William Yates, M.D.

463 posts · 371,316 views

Physician, Writer and Bird Photographer. Translating Neuroscience Research Into Better Care for Brain Disorders.

Brain Posts
463 posts

Sort by Latest Post, Most Popular

View by Condensed, Full

  • October 30, 2014
  • 11:20 AM
  • 33 views

Alcoholism as a Reward System Dysfunction

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Alcoholism and other addictive behaviors often occur together within individual patients.For example, individuals with alcoholism commonly also are smokers and meet criteria for a diagnosis of nicotine dependence.This co-occurrence suggests multiple types of addiction may share genetic and environmental risk factors. Additionally, there might be a common neurobiological mechanism in play for many addictions.Kenneth Blum and other leading alcoholism researchers recently published a review that pr........ Read more »

  • October 28, 2014
  • 11:59 AM
  • 59 views

Night Owls Show Increased Alcohol Use Risk

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Humans commonly display a circadian rhythm preference for getting up early in the morning or staying up late at night (night owls).This sleep timing, or diurnal preference appears to have genetic contributions.Additionally, diurnal preference may contribute to risk for alcohol consumption as more alcohol is consumed later in the day and during the night time.Nathaniel Watson and colleagues at the University of Washington and the University of Texas recently explored the relationship between diur........ Read more »

Watson NF, Buchwald D, & Harden KP. (2013) A twin study of genetic influences on diurnal preference and risk for alcohol use outcomes. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 9(12), 1333-9. PMID: 24340296  

  • October 27, 2014
  • 11:10 AM
  • 73 views

Brain Imaging In Alcoholic Brain Thiamine Deficiency

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Chronic consumption of large quantities of alcohol can produce severe deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1).This can precipitate an acute brain failure known as Wernicke's encephalopathy. Wernicke's encephalopathy is characterized by sudden onset of mental status changes, eye muscle impairment and disturbed gait or ataxia.Other illnesses can also produce this level of severe thiamine deficiency. A partial list of these non-alcoholism causes for thiamine deficiency with encephalopathy includes........ Read more »

  • October 23, 2014
  • 10:20 AM
  • 90 views

Smartphone App Boosts Alcoholism Treatment Outcome

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Smartphone apps and other mobile technology are emerging as promising tools in medical treatment.A recent randomized study published in JAMA Psychiatry found evidence that a smartphone app improves alcoholism treatment outcomes.David Gustafson and colleagues conducted a study funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.A series of 349 adults with DSM-IV alcohol dependence were enrolled as they entered a alcoholism residential treatment program.Approximately half of the subje........ Read more »

Gustafson DH, McTavish FM, Chih MY, Atwood AK, Johnson RA, Boyle MG, Levy MS, Driscoll H, Chisholm SM, Dillenburg L.... (2014) A smartphone application to support recovery from alcoholism: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA psychiatry, 71(5), 566-72. PMID: 24671165  

  • October 21, 2014
  • 11:25 AM
  • 86 views

Sleep Problems in Alcoholism Treatment

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In a previous post, I summarized a research study six month outcome of insomnia in a group of subjects treated for alcoholism.This study found a high persistence of insomnia despite reduction, and in many cases abstinence, from alcohol.A second study recently published by investigators at the National Institute of Health provides some additional insight into this topic.Gwenyth Wallen and colleagues studied a series of 164 participants admitted to a 4-6 week inpatient program for alcohol dependen........ Read more »

  • October 20, 2014
  • 10:56 AM
  • 91 views

Persistent Insomnia and Alcoholism

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Sleep problems complicate the treatment and recovery in alcoholism. Heavy alcohol consumption modifies the nature of sleep architecture.A high blood alcohol concentration at bedtime may promote sleep early in the sleep cycle.However, as alcohol levels decline, sleep is often interrupted with limiting rapid eye movement (REM) sleep duration.Shortened total sleep time with alcohol can produce a lack of feeling well rested on awakening.For those with alcoholism or alcohol dependence, successfu........ Read more »

Brower KJ, Krentzman A, & Robinson EA. (2011) Persistent insomnia, abstinence, and moderate drinking in alcohol-dependent individuals. The American journal on addictions / American Academy of Psychiatrists in Alcoholism and Addictions, 20(5), 435-40. PMID: 21838842  

  • October 7, 2014
  • 04:21 PM
  • 131 views

Personality, Emotion and Psychopathology: David Watson Lecture Notes

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

I had the privilege to attend today the William K Warren Frontiers in Neuroscience Conference in Tulsa, OK by Dr. David Watson from Notre Dame University.Dr. Watson's lecture was titled: An integrative model of personality, emotion and psychopathology. This lecture summarized a body of research examining personality, psychological symptoms and a variety of brain disorders.Here are my lecture notes and links to relevant research citations. The first two citations have links to a free full-te........ Read more »

Stasik SM, Naragon-Gainey K, Chmielewski M, & Watson D. (2012) Core OCD symptoms: exploration of specificity and relations with psychopathology. Journal of anxiety disorders, 26(8), 859-70. PMID: 23026094  

  • October 2, 2014
  • 11:01 AM
  • 145 views

Parenting: Genetics and Environmental Effects

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Effective parenting is a key element in child development.Both genetic and environmental factors appear to contribute to the cognitive, emotional and behavioral aspects of parenting.Childhood temperament also influences the process of parenting. A well-behaved, emotionally stable and loving child is obviously much easier to parent than a child with behavioral and emotional problems.Bonamy Oliver and colleagues from the United Kingdom have recently published an informative twin study of pare........ Read more »

Oliver BR, Trzaskowski M, & Plomin R. (2014) Genetics of parenting: The power of the dark side. Developmental psychology, 50(4), 1233-40. PMID: 24364831  

  • September 29, 2014
  • 10:32 AM
  • 146 views

Family Attachment and the Brain Cingulate Cortex

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Healthy family attachment provides a key element for social support and successful interpersonal relationships.Several brain regions as well as hormonal factors appear to modulate positive emotional responses to family members.I have previously reviewed several studies involving the prosocial effects of the hormone oxytocin and the related hormone vasopressin.Nicolas Rusch from the Department of Psychiatry at Ulm University in Germany along with colleagues in Brazil and London recently published........ Read more »

  • September 24, 2014
  • 12:37 PM
  • 180 views

Why Women Give Better Gifts

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Consumer spending on gifts for birthdays and holidays is a multi-billion dollar big business.Despite this large economic impact, little research examines factors associated with gift recipient satisfaction.Selecting good gifts for others involves a complex social decision-making process related to judging the value hierarchy of others.A study from the Netherlands recently published in the journal PLOS One featured three experiments on gift selection in a series of men and women.The design of the........ Read more »

Pollmann MM, & van Beest I. (2013) Women are better at selecting gifts than men. PloS one, 8(12). PMID: 24386082  

  • September 18, 2014
  • 11:11 AM
  • 197 views

Genetics of Social Skills: Oxytocin Receptor Gene

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Social neuroscience is an emerging emphasis in the field of neuroscience research.Social cognition is the subset of cognitive functions related to social processes and includes factors such as facial recognition, social memory and ability to form friendships and other social bonds.Impairment in social cognition is a known feature in autism, schizophrenia and other mental disorders. This type of impairment can produce significant problems in life adjustment, employment and human attachment.Geneti........ Read more »

Skuse DH, Lori A, Cubells JF, Lee I, Conneely KN, Puura K, Lehtimäki T, Binder EB, & Young LJ. (2014) Common polymorphism in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) is associated with human social recognition skills. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(5), 1987-92. PMID: 24367110  

  • September 17, 2014
  • 11:28 AM
  • 181 views

Antidepressants Modulate Memory in the Healthy Brain

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The mechanism of antidepressant drug response is not well understood.One theory posits antidepressant effects are only seen in those with clinical depression leaving the healthy brain unchanged.In a previous post, I outlined a study demonstrating effects of antidepressants on brain connectivity measures in the healthy brain.A recent fMRI study extends our understanding of the potential mechanisms for antidepressant drugs.CT Cerqueira and colleagues from Brazil studied the effects of the antidepr........ Read more »

  • September 16, 2014
  • 11:01 AM
  • 173 views

Cannabis-induced Paranoia: Cognitive Mechanisms

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Some individuals appear vulnerable to paranoia induced by exposure to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis.The mechanism for this effect is poorly understood.Daniel Freeman from University of Oxford along with colleagues in England and Switzerland recently conducted an interventional research study on this issue.In this study, 121 subjects were recruited to receive injections of THC in a laboratory setting.These subjects were required to have taken cannabis at least once before participation i........ Read more »

  • August 28, 2014
  • 11:40 AM
  • 269 views

Gambler Sub-types: Three Distinct Profiles

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

One method to advance understanding of a disorder is to use statistical modeling for sub-type or class analysis.Lia Nower and colleagues recently published the results of such an analysis from the large general population data-set known as the U.S. National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC).In this sample, 851 adults 18 years and older were identified with disordered gambling.This group then underwent a type of latent class statistical analysis known as the Pathways........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2014
  • 10:58 AM
  • 216 views

Diagnostic Profile in Pathological Gamblers

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Behavioral disorders like pathological gambling (PG) rarely occur alone as a single uncomplicated disorder.In a previous post, I noted the overlap of PG with personality disorder, anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder and substance abuse.A recent study from Germany adds to our knowledge of the general diagnostic profile in the PG population.Erbas and Buchner reviewed German national data sources and other German studies to come up with a series of findings:Twelve month prevalence rates ........ Read more »

  • August 18, 2014
  • 10:16 AM
  • 212 views

Guidelines for Treatment of Problem Gambling

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Despite the prevalence and impact of problem gambling, few summaries or guidelines address treatment.Searching the guideline.gov website shows no recent additions to the guideline literature.A guideline was published by the Singapore Ministry of Health in 2011. This guideline is still relevant and highlights some of the key elements of a problem gambling treatment program.I will summarize some of these key elements from this source titled: "Management of gambling disorders".  In their summa........ Read more »

Lee KM, Chan HN, Cheah B, Gentica GF, Guo S, Lim HK, Lim YC, Noorul F, Tan HS, Teo P.... (2011) Ministry of Health clinical practice guidelines: management of gambling disorders. Singapore medical journal, 52(6), 456. PMID: 21732000  

  • August 14, 2014
  • 11:17 AM
  • 233 views

FDA Approves Novel Insomnia Drug Suvorexant (Belsomra)

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Regular readers of this blog had a heads up last year on the development of orexin receptor antagonists for the treatment of insomnia.I posted a review of an Italian clinical drug trial in humans with insomnia paired with polysomnography. This study used three different doses of a orexin receptor antagonist (10 mg 30 mg and 60 mg).In a second post, I reviewed a sleep lab study of the effects of an orexin antagonist drug compared to zolpidem (Ambien) on sleep architecture.This second study found ........ Read more »

  • August 11, 2014
  • 11:42 AM
  • 237 views

Clinical Drug Trials for Pathological Gambling

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Several drug classes hold promise for reduction in pathological gambling behavior.However, there are very few published randomized and controlled clinical drug trials in gambling subjects.Searching clinical trials and gambling on PubMed yields only one small open-label proof of concept trial for the drug tolcapone within the last year.This study found evidence that this COMT inhibitor drug reduced gambling symptoms and was accompanied by fronto-parietal activation on fMRI imaging.However, on sea........ Read more »

Grant JE, Odlaug BL, Chamberlain SR, Hampshire A, Schreiber LR, & Kim SW. (2013) A proof of concept study of tolcapone for pathological gambling: relationships with COMT genotype and brain activation. European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 23(11), 1587-96. PMID: 23953269  

  • August 6, 2014
  • 12:01 PM
  • 210 views

Brain Striatum and Loss-Chasing in Gambling

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Pathological gambling (PG) is a pattern of gambling characterized by loss of control and large gambling debts.The near-miss phenomenon in gambling is the gaming scenario where gamblers sense they were very close to winning.This near-miss phenomenon can be programmed into slot machines. For example, a gambler might be presented frequently with four cherries when five cherries would result in a huge payout.The response to the near-miss in PG is often a sense that a big win is just around the corne........ Read more »

  • July 30, 2014
  • 11:24 AM
  • 240 views

Violent Death Rates Increased After Traumatic Brain Injury

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Anecdotal reports have linked traumatic brain injury with later violent death including death by suicide.Few large epidemiological studies have been published on this association.However, a recent Swedish population study published in JAMA Psychiatry provides valuable insight into this issue.Seena Fazel and colleagues from the University of Oxford, University College London and the Karolinksa Institute examined a large database of over 200,000 patients with TBI.Cases of TBI were identified from ........ Read more »

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use ResearchBlogging.org to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit seedmediagroup.com.