William Yates, M.D.

468 posts · 378,353 views

Physician, Writer and Bird Photographer. Translating Neuroscience Research Into Better Care for Brain Disorders.

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468 posts

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  • November 12, 2014
  • 11:14 AM
  • 101 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  

  • November 11, 2014
  • 11:13 AM
  • 87 views

Anorexia Nervosa: Brain Connectivity Abnormalities

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Functional magnetic resonance imaging is providing a new tool for understanding brain circuitry in normal brain development and in brain disorders. Anorexia nervosa is an restrictive calorie eating disorder often resistant to treatment.No effective drug treatment for anorexia nervosa currently exists and psychotherapy is often only partially effective. A better understanding of the brain pathophysiology in anorexia nervosa is needed to aid in treatment development.Stephanie Kullman along wi........ Read more »

  • November 10, 2014
  • 10:05 AM
  • 86 views

Eating Disorders Linked to Higher Autoimmune Disease Rates

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There is increasing evidence for inflammation contributing to risk for a variety of psychiatric disorders.I previously summarized research supporting use of anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of depression.A recent study from Finland supports an inflammation link to the eating disorder categories.The key elements of the design of this study included:Subjects: 2342 subjects admitted for treatment in the Eating Disorders Unit at the central hospital in Finland. Four controls were identified ........ Read more »

Raevuori A, Haukka J, Vaarala O, Suvisaari JM, Gissler M, Grainger M, Linna MS, & Suokas JT. (2014) The increased risk for autoimmune diseases in patients with eating disorders. PloS one, 9(8). PMID: 25147950  

  • November 5, 2014
  • 12:19 PM
  • 88 views

Anorexia Nervosa as a Disorder of Perception

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

A key feature in anorexia nervosa is the disturbance in perception of the body.This perceptual disturbance is encapsulated in criteria 3 from DSM-5: "Disturbance in the way in which one's body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of the current low weight" Santino Guadio from Italy and colleagues recently published a nice summary of the support for body image disturbance in anorexia nervosa. This study focused ........ Read more »

  • November 4, 2014
  • 10:52 AM
  • 79 views

Anorexia Nervosa: Fasting and Starvation Brain Effects

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Brain research in anorexia nervosa presents several challenges.Current knowledge of cognitive function in anorexia supports impairment in set shifting and global brain processing or central coherence.However, there are two issues that complicate understanding the underlying brain effects in anorexia nervosa.First, individuals with anorexia nervosa often have additional anxiety and mood disorders. It can be difficult to tease out the specific effects of anorexia nervosa from the effects of these ........ Read more »

Billingsley-Marshall RL, Basso MR, Lund BC, Hernandez ER, Johnson CL, Drevets WC, McKee PA, & Yates WR. (2013) Executive function in eating disorders: the role of state anxiety. The International journal of eating disorders, 46(4), 316-21. PMID: 23354876  

  • October 30, 2014
  • 11:20 AM
  • 118 views

Alcoholism as a Reward System Dysfunction

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Alcoholism and other addictive behaviors often occur together within individual patients.For example, individuals with alcoholism commonly also are smokers and meet criteria for a diagnosis of nicotine dependence.This co-occurrence suggests multiple types of addiction may share genetic and environmental risk factors. Additionally, there might be a common neurobiological mechanism in play for many addictions.Kenneth Blum and other leading alcoholism researchers recently published a review that pr........ Read more »

  • October 28, 2014
  • 11:59 AM
  • 113 views

Night Owls Show Increased Alcohol Use Risk

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Humans commonly display a circadian rhythm preference for getting up early in the morning or staying up late at night (night owls).This sleep timing, or diurnal preference appears to have genetic contributions.Additionally, diurnal preference may contribute to risk for alcohol consumption as more alcohol is consumed later in the day and during the night time.Nathaniel Watson and colleagues at the University of Washington and the University of Texas recently explored the relationship between diur........ Read more »

Watson NF, Buchwald D, & Harden KP. (2013) A twin study of genetic influences on diurnal preference and risk for alcohol use outcomes. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 9(12), 1333-9. PMID: 24340296  

  • October 27, 2014
  • 11:10 AM
  • 112 views

Brain Imaging In Alcoholic Brain Thiamine Deficiency

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Chronic consumption of large quantities of alcohol can produce severe deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1).This can precipitate an acute brain failure known as Wernicke's encephalopathy. Wernicke's encephalopathy is characterized by sudden onset of mental status changes, eye muscle impairment and disturbed gait or ataxia.Other illnesses can also produce this level of severe thiamine deficiency. A partial list of these non-alcoholism causes for thiamine deficiency with encephalopathy includes........ Read more »

  • October 23, 2014
  • 10:20 AM
  • 127 views

Smartphone App Boosts Alcoholism Treatment Outcome

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Smartphone apps and other mobile technology are emerging as promising tools in medical treatment.A recent randomized study published in JAMA Psychiatry found evidence that a smartphone app improves alcoholism treatment outcomes.David Gustafson and colleagues conducted a study funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.A series of 349 adults with DSM-IV alcohol dependence were enrolled as they entered a alcoholism residential treatment program.Approximately half of the subje........ Read more »

Gustafson DH, McTavish FM, Chih MY, Atwood AK, Johnson RA, Boyle MG, Levy MS, Driscoll H, Chisholm SM, Dillenburg L.... (2014) A smartphone application to support recovery from alcoholism: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA psychiatry, 71(5), 566-72. PMID: 24671165  

  • October 21, 2014
  • 11:25 AM
  • 132 views

Sleep Problems in Alcoholism Treatment

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In a previous post, I summarized a research study six month outcome of insomnia in a group of subjects treated for alcoholism.This study found a high persistence of insomnia despite reduction, and in many cases abstinence, from alcohol.A second study recently published by investigators at the National Institute of Health provides some additional insight into this topic.Gwenyth Wallen and colleagues studied a series of 164 participants admitted to a 4-6 week inpatient program for alcohol dependen........ Read more »

  • October 20, 2014
  • 10:56 AM
  • 133 views

Persistent Insomnia and Alcoholism

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Sleep problems complicate the treatment and recovery in alcoholism. Heavy alcohol consumption modifies the nature of sleep architecture.A high blood alcohol concentration at bedtime may promote sleep early in the sleep cycle.However, as alcohol levels decline, sleep is often interrupted with limiting rapid eye movement (REM) sleep duration.Shortened total sleep time with alcohol can produce a lack of feeling well rested on awakening.For those with alcoholism or alcohol dependence, successfu........ Read more »

Brower KJ, Krentzman A, & Robinson EA. (2011) Persistent insomnia, abstinence, and moderate drinking in alcohol-dependent individuals. The American journal on addictions / American Academy of Psychiatrists in Alcoholism and Addictions, 20(5), 435-40. PMID: 21838842  

  • October 7, 2014
  • 04:21 PM
  • 185 views

Personality, Emotion and Psychopathology: David Watson Lecture Notes

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

I had the privilege to attend today the William K Warren Frontiers in Neuroscience Conference in Tulsa, OK by Dr. David Watson from Notre Dame University.Dr. Watson's lecture was titled: An integrative model of personality, emotion and psychopathology. This lecture summarized a body of research examining personality, psychological symptoms and a variety of brain disorders.Here are my lecture notes and links to relevant research citations. The first two citations have links to a free full-te........ Read more »

Stasik SM, Naragon-Gainey K, Chmielewski M, & Watson D. (2012) Core OCD symptoms: exploration of specificity and relations with psychopathology. Journal of anxiety disorders, 26(8), 859-70. PMID: 23026094  

  • October 2, 2014
  • 11:01 AM
  • 183 views

Parenting: Genetics and Environmental Effects

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Effective parenting is a key element in child development.Both genetic and environmental factors appear to contribute to the cognitive, emotional and behavioral aspects of parenting.Childhood temperament also influences the process of parenting. A well-behaved, emotionally stable and loving child is obviously much easier to parent than a child with behavioral and emotional problems.Bonamy Oliver and colleagues from the United Kingdom have recently published an informative twin study of pare........ Read more »

Oliver BR, Trzaskowski M, & Plomin R. (2014) Genetics of parenting: The power of the dark side. Developmental psychology, 50(4), 1233-40. PMID: 24364831  

  • September 29, 2014
  • 10:32 AM
  • 190 views

Family Attachment and the Brain Cingulate Cortex

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Healthy family attachment provides a key element for social support and successful interpersonal relationships.Several brain regions as well as hormonal factors appear to modulate positive emotional responses to family members.I have previously reviewed several studies involving the prosocial effects of the hormone oxytocin and the related hormone vasopressin.Nicolas Rusch from the Department of Psychiatry at Ulm University in Germany along with colleagues in Brazil and London recently published........ Read more »

  • September 24, 2014
  • 12:37 PM
  • 217 views

Why Women Give Better Gifts

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Consumer spending on gifts for birthdays and holidays is a multi-billion dollar big business.Despite this large economic impact, little research examines factors associated with gift recipient satisfaction.Selecting good gifts for others involves a complex social decision-making process related to judging the value hierarchy of others.A study from the Netherlands recently published in the journal PLOS One featured three experiments on gift selection in a series of men and women.The design of the........ Read more »

Pollmann MM, & van Beest I. (2013) Women are better at selecting gifts than men. PloS one, 8(12). PMID: 24386082  

  • September 18, 2014
  • 11:11 AM
  • 245 views

Genetics of Social Skills: Oxytocin Receptor Gene

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Social neuroscience is an emerging emphasis in the field of neuroscience research.Social cognition is the subset of cognitive functions related to social processes and includes factors such as facial recognition, social memory and ability to form friendships and other social bonds.Impairment in social cognition is a known feature in autism, schizophrenia and other mental disorders. This type of impairment can produce significant problems in life adjustment, employment and human attachment.Geneti........ Read more »

Skuse DH, Lori A, Cubells JF, Lee I, Conneely KN, Puura K, Lehtimäki T, Binder EB, & Young LJ. (2014) Common polymorphism in the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) is associated with human social recognition skills. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(5), 1987-92. PMID: 24367110  

  • September 17, 2014
  • 11:28 AM
  • 218 views

Antidepressants Modulate Memory in the Healthy Brain

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The mechanism of antidepressant drug response is not well understood.One theory posits antidepressant effects are only seen in those with clinical depression leaving the healthy brain unchanged.In a previous post, I outlined a study demonstrating effects of antidepressants on brain connectivity measures in the healthy brain.A recent fMRI study extends our understanding of the potential mechanisms for antidepressant drugs.CT Cerqueira and colleagues from Brazil studied the effects of the antidepr........ Read more »

  • September 16, 2014
  • 11:01 AM
  • 202 views

Cannabis-induced Paranoia: Cognitive Mechanisms

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Some individuals appear vulnerable to paranoia induced by exposure to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis.The mechanism for this effect is poorly understood.Daniel Freeman from University of Oxford along with colleagues in England and Switzerland recently conducted an interventional research study on this issue.In this study, 121 subjects were recruited to receive injections of THC in a laboratory setting.These subjects were required to have taken cannabis at least once before participation i........ Read more »

  • August 28, 2014
  • 11:40 AM
  • 304 views

Gambler Sub-types: Three Distinct Profiles

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

One method to advance understanding of a disorder is to use statistical modeling for sub-type or class analysis.Lia Nower and colleagues recently published the results of such an analysis from the large general population data-set known as the U.S. National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC).In this sample, 851 adults 18 years and older were identified with disordered gambling.This group then underwent a type of latent class statistical analysis known as the Pathways........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2014
  • 10:58 AM
  • 256 views

Diagnostic Profile in Pathological Gamblers

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Behavioral disorders like pathological gambling (PG) rarely occur alone as a single uncomplicated disorder.In a previous post, I noted the overlap of PG with personality disorder, anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder and substance abuse.A recent study from Germany adds to our knowledge of the general diagnostic profile in the PG population.Erbas and Buchner reviewed German national data sources and other German studies to come up with a series of findings:Twelve month prevalence rates ........ Read more »

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