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I am a physician interested in clinical neuroscience research. I will use this blog to post more detailed analysis of recent studies in addition to my @WRY999 Twitter scientific reading log. I will also post some of my wildlife/sports photography. Aim to educate and amuse. Not selling anything.

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  • July 11, 2016
  • 11:41 AM
  • 145 views

When Laughing Isn't Funny

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Inappropriate uncontrollable laughing or crying is common in many neuroscience medicine disorders including after traumatic brain injury or stroke. It can be socially embarrassing and restrict opportunities for social interaction.This loss of control over emotional responses is known by the term pseudobulbar affect or PBA. Until recently, few therapeutic options were available to treat this condition. Now a relatively new drug Nuedexta uses a combination of dextromethorphan and quinide to treat ........ Read more »

  • June 14, 2016
  • 12:18 PM
  • 175 views

Nurturing the Gifted

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

My photo of Mozart No one denies the importance of public education. Raising graduation rates and academic ability in the general population are highly accepted education system goals. Additionally, identification of learning disorders and the barriers to academic progress are the focus of many.However, the study of the gifted is perhaps no less important but this topic receives less attention and research.Matthew Makel and colleagues at Duke University and Vanderbi........ Read more »

Kell HJ, Lubinski D, Benbow CP, & Steiger JH. (2013) Creativity and technical innovation: spatial ability's unique role. Psychological science, 24(9), 1831-6. PMID: 23846718  

  • June 6, 2016
  • 11:50 AM
  • 187 views

Neuroscience Medicine: The Time Has Come

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

As basic and clinical sciences advance, it becomes increasing important to understand the role of multidisciplinary efforts in scientific progress. In this post, I propose rethinking and renaming the medically-related neuroscience disciplines into a new specialty called neuroscience medicine.Basic neuroscience research has evolved and emerged as a powerful discipline due to the increasing use of multidisciplinary research teams. Basic neuroscience involves collaboration of various scientifi........ Read more »

  • June 2, 2016
  • 12:11 PM
  • 216 views

The Future of Neuroscience Education

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

I spent the majority of my career in medical education and saw significant changes over time.One encouraging sign was the emergence of neuroscience as a respected and beneficial academic discipline.Now, a new perspective on Neuroscience Training for the 21st Center has been written by Huda Akil and colleagues. This perspective is recently published in the journal Neuron with free access to the full-text manuscript.Here are my notes from reading this perspective. Readers can access the free full-........ Read more »

Akil, H., Balice-Gordon, R., Cardozo, D., Koroshetz, W., Posey Norris, S., Sherer, T., Sherman, S., & Thiels, E. (2016) Neuroscience Training for the 21st Century. Neuron, 90(5), 917-926. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.05.030  

  • June 1, 2016
  • 12:35 PM
  • 197 views

Pain Prevalence in Dementia

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The development of speech and language impairment in dementia presents barriers in many clinical domains.One important clinical domain is assessment and management of pain. Dementia may preclude spontaneous or interview-elicited pain reporting.A report today in MedicalXpress noted reduced reporting of pain in patients with diabetes and cognitive impairment.I was able to locate one free full-text manuscript reviewing the prevalence of pain in various types of dementias. This literature review fou........ Read more »

van Kooten J, Binnekade TT, van der Wouden JC, Stek ML, Scherder EJ, Husebø BS, Smalbrugge M, & Hertogh CM. (2016) A Review of Pain Prevalence in Alzheimer's, Vascular, Frontotemporal and Lewy Body Dementias. Dementia and geriatric cognitive disorders, 41(3-4), 220-32. PMID: 27160163  

  • May 27, 2016
  • 10:24 AM
  • 255 views

Prenatal Smoking and Offspring Schizophrenia

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The topic prevention of brain disorders  is commonly neglected. This is despite increasing evidence for evidence-based support for prevention opportunities.This issue is highlighted in a recent study out of Finland that examined prenatal nicotine metabolite levels and offspring diagnosis of schizophrenia.In this study, Solja Niemela and the Finnish research team examined all live births in Finland between 1983 and 1998.What makes this study powerful is the measurement of maternal serum coti........ Read more »

Niemelä, S., Sourander, A., Surcel, H., Hinkka-Yli-Salomäki, S., McKeague, I., Cheslack-Postava, K., & Brown, A. (2016) Prenatal Nicotine Exposure and Risk of Schizophrenia Among Offspring in a National Birth Cohort. American Journal of Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2016.15060800  

Talati A, Bao Y, Kaufman J, Shen L, Schaefer CA, & Brown AS. (2013) Maternal smoking during pregnancy and bipolar disorder in offspring. The American journal of psychiatry, 170(10), 1178-85. PMID: 24084820  

  • May 26, 2016
  • 10:02 AM
  • 211 views

Free Alcohol Use Reduction App

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

An investigational app and online program to reduce alcohol intake is now available free to the public.This tool is an application of cognitive bias modification. A link to a study supporting cognitive bias modification is noted in the citation below. Click on the PMID link to get to the abstract.The program uses a 15 minutes per day tool for four days.The program was developed at the London School of Economics by Professor Paul Dolan.Users who sign up to use the tool will be providing data to f........ Read more »

  • May 25, 2016
  • 11:05 AM
  • 200 views

A New Chromosome Y Risk for Alzheimers

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There are many risk factors for Alzheimer's Disease (AD) including history of head trauma and family history of AD.The strongest risk factor is advanced age. Yearly risk for AD is about 1% per year in 70 year old populations jumping to around 7% in 90 year old groups.Now a recent study is shedding some light on a new risk for AD in men. This risk appears to be related to a chromosome Y phenomenon known to be associated with aging.Elderly men show a tendency to lose the Y chromosome from a small ........ Read more »

Dumanski JP et al. (2016) Mosiac loss of chromosome Y in blood is associated with Alzheimer's disease. American Journal of Human Genetics. info:/10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.05.014

  • May 24, 2016
  • 10:44 AM
  • 215 views

Does Flu Vaccination Reduce Dementia Risk?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In my daily review of neuroscience news I ran across an article flu vaccination and dementia risk in heart failure.This study was reported at the 3rd World Congress on Acute Heart Failure by Dr. Ju-Chi Liu from Taipei Medical University.So how might influenza vaccination be related to dementia risk?  We do know acute influenza infection reaches the brain causing headache and increasing brain inflammation, at least temporarily. We also know brain inflammation may be involved in the mechanism........ Read more »

  • May 23, 2016
  • 10:39 AM
  • 212 views

Emotional Processing: A Key to Depression Treatment?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In my last post I reported on the use of machine learning to aid in predicting response to depression treatment.Another interesting depression prediction tool is being investigated in a trial in England funded by the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.This trial uses a visual facial recognition tool. The hypothesis is that early antidepressant action can be identified by changes in facial emotional recognition.This trial stems from work by Catherine Harmer Ph.D. from the University of Oxford. He........ Read more »

  • May 21, 2016
  • 10:21 AM
  • 199 views

Quick Aspirin Use Reduces Stroke Risk in TIA

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

A free full-text commentary in the Lancet summarizes recent evidence of the benefit of aspirin in stroke prevention.This commentary focused on what is called secondary prevention. Secondary prevention is defined as prevention following events related to the disease in question.So secondary prevention in stroke would be reduction in stroke risk in those who have had a stroke or pre-stroke syndromes such as transient ischemic attacks (TIA).The key take-home message from the commentary by Graeme Ha........ Read more »

  • May 20, 2016
  • 10:50 AM
  • 234 views

Predicting Depression Treatment Response: Machine Learning

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Treatment of depression remains primarily an uninformed clinical process. Several effective drug and psychotherapy interventions are available. However, there is no reliable way to determine which treatment is likely to be the most effective for an individual patient.A recent study that used machine learning techniques to address this problem has been published.A research team from Yale University used clinical data from the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) tr........ Read more »

Chekroud AM, Zotti RJ, Shehzad Z, Gueorguieva R, Johnson MK, Trivedi MH, Cannon TD, Krystal JH, & Corlett PR. (2016) Cross-trial prediction of treatment outcome in depression: a machine learning approach. The lancet. Psychiatry, 3(3), 243-50. PMID: 26803397  

  • May 19, 2016
  • 11:33 AM
  • 216 views

Language Disorder in Preschoolers

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Well-designed large population-based studies of the prevalence and correlates of learning disabilities in preschool children are rare.A research group working out of University College London has address that issues with a large study of language disorder in a group of over 7000 4 and 5 year olds in England.A stratified group of 529 children received a comprehensive assessment of language along with assessment of IQ, social, emotional and behavior function.The study found the following important........ Read more »

  • May 17, 2016
  • 02:35 PM
  • 200 views

Nurses Frequently Attending Church Live Longer

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study has been a remarkably productive longitudinal health study.My wife has been a subject in this study and frequently completes interval questionnaires regarding her health status.A recent publication looked at the relationship between religious service attendance and mortality in the Nurses's Health Study cohort.This manuscript tried to provide a more valid look at the relationship between religiosity/spirituality and health. Previous studies have found a lin........ Read more »

  • May 11, 2016
  • 01:00 PM
  • 115 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
  • 114 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
  • 12:54 PM
  • 131 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 5, 2016
  • 02:26 PM
  • 158 views

Ketamine Metabolite Linked to Rapid Antidepressant Effect

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Model of crytalized ketamine moleculeStandard antidepressant therapies typically take two weeks or more to begin to act.Ketamine is an anesthetic drug recently demonstrated to have a rapid antidepressant effect.The mechanism for this effect is unknown. A recent mouse study of ketamine and metabolites of ketamine show some potentially groundbreaking insight for the treatment of depression.This study found these significant findings:Ketamine like most organic compounds is made of boty an R an........ Read more »

Zanos, P., Moaddel, R., Morris, P., Georgiou, P., Fischell, J., Elmer, G., Alkondon, M., Yuan, P., Pribut, H., Singh, N.... (2016) NMDAR inhibition-independent antidepressant actions of ketamine metabolites. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature17998  

  • May 3, 2016
  • 12:05 PM
  • 131 views

Depression Symptoms and Alzheimer's Risk

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

An important study was published today in Lancet Psychiatry. This study examined the role of depression symptoms in risk for later development of dementia including Alzheimer's disease.Previous work on this topic has relied on cross-sectional risk factor design. However, the study published today used a prospective longitudinal design for elderly individuals participating the Rotterdam study.Depressive symptoms were measured over time and compared to latter risk for development of dementia......... Read more »

  • May 3, 2016
  • 12:00 PM
  • 122 views

"The Biggest Loser": Long-term Effects

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Yesterday I posted a link to a New York Times article that posted a summary outcome in fourteen participants in TV's "The Biggest Loser" show.The study found a trend towards post-show weight gain for 13/14 of the participants.Four participants actually gained so much weight that after six years they weighed more than before participating in the show.A key finding from the study was this weight gain could be explained by a metabolic response resulting in up to 800 calories less burned daily ........ Read more »

Fothergill, E., Guo, J., Howard, L., Kerns, J., Knuth, N., Brychta, R., Chen, K., Skarulis, M., Walter, M., Walter, P.... (2016) Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition. Obesity. DOI: 10.1002/oby.21538  

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