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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.
The existence of post-partum psychosis and post-partum depression has been hotly contested publicly. Tom Cruise’s denouncement of Brooke Shields’ diagnosis of post-partum depression is perhaps the most visible example of the controversy among laypeople, but in the medical literature the reality of both post-partum depression and post-partum psychosis is much more well-established.
The so-called “baby blues” [...]... Read more »
FAIRBROTHER, N., & ABRAMOWITZ, J. (2007) New parenthood as a risk factor for the development of obsessional problems. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45(9), 2155-2163. DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2006.09.019
In the mid 1950s, Dr. Bedford reported on a number of older adults who exhibited cognitive problems (memory or planning or being able to sustain attention) following surgery where anesthesia was used. This effect is now called postoperative cognitive dysfunction (or decline; POCD). POCD typically lasts for a few months to a year with a [...]... Read more »
. (2006) The Role of Postoperative Analgesia in Delirium and Cognitive Decline in Elderly Patients. Survey of Anesthesiology, 50(5), 263-264. DOI: 10.1097/01.sa.0000238941.61799.e6
Lewis, M., Maruff, P., Silbert, B., Evered, L., & Scott, D. (2006) Detection of Postoperative Cognitive Decline After Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery is Affected by the Number of Neuropsychological Tests in the Assessment Battery. The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 81(6), 2097-2104. DOI: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2006.01.044
. (2008) Predictors of Cognitive Dysfunction After Major Noncardiac Surgery. Survey of Anesthesiology, 52(3), 135-136. DOI: 10.1097/01.SA.0000307885.46705.f5
. (2007) Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction After Noncardiac Surgery. Survey of Anesthesiology, 51(6), 294. DOI: 10.1097/sa.0b013e31815c0ff1
All human societies have some phenomenon that can be described as religion. It is difficult to understand why religion is so pervasive in human culture. Some theories suggest that religion is a byproduct of evolution. However, no other animal group has anything that even remotely resembles the concept that has been labeled as religion in [...]... Read more »
Kapogiannis, D., Barbey, A., Su, M., Zamboni, G., Krueger, F., & Grafman, J. (2009) Cognitive and neural foundations of religious belief. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(12), 4876-4881. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0811717106
In “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind,” Julian Jaynes suggested back in 1976 that schizophrenia — like spirit possession and imaginary playmates — was a vestige of our brain’s bicameral heritage. Jaynes believed that in man’s early history, the left and right hemispheres of the brain did not “talk” to [...]... Read more »
AGUILAR, E., SANJUAN, J., GARCIAMARTI, G., LULL, J., & ROBLES, M. (2008) MR and genetics in schizophrenia: Focus on auditory hallucinations. European Journal of Radiology, 67(3), 434-439. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2008.02.046
Perhaps the most personal and most quintessentially human aspect of our existence is the experience of our ‘self.’ What contemporary philosopher Daniel Dennett has described as the unitary narration of our experience, the ‘author’ of our life. Artists, writers, philosophers and psychologists dedicate much of their attention to describing and discerning the kernels of the [...]... Read more »
Gusnard, D. (2001) Medial prefrontal cortex and self-referential mental activity: Relation to a default mode of brain function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98(7), 4259-4264. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.071043098
Pfeifer, J., Lieberman, M., & Dapretto, M. (2007) ?I Know You Are But What Am I?!?: Neural Bases of Self- and Social Knowledge Retrieval in Children and Adults. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19(8), 1323-1337. DOI: 10.1162/jocn.2007.19.8.1323
The human brain undergoes rapid development from late gestation to early childhood. The brain structures that are developing or undergoing age-related changes are more vulnerable to the effects of stress. Trauma at different time points in an individual’s life might be associated with different outcomes, depending on the brain structure that was affected at the [...]... Read more »
Lupien, S., McEwen, B., Gunnar, M., & Heim, C. (2009) Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behaviour and cognition. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10(6), 434-445. DOI: 10.1038/nrn2639
McGowan, P., Sasaki, A., D'Alessio, A., Dymov, S., Labonté, B., Szyf, M., Turecki, G., & Meaney, M. (2009) Epigenetic regulation of the glucocorticoid receptor in human brain associates with childhood abuse. Nature Neuroscience, 12(3), 342-348. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2270
Charmandari, E., Kino, T., Souvatzoglou, E., & Chrousos, G. (2003) Pediatric Stress: Hormonal Mediators and Human Development. Hormone Research, 59(4), 161-179. DOI: 10.1159/000069325
The explosion of the Internet allows people to use their computer for things that previously needed to be done in person. Now, communicating with friends and family, networking with business contacts, shopping, banking, and a host of other activities, can be done from almost anywhere in the world. While the convenience of these Internet activities [...]... Read more »
Gorini, A., Gaggioli, A., Vigna, C., & Riva, G. (2008) A Second Life for eHealth: Prospects for the Use of 3-D Virtual Worlds in Clinical Psychology. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 10(3). DOI: 10.2196/jmir.1029
Kessler, D., Lewis, G., Kaur, S., Wiles, N., King, M., Weich, S., Sharp, D., Araya, R., Hollinghurst, S., & Peters, T. (2009) Therapist-delivered internet psychotherapy for depression in primary care: a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, 374(9690), 628-634. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61257-5
Palermo, T., Wilson, A., Peters, M., Lewandowski, A., & Somhegyi, H. (2009) Randomized controlled trial of an Internet-delivered family cognitive–behavioral therapy intervention for children and adolescents with chronic pain. Pain. DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2009.07.034
Groucho Marx once said, “A clown is like an aspirin, only he works twice as fast.” Indeed, research suggests that humor can minimize our perceptions of physical pain. Various theoretical explanations have been offered to explain the analgesic effects of humor, and humor’s potential role in pain therapy appears promising.
Studies exploring the role of humor [...]... Read more »
Weisenberg M, Raz T, & Hener T. (1998) The influence of film-induced mood on pain perception. Pain, 76(3), 365-75. PMID: 9718255
Zweyer, K., Velker, B., & Ruch, W. (2004) Do cheerfulness, exhilaration, and humor production moderate pain tolerance? A FACS study. Humor - International Journal of Humor Research, 17(1-2), 85-119. DOI: 10.1515/humr.2004.009
Watson, K., Matthews, B., & Allman, J. (2006) Brain Activation during Sight Gags and Language-Dependent Humor. Cerebral Cortex, 17(2), 314-324. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhj149
More than 50 years ago, the first antipsychotic medications appeared in the United States. While these drugs -– fluphenazine, haloperidol, chlorpromazine, and others — were effective in treating a variety of psychiatric conditions, their safety and tolerability presented many drawbacks. It was not until the 1990s when a new class of antipsychotic medications emerged that [...]... Read more »
Bishara, D., & Taylor, D. (2008) Upcoming Agents for the Treatment of Schizophrenia. Drugs, 68(16), 2269-2292. DOI: 10.2165/0003495-200868160-00002
Peritogiannis, V., Stefanou, E., Lixouriotis, C., Gkogkos, C., & Rizos, D. (2009) Atypical antipsychotics in the treatment of delirium. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1819.2009.02002.x
The first doses of vaccine for the Influenza A H1N1 virus (“swine flu”) should be available in October of 2009. Due to an initial limited supply, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that healthcare workers should be first in line to receive the vaccine. Immunizing healthcare workers against the H1N1 virus not only provides personal [...]... Read more »
Jordan, R., & Hayward, A. (2009) Should healthcare workers have the swine flu vaccine?. BMJ, 339(aug25 2). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.b3398
Smith, P., Kennedy, A., Wooten, K., Gust, D., & Pickering, L. (2006) Association Between Health Care Providers' Influence on Parents Who Have Concerns About Vaccine Safety and Vaccination Coverage. PEDIATRICS, 118(5). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2006-0923
Zarocostas, J. (2009) Healthcare workers should get top priority for vaccination against A/H1N1 flu, WHO says. BMJ, 339(jul15 1). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.b2877
Any parent can attest that the “Terrible 2’s” are a moody, temperamental time in the life of a toddler. Many kids are irritable and seem to throw temper tantrums for no reason, and some engage in more destructive behaviors like biting, hitting, and kicking themselves or others. Unfortunately, for some children, this phase lasts well [...]... Read more »
Copeland, W., Shanahan, L., Costello, E., & Angold, A. (2009) Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatric Disorders as Predictors of Young Adult Disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 66(7), 764-772. DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.85
Luby, J., Belden, A., Sullivan, J., Hayen, R., McCadney, A., & Spitznagel, E. (2009) Shame and guilt in preschool depression: evidence for elevations in self-conscious emotions in depression as early as age 3. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02077.x
LUBY, J., BELDEN, A., PAUTSCH, J., SI, X., & SPITZNAGEL, E. (2009) The clinical significance of preschool depression: Impairment in functioning and clinical markers of the disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, 112(1-3), 111-119. DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2008.03.026
Luby, J., Si, X., Belden, A., Tandon, M., & Spitznagel, E. (2009) Preschool Depression: Homotypic Continuity and Course Over 24 Months. Archives of General Psychiatry, 66(8), 897-905. DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.97
After the great Sars terror of 2002 which was predicted to cause more devastation than AIDS, and the bird flu panic of 2006 when we were warned that a quarter of Britons might die, we now have the great swine flu crisis of 2009. But just as Sars and bird flu failed to deliver on [...]... Read more »
The prospect of universal health coverage for all Americans is weighing heavily on lawmakers right now. But, if the current proposals pass Congress, Americans may be looking at an even “weightier” problem. New economic research suggests that having health insurance actually makes people fat, and that, in turn, increases health care spending.
A working paper recently [...]... Read more »
Finkelstein, E., Trogdon, J., Cohen, J., & Dietz, W. (2009) Annual Medical Spending Attributable To Obesity: Payer- And Service-Specific Estimates. Health Affairs. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.28.5.w822
Imagine having the ability to turn on the television and change the channel without using a remote control or typing emails using just the power of your thoughts. Even behind the media hype, brain-computer interface technology may someday restore communication and mobility in persons with disabling diseases.... Read more »
Velliste M, Perel S, Spalding MC, Whitford AS, & Schwartz AB. (2998) Cortical control of a prosthetic arm for self-feeding. Nature, 453(7198), 1098-1101. DOI: 10.1038/nature06996
Most couples promise to love each other in sickness and in health when reciting marriage vows. Now, simply saying those words may lead to better health. Numerous studies have extolled the benefits of marriage on overall morbidity and mortality, but a recent study reports that mental health may, in fact, be preserved, in married people.
More [...]... Read more »
Hakansson, K., Rovio, S., Helkala, E., Vilska, A., Winblad, B., Soininen, H., Nissinen, A., Mohammed, A., & Kivipelto, M. (2009) Association between mid-life marital status and cognitive function in later life: population based cohort study. BMJ, 339(jul02 2). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.b2462
Manzoli, L., Villari, P., M Pirone, G., & Boccia, A. (2007) Marital status and mortality in the elderly: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Social Science , 64(1), 77-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.08.031
The old adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” may be more defensive than accurate. Indeed, most languages rely on words that represent pain — hurt feelings, heartache, broken hearts — to communicate feelings of social distress. Recent findings in neuroscience suggest that sayings such as these may [...]... Read more »
Eisenberger, N. (2003) Does Rejection Hurt? An fMRI Study of Social Exclusion. Science, 302(5643), 290-292. DOI: 10.1126/science.1089134
Hadland, K. (2003) The effect of cingulate lesions on social behaviour and emotion. Neuropsychologia, 41(8), 919-931. DOI: 10.1016/S0028-3932(02)00325-1
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
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