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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.
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
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 »
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.
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
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: 10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.1246
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
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
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
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
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
Millions of older adults suffer from significant memory loss, despite the lack of a diagnosis of dementia-causing disease. This memory loss can lead to a significant decline in quality of life and often remains undiagnosed and untreated. Recently, however, scientists have begun to study the role of glucose regulation in cognitive enhancement of adults. Cognitive ... Read more »
B Roozendaal. (2003) The hippocampus mediates glucocorticoid-induced impairment of spatial memory retrieval: Dependence on the basolateral amygdala. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100(3), 1328-1333. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0337480100
Andrew Meikle, Leigh Riby, & Brian Stollery. (2004) The impact of glucose ingestion and gluco-regulatory control on cognitive performance: a comparison of younger and middle aged adults. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 19(8), 523-535. DOI: 10.1002/hup.643
Leigh Riby, Jennifer McLaughlin, & Deborah M Riby. (2008) Lifestyle, glucose regulation and the cognitive effects of glucose load in middle-aged adults. British Journal of Nutrition, 1. DOI: 10.1017/S0007114508971324
L Riby, A Marriott, R Bullock, J Hancock, J Smallwood, & J McLaughlin. (2008) The effects of glucose ingestion and glucose regulation on memory performance in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. DOI: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602981
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
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
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
Huntington’s Disease (HD) affects approximately 30,000 people in the United States. Less than 10% of these people are under 20 years old at the time of diagnosis. These patients with juvenile, or early-onset, HD and their family members face significant and unique challenges as they battle a fatal, degenerative disease.
Symptoms of HD typically present in [...]... Read more »
Aubeeluck A, & Brewer H. (2008) Huntington's disease. Part 2: treatment and management issues in juvenile HD. Br J Nurs, 17(4), 260-263. DOI: 18414272
E. Gomez-Tortosa. (1998) Severity of Cognitive Impairment in Juvenile and Late-Onset Huntington Disease. Archives of Neurology, 55(6), 835-843. DOI: 10.1001/archneur.55.6.835
P. Ribai, K. Nguyen, V. Hahn-Barma, I. Gourfinkel-An, M. Vidailhet, A. Legout, C. Dode, A. Brice, & A. Durr. (2007) Psychiatric and Cognitive Difficulties as Indicators of Juvenile Huntington Disease Onset in 29 Patients. Archives of Neurology, 64(6), 813-819. DOI: 10.1001/archneur.64.6.813
Shihui Xing, Ling Chen, Xi Chen, Zhong Pei, Jinsheng Zeng, & Jinru Li. (2008) Excessive blinking as an initial manifestation of juvenile Huntington’s disease. Neurological Sciences, 29(4), 275-277. DOI: 10.1007/s10072-008-0981-7
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
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
Despite the fact that functional MRI was discovered in the early 90’s, scientific research related to its clinical applications is still at an early stage. The first paper on the use of functional MRI (fMRI) in Alzheimer’s disease came out as late as 1999. Today, fMRI is being intensively studied in a number of other ... Read more »
S Ogawa. (1990) Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging with Contrast Dependent on Blood Oxygenation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 87(24), 9868-9872. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.87.24.9868
Scott Small, Gerard M Perera, Robert DeLapaz, Richard Mayeux, & Yaakov Stern. (2001) Differential regional dysfunction of the hippocampal formation among elderly with memory decline and Alzheimer's disease. Annals of Neurology, 45(4), 466-472. DOI: 10.1002/1531-8249(199904)45:43.0.CO;2-Q
L PORRINO, H SMITH, M NADER, & T BEVERIDGE. (2007) The effects of cocaine: A shifting target over the course of addiction. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 31(8), 1593-1600. DOI: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2007.08.040
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
A study published in Psychological Science evaluated the link between happiness and personality traits in 973 twins. The authors found that happiness was heritable, and that it showed genetic linkage to certain personality traits. Those who were extroverted, open, agreeable and conscientious were more likely to be happy. Moreover, twins who exhibited similar personality traits ... Read more »
Alexander Weiss, Timothy Bates, & Michelle Luciano. (2008) Happiness Is a Personal(ity) Thing: The Genetics of Personality and Well-Being in a Representative Sample. Psychological Science, 19(3), 205-210. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02068.x
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