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  • May 14, 2016
  • 06:16 PM
  • 729 views

What's really the deal with toxoplasma gondii and human behavior?

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged







T. gondii cyst in a mouse brain.







For a simple protozoan, Toxoplasma gondii has experienced something of a meteoric rise in popularity over the past several years. Actually, to be fair T. gondii has garnered quite a bit of interest since the 1930s, when it was discovered the parasite could be transmitted from a mother to a fetus in the womb, sometimes resulting in severe congenital disorders. Curiosity about T. gondii grew significantly in the early 2000s, ........ Read more »

Parlog A, Schlüter D, & Dunay IR. (2015) Toxoplasma gondii-induced neuronal alterations. Parasite immunology, 37(3), 159-70. PMID: 25376390  

  • May 14, 2016
  • 09:28 AM
  • 662 views

The Neural Basis of Seeing God?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A remarkable case report describes the brain activity in a man at the moment that he underwent a revelatory experience.

According to the authors, Israeli researchers Arzy and Schurr, the man was 46 years old. He was Jewish, but he had never been especially religious. His supernatural experience occured in hospital where he was undergoing tests to help treat his right temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), a condition which he had suffered from for forty years. As part of the testing procedure, the pat... Read more »

  • May 13, 2016
  • 04:00 PM
  • 556 views

Neuroscientists discover new learning rule for pattern completion

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Recently, scientists discovered a new learning rule for a specific type of excitatory synaptic connection in the hippocampus. These synapses are located in the so-called CA3 region of the hippocampus, which plays a critical role for storage and recall of spatial information in the brain. One of its hallmark properties is that memory recall can even be triggered by incomplete cues. This enables the network to complete neuronal activity patterns, a phenomenon termed pattern completion.

... Read more »

  • May 12, 2016
  • 11:02 AM
  • 190 views

Sleep – what is it good for (absolutely nothing?)

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

Sleep can often feel like a fall into annihilation and rebirth. One moment you have all the memories and aches of a long day behind you, the next you wake up from nothingness into the start of something new. Or: a rush from … Continue reading →... Read more »

Hengen, K., Torrado Pacheco, A., McGregor, J., Van Hooser, S., & Turrigiano, G. (2016) Neuronal Firing Rate Homeostasis Is Inhibited by Sleep and Promoted by Wake. Cell, 165(1), 180-191. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.01.046  

  • May 11, 2016
  • 02:58 PM
  • 555 views

Could flies help us understand brain injuries?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Each year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These injuries occur most frequently from falling, but can also result from military combat, car accidents, contact sports or domestic abuse. Recently, physicians and researchers have become increasingly concerned that even mild cases of repetitive brain trauma could have long-term, unanticipated consequences.

... Read more »

Barekat, A., Gonzalez, A., Mauntz, R., Kotzebue, R., Molina, B., El-Mecharrafie, N., Conner, C., Garza, S., Melkani, G., Joiner, W.... (2016) Using Drosophila as an integrated model to study mild repetitive traumatic brain injury. Scientific Reports, 25252. DOI: 10.1038/srep25252  

  • May 11, 2016
  • 01:00 PM
  • 401 views

How to Solve Homicide Crimes

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Homicide rates in the U.S. represent a significant public health challenge. Homicide is a top ten leading cause of death in many groups in the U.S.One method to reduce homicide rates is to quickly identify and arrest individuals who have committed homicide. This is due to the fact that individuals committing homicide have a high rate of future homicide.A recent study from Michigan State University and Indiana University examined characteristics of U.S. police departments that have high rates of ........ Read more »

  • May 11, 2016
  • 12:34 PM
  • 409 views

Dietary Seafood and Cognitive Decline

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Seafood intake has been linked to a variety of improvements in health. Additionally, there is some evidence linking seafood intake with slower cognitive decline in aging populations.A recent study adds to this age-related cognitive benefit of seafood intake.A collaborative group of researchers from Rush University Medical Center and the Wageningen University in the Netherlands conducted a prospective study.This study followed 915 subjects with a mean age of 81.4 years over a five year period. Su........ Read more »

  • May 10, 2016
  • 09:34 PM
  • 415 views

The Face as Destiny

by John DiPrete in EmbodiCog

Here is a graphic tutorial on the large impact that small changes can make in a face's superficial architecture...... Read more »

Merton, R. (1948) The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. The Antioch Review, 8(2), 193. DOI: 10.2307/4609267  

  • May 10, 2016
  • 04:55 PM
  • 586 views

Research shows body image linked to overall life satisfaction

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We're constantly bombarded by advertisements telling us we are too fat, too thin, not curvy enough, not flat enough -- or more often than not -- simply not enough. It shouldn't be a surprise to see that effect our day to day life, like it or not -- and it has. Researchers have just published results from a national study on the factors linked to satisfaction with appearance and weight.

... Read more »

  • May 10, 2016
  • 12:54 PM
  • 404 views

Smartphones and Sleep Data: Data Mining

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Smartphones contribute a treasure trove of data that is likely to expand our knowledge of a variety of human behaviors.An example of this is a recent study published in Science Advances by a research team from the University of Michigan.The University of Michigan team developed a smartphone app called ENTRAIN and then used the app to collect sleep data on subjects from around the world.They came up with some very interesting findings including the following:The time of going to sleep appears mor........ Read more »

  • May 10, 2016
  • 07:40 AM
  • 642 views

Do dragons dream of tasty crickets?

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

(Also appeared on United Academics) Sleep cycles When we leave the day behind us and nestle ourselves in our cosy beds, we sleep. Sleep, however, comes in stages that repeat themselves. It’s a five-stage cycle that last about 90 minutes in humans. Four stages of non-REM sleep are followed by a period of REM (Rapid […]... Read more »

Shein-Idelson M, Ondracek JM, Liaw HP, Reiter S, & Laurent G. (2016) Slow waves, sharp waves, ripples, and REM in sleeping dragons. Science (New York, N.Y.), 352(6285), 590-5. PMID: 27126045  

  • May 10, 2016
  • 06:36 AM
  • 757 views

Psychosis: Understanding The Symptoms

by Pieter Carrière in United Academics

Dealing with psychotic patients takes more than looking at their diagnostic labels.... Read more »

Heering, H., Koevoets, G., Koenders, L., Machielsen, M., Meijer, C., Kubota, M., de Nijs, J., Cahn, W., Hulshoff Pol, H., de Haan, L.... (2015) Structural MRI Differences between Patients with and without First Rank Symptoms: A Delusion?. Frontiers in Psychiatry. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00107  

Perälä, J., Suvisaari, J., Saarni, S., Kuoppasalmi, K., Isometsä, E., Pirkola, S., Partonen, T., Tuulio-Henriksson, A., Hintikka, J., Kieseppä, T.... (2007) Lifetime Prevalence of Psychotic and Bipolar I Disorders in a General Population. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64(1), 19. DOI: 10.1001/archpsyc.64.1.19  

  • May 9, 2016
  • 03:29 PM
  • 544 views

Epigenetic study of lactose intolerance may shed light on the origin of mental illness

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study on the epigenetics of lactose intolerance may provide an approach to understanding schizophrenia and other complex, serious illnesses. While that may seem odd, both lactose intolerance and schizophrenia are inherited. In addition, neither condition emerges in the first years of life, but rather both appear years or even decades later.

... Read more »

Labrie, V., Buske, O., Oh, E., Jeremian, R., Ptak, C., Gasiūnas, G., Maleckas, A., Petereit, R., Žvirbliene, A., Adamonis, K.... (2016) Lactase nonpersistence is directed by DNA-variation-dependent epigenetic aging. Nature Structural . DOI: 10.1038/nsmb.3227  

  • May 9, 2016
  • 01:34 PM
  • 808 views

The Princess IS the Frog (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Hayley TrzinskiImage by Hayley TrzinskiThe Princess and the Frog is a very fun and imaginative children’s story… but not when pesticides are involved. Have you ever wondered how dangerous pesticides can be? Well, pesticides can harm more than just pests and weeds, and in the case of frogs, many pesticides and herbicides are causing problems. Atrazine, a chemical commonly used as an herbicide, can cause reproduction in male African clawed frogs to be impossible. In some cases, atrazine i........ Read more »

Hayes, T., Khoury, V., Narayan, A., Nazir, M., Park, A., Brown, T., Adame, L., Chan, E., Buchholz, D., Stueve, T.... (2010) Atrazine induces complete feminization and chemical castration in male African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(10), 4612-4617. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0909519107  

Mnif, W., Hassine, A., Bouaziz, A., Bartegi, A., Thomas, O., & Roig, B. (2011) Effect of Endocrine Disruptor Pesticides: A Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 8(12), 2265-2303. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph8062265  

  • May 9, 2016
  • 06:51 AM
  • 578 views

Do Dragons Dream Of Tasty Crickets?

by Gunnar De Winter in United Academics

Sleeping reptiles show brain patterns resembling sleep cycles in mammals and birds.... Read more »

  • May 8, 2016
  • 03:15 PM
  • 625 views

Digital media may be changing how you think

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Tablet and laptop users beware. Using digital platforms such as tablets and laptops for reading may make you more inclined to focus on concrete details rather than interpreting information more abstractly, according to a new study. The findings serve as another wake-up call to how digital media may be affecting our likelihood of using abstract thought.

... Read more »

  • May 8, 2016
  • 06:58 AM
  • 545 views

Can humans listen like songbirds do?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

The “musical” nature of birdsong has long been appreciated by humans - a new study suggests birds themselves might be attending to soemthing else..... Read more »

Bregman, M., Patel, A., & Gentner, T. (2016) Songbirds use spectral shape, not pitch, for sound pattern recognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(6), 1666-1671. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1515380113  

Hoeschele, M., Merchant, H., Kikuchi, Y., Hattori, Y., & ten Cate, C. (2015) Searching for the origins of musicality across species. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140094-20140094. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0094  

  • May 7, 2016
  • 05:17 AM
  • 670 views

Ketamine and Depression: A Breakthrough?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

In recent years there has been great research interest in ketamine as an antidepressant. Ketamine, a drug better-known for its use as an anaesthetic (and a recreational drug in lower doses) is claimed to have powerful, rapid-acting antidepressant effects, even in depressed patients who have not responded to more conventional drugs. However, its mechanism of action remains unclear.


Now, in a major new Nature paper, Baltimore researchers Panos Zanos and colleagues say that ketamine itself is ... Read more »

Zanos P, Moaddel R, Morris PJ, Georgiou P, Fischell J, Elmer GI, Alkondon M, Yuan P, Pribut HJ, Singh NS.... (2016) NMDAR inhibition-independent antidepressant actions of ketamine metabolites. Nature. PMID: 27144355  

  • May 6, 2016
  • 02:35 PM
  • 614 views

Smartphones uncover how the world sleeps

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A pioneering study of worldwide sleep patterns combines math modeling, mobile apps and big data to parse the roles society and biology each play in setting sleep schedules. The study used a free smartphone app that reduces jetlag to gather robust sleep data from thousands of people in 100 nations. The researchers examined how age, gender, amount of light and home country affect the amount of shut-eye people around the globe get, when they go to bed, and when they wake up.

... Read more »

Olivia J. Walch, Amy Cochran, & Daniel B. Forger. (2016) A global quantification of “normal” sleep schedules using smartphone data . Science Advances. info:/10.1126/sciadv.1501705

  • May 6, 2016
  • 06:55 AM
  • 801 views

Seeing With Eyes Shut: How LSD Causes Hallucinations

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

Brain scans show the human brain under LSD and explain how hallucinations occur.... Read more »

Carhart-Harris, R., Muthukumaraswamy, S., Roseman, L., Kaelen, M., Droog, W., Murphy, K., Tagliazucchi, E., Schenberg, E., Nest, T., Orban, C.... (2016) Neural correlates of the LSD experience revealed by multimodal neuroimaging. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(17), 4853-4858. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1518377113  

Carhart-Harris, R., Leech, R., Hellyer, P., Shanahan, M., Feilding, A., Tagliazucchi, E., Chialvo, D., & Nutt, D. (2014) The entropic brain: a theory of conscious states informed by neuroimaging research with psychedelic drugs. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00020  

Hagmann, P., Cammoun, L., Gigandet, X., Meuli, R., Honey, C., Wedeen, V., & Sporns, O. (2008) Mapping the Structural Core of Human Cerebral Cortex. PLoS Biology, 6(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060159  

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