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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.
Depression is a subtle thing. It can easily take on the disguise of other illnesses or temporary conditions.
Tired? Who isn’t? Sad? Well, the world can be depressing. Worried? Yeah, that’s why we all have grey hairs. Can’t sleep well? Join the club. Aren’t hungry? You’re just too busy. Unfocused? You just need to simplify. Irritable? [...]... Read more »
Right now, I have hundreds of songs on my mp3 player. I listen to everything from heavy metal when I run, to classical when I need to relax, to jazz when I am cooking. I listen to Broadway show tunes, movie soundtracks, and classic rock, depending on my mood. I also have tracks of nursery [...]... Read more »
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, & Adrian Furnham. (2007) Personality and music: Can traits explain how people use music in everyday life?. British Journal of Psychology, 98(2), 175-185. DOI: 10.1348/000712606X111177
Peter J. Rentfrow, & Samuel D. Gosling. (2003) The do re mi's of everyday life: The structure and personality correlates of music preferences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(6), 1236-1256. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1686
Peter J. Rentfrow, & Samuel D. Gosling. (2006) Message in a Ballad. The Role of Music Preferences in Interpersonal Perception. Psychological Science, 17(3), 236-242. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01691.x
Inflammation is a hot topic in medical research, with studies showing links to heart disease, dementia and longevity. Depression is a relatively new addition to the list of inflammation-associated diseases, with two recent publications demonstrating altered levels of inflammatory molecules in the blood of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Both studies evaluated the levels ... Read more »
T Eller. (2008) Pro-inflammatory cytokines and treatment response to escitalopram in major depressive disorder. Progress in Neuro-psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 32(2), 445-450.
YK Kim. (2008) Differences in cytokines between non-suicidal patients and suicidal patients in major depression. Progress in Neuro-psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 32(2), 356-361.
Alcohol (when used commonly refers to ethanol) is consumed widely around the world for numerous reasons. Its properties have been both praised and demonized. In humans it generally acts as a depressant with, conversely, mild stimulating effects of some parts of the brain. At low levels of consumption alcohol has minimal effects on a person; [...]... Read more »
Annlia Paganini-Hill. (2001) Risk Factors for Parkinson’s Disease: The Leisure World Cohort Study. Neuroepidemiology, 20(2), 118-124. DOI: 10.1159/000054770
George Huntington was the son and grandson of medical practitioners. He gave rise to a great interest in the origins of this disease which now bears his name.
At the age of 22, the year following his graduation from medical school at Columbia, George Huntington (1850-1916) made his contribution to medical research, publishing his report on [...]... Read more »
T Neylan. (2003) Neurodegenerative Disorders: George Huntington's Description of Hereditary Chorea. Journal of Neuropsychiatry, 15(1), 108-108. DOI: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.15.1.108
In recent years, there has been renewed interest in creating new smallpox vaccines due to the threat of the smallpox pathogen being used as a bioterrorism tool. The vaccinia virus vaccine has been used to prevent smallpox disease since the late 18th century and, until 30 years ago, most countries conducted routine smallpox vaccination programs. [...]... Read more »
Andrew W. Artenstein. (2008) New generation smallpox vaccines: a review of preclinical and clinical data. Reviews in Medical Virology, 18(4), 217-231. DOI: 10.1002/rmv.571
A GARCEL, J PERINO, J CRANCE, R DRILLIEN, D GARIN, & A FAVIER. (2008) Phenotypic and genetic diversity of the traditional Lister smallpox vaccine. Vaccine. DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.11.063
D TAUB, W ERSHLER, M JANOWSKI, A ARTZ, M KEY, J MCKELVEY, D MULLER, B MOSS, L FERRUCCI, & P DUFFEY. (2008) Immunity from Smallpox Vaccine Persists for Decades: A Longitudinal Study. The American Journal of Medicine, 121(12), 1058-1064. DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2008.08.019
Many people, at one time or another, have witnessed this ritual: a beaming new mother enters with baby pictures. A group of genuinely excited women gather around the new mother admiring the pictures as they are passed around. The new mother is oblivious to the fact that she has showed dozens of pictures at different [...]... Read more »
L. Strathearn, J. Li, P. Fonagy, & P. R. Montague. (2008) What's in a Smile? Maternal Brain Responses to Infant Facial Cues. PEDIATRICS, 122(1), 40-51. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2007-1566
America is arguably one of the most diverse nations in the world. While such diversity can provide opportunities for unique social and cultural interactions, it can also present opportunities for poor medical care. Many studies show that ethnic and cultural minorities do not receive the same level of care as patients in majority groups. The [...]... Read more »
Helen Gilburt, Diana Rose, & Mike Slade. (2008) The importance of relationships in mental health care: A qualitative study of service users' experiences of psychiatric hospital admission in the UK. BMC Health Services Research, 8(1), 92. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6963-8-92
G Quintero, E Lilliott, & C Willging. (2007) Substance Abuse Treatment Provider Views of "Culture": Implications for Behavioral Health Care in Rural Settings. Qualitative Health Research, 17(9), 1256-1267. DOI: 10.1177/1049732307307757
These days, sleep is often seen as an expendable resource. With so much work to do and limited time to accomplish tasks, going to sleep later and waking up earlier seems so natural. For some people, lack of sleep was used to prove toughness and stamina. It was common for physician trainees to boast (in [...]... Read more »
S. Okie. (2007) An Elusive Balance -- Residents' Work Hours and the Continuity of Care. New England Journal of Medicine, 356(26), 2665-2667. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp078085
Many people have a general familiarity to the obvious symptoms of stroke complications: paralysis, thinking and concentration deficits, speech problems, emotional difficulties, and daily living problems. However, many are unaware of the possible pain complications.
A 29 year old stroke victim in the magazine Stroke Connection provided vivid detail of his stroke pain,
Someone is ripping [...]... Read more »
P. Hansson. (2004) Post-stroke pain case study: clinical characteristics, therapeutic options and long-term follow-up. European Journal of Neurology, 11(s1), 22-30. DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0552.2004.00793.x
P. D. McGeoch, L. E. Williams, R. R. Lee, & V. S Ramachandran. (2008) Behavioural evidence for vestibular stimulation as a treatment for central post-stroke pain. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery . DOI: 10.1136/jnnp.2008.146738
In addition to the popular saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, maybe some day we can say the phrase, “Vitamin C a day keeps cancer away”.
Who would have thought that oranges and lemons, fruits easily found in a local grocery store, may hold the answer to curing cancer? Oranges vs. cancer — [...]... Read more »
Q. Chen, M. G. Espey, A. Y. Sun, C. Pooput, K. L. Kirk, M. C. Krishna, D. B. Khosh, J. Drisko, & M. Levine. (2008) From the Cover: Pharmacologic doses of ascorbate act as a prooxidant and decrease growth of aggressive tumor xenografts in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(32), 11105-11109. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0804226105
S. J. Padayatty. (2006) Intravenously administered vitamin C as cancer therapy: three cases. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 174(7), 937-942. DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.050346
Sometimes we forget that doctors are just like everyday people. They have families, they are members of parent/teacher organizations (PTOs), they help their children with school projects and homework, and they, in many cases, are still repaying school loans. You name it, and yes, the doctor has probably experienced it. So too is the case [...]... Read more »
E Fromme. (2003) Care of the Dying Doctor: On the Other End of the Stethoscope. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 290(15), 2048-2055. DOI: 10.1001/jama.290.15.2048
Robert Kempainen, Dianne M Bartels, & Patricia McCarthy Veach. (2007) Life on the Receiving End: A Qualitative Analysis of Health Providers??? Illness Narratives. Academic Medicine, 82(2), 207-213. DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31802d9513
R KLITZMAN. (2006) Views and approaches toward risks and benefits among doctors who become patients. Patient Education and Counseling, 64(1-3), 61-68. DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2005.11.013
SIR Noble, A Marie, & IG Finlay. (2008) Challenges faced by palliative care physicians when caring for doctors with advanced cancer. Palliative Medicine, 22(1), 71-76. DOI: 10.1177/0269216307084607
A recent issue of the journal Neurology published two separate case-controlled studies that showed a decreased risk for Parkinson’s disease associated with both cholesterol-lowering medication and blood pressure-lowering medication.
A common class of cholesterol-lowering medications, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (also collectively called “statins”), includes the well-known and often-prescribed atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), lovastatin (Altocor, Mevacor), and pravastatin [........... Read more »
C Becker, S Jick, & C Meier. (2008) Use of antihypertensives and the risk of Parkinson disease. Neurology, 70(Issue 16,Part 2), 1438-1444. DOI: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000303818.38960.44
G Hu, R Antikainen, P Jousilahti, M Kivipelto, & J Tuomilehto. (2008) Total cholesterol and the risk of Parkinson disease. Neurology, 70(21), 1972-1979. DOI: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000312511.62699.a8
K Simon, H Chen, M Schwarzschild, & A Ascherio. (2007) Hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and risk of Parkinson disease. Neurology, 69(17), 1688-1695. DOI: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000271883.45010.8a
T TON, S HECKBERT, W LONGSTRETHJR, M ROSSING, W KUKULL, G FRANKLIN, P SWANSON, T SMITHWELLER, & H CHECKOWAY. (2007) Calcium channel blockers and β-blockers in relation to Parkinson's disease. Parkinsonism , 13(3), 165-169. DOI: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2006.08.011
The time was June 2000. Scientists with the Celera Genomics Corporation, in conjunction with the international Human Genome Project, announced that they had successfully derived the entire sequence of the human genome. Furthermore, they noted that humans share 99.9% of their genetic code with one another. This discovery served as the platform for the medical [...]... Read more »
P CARSON, S ZIESCHE, G JOHNSON, J COHN, & FORTHEVASODILATORHEARTFAILURE. (1999) Racial differences in response to therapy for heart failure: Analysis of the vasodilator-heart failure trials1, 2. Journal of Cardiac Failure, 5(3), 178-187. DOI: 10.1016/S1071-9164(99)90001-5
A. V. Chobanian. (2003) Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Hypertension, 42(6), 1206-1252. DOI: 10.1161/01.HYP.0000107251.49515.c2
You know, there’s a reason why famous sayings are, well, famous sayings. It’s because they’re true and they usually sum up this truth is just a few words so as to package their neat truism in a tidy little box.
BMJ’s article, New York’s road to health, quickly brought to mind one of those sayings in [...]... Read more »
When most people think of torture, the first thing that comes to mind is unimaginable, unendurable pain. Physical pain is, however, the one thing that tends to remain in the torture chamber, the hidden cells of illegal prisons after the victim has left. As terrible as the physical after effects of torture may be, the [...]... Read more »
Abildgaard U, Daugaard G, Marcussen H, Jess P, Petersen HD, & Wallach M. (1984) Chronic organic psycho-syndrome in Greek torture victims. Danish medical bulletin, 31(3), 239-42. PMID: 6744953
Kira, I. (2002) Torture Assessment and Treatment: The Wraparound Approach. Traumatology, 8(2), 54-86. DOI: 10.1177/153476560200800203
Basoglu, M. (2005) Psychiatric and Cognitive Effects of War in Former Yugoslavia: Association of Lack of Redress for Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Reactions. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 294(5), 580-590. DOI: 10.1001/jama.294.5.580
According to a twenty-year longitudinal study of over 4000 individuals, happiness is indeed contagious. Dr. Nicholas Christakis, professor at Harvard University, compared the spread of happiness to a “ripple effect” that could affect others up to three degrees of separation away; a friend of a friend of a friend, so to speak.
The study did [...]... Read more »
J. H Fowler, & N. A Christakis. (2008) Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study. BMJ, 337(dec04 2). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.a2338
Researchers are constantly trying to find new drugs or forms of therapy that can be used to treat cancer. Quite often when a possible treatment is discovered, being allowed to test a drug or other experimental cancer treatment at a clinical level is difficult. For example, after an anti-carcinogenic drug has been thoroughly tested at ... Read more »
Tim Cloughesy, Koji Yoshimoto, Phioanh Nghiemphu, Kevin Brown, Julie Dang, Shaojun Zhu, Teli Hsueh, Yinan Chen, Wei Wang, David Youngkin.... (2008) Antitumor Activity of Rapamycin in a Phase I Trial for Patients with Recurrent PTEN-Deficient Glioblastoma. PLoS Medicine, 5(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050008
Medicine and health care are classified into various categories based on different specifying criteria. One of the classifications is a distinction on the basis of preventative and curative care: primary, secondary and tertiary cares. Primary care occurs when lifestyle modification behaviors are taught and encouraged in order to maintain a state of good health before [...]... Read more »
J PROCHASKA, W VELICER, C REDDING, J ROSSI, M GOLDSTEIN, J DEPUE, G GREENE, S ROSSI, X SUN, & J FAVA. (2005) Stage-based expert systems to guide a population of primary care patients to quit smoking, eat healthier, prevent skin cancer, and receive regular mammograms. Preventive Medicine, 41(2), 406-416. DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.09.050
The clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) at the earliest clinical stages can be difficult. Given the variability in clinical threshold at which there is functional compromise in one’s social and professional life — a necessary component to AD diagnosis — there are several in-organic factors that affect early detection. Health professionals and biomedical scientists [...]... Read more »
CHUPIN, M., MUKUNABANTUMBAKULU, A., HASBOUN, D., BARDINET, E., BAILLET, S., KINKINGNEHUN, S., LEMIEUX, L., DUBOIS, B., & GARNERO, L. (2007) Anatomically constrained region deformation for the automated segmentation of the hippocampus and the amygdala: Method and validation on controls and patients with Alzheimer’s disease. NeuroImage, 34(3), 996-1019. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.10.035
Colliot, O., Chetelat, G., Chupin, M., Desgranges, B., Magnin, B., Benali, H., Dubois, B., Garnero, L., Eustache, F., & Lehericy, S. (2008) Discrimination between Alzheimer Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Normal Aging by Using Automated Segmentation of the Hippocampus. Radiology, 248(1), 194-201. DOI: 10.1148/radiol.2481070876
Gauthier, S., Reisberg, B., Zaudig, M., Petersen, R., Ritchie, K., Broich, K., Belleville, S., Brodaty, H., Bennett, D., & Chertkow, H. (2006) Mild cognitive impairment. The Lancet, 367(9518), 1262-1270. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(06)68542-5
Hunderfund, A., Roberts, R., Slusser, T., Leibson, C., Geda, Y., Ivnik, R., Tangalos, E., & Petersen, R. (2006) Mortality in amnestic mild cognitive impairment: A prospective community study. Neurology, 67(10), 1764-1768. DOI: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000244430.39969.5f
Lakhan, S. (2006) Schizophrenia proteomics: biomarkers on the path to laboratory medicine?. Diagnostic Pathology, 1(1), 11. DOI: 10.1186/1746-1596-1-11
Petersen RC, & Negash S. (2008) Mild cognitive impairment: an overview. CNS Spectr, 13(1), 45-53.
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