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  • December 20, 2014
  • 01:46 PM
  • 25 views

Antidepressants and the effects on your unborn child

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Think you know what causes depression? Well unfortunately scientists don’t have the exact answer, surprised? That’s not the only problem, there is an ever growing concern that we live in an over medicated society and a newly released study doesn’t paint a better picture. About 15 percent of women in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders and depression during their pregnancies, and many are prescribed antidepressants. However little is known about how early exposure to these medic........ Read more »

Altieri SC, Yang H, O'Brien HJ, Redwine HM, Senturk D, Hensler JG, & Andrews AM. (2014) Perinatal vs. Genetic Programming of Serotonin States Associated with Anxiety. Neuropsychopharmacology. PMID: 25523893  

  • December 19, 2014
  • 10:40 PM
  • 32 views

Know your brain: Pituitary gland

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged







The pituitary gland (in red). Image courtesy of Life Science Databases (LSDB).






Where is the pituitary gland?The pituitary gland is a small (about the size of a pea) endocrine gland that extends from the bottom of the hypothalamus. It is divided into two lobes in humans, the anterior pituitary and posterior pituitary. The anterior pituitary does not have direct neural connections to the hypothalamus, but is able to communicate with it through a system of blo........ Read more »

Amar, A., & Weiss, M. (2003) Pituitary anatomy and physiology. Neurosurgery Clinics of North America, 14(1), 11-23. DOI: 10.1016/S1042-3680(02)00017-7  

  • December 19, 2014
  • 08:56 AM
  • 33 views

Head Motion Biases Brain Structural Scans

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A regular theme here at Neuroskeptic is the worrying issue of head movement during brain scans. We've seen that motion can alter measures of functional and structural connectivity, and that common approaches to dealing with this problem may be inadequate.


Now a new study reveals that even measures of the gross structure of the brain can be biased by excessive motion: Head motion during MRI acquisition reduces gray matter volume and thickness estimates.

Harvard neurologists Martin Reuter ... Read more »

  • December 19, 2014
  • 08:00 AM
  • 36 views

Fly Life: Watching fruit flies sleep

by Bethany Christmann in Fly on the Wall

Did you know that fruit flies sleep? There are actually a lot of similarities between sleep in fruit flies and sleep in humans and other mammals. For example… Image modified from Colwell, 2007 Like us, fruit flies get most of their sleep at night, and they also have an afternoon slump (although unlike us, they […]... Read more »

  • December 18, 2014
  • 02:35 PM
  • 59 views

Gene fragments linked to brain development and autism

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

While the anti-vaccine movement enjoys the simple (and very wrong) answer to the cause of autism, there are people who want the actual truth. This drive had lead to a slew of causes (and risk factors) for autism in recent times. Now scientists have found that very small segments of genes called “microexons” influence how proteins interact with each other in the nervous system. In turn, this opens up a new line of research into the cause of autism.... Read more »

Irimia, M., Weatheritt, R., Ellis, J., Parikshak, N., Gonatopoulos-Pournatzis, T., Babor, M., Quesnel-Vallières, M., Tapial, J., Raj, B., O’Hanlon, D.... (2014) A Highly Conserved Program of Neuronal Microexons Is Misregulated in Autistic Brains. Cell, 159(7), 1511-1523. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.035  

  • December 17, 2014
  • 02:54 PM
  • 51 views

Epigenetic changes and autism

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Despite what you may think, the supposed “explosion” of children diagnosed with autism can directly attributed to better diagnosing techniques and — more importantly — the change of definition to make Autism spectrum disorders more broad. Thankfully more causes of autism have been found, none of them remotely related to vaccines and now scientists have found that chemical modifications to DNA’s packaging—known as epigenetic changes—can activate or repress genes involved in autism s........ Read more »

Gao, Z., Lee, P., Stafford, J., von Schimmelmann, M., Schaefer, A., & Reinberg, D. (2014) An AUTS2–Polycomb complex activates gene expression in the CNS. Nature, 516(7531), 349-354. DOI: 10.1038/nature13921  

Ntziachristos, P., Tsirigos, A., Welstead, G., Trimarchi, T., Bakogianni, S., Xu, L., Loizou, E., Holmfeldt, L., Strikoudis, A., King, B.... (2014) Contrasting roles of histone 3 lysine 27 demethylases in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Nature, 514(7523), 513-517. DOI: 10.1038/nature13605  

  • December 17, 2014
  • 11:00 AM
  • 17 views

What is the difference between the GAE and the VL hypotheisis?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Today a commentary was published in BBS in which the gradual audiomotor evolution (GAE) hypothesis is proposed as an alternative interpretation to the auditory timing mechanisms discussed in the BBS target article by Ackermann et al. (2014). ... Read more »

Merchant, H., & Honing, H. (2013) Are non-human primates capable of rhythmic entrainment? Evidence for the gradual audiomotor evolution hypothesis. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7(274). info:/

  • December 16, 2014
  • 02:37 PM
  • 53 views

Methamphetamine use and the onset of parkinson’s

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

We’ve all seen the PSA’s trying to show the effects of meth use and in particular, what it does to your teeth. Typically, when it comes to drug use, people will not look at the long term side effects from their addiction instead thinking in the short term. This is unfortunate because as it turns out, methamphetamine users are three times more at risk for getting Parkinson’s disease than non-illicit drug users with even worse news for women, new research shows.... Read more »

  • December 15, 2014
  • 03:07 PM
  • 83 views

Finding the neurons that deal with distraction

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

What’s that over there!? The next time you are around people, count how many people are on their phone? Distractions invade every aspect of our lives. Status updates, text messages, email notifications all threaten to steal our attention away from the moment. While we fight the urge to check the phone, our brains are making constant judgment calls about where to focus attention. The brain must continually filter important information from irrelevant interference.... Read more »

Ahrens, S., Jaramillo, S., Yu, K., Ghosh, S., Hwang, G., Paik, R., Lai, C., He, M., Huang, Z., & Li, B. (2014) ErbB4 regulation of a thalamic reticular nucleus circuit for sensory selection. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3897  

  • December 15, 2014
  • 08:42 AM
  • 85 views

Who is Getting High in Europe (and Where)?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

My research training is in psychiatric epidemiology. Alcohol and drug dependence have been two of my topic areas of research.So I found a recent novel study of the epidemiology of illicit drug use in Europe intriguing.Typical methods of looking for the prevalence of drug use in populations are direct diagnostic interviews and studies of emergency room attendees or autopsy cases with medical complications of drug use.However, Christopher Ort from Switzerland along with a host of European col........ Read more »

Ort C, van Nuijs AL, Berset JD, Bijlsma L, Castiglioni S, Covaci A, de Voogt P, Emke E, Fatta-Kassinos D, Griffiths P.... (2014) Spatial differences and temporal changes in illicit drug use in Europe quantified by wastewater analysis. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 109(8), 1338-52. PMID: 24861844  

  • December 13, 2014
  • 01:51 PM
  • 91 views

High fat diet leads to brain inflammation and obesity

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

The stomach strikes again, or so it seems. We’ve already covered how your stomach seemingly controls your brain and your blood-brain barrier, but now it seems that what you eat –not too indirectly related to your stomach– might make you fatter, but not in the way you might be thinking thinking. What you are eating may be causing inflammation in the brain.... Read more »

  • December 12, 2014
  • 10:35 PM
  • 86 views

Guns And Controllers: Do Violent Video Games Cause Aggressive Behaviour? A Review Of Meta-Analytic Research

by Alexis Delanoir in How to Paint Your Panda

There is a lot of debate over whether or not violent video games manifest in violent behaviour. Consensus has not entirely been reached, but some suggest that the literature provides solid evidence for the hypothesis in question. In this post I examine meta-analytic reviews of the literature and weigh their significance, coming to the conclusion that violent video games most likely do cause aggressive behaviour and other negative social outcomes.... Read more »

  • December 12, 2014
  • 04:00 PM
  • 65 views

Breaking Research: A new technique for studying axon death using fruit fly wings

by Bethany Christmann in Fly on the Wall

The axon is the part of a neuron that carries outgoing information. (cb = cell body) In neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a genetic mutation leads to widespread neuron damage. When a neuron is damaged, its axon—the part of the neuron that carries outgoing signals—is actively broken down and […]... Read more »

Neukomm L. J., M. A. Gonzalez, S. Zuchner, & M. R. Freeman. (2014) Rapid in vivo forward genetic approach for identifying axon death genes in Drosophila. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(27), 9965-9970. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1406230111  

  • December 12, 2014
  • 10:37 AM
  • 85 views

Detecting lies with fMRI

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

In 2006, a company called No Lie MRI began advertising their ability to detect "deception and other information stored in the brain" using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). They were not the first to make this claim. Two years prior, a company called Cephos had been founded on the same principle. Both companies were launched by entrepreneurs who hoped to one day replace the polygraph machine and its recognized shortcomings with a foolproof approach to lie detection.Within several yea........ Read more »

  • December 11, 2014
  • 08:27 PM
  • 97 views

Depression And Stress/Mood Disorders: Causes Of Repetitive Negative Thinking And Ruminations

by Alexis Delanoir in How to Paint Your Panda

Repetitive Negative Thinking (RNT) has been suggested to be of clinical significance as a transdiagnostic process. Research has been conducted to explain the causes of RNT and ruminations but is limited. This article explores the causes and possible solutions to RNT, as well as its clinical implications concerning mood and stress disorders such as major depressive disorder (MDD).... Read more »

Ehring, T., & Watkins, E. (2008) Repetitive Negative Thinking as a Transdiagnostic Process. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 1(3), 192-205. DOI: 10.1680/ijct.2008.1.3.192  

Gibb, B., Grassia, M., Stone, L., Uhrlass, D., & McGeary, J. (2011) Brooding Rumination and Risk for Depressive Disorders in Children of Depressed Mothers. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40(2), 317-326. DOI: 10.1007/s10802-011-9554-y  

  • December 11, 2014
  • 12:08 PM
  • 74 views

What makes us fat, OR food vs. physiology

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

There is a heir of mystery surrounding weight loss and fat in general. Have you ever heard you have all the fat cells you’ll ever have — that’s false by the way. Then there is fad diets like gluten free — proven to do nothing unless you actually have a diagnosed gluten allergy — or adkins, but now researchers believe they’re on track to solve the mystery of weight gain – and it has nothing to do with indulging in holiday eggnog.... Read more »

Woeller CF, O'loughlin CW, Pollock SJ, Thatcher TH, Feldon SE, & Phipps RP. (2014) Thy1 (CD90) controls adipogenesis by regulating activity of the Src family kinase, Fyn. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. PMID: 25416548  

  • December 11, 2014
  • 07:00 AM
  • 77 views

Without it no music?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

A short entry to announce a theme issue on Musicality in Philosophical Transactions B, to be out in February 2015... the year when the worlds first journal dedicated to science will celebrate its 350th anniversary.... Read more »

Honing H, ten Cate C, Peretz I, & Trehub SE. (2015) Without it no music: cognition, biology and evolution of musicality. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. info:/10.1098/rstb.2014.0088

  • December 10, 2014
  • 04:51 PM
  • 77 views

Worms’ “mental GPS” could help improve mental health

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Imagine this, you’ve misplaced your cell phone. You start by scanning where you remember leaving it: on your bureau. You check and double-check the bureau before expanding your search around and below the bureau. Eventually, you switch from this local area to a more global one, widening your search to the rest of your room and beyond.... Read more »

Adam J Calhoun, Sreekanth H Chalasani, Tatyana O Sharpee. (2014) Maximally informative foraging by Caenorhabditis elegans. eLife. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.04220#sthash.lVQ5aANV.dpuf

  • December 10, 2014
  • 03:54 PM
  • 89 views

Depressed? Laughing gas might help

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, has shown early promise as a potential treatment for severe depression in patients whose symptoms don’t respond to standard therapies. In other words, it might actually live up to it’s name and as they say laughter is the best medicine. The pilot study is believed to be the first research in which patients with depression were given laughing gas.... Read more »

Nagele P, Duma A, Kopec M, Gebara MA, Parsoei A, Walker M, Janski A, Pahagopoulos VN, Cristancho P, Miller JP, Zorumski CF, Conway C . (2014) Nitrous oxide for treatment-resistant major depression: a proof-of-concept trial. Biological Psychiatry. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2014.11.016  

  • December 10, 2014
  • 11:46 AM
  • 53 views

Prescription Opiate Abuse: High-Risk Populations

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Prescription opiate abuse is a significant problem in the United States.I have previously written about this issue in several previous posts.One important factor for clinicians and patients is the need to identify high-risk populations that may be more vulnerable to opiate abuse and dependence.One obvious group would be those with alcohol or another non-opiate abuse diagnosis. Additionally, some psychiatric disorders are associated with increased risk for substance abuse including opiate abuse.G........ Read more »

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