New research has demonstrated that a nanoscale device, called a memristor, could be used to power artificial systems that can mimic the human brain. Artificial neural networks (ANNs) exhibit learning abilities and can perform tasks which are difficult for conventional computing systems, such as pattern recognition, on-line learning and classification.
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Serb, A., Bill, J., Khiat, A., Berdan, R., Legenstein, R., & Prodromakis, T. (2016) Unsupervised learning in probabilistic neural networks with multi-state metal-oxide memristive synapses. Nature Communications, 12611. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12611
There are many reports of drug use leading to mental health problems, and we all know of someone having a few too many drinks to cope with a bad day. Many people who are diagnosed with a mental health disorder indulge in drugs, and vice versa. As severity of both increase, problems arise and they become more difficult to treat. But why substance involvement and psychiatric disorders often co-occur is not well understood.
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Carey, C., Agrawal, A., Bucholz, K., Hartz, S., Lynskey, M., Nelson, E., Bierut, L., & Bogdan, R. (2016) Associations between Polygenic Risk for Psychiatric Disorders and Substance Involvement. Frontiers in Genetics. DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2016.00149
Scientists have discovered a new pathway in the brain that can be manipulated to alleviate depression. The pathway offers a promising new target for developing a drug that could be effective in individuals for whom other antidepressants have failed. New antidepressant options are important because a significant number of patients don't adequately improve with currently available antidepressant drugs.
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Brooker SM, Gobeske KT, Chen J, Peng CY, & Kessler JA. (2016) Hippocampal bone morphogenetic protein signaling mediates behavioral effects of antidepressant treatment. Molecular psychiatry. PMID: 27698430
A team of scientists are redefining what it means to be a prion--a type of protein that can pass heritable traits from cell to cell by its structure instead of by DNA. Although prions are infamous for causing Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, fatal familial insomnia, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow's disease, the present study indicates that prions identified in yeast, and possibly in plants, and other organisms may be beneficial.
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Chakrabortee, S., Byers, J., Jones, S., Garcia, D., Bhullar, B., Chang, A., She, R., Lee, L., Fremin, B., Lindquist, S.... (2016) Intrinsically Disordered Proteins Drive Emergence and Inheritance of Biological Traits. Cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.09.017
A widely-used 'brain stimulation' tool has no effect on the speed of the brain's responses, according to a new study from Australian neuroscientists Jared Horvath et al.
The technique of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) involves attaching electrodes to the scalp and applying a weak electrical current. This current is thought to flow through the brain and alter neural activity in areas close to the electrodes. tDCS is a popular experimental method in neuroscience, and there's a... Read more »
Horvath JC, Carter O, & Forte JD. (2016) No significant effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) found on simple motor reaction time comparing 15 different simulation protocols. Neuropsychologia, 544-552. PMID: 27664296
Among a group of older women, self-reported caffeine consumption of more than 261 mg per day was associated with a 36 percent reduction in the risk of incident dementia over 10 years of follow-up. This level is equivalent to two to three 8-oz cups of coffee per day, five to six 8-oz cups of black tea, or seven to eight 12-ounce cans of cola.
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Driscoll, I., Shumaker, S., Snively, B., Margolis, K., Manson, J., Vitolins, M., Rossom, R., & Espeland, M. (2016) Relationships Between Caffeine Intake and Risk for Probable Dementia or Global Cognitive Impairment: The Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glw078
Beyond the well-known Solar System, there is an immensity of other unique systems... Read more »
Johanna K. Teske, Stephen A. Shectman, Steve S. Vogt, Matías Díaz, R. Paul Butler, Jeffrey D. Crane, Ian B. Thompson, & Pamela Arriagada. (2016) The Magellan PFS Planet Search Program: Radial Velocity and Stellar Abundance Analyses of the 360 AU, Metal-Poor Binary "Twins" HD 133131A . Astronomical Journal,. arXiv: 1608.06216v2
Orosz, J., Welsh, W., Carter, J., Fabrycky, D., Cochran, W., Endl, M., Ford, E., Haghighipour, N., MacQueen, P., Mazeh, T.... (2012) Kepler-47: A Transiting Circumbinary Multiplanet System. Science, 337(6101), 1511-1514. DOI: 10.1126/science.1228380
R. Di Stefano, & A. Ray. (2016) Globular Clusters as Cradles of Life and Advanced Civilizations. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL , 827(1). arXiv: 1601.03455v1
Marcelo Tucci Maia, Jorge Melendez, & Ivan Ramirez. (2014) High precision abundances in the 16 Cyg binary system: a signature of the rocky core in the giant planet. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL LETTERS , 790(2). arXiv: 1407.4132v1
Anglada-Escudé, G., Amado, P., Barnes, J., Berdiñas, Z., Butler, R., Coleman, G., de la Cueva, I., Dreizler, S., Endl, M., Giesers, B.... (2016) A terrestrial planet candidate in a temperate orbit around Proxima Centauri. Nature, 536(7617), 437-440. DOI: 10.1038/nature19106
Borucki, W., Agol, E., Fressin, F., Kaltenegger, L., Rowe, J., Isaacson, H., Fischer, D., Batalha, N., Lissauer, J., Marcy, G.... (2013) Kepler-62: A Five-Planet System with Planets of 1.4 and 1.6 Earth Radii in the Habitable Zone. Science, 340(6132), 587-590. DOI: 10.1126/science.1234702
Stephen R. Kane, & Dawn M. Gelino. (2014) On the Inclination and Habitability of the HD 10180 System. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 792(2). arXiv: 1408.4150v1
In a post last week, I highlighted a recent study examining clinical issues in the diagnosis of Lewy body dementia (LBD).This study examined differentiating clinical and neuropsychological factors between LBD, Alzheimer's dementia and Parkinson's disease.You can access this post by clicking HERE.This topic received significant attention following the description of comedian Robin Williams' last years by his wife in the journal Neurology.Robin Williams suffered from LBD and like many, his diagnos........ Read more »
Williams SS. (2016) The terrorist inside my husband's brain. Neurology, 87(13), 1308-1311. info:/
An unexpected sugary snack can give bees a little buzz and appears to lift their mood, even making them optimistic, according to research that suggests pollinators have feelings, too. Since emotions are subjective and difficult to measure—particularly in animals—researchers looked at how bees' behavior changed after they were given a sip of sucrose solution.
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Perry, C., Baciadonna, L., & Chittka, L. (2016) Unexpected rewards induce dopamine-dependent positive emotion-like state changes in bumblebees. Science, 353(6307), 1529-1531. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf4454
Scientists have identified that social memories are stored in the vetral CA1 region of the brain (in mice). After meeting a mouse and forgetting it, the memories can be reactivated optogenetically, indicating that they exist, but cannot be retrieved after time passes... Read more »
The journal Neurology published a unique and touching paper today: it's by artist Susan Schneider Williams, the widow of actor Robin Williams, who died by suicide in August 2014. It's titled The terrorist inside my husband's brain, the 'terrorist' being Lewy Body disease (LBD), the neurodegenerative disorder that, as Schneider Williams recounts, destroyed his life.
Here's how she describes the first signs of her husbands' illness:
The colors were changing and the air was crisp; it wa... Read more »
A team of researchers has observed what they believe are the building blocks of memories in a mouse brain. In their paper, the researchers describe how they caused certain neurons to become illuminated when they fired, allowing them to watch in real time as memories were made and then later as they were replayed while the mouse was sitting idle.
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Malvache, A., Reichinnek, S., Villette, V., Haimerl, C., & Cossart, R. (2016) Awake hippocampal reactivations project onto orthogonal neuronal assemblies. Science, 353(6305), 1280-1283. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf3319
One clinical challenge is making an accurate diagnosis in patients with dementia.Alzheimer's disease is typically the predominant diagnosis in dementia. However a significant number of patients will present with dementia due to Lewy Body disease, Parkinson's dementia, frontotemporal dementia or vascular dementia.A recent study helps clinicians to distinguish Lewy Body from Alzheimer's dementia and Parkinson's disease.Douglas Scharre and collegues from Ohio State University conducted ........ Read more »
Scharre, D., Chang, S., Nagaraja, H., Park, A., Adeli, A., Agrawal, P., Kloos, A., Kegelmeyer, D., Linder, S., Fritz, N.... (2016) Paired Studies Comparing Clinical Profiles of Lewy Body Dementia with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 1-10. DOI: 10.3233/JAD-160384
For the first time, an antibody was able to target and disrupt the Aβ plaques in the brain.... Read more »
Sevigny, J., Chiao, P., Bussière, T., Weinreb, P., Williams, L., Maier, M., Dunstan, R., Salloway, S., Chen, T., Ling, Y.... (2016) The antibody aducanumab reduces Aβ plaques in Alzheimer’s disease. Nature, 537(7618), 50-56. DOI: 10.1038/nature19323
Why do more men die when they attempt suicide than women? The answer could lie in four traits, finds scientists. There are over 6,000 British lives lost to suicide each year, and nearly 75 per cent of those are male. However, research has found women are more likely to suffer from depression, and to attempt to take their own life.
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Deshpande, G., Baxi, M., Witte, T., & Robinson, J. (2016) A Neural Basis for the Acquired Capability for Suicide. Frontiers in Psychiatry. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00125
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.
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Goard, M., Pho, G., Woodson, J., & Sur, M. (2016) Distinct roles of visual, parietal, and frontal motor cortices in memory-guided sensorimotor decisions. eLife. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.13764
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
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 »
Jorge RE, Acion L, Burin DI, & Robinson RG. (2016) Sertraline for Preventing Mood Disorders Following Traumatic Brain Injury: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA psychiatry. PMID: 27626622
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
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.
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Kragel, P., & LaBar, K. (2015) Multivariate neural biomarkers of emotional states are categorically distinct. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 10(11), 1437-1448. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsv032
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