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  • June 16, 2013
  • 10:24 AM

Why Do Some Irish Drink So Much?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

An interesting new paper asks Why Do Some Irish Drink So Much? (EDIT: please note, this is the actual title of the paper) In a survey of students attending University College Dublin, (n=3500 respondents), the authors examined self-reported alcohol consumption. Participants also answered various questions about their family background and their place of origin, to [...]... Read more »

  • June 12, 2013
  • 04:50 PM

When Cleaning fMRI Data is a Nuisance

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A flaw in data processing could be leading to biases in fMRI brain functional connectivity patterns, according to a new report: The Nuisance of Nuisance Regression. Ironically, two high-profile recent papers about bias are amongst the victims. The new paper, from Pittsburgh’s Michael Hallquist and colleagues, is essentially about a case where 2 + 2 [...]... Read more »

  • June 8, 2013
  • 09:56 AM

Smarter Children Have More Gray Matter 60 Years Later

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Your IQ at the age of eleven predicts your brain anatomy sixty years later, according to a Canadian/Scottish team of neuroscientists: Childhood cognitive ability accounts for associations between cognitive ability and brain cortical thickness in old age. The authors of the new paper, Karama et al, made use of a unique long-term study of Scottish [...]... Read more »

Karama, S., Bastin, M., Murray, C., Royle, N., Penke, L., Muñoz Maniega, S., Gow, A., Corley, J., Valdés Hernández, M., Lewis, J.... (2013) Childhood cognitive ability accounts for associations between cognitive ability and brain cortical thickness in old age. Molecular Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2013.64  

  • June 7, 2013
  • 05:30 PM

A Personal Academic Journal

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Why is a major academic publisher printing a journal that seems a lot like the newsletter of the editor’s fan club? Nursing Science Quarterly (NSQ) is published by SAGE, one of the big publishers in science and the humanities. Even I’m a SAGE contributor, having published in their Perspectives on Psychological Science. But NSQ may [...]... Read more »

  • June 2, 2013
  • 12:08 PM

When Trick Questions Become False Memories

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Simply asking people whether they experienced an event can trick them into later believing that it did occur, according to a neat little study just out: Susceptibility to long-term misinformation effect outside of the laboratory Psychologists Miriam Lommen and colleagues studied 249 Dutch soldiers were deployed for a four month tour of duty in Afghanistan. [...]... Read more »

  • May 30, 2013
  • 06:04 AM

Looking Askance At Cognitive Neuroscience

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Yesterday, I read a paper that, to my mind, embodies what’s wrong with cognitive neuroscience: Changes in the Amygdala Produced by Viewing Strabismic Eyes I have no wish to attack the authors of the piece. This post is rather unfair on them: their paper is no worse than a hundred others, it’s just a clear case [...]... Read more »

Berberat J, Jaggi GP, Wang FM, Remonda L, & Killer HE. (2013) Changes in the Amygdala Produced by Viewing Strabismic Eyes. Ophthalmology. PMID: 23706702  

  • May 27, 2013
  • 09:56 AM

Fixing Science, Not Just Psychology

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Neuroskeptic readers will know that there’s been a lot of concern lately over unreproducible results and false positives in psychology and neuroscience. In response to these worries, there have been growing calls for reform of the way psychology is researched and published. We’ve seen several initiatives promoting replication and, to my mind even more importantly, [...]... Read more »

  • May 21, 2013
  • 05:51 PM

A Machine to Weigh the Soul

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Newly discovered papers have shed light on a fascinating episode in the history of neuroscience: Weighing brain activity with the balance The story of the early Italian neuroscientist Dr Angelo Mosso and his ‘human circulation balance’ is an old one – I remember reading about it as a student, in the introductory bit of a [...]... Read more »

Sandrone S, Bacigaluppi M, Galloni MR, Cappa SF, Moro A, Catani M, Filippi M, Monti MM, Perani D, & Martino G. (2013) Weighing brain activity with the balance: Angelo Mosso's original manuscripts come to light. Brain : a journal of neurology. PMID: 23687118  

  • May 19, 2013
  • 09:29 AM

Fantastic Distortions of Perception

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new paper in the journal European Neurology reports on a remarkable case of perceptual distortion that’ll please any connoisseur of neurogothic: A 48-year-old woman woke up one morning without knowing where she was. She recognized her husband and finally realized that she was at home, but reported that she felt that all surroundings appeared [...]... Read more »

  • May 12, 2013
  • 05:49 AM

Visualizing the Connectome

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Last year, I blogged about a new and very pretty way of displaying the data about the human ‘connectome’ – the wiring between different parts of the brain. But there are many beautiful ways of visualizing the brain’s connections, as neuroscientists Daniel Margulies and colleagues of Leipzig discuss in a colourful paper showcasing these techniques. Here, [...]... Read more »

Margulies DS, Böttger J, Watanabe A, & Gorgolewski KJ. (2013) Visualizing the Human Connectome. NeuroImage. PMID: 23660027  

  • May 7, 2013
  • 01:38 PM

Why Are Children Given Antipsychotics?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Prescriptions of antipsychotic (aka neuroleptic) drugs in North American children and adolescents have been rising rapidly in recent years. But why? Gabrielle Carlson of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital offers her thoughts in a brief paper: The Dramatic Rise in Neuroleptic Use In Children: Why Do We Do It and What Does It Buy Us? Carlson [...]... Read more »

  • May 3, 2013
  • 05:41 PM

Brain Voodoo Goes Electric

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Four years ago, neuroscientists became aware of an ominous-sounding manuscript entitled “Voodoo Correlations In Social Neuroscience”. This piece was eventually published under a more prosaic name but it still hit home, with nearly 500 citations so far. To me, this paper marked the start of a new era of ‘critical’ (in the proper sense of [...]... Read more »

  • April 27, 2013
  • 09:20 AM

The (sigh) Psychopath Brain

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Neuroscience has revealed that Lady Gaga’s song Born This Way is probably about a psychopath. Or something. HuffPo says - Psychopathic Brain ‘Lacks Basic Hardwiring’ To Feel Compassion, Research Suggests Meanwhile, the Daily Mail report - Is this proof evil killers are born not made? Psychopaths’ brains ‘lack basic wiring that triggers empathy’ Last week [...]... Read more »

  • April 18, 2013
  • 04:04 PM

fMRI: More Voxels, More Problems?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new paper could prompt a rethink of a technique that’s become very hot in neuroscience lately: Confounds in multivariate pattern analysis The authors are Princetonians Michael T. Todd and colleagues, and the method in question is multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA). I’ve written about this before and there’s a blog dedicated to it. MVPA searches [...]... Read more »

  • April 14, 2013
  • 09:56 AM

The Man With Uncrossed Eyes

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

“GB” is a 28 year old man with a curious condition: his optic nerves are in the wrong place. Most people have an optic chiasm, a crossroads where half of the signals from each eye cross over the midline, in such a way that each half of the brain gets information from one side of [...]... Read more »

  • April 8, 2013
  • 08:18 AM

Anonymity In Science – New Neuroskeptic Paper

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Six months ago, I proudly announced Blogging’s First Academic Paper. That was when Perspectives in Psychological Science became the first scientific journal to publish an article under a blogging pseudonym (an adaptation of this post). But while the blogging bit was new, many scientists have published work anonymously or pseudonymously before… as I explain in [...]... Read more »

Neuroskeptic. (2013) Anonymity in Science. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2013.03.004  

  • April 7, 2013
  • 05:45 AM

The Brain, Speaking In Tongues?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Glossolalia – ‘speaking in tongues‘ – is a practice best known in association with ‘Charismatic’ branches of Christianity. Practitioners, often as part of religious services, produce streams of speech which correspond to no known language. But could glossolalia sometimes be associated with a brain abnormality? Here’s an interesting case report: Temporal lobe discharges and glossolalia [...]... Read more »

Reeves, R., Kose, S., & Abubakr, A. (2013) Temporal lobe discharges and glossolalia. Neurocase, 1-5. DOI: 10.1080/13554794.2013.770874  

  • April 5, 2013
  • 08:16 AM

“Genetic Test for Autism” Criticized

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Last year, there was quite a bit of excitement over a “Genetic Test To Predict Risk for Autism”. The test was revealed in a paper in Molecular Psychiatry, by Australian researchers Skafidas and colleagues. The claim was that a statistical classifier could spot patterns of genetic variation that differed between people with autism and healthy [...]... Read more »

Belgard, T., Jankovic, I., Lowe, J., & Geschwind, D. (2013) Population structure confounds autism genetic classifier. Molecular Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2013.34  

  • March 26, 2013
  • 03:36 PM

Brain Activation: Does 2 2 = 4?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

An interesting Journal of Neuroscience paper just out argues that Spontaneous and Task-Evoked Brain Activity Negatively Interact. If true, this could be explosive, because a lot of neuroscience is built on the assumption that those two things don’t interact. So what’s going on? We know that the brain is active all of the time. Even [...]... Read more »

He BJ. (2013) Spontaneous and task-evoked brain activity negatively interact. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 33(11), 4672-82. PMID: 23486941  

  • March 25, 2013
  • 04:00 PM

Tea Party Brain Surgeon Wants To Shave You

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

I’m currently researching a piece on politics and neurosurgery, and I just came across this amusing snippet. David McKalip MD is a brain surgeon from Florida. He attained 15 minutes of infamy in 2009 when he deemed a virulently racially insensitive of Barack Obama to be “funny stuff” and emailed it to some Tea Party [...]... Read more »

McKalip D. (2013) Letter to the editor: shaving. Journal of neurosurgery, 118(3), 701-2. PMID: 23259824  

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