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Brain Blogger covers topics from multidimensional biopsychosocial perspectives. It reviews the latest news and stories related to neuroscience, psychiatry, and neurology. It serves as a focal point for attracting new minds beyond the science of the mind-and-brain and into the biopsychosocial model.

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  • September 22, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Shock Therapy – A Thing of the Past or the Only Way Out?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

When most people think of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), the first thing that comes to mind may be a scene in the 1975 film “One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest,” where Jack Nicholson undergoes the treatment, in a way more akin to torture than medical care. There are people holding him down, he is not under [...]... Read more »

Coentre R, Barrocas D, Chendo I, Abreu M, Levy P, Maltez J, & Figueira ML. (2009) [Electroconvulsive therapy: myths and evidences]. Acta medica portuguesa, 22(3), 275-80. PMID: 19686628  

  • September 19, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Fear-Reducing Drugs – An Emerging Science?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

A new animal study reveals that a brain protein can reduce the expression of fear when infused into specific parts of the brain involved in behavioral responses to fear-inducing stimuli. The findings have important implications for the possible development of new drug therapies that can mimic these effects in humans with anxiety disorders or post-traumatic [...]... Read more »

Peters J, Dieppa-Perea LM, Melendez LM, & Quirk GJ. (2010) Induction of fear extinction with hippocampal-infralimbic BDNF. Science (New York, N.Y.), 328(5983), 1288-90. PMID: 20522777  

Soliman F, Glatt CE, Bath KG, Levita L, Jones RM, Pattwell SS, Jing D, Tottenham N, Amso D, Somerville LH.... (2010) A genetic variant BDNF polymorphism alters extinction learning in both mouse and human. Science (New York, N.Y.), 327(5967), 863-6. PMID: 20075215  

  • September 16, 2010
  • 11:12 AM

Born to be Lazy

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Physical activity is recommended as part of every healthy lifestyle in order to maintain appropriate body weight and composition and to prevent a myriad of diseases. Now, researchers suggest that genetics plays a role in how much voluntary physical activity one is likely to engage in. Predispositions to active, athletic lifestyles are passed on from [...]... Read more »

Garland T Jr, Kelly SA, Malisch JL, Kolb EM, Hannon RM, Keeney BK, Van Cleave SL, & Middleton KM. (2010) How to run far: multiple solutions and sex-specific responses to selective breeding for high voluntary activity levels. Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society. PMID: 20810439  

Swallow JG, Koteja P, Carter PA, & Garland T Jr. (2001) Food consumption and body composition in mice selected for high wheel-running activity. Journal of comparative physiology. B, Biochemical, systemic, and environmental physiology, 171(8), 651-9. PMID: 11765974  

  • September 12, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

A Little Education Goes a Long Way

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The burden of type 2 diabetes is staggering. Close to 20 million people in the United States are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and total costs related to diabetes are creeping toward $200 billion annually. Programs to prevent and treat diabetes are numerous, but the effectiveness of various types of programs and modes of education [...]... Read more »

American Diabetes Association. (2008) Economic costs of diabetes in the U.S. In 2007. Diabetes care, 31(3), 596-615. PMID: 18308683  

Deakin TA, Cade JE, Williams R, & Greenwood DC. (2006) Structured patient education: the diabetes X-PERT Programme makes a difference. Diabetic medicine : a journal of the British Diabetic Association, 23(9), 944-54. PMID: 16922700  

Duke SA, Colagiuri S, & Colagiuri R. (2009) Individual patient education for people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online). PMID: 19160249  

Farmer AJ, Wade AN, French DP, Simon J, Yudkin P, Gray A, Craven A, Goyder L, Holman RR, Mant D.... (2009) Blood glucose self-monitoring in type 2 diabetes: a randomised controlled trial. Health technology assessment (Winchester, England), 13(15). PMID: 19254484  

Urbanski P, Wolf A, & Herman WH. (2008) Cost-effectiveness of diabetes education. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(4 Suppl 1). PMID: 18358259  

  • September 9, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

The Doctor Is… Online

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Medical professionalism is becoming hard to define in a digital age that blurs the line between public and private information. A majority of college students, health professional students, and young health care practitioners have social networking accounts and an active online presence. However, these accounts and profiles may be detrimental to individual and collective professionalism. [...]... Read more »

Chretien KC, Greysen SR, Chretien JP, & Kind T. (2009) Online posting of unprofessional content by medical students. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 302(12), 1309-15. PMID: 19773566  

Farnan JM, Paro JA, Higa JT, Reddy ST, Humphrey HJ, & Arora VM. (2009) Commentary: The relationship status of digital media and professionalism: it's complicated. Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 84(11), 1479-81. PMID: 19858794  

Guseh JS 2nd, Brendel RW, & Brendel DH. (2009) Medical professionalism in the age of online social networking. Journal of medical ethics, 35(9), 584-6. PMID: 19717700  

Mattingly TJ 2nd, Cain J, & Fink JL 3rd. (2010) Pharmacists on Facebook: online social networking and the profession. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association : JAPhA, 50(3), 424-7. PMID: 20452920  

Thompson LA, Dawson K, Ferdig R, Black EW, Boyer J, Coutts J, & Black NP. (2008) The intersection of online social networking with medical professionalism. Journal of general internal medicine, 23(7), 954-7. PMID: 18612723  

  • September 6, 2010
  • 10:19 AM

Autism Evident in Newborns

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has increased by nearly 10-fold in the last 2 decades, owing, in part, to earlier diagnosis by community practitioners. Now, a new study in the September 2010 issue of Pediatrics reports that signs of autism may be present as early as 1 month of age. Researchers evaluated children [...]... Read more »

Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network Surveillance Year 2006 Principal Investigators, & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2009) Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders - Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, United States, 2006. MMWR. Surveillance summaries : Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Surveillance summaries / CDC, 58(10), 1-20. PMID: 20023608  

Karmel BZ, Gardner JM, Meade LS, Cohen IL, London E, Flory MJ, Lennon EM, Miroshnichenko I, Rabinowitz S, Parab S.... (2010) Early Medical and Behavioral Characteristics of NICU Infants Later Classified With ASD. Pediatrics, 126(3), 457-67. PMID: 20679296  

Stoltenberg C, Schjølberg S, Bresnahan M, Hornig M, Hirtz D, Dahl C, Lie KK, Reichborn-Kjennerud T, Schreuder P, Alsaker E.... (2010) The Autism Birth Cohort: a paradigm for gene-environment-timing research. Molecular psychiatry, 15(7), 676-80. PMID: 20571529  

  • September 1, 2010
  • 08:59 PM

When Bipolar Patients Abuse Drugs – The Dual Diagnosis Dilemma

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Most people familiar with public health issues are aware of the challenges posed by “dual diagnosis” patients — those with both a psychiatric diagnosis and a substance abuse diagnosis. But the special case of addicted bipolar disorder patients is particularly problematic. Writing in the August issue of Current Psychiatry, Bryan K. Tolliver lists the severe [...]... Read more »

Cassidy F, Ahearn EP, & Carroll BJ. (2001) Substance abuse in bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorders, 3(4), 181-8. PMID: 11552957  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 03:31 PM

Peace and Conflict, Part 3 – Conflict Resolution

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

In the last of this series on peace and conflict, we are looking at the question, How can an intractable conflict be resolved or at least transformed into a benign conflict? The attempt here is to use dynamical systems theory or chaos theory to look at the question of intractable conflicts. As mentioned before, an [...]... Read more »

Vallacher, R., Coleman, P., Nowak, A., & Bui-Wrzosinska, L. (2010) Rethinking intractable conflict: The perspective of dynamical systems. American Psychologist, 65(4), 262-278. DOI: 10.1037/a0019290  

  • August 22, 2010
  • 05:29 PM

Addicted to Love

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Robert Palmer may have already known what researchers now claim: Love can be an addiction. In a new study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, investigators examined and compared the clinical, psychological and biological details of love, passion, gambling, and substance dependence. It turns out that an addiction to love is [...]... Read more »

Curtis JT, Liu Y, Aragona BJ, & Wang Z. (2006) Dopamine and monogamy. Brain research, 1126(1), 76-90. PMID: 16950234  

Fisher HE, Aron A, & Brown LL. (2006) Romantic love: a mammalian brain system for mate choice. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 361(1476), 2173-86. PMID: 17118931  

Reynaud M, Karila L, Blecha L, & Benyamina A. (2010) Is Love Passion an Addictive Disorder?. The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse. PMID: 20545601  

Sophia EC, Tavares H, Berti MP, Pereira AP, Lorena A, Mello C, Gorenstein C, & Zilberman ML. (2009) Pathological love: impulsivity, personality, and romantic relationship. CNS spectrums, 14(5), 268-74. PMID: 19407726  

Young LJ, Murphy Young AZ, & Hammock EA. (2005) Anatomy and neurochemistry of the pair bond. The Journal of comparative neurology, 493(1), 51-7. PMID: 16255009  

  • August 19, 2010
  • 06:56 PM

Cheers to a Decreased Risk of Arthritis

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Preliminary findings presented at annual meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism suggest that drinking alcohol may reduce the risk of developing several types of arthritis. The results of this study need to be interpreted with caution, however, since no cause and effect relationship was confirmed. The case-control study evaluated the alcohol consumption habits of [...]... Read more »

Källberg H, Jacobsen S, Bengtsson C, Pedersen M, Padyukov L, Garred P, Frisch M, Karlson EW, Klareskog L, & Alfredsson L. (2009) Alcohol consumption is associated with decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis: results from two Scandinavian case-control studies. Annals of the rheumatic diseases, 68(2), 222-7. PMID: 18535114  

Nissen MJ, Gabay C, Scherer A, Finckh A, & Swiss Clinical Quality Management Project in Rheumatoid Arthritis. (2010) The effect of alcohol on radiographic progression in rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis and rheumatism, 62(5), 1265-72. PMID: 20213811  

  • August 14, 2010
  • 11:26 PM

Breaking Up is Not So Hard to Do

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Half of marriages in the United States eventually end in divorce. In addition to just being a socially-accepted norm, a new study reveals that divorce may actually be contagious. A new study, authored by researchers from Brown University, the University of San Diego, and Harvard University, reports that divorce spreads through social networks much like [...]... Read more »

Markman HJ, Rhoades GK, Stanley SM, Ragan EP, & Whitton SW. (2010) The premarital communication roots of marital distress and divorce: the first five years of marriage. Journal of family psychology : JFP : journal of the Division of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association (Division 43), 24(3), 289-98. PMID: 20545402  

Maxin D, & Berec L. (2010) A two-sex demographic model with single-dependent divorce rate. Journal of theoretical biology, 265(4), 647-56. PMID: 20542042  

  • July 12, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Mind your Immune System

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Another significant piece in the mind-body puzzle comes from this new study where obsessive-compulsive behavior in mice was cured by a bone marrow transplant. A rare form of a genetic disorder in mice causes a “hair pulling” disorder, very similar to its human counterpart trichotillomania. In their new findings published in Cell, Mario Capecchi and [...]... Read more »

Chen SK, Tvrdik P, Peden E, Cho S, Wu S, Spangrude G, & Capecchi MR. (2010) Hematopoietic origin of pathological grooming in Hoxb8 mutant mice. Cell, 141(5), 775-85. PMID: 20510925  

  • July 9, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

The Handwriting on the Wall

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have poor penmanship. In turn, poor penmanship leads to decreased success in communication, failed academics, and a lack of self-esteem. Until now, clinicians and autism experts believed that developmental delays were to blame for inferior handwriting skills, but a new study in Neurology reports that weak motor skills [...]... Read more »

Beversdorf DQ, Anderson JM, Manning SE, Anderson SL, Nordgren RE, Felopulos GJ, & Bauman ML. (2001) Brief report: macrographia in high-functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 31(1), 97-101. PMID: 11439759  

Dziuk MA, Gidley Larson JC, Apostu A, Mahone EM, Denckla MB, & Mostofsky SH. (2007) Dyspraxia in autism: association with motor, social, and communicative deficits. Developmental medicine and child neurology, 49(10), 734-9. PMID: 17880641  

Frings M, Gaertner K, Buderath P, Christiansen H, Gerwig M, Hein-Kropp C, Schoch B, Hebebrand J, & Timmann D. (2010) Megalographia in Children with Cerebellar Lesions and in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Cerebellum (London, England). PMID: 20480275  

Fuentes CT, Mostofsky SH, & Bastian AJ. (2009) Children with autism show specific handwriting impairments. Neurology, 73(19), 1532-7. PMID: 19901244  

  • July 3, 2010
  • 02:24 PM

The Bold and the Beautiful

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Personality is a complicated interplay of traits that influence well-being, cognition and mental health. The so-called Big Five personality traits include extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness. It is difficult to quantify personality characteristics and their roles in mood, behavior and reasoning, but several recent studies have proclaimed the significant effect of extraversion — the [...]... Read more »

Styśko-Kunkowska MA, & Borecka D. (2010) Extraversion and evaluation of humorous advertisements. Psychological reports, 106(1), 44-8. PMID: 20402425  

Terracciano A, McCrae RR, & Costa PT. (2010) Intra-individual Change in Personality Stability and Age. Journal of research in personality, 44(1), 31-37. PMID: 20305728  

  • June 26, 2010
  • 12:23 PM

Only the Brain is Worried about Getting Fat

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

One thing that virtually all women share is body image issues. No matter how thin or fat, short or tall, or muscular or slim, women dislike something about their body. According to a new study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, even women who are seemingly well-adjusted with no overt body image issues have [...]... Read more »

Owens, T., Allen, M., & Spangler, D. (2010) An fMRI study of self-reflection about body image: Sex differences. Personality and Individual Differences, 48(7), 849-854. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2010.02.012  

  • June 22, 2010
  • 10:54 AM

Goal Setting – Pitfalls and Benefits

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

Goal setting is a funny thing. Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve had a long and checkered relationship with it. I’ve gone back and forth, was a big fan, hated it, went back to goal setting again. What is it that fascinates and repels about goal setting? I set out to look at some [...]... Read more »

  • June 17, 2010
  • 09:10 PM

Medical Art Imitating Life

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

The ideal human body shape has evolved — for better or worse — over the course of human history. Its depiction in art parallels society’s beliefs regarding what is and is not attractive and desirable. The representation of the human form has, too, undergone a metamorphosis in the oft-forgotten field of medical illustration. With the [...]... Read more »

Bonafini BA, & Pozzilli P. (2010) Body weight and beauty: the changing face of the ideal female body weight. Obesity reviews : an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity. PMID: 20492540  

Pearce JM. (2009) Henry Gray's Anatomy. Clinical anatomy (New York, N.Y.), 22(3), 291-5. PMID: 19280653  

  • June 12, 2010
  • 10:28 AM

Female Teachers’ Math Anxiety Negatively Affects Female Students

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

For a long time it was believed that males have better spatial and numerical abilities resulting in their greater aptitude for mathematics compared to females. But research in cognitive development of human infants and children has failed to support these claims. Instead, scientists now have enough evidence to conclude that the same set of biologically [...]... Read more »

Beilock SL, Gunderson EA, Ramirez G, & Levine SC. (2010) Female teachers' math anxiety affects girls' math achievement. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(5), 1860-3. PMID: 20133834  

Hyde JS, Lindberg SM, Linn MC, Ellis AB, & Williams CC. (2008) Diversity. Gender similarities characterize math performance. Science (New York, N.Y.), 321(5888), 494-5. PMID: 18653867  

  • June 9, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Antidepressants Carry Equal Risks

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

For nearly a decade, the public has heeded warnings of suicidal behavior related to antidepressant use in children and adolescents. However, the use of antidepressants in this population is still increasing. Initially, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the most common class of antidepressants prescribed for children, were the only drugs associated with the increase in [...]... Read more »

Jick H, Kaye JA, & Jick SS. (2004) Antidepressants and the risk of suicidal behaviors. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 292(3), 338-43. PMID: 15265848  

Schneeweiss S, Patrick AR, Solomon DH, Dormuth CR, Miller M, Mehta J, Lee JC, & Wang PS. (2010) Comparative safety of antidepressant agents for children and adolescents regarding suicidal acts. Pediatrics, 125(5), 876-88. PMID: 20385637  

Simon GE, Savarino J, Operskalski B, & Wang PS. (2006) Suicide risk during antidepressant treatment. The American journal of psychiatry, 163(1), 41-7. PMID: 16390887  

Vitiello B, Silva SG, Rohde P, Kratochvil CJ, Kennard BD, Reinecke MA, Mayes TL, Posner K, May DE, & March JS. (2009) Suicidal events in the Treatment for Adolescents With Depression Study (TADS). The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 70(5), 741-7. PMID: 19552869  

  • June 6, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Trick of the Light – Optical Illusions Can’t be Beat

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

You know ‘em, you love ‘em: Suddenly, pictures bulge out in three dimensions, or static dots begin to swirl, or you see colors that aren’t really there. Tricking your eye is as easy as the well-known “finger sausage” maneuver: Hold out your arms, point your index fingers toward each other, then move them slowly together [...]... Read more »

Kuriki I, Ashida H, Murakami I, & Kitaoka A. (2008) Functional brain imaging of the Rotating Snakes illusion by fMRI. Journal of vision, 8(10), 16-10. PMID: 19146358  

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