William Yates, M.D.

550 posts · 540,518 views

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

Brain Posts
550 posts

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  • May 23, 2016
  • 10:39 AM
  • 35 views

Emotional Processing: A Key to Depression Treatment?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In my last post I reported on the use of machine learning to aid in predicting response to depression treatment.Another interesting depression prediction tool is being investigated in a trial in England funded by the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.This trial uses a visual facial recognition tool. The hypothesis is that early antidepressant action can be identified by changes in facial emotional recognition.This trial stems from work by Catherine Harmer Ph.D. from the University of Oxford. He........ Read more »

  • May 21, 2016
  • 10:21 AM
  • 60 views

Quick Aspirin Use Reduces Stroke Risk in TIA

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

A free full-text commentary in the Lancet summarizes recent evidence of the benefit of aspirin in stroke prevention.This commentary focused on what is called secondary prevention. Secondary prevention is defined as prevention following events related to the disease in question.So secondary prevention in stroke would be reduction in stroke risk in those who have had a stroke or pre-stroke syndromes such as transient ischemic attacks (TIA).The key take-home message from the commentary by Graeme Ha........ Read more »

  • May 20, 2016
  • 10:50 AM
  • 93 views

Predicting Depression Treatment Response: Machine Learning

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Treatment of depression remains primarily an uninformed clinical process. Several effective drug and psychotherapy interventions are available. However, there is no reliable way to determine which treatment is likely to be the most effective for an individual patient.A recent study that used machine learning techniques to address this problem has been published.A research team from Yale University used clinical data from the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) tr........ Read more »

Chekroud AM, Zotti RJ, Shehzad Z, Gueorguieva R, Johnson MK, Trivedi MH, Cannon TD, Krystal JH, & Corlett PR. (2016) Cross-trial prediction of treatment outcome in depression: a machine learning approach. The lancet. Psychiatry, 3(3), 243-50. PMID: 26803397  

  • May 19, 2016
  • 11:33 AM
  • 97 views

Language Disorder in Preschoolers

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Well-designed large population-based studies of the prevalence and correlates of learning disabilities in preschool children are rare.A research group working out of University College London has address that issues with a large study of language disorder in a group of over 7000 4 and 5 year olds in England.A stratified group of 529 children received a comprehensive assessment of language along with assessment of IQ, social, emotional and behavior function.The study found the following important........ Read more »

  • May 17, 2016
  • 02:35 PM
  • 72 views

Nurses Frequently Attending Church Live Longer

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The Harvard-based Nurses' Health Study has been a remarkably productive longitudinal health study.My wife has been a subject in this study and frequently completes interval questionnaires regarding her health status.A recent publication looked at the relationship between religious service attendance and mortality in the Nurses's Health Study cohort.This manuscript tried to provide a more valid look at the relationship between religiosity/spirituality and health. Previous studies have found a lin........ Read more »

  • May 11, 2016
  • 01:00 PM
  • 18 views

How to Solve Homicide Crimes

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Homicide rates in the U.S. represent a significant public health challenge. Homicide is a top ten leading cause of death in many groups in the U.S.One method to reduce homicide rates is to quickly identify and arrest individuals who have committed homicide. This is due to the fact that individuals committing homicide have a high rate of future homicide.A recent study from Michigan State University and Indiana University examined characteristics of U.S. police departments that have high rates of ........ Read more »

  • May 11, 2016
  • 12:34 PM
  • 23 views

Dietary Seafood and Cognitive Decline

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Seafood intake has been linked to a variety of improvements in health. Additionally, there is some evidence linking seafood intake with slower cognitive decline in aging populations.A recent study adds to this age-related cognitive benefit of seafood intake.A collaborative group of researchers from Rush University Medical Center and the Wageningen University in the Netherlands conducted a prospective study.This study followed 915 subjects with a mean age of 81.4 years over a five year period. Su........ Read more »

  • May 10, 2016
  • 12:54 PM
  • 24 views

Smartphones and Sleep Data: Data Mining

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Smartphones contribute a treasure trove of data that is likely to expand our knowledge of a variety of human behaviors.An example of this is a recent study published in Science Advances by a research team from the University of Michigan.The University of Michigan team developed a smartphone app called ENTRAIN and then used the app to collect sleep data on subjects from around the world.They came up with some very interesting findings including the following:The time of going to sleep appears mor........ Read more »

  • May 5, 2016
  • 02:26 PM
  • 23 views

Ketamine Metabolite Linked to Rapid Antidepressant Effect

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Model of crytalized ketamine moleculeStandard antidepressant therapies typically take two weeks or more to begin to act.Ketamine is an anesthetic drug recently demonstrated to have a rapid antidepressant effect.The mechanism for this effect is unknown. A recent mouse study of ketamine and metabolites of ketamine show some potentially groundbreaking insight for the treatment of depression.This study found these significant findings:Ketamine like most organic compounds is made of boty an R an........ Read more »

Zanos, P., Moaddel, R., Morris, P., Georgiou, P., Fischell, J., Elmer, G., Alkondon, M., Yuan, P., Pribut, H., Singh, N.... (2016) NMDAR inhibition-independent antidepressant actions of ketamine metabolites. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature17998  

  • May 3, 2016
  • 12:05 PM
  • 22 views

Depression Symptoms and Alzheimer's Risk

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

An important study was published today in Lancet Psychiatry. This study examined the role of depression symptoms in risk for later development of dementia including Alzheimer's disease.Previous work on this topic has relied on cross-sectional risk factor design. However, the study published today used a prospective longitudinal design for elderly individuals participating the Rotterdam study.Depressive symptoms were measured over time and compared to latter risk for development of dementia......... Read more »

  • May 3, 2016
  • 12:00 PM
  • 27 views

"The Biggest Loser": Long-term Effects

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Yesterday I posted a link to a New York Times article that posted a summary outcome in fourteen participants in TV's "The Biggest Loser" show.The study found a trend towards post-show weight gain for 13/14 of the participants.Four participants actually gained so much weight that after six years they weighed more than before participating in the show.A key finding from the study was this weight gain could be explained by a metabolic response resulting in up to 800 calories less burned daily ........ Read more »

Fothergill, E., Guo, J., Howard, L., Kerns, J., Knuth, N., Brychta, R., Chen, K., Skarulis, M., Walter, M., Walter, P.... (2016) Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition. Obesity. DOI: 10.1002/oby.21538  

  • May 3, 2016
  • 11:36 AM
  • 23 views

Delirium and Aortic Valve Surgery Outcome

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Delirium is an acute confusional state that is common in elderly hospitalized patients.I think of it light a sign of acute brain failure requiring aggressive attentional for detection and treatment of any reversible underlying causes.Delirium in elderly hospitalized patients is a marker for poor outcome in a variety of medical and surgical subjects.A recent study published by a Norwegian team found effects on outcome for delirium following surgical aortic valve replacement. The key findings from........ Read more »

Eide LS, Ranhoff AH, Fridlund B, Haaverstad R, Hufthammer KO, Kuiper KK, Nordrehaug JE, Norekvål TM, & Delirium in Octogenarians Undergoing Cardiac Surgery or Intervention-CARDELIR Investigators. (2016) Delirium as a Predictor of Physical and Cognitive Function in Individuals Aged 80 and Older After Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation or Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. PMID: 27106745  

  • January 5, 2016
  • 11:37 AM
  • 391 views

Stroke Risk Following Mental Disorders

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

An important recent manuscript published in JAMA Psychiatry looked at medical illnesses rates following diagnosis of a brain (mental) disorder.This very large international study examined over 47,000 subjects followed between 2001 and 2011.Baseline psychiatric assessment was completed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Physical illness was assessed using a self-report of physician's diagnosis.The manuscript is not free but I was able to obtain a professional courtesy copy of........ Read more »

  • December 2, 2015
  • 11:37 AM
  • 232 views

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
  • 12:06 PM
  • 527 views

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
  • 01:00 PM
  • 484 views

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
  • 11:40 AM
  • 559 views

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
  • 11:51 AM
  • 476 views

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
  • 11:35 AM
  • 465 views

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
  • 01:50 PM
  • 476 views

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 »

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