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  • March 29, 2015
  • 09:28 AM
  • 23 views

Music affects on the brain

by Janet Kwasniak in Neuro-patch

A recent paper identified genes that changed their expression as a result of music performance in trained musicians. (see citation below). There were a surprising number of affected genes, 51 genes had increased and 22 had decreased expression, compared to controls who were also trained musicians but were not involved in making or listening to […]... Read more »

Kanduri, C., Kuusi, T., Ahvenainen, M., Philips, A., Lähdesmäki, H., & Järvelä, I. (2015) The effect of music performance on the transcriptome of professional musicians. Scientific Reports, 9506. DOI: 10.1038/srep09506  

  • March 28, 2015
  • 01:46 PM
  • 32 views

Too much attention can be a deficit

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Sometimes being too focused on a task is not a good thing. During tasks that require our attention, we might become so engrossed in what we are doing that we fail to notice there is a better way to get the job done. For example, let’s say you are coming out of a New York City subway one late afternoon and you want to find out which way is west. You might begin to scan street signs and then suddenly realize that you could just look for the setting sun.... Read more »

Nicolas W. Schuck, Robert Gaschler, Dorit Wenke, Jakob Heinzle, Peter A. Frensch, John-Dylan Haynes, & Carlo Reverberi. (2015) Medial Prefrontal Cortex Predicts Internally Driven Strategy Shifts. Neuron. info:/Link

  • March 27, 2015
  • 12:42 PM
  • 37 views

Researchers find how body’s good fat talks to the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

There are two types of fat we humans have — white and brown — unfortunately only one of them is “good fat” and it is unfortunately not the one we tend to produce. Well new research shows that brown fat tissue, the body’s “good fat,” communicates with the brain through sensory nerves, possibly sharing information that is important for fighting human obesity, such as how much fat we have and how much fat we’ve lost.... Read more »

  • March 27, 2015
  • 12:16 PM
  • 43 views

The genetics of musical talent: an interview with Irma Järvelä

by Isabel Torres in Science in the clouds

Would Mozart have become a great composer had his family not encouraged his musical career? Irma Järvelä is a clinical geneticist at the University of Helsinki, Finland, who investigates the molecular genetics of musical traits. After devoting 25 years of her career to the identification of genes and mutations involved in human diseases, she now works in close collaboration with bioinformaticians and music educators to study the influence of genes and the cultural environment in music percepti........ Read more »

Kanduri Chakravarthi, Minna Ahvenainen, Anju K. Philips, Liisa Ukkola-Vuoti, Harri Lähdesmäki, & Irma Järvelä. (2015) The effect of listening to music on human transcriptome. PeerJ. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.830  

Kanduri Chakravarthi, Minna Ahvenainen, Anju K. Philips, Harri Lähdesmäki, & Irma Järvelä. (2015) The effect of music performance on the transcriptome of professional musicians. Scientific Reports, 9506. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep09506  

  • March 27, 2015
  • 11:39 AM
  • 35 views

Music played by professionals activates genes for learning and memory

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Music performance is known to induce structural and functional changes to the human brain and enhance cognition. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying music performance have been so far unexplored. A Finnish research group has now investigated the effect of music performance (in a 2 hr concert) on the gene expression profiles of professional musicians from Tapiola Sinfonietta (a professional orchestra) and Sibelius-Academy (a music university).... Read more »

Kanduri, C., Kuusi, T., Ahvenainen, M., Philips, A., Lähdesmäki, H., & Järvelä, I. (2015) The effect of music performance on the transcriptome of professional musicians. Scientific Reports, 9506. DOI: 10.1038/srep09506  

  • March 26, 2015
  • 06:27 PM
  • 33 views

Stereotype lowers math performance in women, no one noticed

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Stereotypes about people can affect how we look at a person, but sometimes it causes other problems. Gender stereotypes about women’s ability in mathematics negatively impact their performance. And in a significant twist, both men and women wrongly believe those stereotypes will not undermine women’s math performance — but instead motivate them to perform better.... Read more »

Boucher, K., Rydell, R., & Murphy, M. (2015) Forecasting the experience of stereotype threat for others. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 56-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2015.01.002  

  • March 26, 2015
  • 02:20 PM
  • 49 views

High-fat diet causes brain inflammation and alters behavior

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We hear in the media all the time, obesity is effecting our health. In most cases when we talk obesity we are talking about heart disease, sedentary activity, or chronic overeating. But what if a high-fat diet — regardless of obesity — has more than just an affect on your waistline? What if the consumption of fatty foods can change your behavior and your brain?... Read more »

Bruce-Keller, A., Salbaum, J., Luo, M., Blanchard, E., Taylor, C., Welsh, D., & Berthoud, H. (2015) Obese-type Gut Microbiota Induce Neurobehavioral Changes in the Absence of Obesity. Biological Psychiatry, 77(7), 607-615. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.07.012  

  • March 26, 2015
  • 11:17 AM
  • 29 views

Parenting Moderates Childhood Brain Stress Response

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Child brain development benefits from a positive parenting style and environment.The mechanism for this positive effect is unclear but moderation of the stress response in the growing child is an area of research interest.Haroon Sheikh and colleagues from the University of Ontario in Canada recently published results on a study of parenting and brain development in children.In their study, a cohort of 46 six year old girls underwent brain imaging using a technique known as diffusion tensor imagi........ Read more »

  • March 26, 2015
  • 07:50 AM
  • 46 views

Watching a paradigm shift in neuroscience

by Björn Brembs in bjoern.brembs.blog

When I finished my PhD 15 years ago, the neurosciences defined the main function of brains in terms of processing input to compute output: “brain function is ultimately best understood in terms of input/output transformations and how they are produced” […] ↓ Read the rest of this entry...... Read more »

  • March 25, 2015
  • 05:59 PM
  • 56 views

Immunotherapy, a promising new treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Alzheimer’s disease, it slowly takes things away from the person without giving anything back. Right now there is no cure and at best we can slow the progression in some cases. Time is always a factor and no two cases are the same. However, new treatments are in the works and a new study has revealed that a single dose of an immunotherapy reverses memory problems in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease.... Read more »

  • March 25, 2015
  • 01:03 PM
  • 52 views

Cracking the blood-brain barrier with magnetic nanoparticles

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The blood-brain barrier, the thorn in the side of medicine. It makes using drugs directed for the brain ineffective at best and unusable at worst. This barrier runs inside almost all vessels in the brain and protects it from elements circulating in the blood that may be toxic to the brain. This barrier means that currently 98% of therapeutic molecules are also unable to cross to the brain. However, researchers now say magnetic nanoparticles can open the blood-brain barrier and deliver molecules ........ Read more »

  • March 25, 2015
  • 10:37 AM
  • 46 views

Parental Education As Risk Factor For Eating Disorders

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Genetic and environmental risk factors contribute to the risk for anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders.Known risk factors for anorexia nervosa include female gender, young age, family member with anorexia nervosa, weight loss, and participation in weight sensitive sports or activities, i.e. gymnastics, dancing.There has also been evidence that anorexia nervosa is more common in higher socioeconomic classes. This finding has made it one of the few brain disorders more common with this cate........ Read more »

  • March 25, 2015
  • 08:00 AM
  • 47 views

This Nose Knows

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Evolution has given the sperm whale the most amazing head in the animal kingdom. They’ve got the biggest brain – all 18 lb.s of it. It has 1900 liters of sperm oil that almost caused in the extinction of the animal. It has one nostril that’s offset on its head, making the whale asymmetric. But most impressively, he can change the density of his head to help him dive or surface, and to do it he uses the same organ he uses for echolocation!... Read more »

  • March 24, 2015
  • 01:44 PM
  • 48 views

Milk, not just for your bones, for your brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Milk, depending on who you ask it’s either great or the devil. In the US drinking milk is common; not so much in other parts of the world. This has lead to questions about why we even drink milk and how real its reported health claims actually are. Well new research has found a correlation between milk consumption and the levels of a naturally-occurring antioxidant called glutathione in the brain in older, healthy adults.... Read more »

Choi, I., Lee, P., Denney, D., Spaeth, K., Nast, O., Ptomey, L., Roth, A., Lierman, J., & Sullivan, D. (2014) Dairy intake is associated with brain glutathione concentration in older adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 101(2), 287-293. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.114.096701  

  • March 24, 2015
  • 07:00 AM
  • 54 views

A Universal Translator By Any Other Name…

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Star Trek wouldn’t have been possible without the universal translator. Who would want to watch a show where characters don’t understand each other – of course, that doesn’t stop people from watching political debates. The technology of a universal translator is easy, we have camera phones that will show you a foreign sign in your own language. It’s the software to decipher a previously unencountered language that’s proving tough to overcome. Are there any uni........ Read more »

Rao, R., Yadav, N., Vahia, M., Joglekar, H., Adhikari, R., & Mahadevan, I. (2009) Entropic Evidence for Linguistic Structure in the Indus Script. Science, 324(5931), 1165-1165. DOI: 10.1126/science.1170391  

Snyder, Benjamin, Regina Barzilay and Kevin Knight. (2010) A Statistical Model for Lost Language Decipherment. Proceedings of the 48th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, ACL 2010. info:/

  • March 23, 2015
  • 03:02 PM
  • 57 views

The neurological basis for anorexia nervosa

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Most of us know about dieting, and if not first hand, have seen in the news or from friends how hard sticking to a diet long-term can be. This is because adults (regardless of their weight_ resolve to lose weight. Yet, more often than not, that chocolate lava cake is too enticing and that resolve vanishes. This behavior is normal because hunger increases the intensity of food rewards. Yet, individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN), despite their state of starvation, are able to ignore such food-rel........ Read more »

Wierenga, C., Bischoff-Grethe, A., Melrose, A., Irvine, Z., Torres, L., Bailer, U., Simmons, A., Fudge, J., McClure, S., Ely, A.... (2015) Hunger Does Not Motivate Reward in Women Remitted from Anorexia Nervosa. Biological Psychiatry, 77(7), 642-652. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.09.024  

  • March 23, 2015
  • 12:39 PM
  • 51 views

Visualizing translation: insert TRICK pun here

by Gal Haimovich in Green Fluorescent Blog

Unlike transcription, it is much harder to image translation at the single molecule level. The reasons are numerous. For starters, transcription sites (TS) are fairly immobile, whereas mRNAs, ribosomes and proteins move freely in the cytoplasm, often very fast. Then … Continue reading →... Read more »

Halstead JM, Lionnet T, Wilbertz JH, Wippich F, Ephrussi A, Singer RH, & Chao JA. (2015) Translation. An RNA biosensor for imaging the first round of translation from single cells to living animals. Science (New York, N.Y.), 347(6228), 1367-671. PMID: 25792328  

Dieterich DC, Hodas JJ, Gouzer G, Shadrin IY, Ngo JT, Triller A, Tirrell DA, & Schuman EM. (2010) In situ visualization and dynamics of newly synthesized proteins in rat hippocampal neurons. Nature neuroscience, 13(7), 897-905. PMID: 20543841  

Rodriguez, A., Shenoy, S., Singer, R., & Condeelis, J. (2006) Visualization of mRNA translation in living cells. The Journal of Cell Biology, 175(1), 67-76. DOI: 10.1083/jcb.200512137  

  • March 23, 2015
  • 11:01 AM
  • 55 views

Smoking in Pregnancy and Child Brain Development

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Smoking during pregnancy produces significant and diverse effects on prenatal development.These adverse effects include dysfunction in prenatal and early childhood brain development.Hanan El Marroun and colleagues from the Netherlands recently published an important childhood brain imaging study of smoking during pregnancy.One hundred and thirteen children exposed to tobacco during pregnancy were compared to a control group of unexposed children.Both groups of children between 6 and 8 years of a........ Read more »

El Marroun H, Schmidt MN, Franken IH, Jaddoe VW, Hofman A, van der Lugt A, Verhulst FC, Tiemeier H, & White T. (2014) Prenatal tobacco exposure and brain morphology: a prospective study in young children. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 39(4), 792-800. PMID: 24096296  

  • March 23, 2015
  • 10:34 AM
  • 58 views

Komodo Dragons: Their Bite is Worse than Their Bark

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Shelly Sonsalla Komodo Dragon. Image by Arturo de Frias Marques on Wikimedia. Komodo dragons are the world’s largest living lizard and can be found only on select islands in the Indonesian archipelago. These massive lizards can grow to be 10 feet in length and up to 150 pounds! Their natural prey includes wild boars, deer, and water buffalo—animals which may outweigh them by several hundred pounds. So how does a lizard, even such a large one, manage to take down prey so much larger tha........ Read more »

Fry, B., Wroe, S., Teeuwisse, W., van Osch, M., Moreno, K., Ingle, J., McHenry, C., Ferrara, T., Clausen, P., Scheib, H.... (2009) A central role for venom in predation by Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) and the extinct giant Varanus (Megalania) priscus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(22), 8969-8974. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0810883106  

Merchant, M., Henry, D., Falconi, R., Muscher, B., & Bryja, J. (2013) Antibacterial activities of serum from the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis). Microbiology Research, 4(1), 4. DOI: 10.4081/mr.2013.e4  

Montgomery JM, Gillespie D, Sastrawan P, Fredeking TM, & Stewart GL. (2002) Aerobic salivary bacteria in wild and captive Komodo dragons. Journal of wildlife diseases, 38(3), 545-51. PMID: 12238371  

  • March 22, 2015
  • 03:24 PM
  • 53 views

New method – BWAS

by Janet Kwasniak in Neuro-patch

There is a report of a new method of analyzing fMRI scans – using enormous sets of data and giving very clear results. Brain-wide association analysis (BWAS for short) was used in a comparison of autistic and normal brains in a recent paper (citation below). The scan data is divided into 47,636 small areas of […]... Read more »

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