The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

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Psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, spirituality, quantum physics, and anything else worth writing about

William Lu
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  • March 6, 2016
  • 10:45 PM

Can cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia also treat fatigue, pain, and mood symptoms in individuals with traumatic brain injury?

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Hi All! I haven't updated in a quite a while because work as a rehabilitation psychologist has taken up most of my time. However, I was able to get a paper published recently in the journal NeuroRehabilitation. It was based on work done during my postdoc. The aim was to investigate whether cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia would treat not only insomnia, but fatigue, pain, and mood in individuals with traumatic brain injury. It was a small case study, but I included a lot of rich detail f........ Read more »

  • July 26, 2015
  • 01:22 AM

The relationship between self-reported sleep disturbance and polysomnography in traumatic brain injury

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Check it out. My work during postdoc that was just published early online in Brain Injury. Feel free to contact me for a PDF copy.AbstractPRIMARY OBJECTIVE: To characterize sleep architecture and self-reported sleep quality, fatigue and daytime sleepiness in individuals with TBI. Possible relationships between sleep architecture and self-reported sleep quality, fatigue and daytime sleepiness were examined.METHODS: Forty-four community-dwelling adults with TBI completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Qua........ Read more »

  • June 8, 2015
  • 01:08 PM

Stroke prevention with the Mediterranean diet

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Fad diets abound, but none appear to be as positively impactful to health as the Mediterranean diet. Even the likes of Jennifer Garner, Elizbath Hurley, and Catherine Zeta-Jones adhere it, and they are all very attractive. Although it won't help increase attractiveness, it may contribute to preventing strokes. The diet consists of eating primarily plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. The health benefits of eating such foods were confirmed in an epidemiol........ Read more »

  • June 3, 2015
  • 02:45 AM

Motion blindness found in some dyslexics

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Several years ago, I worked as a clinician at a treatment program for adults with learning disabilities, many of whom were diagnosed with dyslexia, a disorder that negatively impacts a person's ability to read, perceive speech, remember language, and recognize/manipulate language-based sounds. Many of my patients had difficulties advancing in their jobs, struggled to pay the rent, perform daily tasks that required reading, and thus relied on others to get by. The countless stories I listened to ........ Read more »

Cicchini GM, Marino C, Mascheretti S, Perani D, & Morrone MC. (2015) Strong Motion Deficits in Dyslexia Associated with DCDC2 Gene Alteration. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 35(21), 8059-64. PMID: 26019324  

  • June 2, 2015
  • 02:46 AM

Possible link between Alzheimer's disease and disrupted sleep-dependent memory consolidation?

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

It has been well established that certain kinds of sleep consolidate certain kinds of memory. Mander and colleagues (2015) discovered that in older adults, beta-amyloid (the main component of amyloid plagues found in Alzheimer's disease) appears to disrupt slow wave activity in the medial frontal cortex during NREM sleep, which then impairs hippocampus-based memory consolidation. It would also be interesting to investigate possible disruptions in thalamic sleep spindle activity to see how this m........ Read more »

  • February 22, 2015
  • 03:12 AM

God and The Anonymous Economic Game

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Some anthropologists argue that the idea of God first arose in larger societies, for the purpose of curbing selfishness and promoting cooperation. Outside a tightly knit group, the reasoning goes, nobody can keep an eye on everyone’s behavior, so these cultures invented a supernatural agent who could. But does thinking of an omniscient God actually promote altruism? The University of British Columbia psychologist Ara Norenzayan wanted to find out.In a pair of studies published in Psychological........ Read more »

  • September 19, 2014
  • 01:13 AM

The neuroscience behind scratching an itch

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

The beautiful experience of alleviating an itch, the vigorous scratching of skin cells, and the white flakes that float away slowly and gently like a whimsical dream.If only those with chronic itching problems could describe their conditions in such a serene way. In the latest edition of Nature Neuroscience, Diana Bautista and colleagues (2014) review the literature on the underlying mechanism of the itch at the molecular and cellular level within the peripheral and central nervous systems. They........ Read more »

  • August 21, 2014
  • 02:30 AM

How to prevent a possible concussion from the ALS ice bucket challenge

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

The ice bucket challenge has swept the nation in an effort to raise awareness for ALS. However, there seems to have been a number of concussions (or mild traumatic brain injuries) sustained from performing a seemingly altruistic act. Although some people may find the below video funny, concussions are a serious issue and can lead to serious consequences including executive dysfunction. Symptoms can include short loss of consciousness, feeling dazed and confused, loss of immediate memory, headach........ Read more »

  • July 12, 2014
  • 03:29 AM

Night-to-night variability of sleep in traumatic brain injury

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

It's been a while since I've posted something substantial. My apologies to all 20 followers of TQLC. Academia and clinical cases have been taking up most of my time. However, some exciting news! My paper on variability of respiration during sleep in traumatic brain injury (TBI) has recently been accepted into Neurorehabilitation. In the paper my colleagues and I examined the sleep processes of individuals with TBI using polysomnography. Polysomnography is a tool used to measure biophysical ch........ Read more »

Lu W, Cantor J, Aurora RN, Nguyen M, Ashman T, Spielman L, Ambrose A, Krellman J, & Gordon W. (2014) Variability of respiration and sleep during polysomnography in individuals with TBI. NeuroRehabilitation. PMID: 24990025  

  • March 10, 2014
  • 12:52 AM

Lack of sleep impairs emotion recognition

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

This is a re-post of an entry I had written exactly 4 years ago. I liked it so much I decided to share it again. The ability to read emotions is an important part of the human experience; the only way to successfully navigate through complex social environments. It comes in handy especially if you don the title of psychotherapist or professional poker player. Without it, you are rendered socially inept. You enter the world of the autistic individual.Thanks to Charles Darwin we now know that it........ Read more »

van der Helm E; Gujar N; Walker MP. (2010) Sleep Deprivation Impairs the Accurate Recognition of Human Emotions. SLEEP, 33(3), 335-342. info:/

Ekman P, & Friesen WV. (1971) Constants across cultures in the face and emotion. Journal of personality and social psychology, 17(2), 124-9. PMID: 5542557  

  • February 15, 2014
  • 05:44 PM

Blasting long-term potentiation with a Mega Buster

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Mega Man (1987) was one of the most entertaining games that I remember ever playing on Nintendo. You were Dr. Light's boy android (think Astro Boy or Pinocchio) and your mission was to defeat the multitude of robot bosses threatening to destroy the world. However, the only way to defeat them was to 1) consider how to counteract their special abilities with your own abilities and 2) memorize their attack patterns, often taking hours of learning (and frustration) before you got it right. Once succ........ Read more »

  • February 10, 2014
  • 12:25 AM

Forever alone disorder

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Valentines Day is soon upon us. However, quite a few individuals, also known as otakus, could care less. During college I met a some people who you might consider otakus or dorks. They never left their dorm rooms because they were just THAT into their video games. They would play for hours/days, completely disinterested in socializing with real people, partying, attending classes, and sometimes even eating. Although I did not know it at the time, there was a name for this kind of strange "loner"........ Read more »

Ovejero S, Caro-Cañizares I, de León-Martínez V, & Baca-Garcia E. (2013) Prolonged social withdrawal disorder: A hikikomori case in Spain. The International journal of social psychiatry. PMID: 24101742  

  • September 2, 2013
  • 12:28 AM

Just a mild electric current through the brain to increase memory gain

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Have you ever watched that compelling infomerical selling the incredible electrical muscle stimulator, the Tone-A-Matic, promising beautiful rippling abs to couch potatotes all around the world? Ever hope something similar would work for the brain? Well folks, you're in luck!There has been mounting evidence that transcranial direct current stimulation can improve cognitive functioning (Boggio et al., 2006; Brasil-Neto et al., 2012; Javadi et al., 2012, 2013). However, many of the studies used s........ Read more »

Boggio PS, Ferrucci R, Rigonatti SP, Covre P, Nitsche M, Pascual-Leone A, & Fregni F. (2006) Effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on working memory in patients with Parkinson's disease. Journal of the neurological sciences, 249(1), 31-8. PMID: 16843494  

Meinzer M, Jähnigen S, Copland DA, Darkow R, Grittner U, Avirame K, Rodriguez AD, Lindenberg R, & Flöel A. (2013) Transcranial direct current stimulation over multiple days improves learning and maintenance of a novel vocabulary. Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior. PMID: 23988131  

  • August 30, 2013
  • 12:34 PM

Cognitive phenotypes in TBI

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

There are many different ways to categorize individuals with TBI in terms of clinical severity, mechanism of injury, and pathophysiology; each of which may impact prognosis and treatment (Hempill, 2013). The initial evaluation of individuals with TBI typically includes GCS, CT scan, and a neurologic exam (Saatman et al., 2008). However, the primary concern with these current diagnostic methods is that they lack specificity in terms of functional impairment and treatment selection. A po........ Read more »

Hermann B, Seidenberg M, Lee EJ, Chan F, & Rutecki P. (2007) Cognitive phenotypes in temporal lobe epilepsy. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society : JINS, 13(1), 12-20. PMID: 17166299  

Saatman KE, Duhaime AC, Bullock R, Maas AI, Valadka A, Manley GT, & Workshop Scientific Team and Advisory Panel Members. (2008) Classification of traumatic brain injury for targeted therapies. Journal of neurotrauma, 25(7), 719-38. PMID: 18627252  

Tager-Flusberg H, & Joseph RM. (2003) Identifying neurocognitive phenotypes in autism. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 358(1430), 303-14. PMID: 12639328  

  • December 11, 2012
  • 01:52 AM

Maple syrup urine disease. Who knew?

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

I've been tasked with sorting through thousands of articles in order to contribute to a systematic review on the treatment of psychiatric disorders in traumatic brain injury patients. Through this process I've stumbled upon a few fascinating and sometimes "out there" articles. For the next couple of weeks I'll be posting up abstracts that really caught my eye. We begin with Mescka and colleagues 2011 study on maple syrup urine disease; it's not what you think.Maple syrup urine disease (MSUD........ Read more »

Mescka, C., Moraes, T., Rosa, A., Mazzola, P., Piccoli, B., Jacques, C., Dalazen, G., Coelho, J., Cortes, M., Terra, M.... (2011) In vivo neuroprotective effect of L-carnitine against oxidative stress in maple syrup urine disease. Metabolic Brain Disease, 26(1), 21-28. DOI: 10.1007/s11011-011-9238-x  

  • April 20, 2012
  • 03:18 PM

Does abnormal NREM sleep impair declarative memory consolidation?

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

Finally got to uploading the review paper Robert Goder and I had written recently on sleep and memory. You can download it HERE. Essentially, we describe a possible mechanism by which abnormal NREM sleep processes (i.e. reduced slow-wave sleep and sleep spindles) contribute to declarative memory impairment and concomittant sleep disruption in certain neuropsychiatric disorders including Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, and fibromyalgia. Underneath, I posted what the tentative model looks like (click ........ Read more »

  • November 17, 2011
  • 04:14 AM

Not all hippocampal hemispheres are created equal

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

I got a chance to sit down and read Kohl et al.'s recently published Nature Neuroscience paper titled "Hemisphere-specific optogenetic stimulation reveals left-right asymmetry of hippocampal plasticity". This paper contributes to our advancing knowledge of the asymmetrical brain and further elucidates the true complexity of the hippocampus, a sea horse shaped brain structure important for learning and memory.More specifically, the team found that an area important for encoding and retrieving ass........ Read more »

  • November 13, 2011
  • 11:50 PM

Can alcoholic parents put their kids at risk for memory problems?

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

The alcoholic beverage has existed as early as the Neolithic period (cir. 10,000 BC), its use once mandated by The Lord on High in 1,116 BC China (Patrick, 1952). Oh thou holy ethanol, absorbed by the bloodstream, traveling to the brain, and binding to glutamate and GABA receptors, blessing us with the desired effects of slow reaction time, slurred speech, gregariousness, and the ability to sing and dance like a rockstar. However, too much of the bottle and you can find yourself in some serious........ Read more »

  • August 7, 2011
  • 10:19 AM

Why Non-rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep is important for memory

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

So...after 4 months of being MIA I've finally emerged from the deep, dark, and lonely cave of academia to give a brief update on what I've been doing all this time. When I wasn't furiously working on my dissertation related to working memory and aging, I was making final revisions to a theoretical review paper on sleep and memory. I'm happy to announce that after countless hours of lost sleep (irony?) it's finally been accepted for publication! I'll link the article abstract once it's up. For no........ Read more »

Diekelmann, S., & Born, J. (2010) The memory function of sleep. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nrn2762  

Rasch B, Büchel C, Gais S, & Born J. (2007) Odor cues during slow-wave sleep prompt declarative memory consolidation. Science (New York, N.Y.), 315(5817), 1426-9. PMID: 17347444  

Marshall, L., Helgadóttir, H., Mölle, M., & Born, J. (2006) Boosting slow oscillations during sleep potentiates memory. Nature, 444(7119), 610-613. DOI: 10.1038/nature05278  

  • April 17, 2011
  • 01:38 AM

How a stinky chemical offers neuroprotection for a seizing brain

by William Lu in The Quantum Lobe Chronicles

What did Socrates, Plato, Hercules, and Ajax have in common? Other than greatness, they were also epileptics according to the 17th century French physician, Jean Taxil.An epileptic seizure consists of abnormal excessive or synchronous neuronal activity in the brain which can lead to convulsions, loss of awareness, full body slump, or even the experience of deja vu. Unprovoked seizures are typically related to epilepsy and other seizure related disorders while unprovoked seizures have multiple co........ Read more »

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