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Brain Blogger covers topics from multidimensional biopsychosocial perspectives. It reviews the latest news and stories related to neuroscience, psychiatry, and neurology. It serves as a focal point for attracting new minds beyond the science of the mind-and-brain and into the biopsychosocial model.
Medical mysteries pop up every now and then that are either misdiagnosed or dismissed as either a psychosomatic or a psychological disorder. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is one of these mysteries and identification of a cause, or even whether the disease actually exists, continues to elude scientists. My previous post focused upon my own personal [...]... Read more »
Floris P. de Langea, Joke S. Kalkmanb, Gijs Bleijenbergb, Peter Hagoorta, Jos W.M. van der Meerc, & Ivan Tonia. (2005) Gray matter volume reduction in the chronic fatigue syndrome. NeuroImage, 26(3), 777-781. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.02.037
Have you ever experienced waking up in the night, sweating and gasping for breath because some strange dream is mystifying you? Most people have experienced dreams of being chased by some alien in the night or missing a train to some unknown destination or falling freely from the height. What causes such dreams in our [...]... Read more »
Mahowald, M., Woods, S., & Schenck, C. (1998) Sleeping Dreams, Waking Hallucinations, and the Central Nervous System. Dreaming, 8(2), 89-102. DOI: 10.1023/B:DREM.0000005899.59224.17
While performing research for my next article, I found a paper in The Open Neurology Journal reporting the results of a scientific study which confirmed both the presence and the level of cognitive impairment in people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). As I was reading the study, I thought “Aha! Finally. A study that confirms [...]... Read more »
Majer, M., Welberg, L., Capuron, L., Miller, A., Pagnoni, G., & Reeves, W. (2008) Neuropsychological Performance in Persons With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Results From a Population-Based Study. Psychosomatic Medicine, 70(7), 829-836. DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e31817b9793
Alcohol consumption is probably as old as human civilization, and so is its abuse. The social and physiological ill effects of alcoholism are well known. What is less clear is why certain individuals are more predisposed to it. Alcohol addiction is a multifactorial phenomenon where personality traits, individual and social influences interact with neurobiology, creating [...]... Read more »
Moussas, G., Christodoulou, C., & Douzenis, A. (2009) A short review on the aetiology and pathophysiology of alcoholism. Annals of General Psychiatry, 8(1), 10. DOI: 10.1186/1744-859X-8-10
Many occupations can make you feel like you are losing your mind, but new evidence suggests that long working hours may actually lead to cognitive decline. Notably, cognitive impairment in midlife is already established as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. A new report from the Whitehall II Study, published [...]... Read more »
Elovainio, M., Ferrie, J., Singh-Manoux, A., Gimeno, D., De Vogli, R., Shipley, M., Vahtera, J., Brunner, E., Marmot, M., & Kivimaki, M. (2009) Cumulative exposure to high-strain and active jobs as predictors of cognitive function: the Whitehall II study. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 66(1), 32-37. DOI: 10.1136/oem.2008.039305
Elovainio, M., Kivimaki, M., Ferrie, J., Gimeno, D., De Vogli, R., Virtanen, M., Vahtera, J., Brunner, E., Marmot, M., & Singh-Manoux, A. (2009) Physical and cognitive function in midlife: reciprocal effects? A 5-year follow-up of the Whitehall II study. Journal of Epidemiology , 63(6), 468-473. DOI: 10.1136/jech.2008.081505
Virtanen, M., Singh-Manoux, A., Ferrie, J., Gimeno, D., Marmot, M., Elovainio, M., Jokela, M., Vahtera, J., & Kivimaki, M. (2008) Long Working Hours and Cognitive Function: The Whitehall II Study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 169(5), 596-605. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwn382
Wilson, R., Hebert, L., Scherr, P., Barnes, L., Mendes de Leon, C., & Evans, D. (2009) Educational attainment and cognitive decline in old age. Neurology, 72(5), 460-465. DOI: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000341782.71418.6c
Yaffe, K., Fiocco, A., Lindquist, K., Vittinghoff, E., Simonsick, E., Newman, A., Satterfield, S., Rosano, C., Rubin, S., Ayonayon, H.... (2009) Predictors of maintaining cognitive function in older adults: The Health ABC Study. Neurology, 72(23), 2029-2035. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181a92c36
Dolphins are born swimming, cattle can walk within hours and lions are able to run within 20 days of birth. Compare this to a human newborn who will require months before he is able to merely sit without support. More advanced skills like running and jumping may take years to develop in a human newborn. [...]... Read more »
BARRICKMAN, N., BASTIAN, M., ISLER, K., & VANSCHAIK, C. (2008) Life history costs and benefits of encephalization: a comparative test using data from long-term studies of primates in the wild. Journal of Human Evolution, 54(5), 568-590. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2007.08.012
Migraine is a recurring headache of moderate to severe intensity that is associated with gastrointestinal, neurologic, and autonomic symptoms. As the most common of the chronic headache disorders, migraine affects 18% of women and 6% of men in the United States. More than one-half of all migraine sufferers report significant disability with the migraine. While [...]... Read more »
Bigal, M., Kurth, T., Hu, H., Santanello, N., & Lipton, R. (2009) Migraine and cardiovascular disease: Possible mechanisms of interaction. Neurology, 72(21), 1864-1871. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181a71220
Kurth, T., & Schürks, M. (2009) Newest aspects on the association between migraine and cardiovascular disease: The role of modifying factors. Current Pain and Headache Reports, 13(3), 231-236. DOI: 10.1007/s11916-009-0039-4
Kurth, T., Schurks, M., Logroscino, G., & Buring, J. (2009) Migraine frequency and risk of cardiovascular disease in women. Neurology. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181ab2c20
Kurth, T., Schurks, M., Logroscino, G., Gaziano, J., & Buring, J. (2008) Migraine, vascular risk, and cardiovascular events in women: prospective cohort study. BMJ, 337(aug07 1). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.a636
Scher, A., Gudmundsson, L., Sigurdsson, S., Ghambaryan, A., Aspelund, T., Eiriksdottir, G., van Buchem, M., Gudnason, V., & Launer, L. (2009) Migraine Headache in Middle Age and Late-Life Brain Infarcts. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 301(24), 2563-2570. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2009.932
A major public policy concern is the well known fact that many minority students under-achieve scholastically. The roots of the discrepancy in performance of some minorities and their white counterparts has been attributed to many causes, such as socioeconomic disparities and poor school systems in minority communities. Many of the explanations, however, focus on the [...]... Read more »
Croizet, J., & Claire, T. (1998) Extending the Concept of Stereotype Threat to Social Class: The Intellectual Underperformance of Students from Low Socioeconomic Backgrounds. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24(6), 588-594. DOI: 10.1177/0146167298246003
Obesity is a global epidemic, in adults and children. The increase in childhood obesity has been linked to behavioral and environmental factors: decreased physical activity and increased television viewing. Now it is clear that these activities are detrimental not only to physical health, but also psychological health. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics [...]... Read more »
Anderson, S., Economos, C., & Must, A. (2008) Active play and screen time in US children aged 4 to 11 years in relation to sociodemographic and weight status characteristics: a nationally representative cross-sectional analysis. BMC Public Health, 8(1), 366. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-8-366
Hamer, M., Stamatakis, E., & Mishra, G. (2009) Psychological Distress, Television Viewing, and Physical Activity in Children Aged 4 to 12 Years. PEDIATRICS, 123(5), 1263-1268. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2008-1523
Marshall, S., Biddle, S., Gorely, T., Cameron, N., & Murdey, I. (2004) Relationships between media use, body fatness and physical activity in children and youth: a meta-analysis. International Journal of Obesity, 28(10), 1238-1246. DOI: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802706
Viner, R., Haines, M., Taylor, S., Head, J., Booy, R., & Stansfeld, S. (2006) Body mass, weight control behaviours, weight perception and emotional well being in a multiethnic sample of early adolescents. International Journal of Obesity, 30(10), 1514-1521. DOI: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803352
Unilateral neglect (UN) is a debilitating cognitive deficit following traumatic brain injury with long-term implications to both the person affected and the health care system. In the United States, UN affects up to 200,000 stroke survivors, with the incidence and severity of UN increasing with age. However, UN is rarely recognized by the health care [...]... Read more »
Wee, J., & Hopman, W. (2008) Comparing Consequences of Right and Left Unilateral Neglect in a Stroke Rehabilitation Population. American Journal of Physical Medicine , 87(11), 910-920. DOI: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e31818a58bd
Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder typified by excessive daytime sleepiness. The symptoms of the disorder can be disabling, and for years treatment relied on amphetamines and related stimulants to help patients stay awake. For nearly 2 decades now, modafinil (Provigil) has been available to treat the symptoms of narcolepsy; modafinil has been the preferred wake-promoting [...]... Read more »
Minzenberg, M., & Carter, C. (2007) Modafinil: A Review of Neurochemical Actions and Effects on Cognition. Neuropsychopharmacology, 33(7), 1477-1502. DOI: 10.1038/sj.npp.1301534
Volkow, N., Fowler, J., Logan, J., Alexoff, D., Zhu, W., Telang, F., Wang, G., Jayne, M., Hooker, J., Wong, C.... (2009) Effects of Modafinil on Dopamine and Dopamine Transporters in the Male Human Brain: Clinical Implications. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 301(11), 1148-1154. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2009.351
Winder-Rhodes, S., Chamberlain, S., Idris, M., Robbins, T., Sahakian, B., & Muller, U. (2009) Effects of modafinil and prazosin on cognitive and physiological functions in healthy volunteers. Journal of Psychopharmacology. DOI: 10.1177/0269881109105899
New data emerging from the investigation of the death of Michael Jackson reveal that the iconic pop star was taking very high doses of sedative medications during the course of his career. At the time of his death, it was reported that he was taking at least ten tablets of the powerful sedative Xanax every [...]... Read more »
Christie, M. (2008) Cellular neuroadaptations to chronic opioids: tolerance, withdrawal and addiction. British Journal of Pharmacology, 154(2), 384-396. DOI: 10.1038/bjp.2008.100
Bateson, A. (2002) Basic Pharmacologic Mechanisms Involved in Benzodiazepine Tolerance and Withdrawal. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 8(1), 5-21. DOI: 10.2174/1381612023396681
Hutchinson, M. (1996) The behavioural and neuronal effects of the chronic administration of benzodiazepine anxiolytic and hypnotic drugs. Progress in Neurobiology, 49(1), 73-97. DOI: 10.1016/0301-0082(96)00011-1
The placebo effect is a universally acknowledged phenomenon. In essence, if you think something is going to make you better, it probably will. If you believe that three tablets will do you more good than two, this may prove to be the case; if you believe that capsules are more effective than tablets, this may [...]... Read more »
Colloca L, & Benedetti F. (2007) Nocebo hyperalgesia: how anxiety is turned into pain. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol, 435-439. DOI: 10.1097/ACO.0b013e3282b972fb
Mind reading or delving into a person’s conscious experience is a concept only science fiction consists of. Though it sounds improbable, recent strides in neuroimaging have made it a reality, at least partially.
Visual stimuli are captured through the eyes and relayed into the brain for perception. Decoding this process involves a systemic mapping between the [...]... Read more »
MIYAWAKI, Y., UCHIDA, H., YAMASHITA, O., SATO, M., MORITO, Y., TANABE, H., SADATO, N., & KAMITANI, Y. (2008) Visual Image Reconstruction from Human Brain Activity using a Combination of Multiscale Local Image Decoders. Neuron, 60(5), 915-929. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2008.11.004
Arsenic sandwich anyone? Mercury soup, deadly nightshade surprise? No? Really? Well, I’m baffled! They’re all natural you know. And as we know, natural is good; natural is pure. Best of all, natural is healthy.
Such is the creed that has grown up around natural products. You want to market a new range of face cream –- [...]... Read more »
Pino, JA, Ortega A, Marbot, R, & Aguero, J. (2003) Volatile components of banana fruit (musa sapientum L.) "Indio" for Cuba. JEOR.
Why do we shop? Most often, it is because we need something. Sometimes, it is simply because we see something we like and can’t resist buying it. Why do we select one product or service over another that is similar? Depending on the product, it may be because our brain likes the color or smell, [...]... Read more »
Maslow AH. (1943) A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 370-396.
For health care workers in psychiatric hospitals, it is no secret: one of the major issues confronting psychiatric facilities seeking to institute blanket no-smoking policies concerns chronic inpatients with schizophrenia. Patients with schizophrenia are almost always heavy cigarette smokers, given a choice. As Edward Lyon wrote in an analysis of studies and surveys performed throughout [...]... Read more »
Mueser, K., Crocker, A., Frisman, L., Drake, R., Covell, N., & Essock, S. (2005) Conduct Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder in Persons With Severe Psychiatric and Substance Use Disorders. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 32(4), 626-636. DOI: 10.1093/schbul/sbj068
Children and adolescents of depressed parents are four to six times more likely to develop depressive symptoms themselves than children of non-depressed parents. This translates to approximately 61% of children of parents with depression developing a psychiatric disorder during their life. Strikingly, more than one-quarter of children in America will experience at least one episode [...]... Read more »
Beardslee, W., Gladstone, T., Wright, E., & Cooper, A. (2003) A Family-Based Approach to the Prevention of Depressive Symptoms in Children at Risk: Evidence of Parental and Child Change. PEDIATRICS, 112(2). DOI: 10.1542/peds.112.2.e119
Clarke, G. (2001) A Randomized Trial of a Group Cognitive Intervention for Preventing Depression in Adolescent Offspring of Depressed Parents. Archives of General Psychiatry, 58(12), 1127-1134. DOI: 10.1001/archpsyc.58.12.1127
David-Ferdon, C., & Kaslow, N. (2008) Evidence-Based Psychosocial Treatments for Child and Adolescent Depression. Journal of Clinical Child , 37(1), 62-104. DOI: 10.1080/15374410701817865
Garber, J., Clarke, G., Weersing, V., Beardslee, W., Brent, D., Gladstone, T., DeBar, L., Lynch, F., D'Angelo, E., Hollon, S.... (2009) Prevention of Depression in At-Risk Adolescents: A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 301(21), 2215-2224. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2009.788
WEERSING, V. (2006) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression in Youth. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 15(4), 939-957. DOI: 10.1016/j.chc.2006.05.008
Scientists love to solve the unanswerable questions in life, wrapping up tidy answers with equations or charts or definitions, leaving no gray area. Unfortunately for some researchers, not everything is so black and white. Can we really define love? Is success simply the sum of the right variables put into the right equation? Does happiness [...]... Read more »
Cohn, M., Fredrickson, B., Brown, S., Mikels, J., & Conway, A. (2009) Happiness unpacked: Positive emotions increase life satisfaction by building resilience. Emotion, 9(3), 361-368. DOI: 10.1037/a0015952
ISAACOWITZ, D., VAILLANT, G., & SELIGMAN, M. (2003) STRENGTHS AND SATISFACTION ACROSS THE ADULT LIFESPAN. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 57(2), 181-201. DOI: 10.2190/61EJ-LDYR-Q55N-UT6E
VAILLANT, G., TEMPLETON, J., ARDELT, M., & MEYER, S. (2008) The natural history of male mental health: Health and religious involvement. Social Science , 66(2), 221-231. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.09.011
Vaillant, G., DiRago, A., & Mukamal, K. (2006) Natural History of Male Psychological Health, XV: Retirement Satisfaction. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163(4), 682-688. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.163.4.682
The misuse of antibiotics around the world is increasing due, in part, to diagnostic uncertainty and patient expectations. One of the most common causes of antibiotic use in the United States, as well as other industrialized nations, is lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs). Unfortunately, LRTIs are, for the most part, unresponsive to antibiotics. The inappropriate [...]... Read more »
Cals, J., Butler, C., Hopstaken, R., Hood, K., & Dinant, G. (2009) Effect of point of care testing for C reactive protein and training in communication skills on antibiotic use in lower respiratory tract infections: cluster randomised trial. BMJ, 338(may05 1). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.b1374
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