132 posts · 38,896 views
Comments on neurobiology, neuroimaging, and psychiatry from a skeptical neuroscientist.
People with Alzheimer’s disease can experience severe memory impairments.However, according to a new study, the emotions associated with events can persist long after the events themselves have been forgotten: Feelings Without Memory in Alzheimer Disease In their paper, the researchers, University of Iowa neurologists Edmarie Guzman-Velez and colleagues, showed volunteers a series of emotional video […]The post The Memory Fades, The Emotion Remains appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Last week I gave a talk in Brazil called Why Is It So Hard To Think About The Brain?, Well, no sooner have I returned than a story appeared that illustrates my point all too well. A neuroscience paper made headlines around the world on Friday. Here’s Time‘s take: One Dose of Antidepressant Changes the […]The post Warning: This Post Will Change Your Brain appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Schaefer, A., Burmann, I., Regenthal, R., Arélin, K., Barth, C., Pampel, A., Villringer, A., Margulies, D., & Sacher, J. (2014) Serotonergic Modulation of Intrinsic Functional Connectivity. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.08.024
People who drink a lot of coffee – and other caffeinated beverages – find it more difficult to identify and describe their own emotions. This is the claim of a new study, published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, from Australian researchers Michael Lyvers and colleagues: Caffeine use and alexithymia in university students. “Alexithymia” – […]The post Coffee Drinkers Have Trouble Talking About Emotions? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Lyvers M, Duric N, & Thorberg FA. (2014) Caffeine use and alexithymia in university students. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 46(4), 340-6. PMID: 25188705
Imagine that someone else was controlling your actions. You would still look like you, and sound like you, but you wouldn’t be the one deciding what you did and what you said. Now consider: would anyone notice the difference? In this nightmarish scenario, you would be a “cyranoid” – in the terminology introduced by psychologist […]The post “Cyranoids”: Stanley Milgram’s Creepiest Experiment appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Corti K, & Gillespie A. (2014) Revisiting Milgram's Cyranoid Method: Experimenting With Hybrid Human Agents. The Journal of Social Psychology. PMID: 25185802
The case of a woman who began compulsively writing poems after being treated for epilepsy offers a rare glimpse into the ‘inner’ dimension of a neurological disorder. Here’s the paper in Neurocase from British neurologists Woollacott and colleagues. The story in a nutshell: the patient, age 76, had been suffering from memory lapses and episodic […]The post Compulsive Poetry In Epilepsy appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Woollacott IO, Fletcher PD, Massey LA, Pasupathy A, Rossor MN, Caine D, Rohrer JD, & Warren JD. (2014) Compulsive versifying after treatment of transient epileptic amnesia. Neurocase, 1-6. PMID: 25157425
Are men who inject testosterone and other anabolic steroids at risk of entering a violent “roid rage“? Many people think so. Whenever a professional athlete commits a violent crime, it’s not long before someone suggests that steroids may have been involved. The most recent example of this is the case of Jonathan “War Machine” Koppenhaver. […]The post The Myth Of “Roid Rage”? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Lundholm L, Frisell T, Lichtenstein P, & Långström N. (2014) Anabolic androgenic steroids and violent offending: Confounding by polysubstance abuse among 10,365 general population men. Addiction (Abingdon, England). PMID: 25170826
Academic bunfight ahoy! A new paper from Nick Brown – famed debunker of the “Positivity Ratio” – and his colleagues, takes aim at another piece of research on feel-good emotions. The target is a 2013 paper published in PNAS from positive psychology leader Barbara Fredrickson and colleagues: A functional genomic perspective on human well-being. The […]The post (False?) Positive Psychology Meets Genomics appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Brown, N., MacDonald, D., Samanta, M., Friedman, H., & Coyne, J. (2014) A critical reanalysis of the relationship between genomics and well-being. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1407057111
Can sick people gain mental clarity just before they die? University of Virginia researchers Michael Nahm and Bruce Greyson explore this issue in a gripping (if macabre) paper published in the journal Omega: The death of Anna Katharina Ehmer: a case study in terminal lucidity.The authors discuss the case of Anna Katharina Ehmer, a German […]The post Terminal Lucidity: Myth, Mystery or Miracle? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Nahm M, & Greyson B. (2013) The death of Anna Katharina Ehmer: a case study in terminal lucidity. Omega, 68(1), 77-87. PMID: 24547666
According to a provocative paper just published, it’s possible to accurately determine how narcissistic someone is by asking them just one thing. Here’s the question in full: To what extent do you agree with this statement: I am a narcissist? (Note: The word ‘narcissist’ means egotistical, self-focused, and vain.) Answer on a scale from 1 […]The post Do Narcissists Know They’re Narcissists? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Konrath S, Meier BP, & Bushman BJ. (2014) Development and Validation of the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS). PLoS ONE, 9(8). PMID: 25093508
Scholars on both sides of the science-humanities divide have been known to feel that their counterparts just don’t think in the same way. But could it be that their brains are actually different? Yes, it could, say Japanese neuroscientists Hikaru Takeuchi and colleagues, who have just published a paper about Brain structures in the sciences […]The post Do Sciences and Humanities Students’ Brains Differ? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
As a “World Cup tie in post” this one’s a bit late, but here’s a story that’s been getting a lot of attention: According to scientists, Neymar uses instinct and not his brain when playing football Yes, if you believe the headlines, research has shown that legendary Brazilian forward Neymar da Silva Santos is so […]The post Functional Neuroimaging’s Neymar Problem appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Eiichi Naito, & Satoshi Hirose. (2014) Efficient foot motor control by Neymar’s brain. Front. Hum. Neurosci. info:/
Are we selfish? Economists like to say that, to a first approximation, we are. In other words, that we tend to seek to maximize our own rewards, in a more or less rational manner. The trouble is that this theory (at least, a straightforward interpretation of it) doesn’t describe how people behave in many situations. […]The post Spotted at last: “Homo economicus”? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Writing in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation, three Dutch researchers say that All preclinical trials should be registered in advance in an online registry Citing the fact that all clinical trials are (in theory) already registered, authors Jansen of Lorkeers et al say that the system should be extended to cover preclinical medical research, […]The post Preregistration for All Medical Animal Research appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Jansen of Lorkeers, S., Doevendans, P., & Chamuleau, S. (2014) All preclinical trials should be registered in advance in an online registry. European Journal of Clinical Investigation. DOI: 10.1111/eci.12299
A fascinating little paper in Brain examines Neurology and psychiatry in Babylon. It’s a collaboration by British neurologist Edward H. Reynolds and Assyriologist James V. Kinnier Wilson. The sources they discuss are almost 4,000 years old, dating to the Old Babylonian Dynasty of 1894 – 1595 BC. Writing in cuneiform script impressed into clay tablets, […]The post Babylonian Neurology and Psychiatry appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
An entertaining paper just out in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience offers a panoramic view of the whole of neuroscience: Enlarging the scope: grasping brain complexity The paper is remarkable not just for its content but also for its style. Some examples: How does the brain work? This nagging question is an habitué from the top […]The post Can We Grasp The Brain’s Complexity? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
The infamous dead salmon brain scan study may just have been eclipsed, in the ‘most ghoulish demonstration of a methodological pitfall in fMRI‘ stakes. A new study examines the issue of motion artifacts, a major concern in much neuroimaging research – and it does so by scanning dead people. The new paper has the unwieldy […]The post fMRI Motion Correction: The Quick and the Dead appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
A provocative and important paper just out claims to have identified a pervasive flaw in many attempts to map the function of the human brain. University College London (UCL) neuroscientists Yee-Haur Mah and colleagues say that in the light of their findings, “current inferences about human brain function and deficits based on lesion mapping must […]The post Is It Time To Redraw the Map of the Brain? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
What does neuroscience have to say about the educational value of lectures? Not much, says pedagogist Ken Masters in a lively article just published in Medical Teacher: Nipping an education myth in the bud: Poh’s brain activity during lectures Masters lays into an emerging slice of neurononsense. The claim is that neuroscientists have shown that, […]The post Another Education Neuromyth Debunked appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Masters, K. (2014) Nipping an education myth in the bud: Poh’s brain activity during lectures. Medical Teacher, 1-4. DOI: 10.3109/0142159X.2014.916785
We read this week that ‘Black Box’ Warning on Antidepressants Raised Suicide Attempts A so-called “black box” warning on antidepressants that the medications increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in kids may have had a horrible side-effect. New research finds the warning backfired, causing an increase in suicide attempts by teens and young […]The post The FDA’s Antidepressant Warning Didn’t Really “Backfire” appeared first on Neuroskept........ Read more »
Lu CY, Zhang F, Lakoma MD, Madden JM, Rusinak D, Penfold RB, Simon G, Ahmedani BK, Clarke G, Hunkeler EM.... (2014) Changes in antidepressant use by young people and suicidal behavior after FDA warnings and media coverage: quasi-experimental study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 24942789
Multivoxel Pattern Analysis (MVPA) is the latest big thing in the neuroimaging world. MVPA is a multivariate statistical technique that can be applied to fMRI brain scan results as an alternative to conventional univariate methods of finding brain activation. Neuroscientists love MVPA for two reasons: first, it offers more ‘blobs for your buck’ – it […]The post fMRI: Can MVPA Really Help Crack The Neural Code? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »
Davis, T., LaRocque, K., Mumford, J., Norman, K., Wagner, A., & Poldrack, R. (2014) What do differences between multi-voxel and univariate analysis mean? How subject-, voxel-, and trial-level variance impact fMRI analysis. NeuroImage, 271-283. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.04.037
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