Brain Posts

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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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  • December 2, 2015
  • 12:37 PM

Treatment Guidelines for Problem Gambling

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Basal ganglia may be involving in gambling disorderProblem gambling effects a number of individuals who engage in gambling behavior.Gambling behavior that meets criteria as a Gambling Disorder according to the criteria of DSM-5 includes four or more of the following over a consecutive 12 month period of time:Increased quantity of money gambled to achieve excitementRestlessness/irritability when attempting to cut down gambling behaviorRepeated unsuccessful attempts to cut down or stop gamblingPre........ Read more »

Lee KM, Chan HN, Cheah B, Gentica GF, Guo S, Lim HK, Lim YC, Noorul F, Tan HS, Teo P.... (2011) Ministry of Health clinical practice guidelines: management of gambling disorders. Singapore medical journal, 52(6), 456. PMID: 21732000  

  • November 23, 2015
  • 01:06 PM

Gambling and Brain Frontal-Striatum Connections

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

For the remainder of 2015, Brain Posts will focus on pathological gambling and also highlight the top-viewed posts for the year.Functional connectivity is a relatively recent brain imaging technique that provides a new look at brain circuitry at rest and with tasks.Resting state connectivity using fMRI provides a snapshot of brain connections in each individual. There is increasing study of resting connectivity in individuals with disorders in neuroscience medicine compared to control population........ Read more »

  • November 18, 2015
  • 02:00 PM

Predictors of Poor Outcome After Traumatic Brain Injury

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The outcome following traumatic brain injury (TBI) is often unpredictable and variable.Two individuals with similar types of TBI can have quite different outcomes ranging from total disability to functional employment.Torun Finnanger and colleagues from Norway and Australia recently reported on a study that examined a number of predictor variables on self-reported outcome following TBI.In this study, 67 adolescents and adults with moderate to severe TBI completed baseline assessments and were fo........ Read more »

  • November 16, 2015
  • 12:40 PM

Smell Test in Screening for Parkinson's Disease Risk

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Molecular model of polypeptide parkinIdentification of early or prodromal stages of the diseases of neuroscience medicine is an important clinical and research goal.Identification of prodromal illness allows for enhanced surveillance and initiation of secondary prevention interventions.Impairment of smell or olfactory sensation is a key early clue for Parkinson's disease (PD).Danna Jennings and colleagues recently published an important study of the role of smell impairment in prodromal PD.This ........ Read more »

Jennings D, Siderowf A, Stern M, Seibyl J, Eberly S, Oakes D, Marek K, & PARS Investigators. (2014) Imaging prodromal Parkinson disease: the Parkinson Associated Risk Syndrome Study. Neurology, 83(19), 1739-46. PMID: 25298306  

  • November 12, 2015
  • 12:51 PM

Screening for Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson's Disease

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Sunset in Blanchard, OK courtesy of Dr. Tim YatesThere is a significant need for improvement in the tools available for screening for cognitive impairment in a variety of disorders in neuroscience medicine.The Mini-Mental State Examination Score (MMSE) is a widely used 30-item scale for screening dementia and other neurological conditions.However, the MMSE has some significant weaknesses for use in the clinical setting.Jin Qiao and colleagues from China recently published a study testing th........ Read more »

  • November 10, 2015
  • 12:35 PM

Brain Inflammation in Dementia with Lewy Bodies

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The role of inflammation in the brain is receiving increased attention in dementia and other disorders in neuroscience medicine.Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is the third leading cause of dementia. This disorder has received increased attention with the finding of the condition in the autopsy of comedian and actor Robin Williams.Patrick Ejlerskov and colleagues from Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom recently published an informative study in the journal Cell on this topic.Cytokin........ Read more »

Ejlerskov P, Hultberg JG, Wang J, Carlsson R, Ambjørn M, Kuss M, Liu Y, Porcu G, Kolkova K, Friis Rundsten C.... (2015) Lack of Neuronal IFN-β-IFNAR Causes Lewy Body- and Parkinson's Disease-like Dementia. Cell, 163(2), 324-39. PMID: 26451483  

  • November 4, 2015
  • 02:50 PM

Brain Imaging in Diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Brain image highlighting right insula implicated in DLBRecent information has emerged concerning the suicide death of the comedian/actor Robin Williams.Autopsy results have demonstrated that Robin Williams suffered from dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).This public case demonstrates the difficulty in making a correct diagnosis of DLB prior to the findings at autopsy.In a previous post I reported on a screening tool for clinicians that appears to have some promise for screening for high-risk DLB pa........ Read more »

  • October 30, 2015
  • 12:06 PM

Wii Fit Games for Children with Coordination Problems

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Among the types of development problems of childhood is developmental coordination disorder or DCD.In DCD, children show delay and subnormal performance in coordinated motor skills.This may be noted as a general tendency of clumsiness with difficulties in activities such as catching a ball, using scissors, handwriting or riding a bike.Computer games such as the Nintendo Wii platform provide a method to improve a variety of motor and coordination skills in a fun environment.A South African team r........ Read more »

  • October 27, 2015
  • 12:10 PM

Improving Diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

This month I have been focusing on research advances in neuropsychology in neuroscience medicine.My daily feed screener picked up a report of a screening tool for Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) today.LBD is often confused with Alzheimer's disease. Distinguishing the two is important for management and selection of appropriate drug treatment.This research is not published in a free full-text manuscript format but there is a link to the scale for readers with more interest.The research study examined th........ Read more »

  • October 22, 2015
  • 12:27 PM

Early Birds, Night Owls and Working Memory

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There is a growing body of research showing the individual preference for mornings or evenings influences human performance and disease.Early birds is common term for individuals who arise early and prefer activity in mornings. Night owls often stay up late at night and find they are more productive in the evenings.This day time preference pattern is known scientifically as chronotype.Christina Schmidt and colleagues from Belgium recently published an interesting study of the effect of chronotyp........ Read more »

  • October 20, 2015
  • 01:50 PM

Hopelessness as Risk Factor for Alzheimer's Disease

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Original figure from Hakansson K et al. (citation below)I have been reviewing advances in neuropsychology in neuroscience medicine.One important relevant topic is the art of neuropsychological testing for the early diagnosis and monitoring of Alzheimer's and other dementias.Another important focus is finding neuropsychological risk factors for later development of cognitive impairment.Mid-life depression has been identified as a risk factor for later life cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's dis........ Read more »

  • October 15, 2015
  • 12:54 PM

Tools for Alzheimer's Screening: BrainCheck

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Screening for cognitive decline and early Alzheimer's disease presents a clinical challenge for primary care providers.A variety of tests and tools are available for use but limited research has focused on testing in primary care settings.Michael Ehrensperger and colleagues recently published a study of a brief tool for screening for cognitive decline called BrainCheck.This tool combines a patient interview, an informant interview and the Clock Drawing Test administered in combination.The import........ Read more »

  • October 12, 2015
  • 12:29 PM

Neuroplasticity and Training the Older Brain

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Neuroplasticity is the brain and nervous systems ability to evolve and to repair deficits.At a basic level it represents the ability to learn and develop a structural and functional system to interact with the environment.The brain's neuroplasticity is maximized during childhood and adolescence. This adaptability wanes with age. However, some neuroplasticity ability persists in the older brain.This persistence was highlighted in a study from Hong Kong recently published in the journal Neural Pla........ Read more »

Leung NT, Tam HM, Chu LW, Kwok TC, Chan F, Lam LC, Woo J, & Lee TM. (2015) Neural Plastic Effects of Cognitive Training on Aging Brain. Neural plasticity, 535618. PMID: 26417460  

  • October 8, 2015
  • 12:36 PM

Brain Reward and Anabolic Steroids

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Pine Cone and Peacocks from Vatican MuseumTestosterone displays effects on brain function in both males and females.Emanuela Mhillaj and colleagues recently published a nice summary of what is currently known about the effects of anabolic-androgen steroids (AAS) on the brain.Their review highlighted the potential for AAS to modulate brain reward function and potentially lead to a drug dependence type of abuse pattern.Here are some of my notes on their discussion of AAS and the brain reward syste........ Read more »

Mhillaj E, Morgese MG, Tucci P, Bove M, Schiavone S, & Trabace L. (2015) Effects of anabolic-androgens on brain reward function. Frontiers in neuroscience, 295. PMID: 26379484  

Yates WR, Perry PJ, & Andersen KH. (1990) Illicit anabolic steroid use: a controlled personality study. Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica, 81(6), 548-50. PMID: 2378247  

  • October 7, 2015
  • 11:53 AM

Leading Causes of Early Death in U.S. 1990-2010

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The manuscript in this post is two years old but I thought it was worthy of comment.The Global Burden of Disease study seeks to provide an estimate of the relative contribution of a variety of medical disorders on disability and death.I have summarized data with an original chart with data abstracted on the leading causes of early death in the U.S. This is provided by the chart in numbers (x1000). The most recent estimate rates heart disease as the continuing cause of years of life lost (2010 es........ Read more »

Murray CJ, Atkinson C, Bhalla K, Birbeck G, Burstein R, Chou D, Dellavalle R, Danaei G, Ezzati M, Fahimi A.... (2013) The state of US health, 1990-2010: burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors. JAMA, 310(6), 591-608. PMID: 23842577  

  • October 6, 2015
  • 12:22 PM

Do Baseball Players Live Longer?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs begin today. I did a PubMed search for recent research related to baseball.One interesting abstract examined the body of research related to elite athletes and longevity.This review article examined 54 peer-reviewed manuscripts that addressed the mortality and longevity of elite athletes. Sixteen of these studies examined longevity in MLB players.I will summarize some of the conclusions from this review.MLB players tended to have longer lifespan than cont........ Read more »

  • October 2, 2015
  • 11:41 AM

Academic Performance in Adolescents: Behavioral Correlates

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Galileo Bust in Galileo Museum, Florence (wryates photo)There is a significant level of interest in the best behavioral activity balance in adolescents.Adolescents currently live in an environment of expanding opportunities for spending time watching TV, surfing the internet and playing video games.Understanding the best balance of study, exercise and time in front of a screen is an important topic.Kristen Corder and colleagues recently examined adolescent behavioral activity patterns and perfor........ Read more »

  • October 1, 2015
  • 01:04 PM

Does Brain Injury Increase Criminal Behavior?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Traumatic brain injury produces a variety of cognitive effects.Some individuals will have behavioral disturbances including anger outbursts and interpersonal conflict.A recent study examined the rates of first criminal conviction in a group of 7694 men and women hospitalized with traumatic brain injury (TBI).The study found about a 50 to 75% increase in rates of post-TBI criminal convictions including violent convictions. This effect was noted using either general population controls or sibling ........ Read more »

  • September 30, 2015
  • 12:29 PM

iPad Intervention Boosts Cognition in Schizophrenia

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In a previous post, I summarized some of the current thinking on the use of cognitive enhancement drugs in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, ADHD and schizophrenia.This summary was based on a review by Gabe Howard and colleagues. The review also included a summary of a clinical trial using an iPad cognitive training app for the treatment of cognition in schizophrenia.Here are the key elements of the study and the results.Study sample: 22 adults with a diagnosis of DSM-5 schizophrenia, sc........ Read more »

Sahakian BJ, Bruhl AB, Cook J, Killikelly C, Savulich G, Piercy T, Hafizi S, Perez J, Fernandez-Egea E, Suckling J.... (2015) The impact of neuroscience on society: cognitive enhancement in neuropsychiatric disorders and in healthy people. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 370(1677). PMID: 26240429  

  • September 29, 2015
  • 12:04 PM

Cognitive Enhancers in Neuroscience Medicine

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Neuropsychiatric disorders cause impairment via multiple pathways. One pathway to impairment is cognitive impairment via attention problems, cognitive slowing and memory disruption.Barbara Sahakian and colleagues recently published an interesting manuscript examining the issue of cognitive enhancement.Their review begins by summarizing some of the research related to cognitive enhancement in four neuropsychiatric syndromes. I will summarize their main points by specific disorder.Alzheimer's Dise........ Read more »

Sahakian BJ, Bruhl AB, Cook J, Killikelly C, Savulich G, Piercy T, Hafizi S, Perez J, Fernandez-Egea E, Suckling J.... (2015) The impact of neuroscience on society: cognitive enhancement in neuropsychiatric disorders and in healthy people. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 370(1677). PMID: 26240429  

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