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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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  • September 11, 2012
  • 12:48 PM

Autism Spectrum Correlates of Geometric Reasoning

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Individuals with autism and autism spectrum conditions such as Asperger's syndrome display a wide range of intellectual ability.A subset of autism spectrum individuals show exceptional ability in specific cognitive domains such as geometric reasoning.  Geometric reasoning is a component of what is known as general fluid intelligence.Geometric reasoning ability can be measured using Raven's Progressive Matrices (RPM).  RPM is a series of visual geometric figures presented to subjects. &........ Read more »

  • September 10, 2012
  • 12:51 PM

Autism Diagnosis and Artificial Intelligence

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

An accurate diagnosis of autism early in child development leads to early intervention and improved outcome.  Research into autism diagnostic approaches can provide clinicians with better tools to assist in diagnosis.Wall and colleagues recently published a study using artificial intelligence to develop a shortened interview to diagnose autism.  They started with data from a group of children with autism who completed a comprehensive autism diagnostic instrument called the Autism Diagn........ Read more »

  • September 6, 2012
  • 12:42 PM

Cannabis Use and Risk of Depression

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There are few prospective studies examining the use of cannabis and risk of later depression and other mental disorders.   I have previously reviewed two studies that examined the association of cannabis use and later psychosis.  One study found increased rates of psychosis in cannabis user with a family history of psychosis.  A second study found later psychosis risk elevated with use of cannabis beginning in childhood or adolescence.There is now an additional study examinin........ Read more »

  • September 5, 2012
  • 12:03 PM

Delirium as a Risk Factor for Dementia

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Discovering and understanding the risk factors in Alzheimer's disease and other dementias is an important research strategy.  Risk factors provide clues into identifying high-risk populations and potential prevention interventions.The strongest known risk factor  for Alzheimer's disease is advanced age.  Alzheimer's disease risk doubles every five years beginning at age 65 and by age 85 the rate approaches 50 percent of the population.Delirium is an acute neurological condition ch........ Read more »

Davis DH, Muniz Terrera G, Keage H, Rahkonen T, Oinas M, Matthews FE, Cunningham C, Polvikoski T, Sulkava R, Maclullich AM.... (2012) Delirium is a strong risk factor for dementia in the oldest-old: a population-based cohort study. Brain : a journal of neurology. PMID: 22879644  

  • September 4, 2012
  • 04:27 PM

Behavior and Survival After Age 75

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Smoking cigarettes, low physical activity level and lack of social support are well-known factors associated with mortality in humans.  One issue that is less clear is the effect of these and other behaviors on mortality in older populations.One might think that effect of healthy behaviors might diminish with age.  For example, an individual who smoked throughout life but has now reached the age of 75 might be someone resistant to the adverse effects of smoking on mortality.  In o........ Read more »

  • August 30, 2012
  • 12:15 PM

Brain Imaging in PTSD: Part III

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Two previous posts examined structural brain imaging and functional connectivity in the anxiety disorder post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).   For the final post in this series, I will summarize the findings of of quantitative meta-analysis of fMRI and PET in PTSD.Jasmeet P. Hayes and colleagues from the VA Boston Healthcare System reviewed 79 functional neuroimaging studies published before February of 2011.  This review included over 300 PTSD subjects and controls.  Data from........ Read more »

  • August 29, 2012
  • 11:49 AM

Brain Imaging in PTSD: Part II

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In my last post I reviewed a recent structural brain imaging study in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  This study found evidence of thinning of the cerebral cortex in three regions of men 6 months after a mining accident exposure.   The next two posts will look at some of the research in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography in PTSD.Functional connectivity studies in a variety of mental disorders show promise for a better understanding of ........ Read more »

Sripada RK, King AP, Garfinkel SN, Wang X, Sripada CS, Welsh RC, & Liberzon I. (2012) Altered resting-state amygdala functional connectivity in men with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of psychiatry , 37(4), 241-9. PMID: 22313617  

  • August 28, 2012
  • 11:40 AM

Brain Imaging in PTSD: Part I

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There have been a series of recent imaging studies in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) subjects worthy of review.  In the next three posts, I will summarize some of these findings.The first study will review a recent structural imaging study.  The next two posts will examine a study of functional connectivity and a meta-analysis of fMRI and PET imaging studies.Liu and colleagues from China have published an interesting structural brain imaging study using an imaging technique know........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2012
  • 11:46 AM

Sleep and Parkinson's Disease

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The neurotransmitter deficiency in Parkinson's disease interacts with important sleep mechanisms.  Patients with Parkinson's disease report increased rates of a variety of sleep problems.  REM sleep behavior disorder is a disorder commonly linked to Parkinson's disease as well as Lewy body dementia.  I have previously posted commentary on a study describing the value of using REM sleep behavior disorder is the differential diagnosis of dementia here.A new study has further examine........ Read more »

Svensson E, Beiske AG, Loge JH, Beiske KK, & Sivertsen B. (2012) Sleep problems in Parkinson¿s disease: a community-based study in Norway. BMC neurology, 12(1), 71. PMID: 22883600  

  • August 23, 2012
  • 12:26 PM

Trends In Epidemiology of Eating Disorders

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Monitoring changes in the incidence, prevalence and mortality rates in clinical neuroscience disorders represents an important role for research.  Changes in rates of disorder over time may provide clues into diagnostic issues, key environmental factors and the effects of public health prevention interventions.Frederick Smink and colleagues from the Netherlands recently published a review of the epidemiology of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.  The review co........ Read more »

  • August 21, 2012
  • 01:06 PM

Imaging the Effects of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Commonly available clinical brain imaging techniques do not provide reliable or valid information in mild traumatic brain injury (TBI).  This has led to increased research on evolving imaging techniques.Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) hold promise as a potential future clinical brain imaging.  DTI can assess microstructure changes in brain white matter.   Aoki and colleagues from Japan recently summarized the current knowledge of DTI in mild traumatic brain injury.This review used ........ Read more »

Aoki Y, Inokuchi R, Gunshin M, Yahagi N, & Suwa H. (2012) Diffusion tensor imaging studies of mild traumatic brain injury: a meta-analysis. Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry, 83(9), 870-6. PMID: 22797288  

  • August 16, 2012
  • 12:03 PM

Risk Factors For Sleep Apnea in Hypertension

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Sleep apnea occurs at higher rates in those with hypertension compared to those without hypertension.  Some of this elevated risk may be due sharing of obesity as a risk factor. The identification of sleep apnea in those with hypertension is clinically important.  Sleep apnea may contribute to blood pressure elevation.  Additionally, sleep apnea appears to independently contribute to risk for cardiovascular mortality.  Some of this increased vascular risk may relate to the sy........ Read more »

Broström A, Sunnergren O, Årestedt K, Johansson P, Ulander M, Riegel B, & Svanborg E. (2012) Factors associated with undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnoea in hypertensive primary care patients. Scandinavian journal of primary health care, 30(2), 107-13. PMID: 22643156  

  • August 15, 2012
  • 12:23 PM

Research-based ADHD Treatment Options

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Research-based information on the treatment options available for ADHD in children and adults can be hard to find.  This often leaves parents and other family members confused by the overwhelming volume of information.  Many treatments have no or limited research data on safety and effectiveness.This makes high-quality research reviews important.  Such a review has been published by the Agency for Healthcare Research.  A group of top ADHD researchers reviewed 223 studies on t........ Read more »

John M. Eisenberg Center for Clinical Decisions and Communications Science. (2005) Treatment Options for ADHD in Children and Teens: A Review of Research for Parents and Caregivers. Agency for Healthcare Research Quality. PMID: 22855973  

  • July 30, 2012
  • 01:51 PM

Cannabis Dependence Risk Factors: Neuroticism

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Cannabis appears to have a lower risk of dependence in users than other drugs such as heroin, cocaine or nicotine.  Despite this lower risk, some cannabis users do go on to develop typical substance dependence signs and symptoms like daily high-dose use and impairment in social and occupational function.Genetic factors appear to influence risk for a variety types of drug dependence.  I will review some of the genetic studies of cannabis dependence in a future post.  A recent study........ Read more »

  • July 26, 2012
  • 01:41 PM

The Future of Psychiatric Genetics

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Progress in understanding the genetic contributions to psychiatric disorders has been significant over the last five years.  However, this progress lags compared to the progress made in other medical disorders.  Some of this lag relates to the complex genetic heterogeneity in psychiatric illnesses.  However, the current state of knowledge does provide optimism for the future of psychiatric genetics.Patrick Sullivan from the University of North Carolina along with colleagues from H........ Read more »

  • July 23, 2012
  • 01:20 PM

Education and Premature Mortality Risk

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Advanced educational level is linked to risk of premature death from a variety of clinical neuroscience disorders.  Stroke risk is increased significantly in low with a high school educational level compared to those with a college degree or more.  Monitoring and understanding these types of discrepancies is an important aspect of public health.A recent study of education and premature mortality risk has been published in the journal Plos One.  J Ma from the Surveillance Research ........ Read more »

  • July 18, 2012
  • 11:11 AM

Drug Combo Qsymia Approved for Obesity

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the combination drug Qsymia for the treatment of obesity.  Qsymia contains the drugs phentermine and topiramate and comes in two dose combinations phentermine 7.5 mg/topiramate 46 mg and a double-strength combination of phentermine 15.0mg/topiramate 92 mg.I have previously reviewed a 56 week clinical trial of this drug combination.  This study found an average weight loss of 17.8 pounds for the lower dose combination and an avera........ Read more »

  • July 17, 2012
  • 12:37 PM

Sleep Problems Increased in Diabetes

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Diabetes affects an estimated 25.8 million individuals in the United States or approximately 8.3% of the total population.  The risk of diabetes increases with age with a prevalence rate of 3.7% in the 20-44 year age group climbing to a prevalence rate of 26.9% of individuals 65 years of age or older.A recent study examined the prevalence of a variety of sleep problems in those with diabetes compared to those without diabetes.  Platinga and colleagues compared the rates of the followin........ Read more »

  • July 16, 2012
  • 12:38 PM

Autism Brain Deficits in Social Judgment

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Children and adults with autism show deficits in the ability to make correct judgment of social situations.  Judging social settings accurately requires the integrating both verbal and non-verbal cues.   Although children with autism appear to be able to accurately judge verbal and non-verbal cues, they show deficits in integrating both types of information in making a global judgement of social situations.An important research question is:  Where are the brain structures and circ........ Read more »

Watanabe T, Yahata N, Abe O, Kuwabara H, Inoue H, Takano Y, Iwashiro N, Natsubori T, Aoki Y, Takao H.... (2012) Diminished Medial Prefrontal Activity behind Autistic Social Judgments of Incongruent Information. PloS one, 7(6). PMID: 22745788  

  • July 13, 2012
  • 01:05 PM

Biomarkers in Early-onset Alzheimer's Disease

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Precuneus Region in Teal Color in Posterior BrainThe timing and sequence of brain changes in Alzheimer's disease are important factors for improving early diagnosis and treatment.  Key research tools such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) provide methods to better understand the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease.The research design needed to optimally understand the development of Alzheimer's disease would be a large prospective longitudinal stu........ Read more »

Bateman RJ, Xiong C, Benzinger TL, Fagan AM, Goate A, Fox NC, Marcus DS, Cairns NJ, Xie X, Blazey TM.... (2012) Clinical and Biomarker Changes in Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer's Disease. The New England journal of medicine. PMID: 22784036  

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