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487 posts · 405,034 views

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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  • April 1, 2015
  • 11:20 AM
  • 11 views

Fatherhood and the Biology of Infant Care Behavior

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Early positive parental-infant attachment provides a key developmental advantage.The maternal-infant dyad has received the most research attention. However, fathers also can play an important role in infant development. An increasing number of studies focus on the biology of fatherhood and infant care behavior.Ilanit Gordon along with colleagues in Israel and the United States examined the role of two central neuropeptides in paternal behavior during the first six months of infancy.In their stud........ Read more »

  • March 30, 2015
  • 11:25 AM
  • 30 views

One Parent,Two Parents and Child Well-Being

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The structure of the family in the United States and other countries is changing. This change has occurred over a relatively brief period of time. Data noted in the study I am reviewing today shows that between 1970 and 2013 in the U.S.:Percentage of children living with two parents dropped 24%Percentage of children living with a single mother increased to 23.7%Percentage of children living with a single father quadrupled to 4.1%Percentage of children living with a grandparent doubled to 6......... Read more »

  • March 26, 2015
  • 11:17 AM
  • 41 views

Parenting Moderates Childhood Brain Stress Response

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Child brain development benefits from a positive parenting style and environment.The mechanism for this positive effect is unclear but moderation of the stress response in the growing child is an area of research interest.Haroon Sheikh and colleagues from the University of Ontario in Canada recently published results on a study of parenting and brain development in children.In their study, a cohort of 46 six year old girls underwent brain imaging using a technique known as diffusion tensor imagi........ Read more »

  • March 25, 2015
  • 10:37 AM
  • 57 views

Parental Education As Risk Factor For Eating Disorders

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Genetic and environmental risk factors contribute to the risk for anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders.Known risk factors for anorexia nervosa include female gender, young age, family member with anorexia nervosa, weight loss, and participation in weight sensitive sports or activities, i.e. gymnastics, dancing.There has also been evidence that anorexia nervosa is more common in higher socioeconomic classes. This finding has made it one of the few brain disorders more common with this cate........ Read more »

  • March 23, 2015
  • 11:01 AM
  • 64 views

Smoking in Pregnancy and Child Brain Development

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Smoking during pregnancy produces significant and diverse effects on prenatal development.These adverse effects include dysfunction in prenatal and early childhood brain development.Hanan El Marroun and colleagues from the Netherlands recently published an important childhood brain imaging study of smoking during pregnancy.One hundred and thirteen children exposed to tobacco during pregnancy were compared to a control group of unexposed children.Both groups of children between 6 and 8 years of a........ Read more »

El Marroun H, Schmidt MN, Franken IH, Jaddoe VW, Hofman A, van der Lugt A, Verhulst FC, Tiemeier H, & White T. (2014) Prenatal tobacco exposure and brain morphology: a prospective study in young children. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 39(4), 792-800. PMID: 24096296  

  • March 17, 2015
  • 11:56 AM
  • 99 views

Physical Exercise Effects on Brain EEG

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There are a variety of methods to study the effects on exercise on brain function. Brain imaging techniques such as fMRI provides a new tool to search for regional effects of acute and chronic exercise.Another tool that has received less attention is the electroencephalogram or EEG. One EEG measure of brain function is the individual alpha peak frequency or iAPF.The iAPF is positively correlated with arousal, attention and speed of information processing. Higher iAPF is linked to faster spe........ Read more »

Gutmann B, Mierau A, Hülsdünker T, Hildebrand C, Przyklenk A, Hollmann W, & Strüder HK. (2015) Effects of physical exercise on individual resting state EEG alpha peak frequency. Neural plasticity, 717312. PMID: 25759762  

  • February 18, 2015
  • 11:53 AM
  • 144 views

Exercise Guidelines in Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

A series of seven guidelines for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has recently been published.These guidelines resulted from a conference of experts in nutrition and the brain.The guidelines included a recommendation for 40 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week.Support for this exercise recommendation by experts was linked to 2 areas of research:Observational studies show lower rates of AD in regular exercise groups compared to sedentary groupsA single clinical trial found red........ Read more »

Barnard ND, Bush AI, Ceccarelli A, Cooper J, de Jager CA, Erickson KI, Fraser G, Kesler S, Levin SM, Lucey B.... (2014) Dietary and lifestyle guidelines for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of aging. PMID: 24913896  

  • February 4, 2015
  • 09:32 AM
  • 131 views

Exercise in the Elderly: BDNF and Executive Function

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Exercise promotes cognitive function in children, adults and elderly individuals.The mechanism for this effect is unclear. Some of the effect may be due to a general improvement in vascular function and health.Another potential mechanism is via increased neuroplasticity mediated by neurotrophic factors.Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF) is a known contributor to brain neuroplasticity. Levels of BNDF can be determined with serum assays.RL Leckie and colleagues recently found support for BND........ Read more »

Leckie RL, Oberlin LE, Voss MW, Prakash RS, Szabo-Reed A, Chaddock-Heyman L, Phillips SM, Gothe NP, Mailey E, Vieira-Potter VJ.... (2014) BDNF mediates improvements in executive function following a 1-year exercise intervention. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 985. PMID: 25566019  

  • February 2, 2015
  • 11:39 AM
  • 160 views

Exercise in the Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Growing evidence links physical activity to improved cognitive outcome in elderly individuals.Few studies have examined effects of exercise on those at highest risk for Alzheimer's disease.J Carson Smith and colleagues recently published a prospective study of a cohort of older adults using structural magnetic resonance imaging.The key elements of the design of their study included the following elements:Participants: 97 adults between the ages of 65 and 89Physical activity level: Frequency and ........ Read more »

Smith JC, Nielson KA, Woodard JL, Seidenberg M, Durgerian S, Hazlett KE, Figueroa CM, Kandah CC, Kay CD, Matthews MA.... (2014) Physical activity reduces hippocampal atrophy in elders at genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease. Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 61. PMID: 24795624  

  • January 26, 2015
  • 10:02 AM
  • 103 views

Obesity, Inflammation and Cognitive Decline

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The rate of cognitive decline with aging is quite variable. Identifying important components of this process is needed for developing interventions to reduce the burden of Alzheimer's and other dementias.Excess inflammation has been linked to obesity as well as aging-related cognitive decline.Archana Singh-Manoux and colleagues recently published a study of the association between blood markers of inflammation and cognitive decline.This study used data from the U.K. Whitehall II cohort, a g........ Read more »

Singh-Manoux A, Dugravot A, Brunner E, Kumari M, Shipley M, Elbaz A, & Kivimaki M. (2014) Interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein as predictors of cognitive decline in late midlife. Neurology, 83(6), 486-93. PMID: 24991031  

  • January 19, 2015
  • 10:09 AM
  • 229 views

Mediterranean Diet and Aging

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There is a growing research body of evidence to support beneficial effects of a Mediterranean diet on brain health.In previous posts I have reviewed research on the Mediterranean diet and:Cognitive DeclineAlzheimer's Disease PreventionA recent study adds an important element in potential mechanisms for the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet.Marta Crous-Bou and colleauges from Harvard University and the University of Washington published a study of the Mediterranean diet and chromosome ........ Read more »

Crous-Bou M, Fung TT, Prescott J, Julin B, Du M, Sun Q, Rexrode KM, Hu FB, & De Vivo I. (2014) Mediterranean diet and telomere length in Nurses' Health Study: population based cohort study. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 25467028  

  • January 14, 2015
  • 10:51 AM
  • 214 views

Obesity, Inflammation and the Brain

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Brain inflammation produces a variety of emotional, behavior and cognitive symptoms.I remember clearly a patient I cared for with central nervous system lupus erythrematosis (SLE). With SLE flairs she developed flagrant psychotic symptoms including hallucinations requiring inpatient psychiatric care.Between flares she had no significant psychiatric symptoms.Nicole Castanon and two colleagues from France have published a review of the role of obesity-associated inflammation and brain dysfunction......... Read more »

  • January 12, 2015
  • 10:56 AM
  • 230 views

Dietary Grains and Heart/Stroke Mortality

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Dietary intake of whole grains and fiber shows consistent beneficial effects on a variety of health and mortality measures.In a post in 2011, I reviewed study results from the NIH-AARP cohort. That study reported reduced cardiovascular disease but not cancer in men and women with the highest fiber intake.A recent Harvard University study examined mortality risk in a group of U.S. health professionals grouped by level of whole grain intake.Participants in this study were over 118,000 men and wome........ Read more »

  • December 15, 2014
  • 08:42 AM
  • 276 views

Who is Getting High in Europe (and Where)?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

My research training is in psychiatric epidemiology. Alcohol and drug dependence have been two of my topic areas of research.So I found a recent novel study of the epidemiology of illicit drug use in Europe intriguing.Typical methods of looking for the prevalence of drug use in populations are direct diagnostic interviews and studies of emergency room attendees or autopsy cases with medical complications of drug use.However, Christopher Ort from Switzerland along with a host of European col........ Read more »

Ort C, van Nuijs AL, Berset JD, Bijlsma L, Castiglioni S, Covaci A, de Voogt P, Emke E, Fatta-Kassinos D, Griffiths P.... (2014) Spatial differences and temporal changes in illicit drug use in Europe quantified by wastewater analysis. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 109(8), 1338-52. PMID: 24861844  

  • December 10, 2014
  • 11:46 AM
  • 210 views

Prescription Opiate Abuse: High-Risk Populations

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Prescription opiate abuse is a significant problem in the United States.I have previously written about this issue in several previous posts.One important factor for clinicians and patients is the need to identify high-risk populations that may be more vulnerable to opiate abuse and dependence.One obvious group would be those with alcohol or another non-opiate abuse diagnosis. Additionally, some psychiatric disorders are associated with increased risk for substance abuse including opiate abuse.G........ Read more »

  • December 10, 2014
  • 11:06 AM
  • 243 views

Incentives in the Treatment of Cocaine Dependence

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Relapse rates are high in treatment samples of adults with cocaine dependence.Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common standard of care for cocaine dependence.A recent clinical trial from Switzerland examined the use of financial prize incentives to augment standard CBT in the treatment of cocaine dependence.Sixty subjects participated in this trial with the following inclusion criteria: least 18 years of age, had a DSM-IV diagnosis of cocaine dependence with at least one po........ Read more »

Petitjean SA, Dürsteler-MacFarland KM, Krokar MC, Strasser J, Mueller SE, Degen B, Trombini MV, Vogel M, Walter M, Wiesbeck GA.... (2014) A randomized, controlled trial of combined cognitive-behavioral therapy plus prize-based contingency management for cocaine dependence. Drug and alcohol dependence, 94-100. PMID: 25456571  

  • December 1, 2014
  • 12:09 PM
  • 255 views

Common Genes in Neuropsychiatric Disorders

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Finding a specific genes linked to specific neuropsychiatric disorders has been a key research strategy.However, this strategy has not been entirely successful.One problem with this unitary approach is the diagnostic overlap and comorbidity common to neuropsychiatric disorders such as mood disorders and autism.A promising alternative strategy is to focus on genes that share risk with more than one neuropsychiatric condition.Amit Lotan from Israel along with colleagues from the Netherlands, Germa........ Read more »

  • November 26, 2014
  • 11:06 AM
  • 303 views

Treatment Resistance in Eating Disorders

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Clinicians treating patients with eating disorders find the challenge great with many treatment-resistant cases.To some extent, this is true of any clinical disorder. Outpatient treatment rolls and inpatient samples are over-represented by those failing to respond to initial interventions.A medical example is helpful here. Endocrinologists specializing in diabetes see more complicated cases where glucose control is difficult and diabetic complications are common.Diabetics with easy glucose contr........ Read more »

  • November 17, 2014
  • 10:55 AM
  • 206 views

Eating Disorders in Obesity: DSM-IV and DSM-5

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The recent revision of the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) altered several eating disorder diagnostic criteria.Some have expressed concern that these revisions are overly broad and may result in over diagnosis in some clinical populations. One clinical population where this is a concern is obesity.A research study has been recently published addressing this issue.Jennifer Thomas and colleagues at Harvard University a........ Read more »

  • November 12, 2014
  • 11:14 AM
  • 288 views

Binge Eating Linked to Risk for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Binge eating is defined as the recurrent rapid consumption of high calorie meals accompanied by a feeling that eating is out of control.Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by binge eating paired with a purging behavior such as self-induced vomiting.Binge eating without purging is receiving increased clinical and research attention.Binge eating is a relative common component in elevated body mass index and obesity. Successful behavior and drug treatment for obesity often includes ........ Read more »

Peat CM, Huang L, Thornton LM, Von Holle AF, Trace SE, Lichtenstein P, Pedersen NL, Overby DW, & Bulik CM. (2013) Binge eating, body mass index, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Journal of psychosomatic research, 75(5), 456-61. PMID: 24182635  

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