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  • September 25, 2016
  • 02:57 PM
  • 13 views

Linking perception to action

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers studying how the brain uses perception of the environment to guide action offer a new understanding of the neural circuits responsible for transforming sensation into movement.

... Read more »

  • September 21, 2016
  • 11:46 AM
  • 67 views

Brain Imaging: UK Biobank Epidemiology Study

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

I wanted to alert Brain Posts readers to a very important ongoing study out of the United Kingdom.The UK Biobank prospective epidemiological study is a study designed to identify imaging markers for a wide variety of diseases. Additionally, a goal of the study is to better understand disease mechanisms.Here is what is being collected on 100,000 healthy participants who will be tracked over decades:Brain structural and functional imaging (fMRI)Brain diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)Neuropsychologica........ Read more »

Miller KL, Alfaro-Almagro F, Bangerter NK, Thomas DL, Yacoub E, Xu J, Bartsch AJ, Jbabdi S, Sotiropoulos SN, Andersson JL.... (2016) Multimodal population brain imaging in the UK Biobank prospective epidemiological study. Nature neuroscience. PMID: 27643430  

  • September 19, 2016
  • 11:11 AM
  • 97 views

Preventing Depression Following Brain Injury

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Depression is a common feature following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Post-TBI depression may be difficult to treat and evolve into a chronic depression syndrome.A recent published study demonstrates that prophylactic SSRI antidepressant treatment may reduce the incidence of depression following TBI.This study was conducted by investigators affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa.Ninety four subjects were recruited to this randomized........ Read more »

  • September 16, 2016
  • 10:16 AM
  • 136 views

The Brain in Super Agers

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

My Twitter post on a recently published study of brain structure in a group of high performing older adults received quite a bit of attention (see below).Felicia Sun and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School selected an interesting research design.A group of elderly subjects between the ages of 60 and 80 years were identified as showing "superaging". This was defined as scoring like young adults on two neuropsychological tests: The Long Delay Free Recall measure........ Read more »

Sun FW, Stepanovic MR, Andreano J, Barrett LF, Touroutoglou A, & Dickerson BC. (2016) Youthful Brains in Older Adults: Preserved Neuroanatomy in the Default Mode and Salience Networks Contributes to Youthful Memory in Superaging. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 36(37), 9659-9668. PMID: 27629716  

  • September 15, 2016
  • 02:22 PM
  • 142 views

MRI scanner sees emotions flickering across an idle mind

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

As you relax and let your mind drift aimlessly, you might remember a pleasant vacation, an angry confrontation in traffic or maybe the loss of a loved one. And now a team of researchers say they can see those various emotional states flickering across the human brain.

... Read more »

  • September 13, 2016
  • 03:48 PM
  • 152 views

Entitlement -- a damning recipe for happiness

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Entitlement--a personality trait driven by exaggerated feelings of deservingness and superiority--may lead to chronic disappointment, unmet expectations and a habitual, self-reinforcing cycle of behavior with dire psychological and social costs, according to new research. In a new theoretical model, researchers have mapped how entitled personality traits may lead to a perpetual loop of distress.

... Read more »

  • September 13, 2016
  • 01:39 PM
  • 144 views

How Well Does Brain Structure Predict Behaviour?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

To what extent does brain structure correlate with different psychological traits? An interesting new paper from Massachusetts General Hospital researchers Mert R. Sabuncu and colleagues uses a new method to examine what the authors call the 'morphometricity' of various behaviours and mental disorders.



Sabuncu et al. define morphometricity as "the proportion of phenotypic variation that can be explained by macroscopic brain morphology" - in other words, the degree to which people with sim... Read more »

Sabuncu MR, Ge T, Holmes AJ, Smoller JW, Buckner RL, Fischl B, & Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. (2016) Morphometricity as a measure of the neuroanatomical signature of a trait. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 27613854  

  • September 12, 2016
  • 02:19 PM
  • 140 views

Learning to turn down your amygdala can modify your emotions

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Training the brain to treat itself is a promising therapy for traumatic stress. The training uses an auditory or visual signal that corresponds to the activity of a particular brain region, called neurofeedback, which can guide people to regulate their own brain activity. However, treating stress-related disorders requires accessing the brain's emotional hub, the amygdala, which is located deep in the brain and difficult to reach with typical neurofeedback methods.

... Read more »

  • September 12, 2016
  • 12:36 PM
  • 130 views

Opioid Abuse: Treatment Guidelines

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Molecular model of the drug buprenorphineThe U.S. Surgeon General recently sent a letter to all physicians about the danger of prescription opioids, particularly when used in combination with benzodiazepines (i.e. Valium, Xanax).  This combination greatly increases the risk of overdose death.Clinicians can successfully assist those with opioid use disorders. Marc Schuckit, M.D. recently published a nice summary review of entitled "Treatment of Opioid-Use Disorder" in the New England Journal........ Read more »

Schuckit, M. (2016) Treatment of Opioid-Use Disorders. New England Journal of Medicine, 375(4), 357-368. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1604339  

  • September 11, 2016
  • 03:12 PM
  • 159 views

A microRNA plays role in major depression

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A tiny RNA appears to play a role in producing major depression, the mental disorder that affects as many as 250 million people a year worldwide. Major depression, formally known as major depressive disorder, or MDD, brings increased risk of suicide and is reported to cause the second-most years of disability after low-back pain.

... Read more »

  • September 9, 2016
  • 02:16 PM
  • 170 views

Study could herald new treatment for muscular dystrophy

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

New research has shown that the corticosteroid deflazacort is a safe and effective treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The findings could pave the way for first U.S.-approved treatment for the disease.

... Read more »

Griggs, R., Miller, J., Greenberg, C., Fehlings, D., Pestronk, A., Mendell, J., Moxley, R., King, W., Kissel, J., Cwik, V.... (2016) Efficacy and safety of deflazacort vs prednisone and placebo for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Neurology, 10. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000003217  

  • September 9, 2016
  • 12:10 PM
  • 190 views

Statin Therapy: Rethinking Benefits and Risks

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

A recent 30-page manuscript provides an exhaustive review of the evidence for the efficacy and safety of statin therapy.The authors of this excellent review provide some context for the relative value of statins.The note that putting 10000 individuals with a history of a vascular event on a statin drug for 5 years would prevent 1,000 subsequent events. This is an example of secondary prevention--preventing another adverse outcome in those already experiencing an adverse event.But the statin drug........ Read more »

Collins, Rory, Reith, Christina, & Emberson, Jonathan. (2016) Interpretation of the evidence for the efficacy and safety of statin therapy. Lancet. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31357-5

  • September 8, 2016
  • 04:28 PM
  • 175 views

How new experiences boost memory formation

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Most people remember where they were when the twin towers collapsed in New York ... new research reveals why that may be the case. The study has shed new light on the biological mechanisms that drive the process, known as flashbulb memory.

... Read more »

Takeuchi, T., Duszkiewicz, A., Sonneborn, A., Spooner, P., Yamasaki, M., Watanabe, M., Smith, C., Fernández, G., Deisseroth, K., Greene, R.... (2016) Locus coeruleus and dopaminergic consolidation of everyday memory. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature19325  

  • September 7, 2016
  • 12:05 PM
  • 163 views

Nuturing the Gifted: II

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Earlier this summer I posted a review and commentary on a Duke University study of the outcome of children identified as gifted.You can access this post by clicking HERE.Today in Nature News, Tom Clynes publishes a nice review of the history of this topic.He notes there have several large scale studies to examine prospectively children with high academic potential. The cohorts include:Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth-SMPY (Johns Hopkins)Duke University Talent Identification ProgramMunich........ Read more »

  • September 6, 2016
  • 11:17 AM
  • 164 views

Keeping the Weight Off

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Weight loss and maintenance of weight loss is difficult if not nearly impossible for most people.A registry of individuals who have lost 30 pounds or more and maintained their weight loss over a year exists in the U.S. This research effort is known as the National Weight Control Registry. It currently has over 10,000.I was looking at some of the published research results from this study. A paper published in 2012 used cluster analysis to identify sub-types of individuals with successful long-te........ Read more »

  • September 4, 2016
  • 03:25 PM
  • 201 views

Parents' math skills 'rub off' on their children

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Parents who excel at math produce children who excel at math. This is according to a recently released study, which shows a distinct transfer of math skills from parent to child. The study specifically explored intergenerational transmission--the concept of parental influence on an offspring's behavior or psychology--in mathematical capabilities.

... Read more »

  • September 2, 2016
  • 02:21 PM
  • 236 views

Babies chew on subtle social, cultural cues at mealtime

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

At the dinner table, babies do a lot more than play with their sippy cups, new research suggests. Babies pay close attention to what food is being eaten around them - and especially who is eating it. The study adds evidence to a growing body of research suggesting even very young children think in sophisticated ways about subtle social cues.

... Read more »

Liberman, Z., Woodward, A., Sullivan, K., & Kinzler, K. (2016) Early emerging system for reasoning about the social nature of food. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(34), 9480-9485. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1605456113  

  • September 2, 2016
  • 11:53 AM
  • 185 views

Obesity Surgery: VA Outcome Study

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Weight loss (bariatric) surgery is likely to become increasingly important to address the obesity epidemic in the U.S. and other nations.There are several types of surgical techniques used for bariatric surgery.One of the most invasive is the Rous-en-Y gastric bypass (RYG) operation. This operation involves bisection of the small intestine and reattachment of the upper section to a position lower down the small intestine. This provides for a shorter distance for food to be absorbed.Less invasive........ Read more »

Maciejewski ML, Arterburn DE, Van Scoyoc L, Smith VA, Yancy WS Jr, Weidenbacher HJ, Livingston EH, & Olsen MK. (2016) Bariatric Surgery and Long-term Durability of Weight Loss. JAMA surgery. PMID: 27579793  

  • September 1, 2016
  • 03:32 PM
  • 58 views

Can Dogs Understand Speech?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A paper just published in Science has given rise to some astonishing headlines:
Dogs can understand human speech, scientists discover

Dogs process language like us

Dogs understand both words and intonation of human speech
But is the media's excitement justified, or are they barking up the wrong tree?



Here's the paper, from Hungarian neuroscientists Atilla Andics and colleagues. It was a canine fMRI study: dogs were trained to lie still in the MRI scanner and were played voice reco... Read more »

Andics A, Gábor A, Gácsi M, Faragó T, Szabó D, & Miklósi Á. (2016) Neural mechanisms for lexical processing in dogs. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 27576923  

  • September 1, 2016
  • 01:36 PM
  • 214 views

Trauma's epigenetic fingerprint observed in children of Holocaust survivors

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The children of traumatized people have long been known to be at increased risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and mood and anxiety disorders. However, there are very few opportunities to examine biologic alterations in the context of a watershed trauma in exposed people and their adult children born after the event.

... Read more »

Yehuda, R., Daskalakis, N., Bierer, L., Bader, H., Klengel, T., Holsboer, F., & Binder, E. (2016) Holocaust Exposure Induced Intergenerational Effects on FKBP5 Methylation. Biological Psychiatry, 80(5), 372-380. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.08.005  

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