an original chart with data abstracted on the leading causes of early death in the U.S. This is provided by the chart in numbers (x1000). The most recent estimate rates heart disease as the continuing cause of years of life lost (2010 es........ Read more »

Murray CJ, Atkinson C, Bhalla K, Birbeck G, Burstein R, Chou D, Dellavalle R, Danaei G, Ezzati M, Fahimi A.... (2013) The state of US health, 1990-2010: burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors. JAMA, 310(6), 591-608. PMID: 23842577  

  • October 6, 2015
  • 11:22 AM
  • 806 views

Do Baseball Players Live Longer?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs begin today. I did a PubMed search for recent research related to baseball.One interesting abstract examined the body of research related to elite athletes and longevity.This review article examined 54 peer-reviewed manuscripts that addressed the mortality and longevity of elite athletes. Sixteen of these studies examined longevity in MLB players.I will summarize some of the conclusions from this review.MLB players tended to have longer lifespan than cont........ Read more »

  • October 2, 2015
  • 10:41 AM
  • 597 views

Academic Performance in Adolescents: Behavioral Correlates

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Galileo Bust in Galileo Museum, Florence (wryates photo)There is a significant level of interest in the best behavioral activity balance in adolescents.Adolescents currently live in an environment of expanding opportunities for spending time watching TV, surfing the internet and playing video games.Understanding the best balance of study, exercise and time in front of a screen is an important topic.Kristen Corder and colleagues recently examined adolescent behavioral activity patterns and perfor........ Read more »

  • October 1, 2015
  • 12:04 PM
  • 519 views

Does Brain Injury Increase Criminal Behavior?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Traumatic brain injury produces a variety of cognitive effects.Some individuals will have behavioral disturbances including anger outbursts and interpersonal conflict.A recent study examined the rates of first criminal conviction in a group of 7694 men and women hospitalized with traumatic brain injury (TBI).The study found about a 50 to 75% increase in rates of post-TBI criminal convictions including violent convictions. This effect was noted using either general population controls or sibling ........ Read more »

  • September 30, 2015
  • 11:29 AM
  • 563 views

iPad Intervention Boosts Cognition in Schizophrenia

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In a previous post, I summarized some of the current thinking on the use of cognitive enhancement drugs in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, ADHD and schizophrenia.This summary was based on a review by Gabe Howard and colleagues. The review also included a summary of a clinical trial using an iPad cognitive training app for the treatment of cognition in schizophrenia.Here are the key elements of the study and the results.Study sample: 22 adults with a diagnosis of DSM-5 schizophrenia, sc........ Read more »

Sahakian BJ, Bruhl AB, Cook J, Killikelly C, Savulich G, Piercy T, Hafizi S, Perez J, Fernandez-Egea E, Suckling J.... (2015) The impact of neuroscience on society: cognitive enhancement in neuropsychiatric disorders and in healthy people. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 370(1677). PMID: 26240429  

  • September 29, 2015
  • 11:04 AM
  • 616 views

Cognitive Enhancers in Neuroscience Medicine

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Neuropsychiatric disorders cause impairment via multiple pathways. One pathway to impairment is cognitive impairment via attention problems, cognitive slowing and memory disruption.Barbara Sahakian and colleagues recently published an interesting manuscript examining the issue of cognitive enhancement.Their review begins by summarizing some of the research related to cognitive enhancement in four neuropsychiatric syndromes. I will summarize their main points by specific disorder.Alzheimer's Dise........ Read more »

Sahakian BJ, Bruhl AB, Cook J, Killikelly C, Savulich G, Piercy T, Hafizi S, Perez J, Fernandez-Egea E, Suckling J.... (2015) The impact of neuroscience on society: cognitive enhancement in neuropsychiatric disorders and in healthy people. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 370(1677). PMID: 26240429  

  • September 3, 2015
  • 12:00 PM
  • 531 views

Brain Imaging in Football-Related Brain Injury

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The scope and mechanism of significant brain injury in football and other sports is unclear.One research challenge is the identification of early signals indicated risk for remote cognitive decline and dementia.For example, repeated concussions at age 20 with brain injury may not produce clinical cognitive deficits for 20 or 30 years. Early identification of risk and counseling of individuals may reduce trauma exposure and cognitive decline.There are no valid tests of brain imaging in high-risk ........ Read more »

  • September 2, 2015
  • 12:48 PM
  • 741 views

Managing Fatigue in Match-Play Tennis

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The 2015 U.S. Tennis Open is in full swing and I ran into an interesting recent manuscript summarizing fatigue in tennis.Fatigue has multiple elements including changes in muscle performance, blood markers of lactic acid and other compounds as well as brain central perception factors.Long multi-set matches can last four or five hours. Obviously, at the end of this type of exertion, players have had to adjust to effects of significant fatigue.Reid and Duffield review the key elements of fatigue i........ Read more »

Reid M, & Duffield R. (2014) The development of fatigue during match-play tennis. British journal of sports medicine. PMID: 24668384  

  • July 21, 2015
  • 12:29 PM
  • 736 views

Mediterranean Diet and Alzheimer's Disease Prevention

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There is an urgent need to identify strategies to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.The role of diet as a prevention strategy is controversial. Some research evidence supports a role for a Mediterranean diet in cognitive health and dementia prevention.A recent brain imaging study adds to this evidence. Dr. Lisa Mosconi and colleagues at New York University School of Medicine completed a cross-sectional study of brain magnetic resonance imaging and diet........ Read more »

Mosconi L, Murray J, Tsui WH, Li Y, Davies M, Williams S, Pirraglia E, Spector N, Osorio RS, Glodzik L.... (2014) Mediterranean Diet and Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Assessed Brain Atrophy in Cognitively Normal Individuals at Risk for Alzheimer's Disease. The journal of prevention of Alzheimer's disease, 1(1), 23-32. PMID: 25237654  

  • July 15, 2015
  • 12:32 PM
  • 783 views

Fitness Boosts White Matter Integrity in Aging

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Cardiovascular fitness has been correlated with a variety of beneficial effects on brain structure and cognition.These correlations have not proven causality but they do support continued imaging and brain function studies.Scott Hayes from the VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston School of Medicine recently published an information study on this topic.Brain white matter integrity is now open for study using diffusion tensor imaging, available from high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MR........ Read more »

Hayes SM, Salat DH, Forman DE, Sperling RA, & Verfaellie M. (2015) Cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with white matter integrity in aging. Annals of clinical and translational neurology, 2(6), 688-98. PMID: 26125043  

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