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  • May 13, 2009
  • 10:59 AM

Another acupuncture study misinterpreted

by Orac in Respectful Insolence

I have to hand it to acupuncture mavens. They are persistent. Despite numerous studies failing to find any evidence that acupuncture is anything more than an elaborate placebo whose effects, such as they are, derive from nonspecifice mechanisms having nothing to do with meridians, qi, or "unblocking" qi. Moreover, consistent with the contention that acupuncture is no more than an elaborate placebo, various forms of "sham" acupuncture (needles that appear to insert but don't or acupuncture in the........ Read more »

Daniel C. Cherkin, Karen J. Sherman, Andrew L. Avins, Janet H. Erro, Laura Ichikawa, William E. Barlow, Kristin Delaney, Rene Hawkes, Luisa Hamilton,, Alice Pressman.... (2009) A Randomized Trial Comparing Acupuncture, Simulated Acupuncture, and Usual Care for Chronic Low Back Pain. Arch Intern Med, 169(9), 858-866. DOI:  

  • May 8, 2009
  • 08:00 PM

NEUROSCIENCE: Selectively Imaging Alzheimer's-Related Protein Aggregates

by Michael Long in Phased

Itaru Hamachi (Kyoto University, Japan) and coworkers

have imaged neurofibrillary tangles, in preference to senile plaques,

in brain tissue samples, with a cheap synthetic fluorescent molecule.

This news feature was written on May 8, 2009.... Read more »

  • April 11, 2009
  • 12:40 AM

Vivimind: Forget About It

by Scott in Science-Based Pharmacy

You’ve seen the billboards for Vivimind across Canada. Remember them?  Targeting an aging population of boomers, Vivimind is touted as a “scientifically proven” natural health product that “protects memory function”. The website goes to great lengths to promote that Vivimind is both “scientific” and “evidence based”. So let’s take a look at what sort of [...]... Read more »

Aisen, P., Saumier, D., Briand, R., Laurin, J., Gervais, F., Tremblay, P., & Garceau, D. (2006) A Phase II study targeting amyloid-  with 3APS in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer disease. Neurology, 67(10), 1757-1763. DOI: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000244346.08950.64  

GERVAIS, F., PAQUETTE, J., MORISSETTE, C., KRZYWKOWSKI, P., YU, M., AZZI, M., LACOMBE, D., KONG, X., AMAN, A., & LAURIN, J. (2007) Targeting soluble Aβ peptide with Tramiprosate for the treatment of brain amyloidosis. Neurobiology of Aging, 28(4), 537-547. DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2006.02.015  

  • April 2, 2009
  • 10:24 PM

Heterotopagnosia: When I point at parts of your body

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Heterotopagnosia is an unusual neurological syndrome, as described below by Laurent Cleret de Langavant and colleagues:Heterotopagnosia is the acquired inability of brain-lesioned patients to point at someone else's body parts when prompted. The cognitive basis of this disorder is unclear. It might result from a biological function deficit critical for communication in human beings; alternatively, it could result from the disruption of a body representation. Here, we report three patients with h........ Read more »

Cleret de Langavant, L., Trinkler, I., Cesaro, P., & Bachoud-Lévi, A. (2009) Heterotopagnosia: When I point at parts of your body. Neuropsychologia. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.02.016  

  • April 2, 2009
  • 12:34 AM

Medical therapies for ACTH-producing tumors: What's the verdict?

by staticnrg in survive the journey

In this article, the authors look at possible medical therapies to treat ACTH-producing tumors including those which cause Cushing's Disease (CD) and silent corticotroph adenoma (SCA). CD is caused by an ACTH producing pititary adenoma. SCA shows the same immunoreactivity of a pituitary adenoma without the same signs or symptoms of Cushing's. The authors take great pains to discuss and define the pathology of each of these.This study examined the effect of somatostatin receptor (SSTR) subtype........ Read more »

  • March 6, 2009
  • 01:49 AM

Radiosurgery and increased mortality: Is there a connection?

by staticnrg in survive the journey

This study takes a brief look at radiosurgery and its possible link to increased mortality. It does not distinguish between single-fractionated radiotherapy such as gamma knife and fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (FSR).The authors explore four (4) major areas:Cerebrovascular disease following pituitary radiotherapy Cerebrovascular mortality following pituitary radiotherapy for non-functioning adenomas Impact of pituitary radiotherapy on mortality in acromegalyHypopituitarism and excess mo........ Read more »

John Ayuk, & Paul M. Stewart. (2008) Mortality following pituitary radiotherapy. Pituitary, 12(1), 35-39. DOI: 10.1007/s11102-007-0083-1  

  • March 4, 2009
  • 12:31 AM

Hypopituitarism and Gamma Knife Radiotherapy

by staticnrg in survive the journey

Does radiotherapy cause hypotituitarism when treating pituitary adenoma(s)?Sometimes tumors cause damage to the pituitary gland which results in hypopituitarism and panhypopitituarism. Surgery to remove the tumor(s) can also cause damage to the pituitary which leads to hypopitutiarism. Sometimes, depending on tumor placement and the amount of pituitary removed, the pituitary regains total function. Nothing is cut-and-dry with this due to the numerous factors surrounding tumors and their removal......... Read more »

Ken H. Darzy, & Stephen M. Shalet. (2008) Hypopituitarism following radiotherapy. Pituitary, 12(1), 40-50. DOI: 10.1007/s11102-008-0088-4  

  • March 2, 2009
  • 02:53 AM

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery...

by staticnrg in survive the journey

...A safe alternative for treatment of ACTH-producing pituitary adenomas?For the next few posts, I'm going to examine the latest research about the use of Gamma Knife (GK) radiosurgery in the treatment of pituitary adenomas, especially ACTH-producing adenomas. Although GK is called radiosurgery, there is no cutting involved. 201 "beams" of cobalt-60 gamma radiation are focused on the region to be treated. The beams go through the skull in different spots, with each beam too weak to hurt normal t........ Read more »

Mark E. Molitch, & Ashley B. Grossman. (2008) Pituitary radiotherapy. Pituitary, 12(1), 1-2. DOI: 10.1007/s11102-008-0148-9  

  • February 7, 2009
  • 10:12 PM

Scientific Misconduct and the Autism-MMR Vaccine Link

by Mike Dunford in The Questionable Authority

A series of articles just published in The Sunday Times is reporting that it appears likely that Andrew Wakefield falsified much of the data that was used in the 1998 Lancet article that first identified the MMR vaccine as a potential cause of autism. If the charges leveled by the paper are remotely accurate, Wakefield is guilty of homicide - if not legally, then certainly morally. If previous accusations made by the paper are accurate, the homicide may have been committed for financial gain.

........ Read more »

A WAKEFIELD, S MURCH, A ANTHONY, J LINNELL, D CASSON, M MALIK, M BERELOWITZ, A DHILLON, M THOMSON, & P HARVEY. (1998) Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. The Lancet, 351(9103), 637-641. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(97)11096-0  

  • January 19, 2009
  • 09:05 AM

Phase Alignment of Neocortical Gamma Oscillations by Hippocampal Theta Waves

by Amiya in Physiology physics woven fine

An empty brain is the devil’s workshop, goes the proverb. Actually, the brain is never empty. Even in our deepest slumber, the brain continues to weave waves of electrical rhythms that can be seen with the aid of electroencephalogram or EEG. When we place electrodes on the scalp or on the cortex (inside the skull), and amplify the faint signals via bioinstrumentation amplifier, we can lay our hands on these fluctuating rhythms. (More on the electronics of EEG may be found at the OpenEEG projec........ Read more »

  • January 7, 2009
  • 12:11 AM

Were does Humor and Laughter Reside in the Brain?

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

That is a difficult question for two reasons:

The exact meaning of the terms `laughter,’ `humour’ and `funny’ have been formulated for individual studies, a broad consensus on their exact meanings has yet to be reached. Are tickling and contagious laughter one and the same or manifestations of particular kinds of humour? Is humour a kind [...]... Read more »

G Berns. (2004) Something funny happened to reward. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(5), 193-194. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2004.03.007  

E. Azim. (2005) Sex differences in brain activation elicited by humor. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102(45), 16496-16501. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0408456102  

  • December 26, 2008
  • 11:43 PM

Fainting In The Name Of

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

OR: The Glasgow Coma Scale-Revised: The Texting Sign.Watch Killing in the Name, live at the Reading Festival 2008.Rage Against the Machine SyncopeFirst we had dangerous sandwiches. Now we have dangerous concerts, as described in an article in the special Christmas edition of BMJ by Mike Sinclair and colleagues (Sinclair et al., 2008). They examined the utility of texting ability as a sign of return to consciousness after fainting or panic attack at large outdoor music festivals in the UK:Three y........ Read more »

M. Sinclair, D. W Pigott, & K. N Carpenter. (2008) Texting shows recovery after faint. BMJ, 337(dec17 2). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.a2723  

  • December 3, 2008
  • 09:22 AM

Yet another acupuncture meta-analysis: Garbage in, garbage out

by Orac in Respectful Insolence

Ever since I started paying attention to it, acupuncture has, at least until recently, inspired ambivalence more than anything else in me. As a skeptic and science-based physician, I found it very easy to dismiss utter quackery like homeopathy or the various "energy healing" modalities, such as reiki or therapeutic touch strictly on the science alone. After all, homeopathy is based on magical thinking more than anything else, specifically the concepts of "like cures like," the concept that dilut........ Read more »

  • November 25, 2008
  • 01:00 AM

Fibers in the skin, but still no Morgellons explanation

by CxLxMx in cxlxmxrx

Morgellons disease is characterized by skin lesions that contain fibers of unknown origin. Morgellons is often dismissed as delusional parasitosis or Munchausen's syndrome by proxy (now boringly re-named FII, fabricated or induced illness), although the fibers represent an objective finding and their origin is contested if not unknown. Critics insist the fibers are placed or at least synthetic in origin (fabric-induced illness?), while proponents of the disease point to a number possible origi........ Read more »

Lina Almarestani, Geraldine Longo, & Alfredo Ribeiro-da-Silva. (2008) Autonomic fiber sprouting in the skin in chronic inflammation. Molecular Pain, 4(1), 56. DOI: 10.1186/1744-8069-4-56  

  • November 21, 2008
  • 03:10 PM

Ginkgo does not prevent dementia, or "I can't remember what NCCAM is good for"

by PalMD in denialism blog

Here's a question for you: is there, or should there be, any difference between studies of "alternative" and non-alternative medicine? I've argued before that there is no such thing as alternative medicine. So why do we need a separate agency to study "alternative" medicine? The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine seems to be just such an agency. For example, the latest study of Gingko biloba for the prevention of dementia could have been funded by other agencies, suc........ Read more »

Steven T. DeKosky, MD; Jeff D. Williamson, MD, MHS; Annette L. Fitzpatrick, PhD; Richard A. Kronmal, PhD; Diane G. Ives, MPH; Judith A. Saxton, MD; Oscar L. Lopez, MD; Gregory Burke, MD; Michelle C. Carlson, PhD; Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH; Lewis H. Kuller, . (2008) Ginkgo biloba for Prevention of Dementia. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 300(19), 2253-2262. DOI:  

  • November 20, 2008
  • 03:00 PM

Hearing Involves Sound Physics

by Amiya in Physiology physics woven fine

The way we hear sound is complex. The different attributes of sound (namely, intensity, frequency, the direction from which it is coming etc.) are faithfully perceived in the auditory cortex. The whole procedure may seem rather straightforward, but it is far more complicated than what looks so deceptively simple.The sound waves (say from an orchestra) impinge on our eardrums. Sound waves are mechanical waves consisting of condensation and rarefaction, things we learned in our school days. These ........ Read more »

  • November 12, 2008
  • 06:04 AM

Superior Auditory Signal Detection Abilities in Late-Stage Huntington's Disease

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Figure 1 (Ruocco et al., 2006). Samples of coronal and sagittal magnetic resonance imaging from a patient with Huntington's disease (top row) and a normal control (bottom row) showing the outlines of caudate and putamen (left), cerebral (center) and cerebellar volumes (right).Huntington's disease is an inherited, autosomal dominant, neurodegenerative disorder. Although primarily viewed as a movement disorder characterized by uncontrollable body movements (chorea), there is also a marked decli........ Read more »

  • November 9, 2008
  • 01:00 AM

Head injury as a cause of ADHD

by Bjørn Østman in Pleiotropy

Head injury is not a causative factor of ADHD, but it may be a marker for subsequent diagnosis of ADHD.... Read more »

  • August 28, 2008
  • 02:00 PM

Thoughts on Thatcher's Dementia

by Neural Outlaw in Neural Interface

Mo wrote a post over at Neurophilosophy regarding a report Baroness Thatcher's declining mental health. Here's the comment I made there while responding to a previous commenter's remark:"Polomint38's comment is especially poignant in light of a new article on ScienceDaily today: Even Without Dementia, Mental Skills Decline Years Before Death."It isn't very surprising that senior citizens generally experience decline anyway, it is interesting how this new longitudinal study shows how some skills ........ Read more »

  • May 8, 2008
  • 09:55 PM

Cat Crossing, My Sleep Position and Magnetoreception

by Arunn in nOnoScience (a.k.a. Unruled Notebook)

Are cats magnetoreceptive? How about humans? A detailed essay on these questions connecting with recent research.... Read more »

Carrubba, S., Frilot II, C., Chesson Jr, A., & Marino, A. (2007) Evidence of a nonlinear human magnetic sense. Neuroscience, 144(1), 356-367. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2006.08.068  

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