Plasticity of the brain, what does that even mean? Well the good news is that it isn’t just a marketing ploy, the brain needs to be “plastic” because we need to be able to adapt. Frankly speaking, the brain still has a lot to learn about itself. Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have made a key finding of the striking differences in how the brain’s cells can change through experience.
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Saez, I., & Friedlander, M. (2016) Role of GABAA-Mediated Inhibition and Functional Assortment of Synapses onto Individual Layer 4 Neurons in Regulating Plasticity Expression in Visual Cortex. PLOS ONE, 11(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147642
Well? Would you...?
This was the question faced by the participants in a rather extraordinary series of studies described in a new paper from Illinois psychologists Randy J. McCarthy and colleagues. In total, 1081 parents with children aged under 18 were presented with an outline of a person, and asked to imagine that it was their own child. They were told to think of a time when their child made them angry. Finally, they were asked how many pins they would like to stick into the "doll" in or... Read more »
McCarthy RJ, Crouch JL, Basham AR, Milner JS, & Skowronski JJ. (2016) Validating the Voodoo Doll Task as a Proxy for Aggressive Parenting Behavior. Psychology of violence, 6(1), 135-144. PMID: 26839734
Beat deafness, a recently documented form of congenital amusia, provides a unique window into functional specialization of neural circuitry for the processing of musical stimuli: Beat-deaf individuals exhibit deficits that are specific to the detection of a regular beat in music and the ability to move along with a beat.... Read more »
Phillips-Silver, J., Toiviainen, P., Gosselin, N., Piché, O., Nozaradan, S., Palmer, C., & Peretz, I. (2011) Born to dance but beat deaf: A new form of congenital amusia. Neuropsychologia. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.02.002
More than two million citizens have been Tased by police as Taser stun guns have become one of the preferred less-lethal weapons by police departments across the United States during the past decade. But what does that 50,000-volt shock do to a person's brain?
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Kane, R., & White, M. (2015) TASER Exposure and Cognitive Impairment: Implications for Valid Miranda Waivers and the Timing of Police Custodial Interrogations . Criminology . DOI: 10.1111/1745-9133.12173
Depression is a serious issue for expecting mothers. Left untreated, depression could have implications for a fetus’s health. But treating the disease during pregnancy may carry health risks for the developing fetus, which makes an expecting mother’s decision whether to take medication a very difficult one. To better understand how antidepressants affect fetuses during pregnancy, scientists studied exposure in mice.
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Velasquez, J., Goeden, N., Herod, S., & Bonnin, A. (2016) Maternal Pharmacokinetics and Fetal Disposition of (±)-Citalopram during Mouse Pregnancy. ACS Chemical Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1021/acschemneuro.5b00287
In the U.S., people face 25 times more chances of being killed by guns as compared to many other developed nations.
The American Journal of Medicine
In a study on “violent death rates”, researchers have reported that the rate of gun-related murder in the U.S. is about 25 times higher as compared to 22 other high-income countries. Moreover, gun-related suicide rate in the U.S. is about 8 times more than other high-income nations;........ Read more »
Grinshteyn, E., & Hemenway, D. (2015) Violent Death Rates: The US Compared with Other High-income OECD Countries, 2010. The American Journal of Medicine. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2015.10.025
Between 1993 and 2015, cattle killed 13 people who were out for walks in the United Kingdom. Dozens more walkers received broken bones or other injuries from the animals.
Murderous cattle are an understudied phenomenon, say veterinarian Angharad Fraser-Williams and other researchers at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom. So they scoured news articles and scientific literature to learn about cattle attacks over two decades. They turned up some advice for people wishing to av........ Read more »
Inflammation is a good thing, it helps the body fight disease, and without it we wouldn't survive. Unfortunately, when inflammation isn't kept under control it can wreak havoc on the body. From potentially causing alzheimer's to arthritis it seems that unchecked inflammation can cause all sorts of issues. In fact, a new study adds to the list of issues out of control inflammation causes in the body.
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Dowell, N., Cooper, E., Tibble, J., Voon, V., Critchley, H., Cercignani, M., & Harrison, N. (2016) Acute Changes in Striatal Microstructure Predict the Development of Interferon-Alpha Induced Fatigue. Biological Psychiatry, 79(4), 320-328. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.05.015
I have a friend who lost an eye to his brother. Yes, you read that correctly, his brother tried to kill him and in the process he lost his eye. I’ve told this story before, but whenever new schizophrenia research comes out I feel the need to tell it again. While he has forgiven his brother (partly because not long after, he was diagnosed as schizophrenic), he will not be able to see him again until he is released from prison. A tragedy that could’ve been avoided had he been diagnosed sooner......... Read more »
Arnedo, J., Mamah, D., Baranger, D., Harms, M., Barch, D., Svrakic, D., de Erausquin, G., Cloninger, C., & Zwir, I. (2015) Decomposition of brain diffusion imaging data uncovers latent schizophrenias with distinct patterns of white matter anisotropy. NeuroImage, 43-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.06.083
Selfie obsession can badly affect the relationship with partner.
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
“Selfie” is one of the latest things of our era. It is also amusing for many people. In a study, researchers from Florida State University were trying to find the effect and outcomes of selfies and their posting on Instagram. They surveyed 420 Instagram users in the age range of 18 years to 62 years.
Researchers f........ Read more »
Ridgway, J., & Clayton, R. (2016) Instagram Unfiltered: Exploring Associations of Body Image Satisfaction, Instagram #Selfie Posting, and Negative Romantic Relationship Outcomes. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 19(1), 2-7. DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2015.0433
A person’s suicide can increase the chances of suicide attempt of his or her family member or friend.
Suicide is one of the most harmful things in the life of people left behind. Researchers from the University College London found that people, who have faced the suicide of a family member or friend, have 65% more chances of attempting suicide as compared to those people, who have faced the sudden death of their loved ones du........ Read more »
Pitman, A., Osborn, D., Rantell, K., & King, M. (2016) Bereavement by suicide as a risk factor for suicide attempt: a cross-sectional national UK-wide study of 3432 young bereaved adults. BMJ Open, 6(1). DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009948
Immunotherapy to ameliorate neurodegeneration by targeting brain protein aggregates with antibodies is an area of intense investigation. A new study examines seemingly contradictory earlier results of targeting the prion protein and proposes a cautionary way forward to further test related therapeutic approaches.
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Reimann, R., Sonati, T., Hornemann, S., Herrmann, U., Arand, M., Hawke, S., & Aguzzi, A. (2016) Differential Toxicity of Antibodies to the Prion Protein. PLOS Pathogens, 12(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005401
Students of political sciences show higher level of overconfidence, whereas students from humanities are on the inverse side.
In a study, researchers from the University of St. Gallen and the University of Zurich in Switzerland surveyed over 700 first-year students. They also asked them to go through various experiments during a session lasting about an hour and a half. In the experiments, there was a simple task of guessing the ye........ Read more »
I remember years ago being required to write math problems containing unnecessary information so that students would have to choose the information that they needed. But just making kids do something is not the same thing as teaching them something. It is, rather, a total cave to assessment obsession—we just found a way to call assessment "instruction".... Read more »
Merkley, R., Thompson, J., & Scerif, G. (2016) Of Huge Mice and Tiny Elephants: Exploring the Relationship Between Inhibitory Processes and Preschool Math Skills. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01903
Here in Australia we celebrated our national holiday yesterday. Australia Day marks the end of the summer holiday season and as everyone heads back to school and work, Language on the Move is coming back from our break, too. Welcome … Continue reading →... Read more »
Even subtle differences in how you refer to people with mental illness can affect levels of tolerance, a new study has found. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers found that participants showed less tolerance toward people who were referred to as "the mentally ill" when compared to those referred to as "people with mental illness."
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Granello, D., & Gibbs, T. (2016) The Power of Language and Labels: “The Mentally Ill” Versus “People With Mental Illnesses”. Journal of Counseling , 94(1), 31-40. DOI: 10.1002/jcad.12059
One of the most common genetic disorders is a condition called neurofibromatosis, which causes brown spots on the skin and benign tumors on the brain, spinal cord and other parts of the nervous system. Neurofibromatosis is one of at least 60 genetic diseases called neurocutaneous disorders that involve the skin, central nervous system, and/or peripheral nervous system.
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Figueiredo, A., Mata-Machado, N., McCoyd, M., & Biller, J. (2016) Neurocutaneous Disorders for the Practicing Neurologist: a Focused Review. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, 16(2). DOI: 10.1007/s11910-015-0612-7
A musician takes up his/her violin and starts to play, but rather than gripping the strings, the fingers seize up--and this happens every time he/she takes up the instrument. Such a movement disorder--the so-called focal dystonia-- is a dramatic disease for those affected, which has thus far barely been studied.
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Rozanski VE, Rehfuess E, Bötzel K, Nowak D. (2015) Task-specific dystonia in professional musicians—a systematic review of the importance of intensive playing as a risk factor. Dtsch Arztebl Int. info:/10.3238/arztebl.2015.0871
The immune system exercises constant vigilance to protect the body from external threats–including what we eat and drink. A careful balancing act plays out as digested food travels through the intestine. Immune cells must remain alert to protect against harmful pathogens like Salmonella, but their activity also needs to be tempered since an overreaction can lead to too much inflammation and permanent tissue damage.
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Gabanyi, I., Muller, P., Feighery, L., Oliveira, T., Costa-Pinto, F., & Mucida, D. (2016) Neuro-immune Interactions Drive Tissue Programming in Intestinal Macrophages. Cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.12.023
A scientific review paper warns that people need to find ways to reduce chronic stress and anxiety in their lives or they may be at increased risk for developing depression and even dementia. Led by the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences, the review examined brain areas impacted by chronic anxiety, fear and stress in animal and human studies that are already published.... Read more »
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