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  • February 9, 2014
  • 02:10 PM
  • 1,100 views

Is Ultrasonic Brain Stimulation The Future?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A paper just out in Nature Neuroscience proposes a new tool for neuroscientists who want to stimulate the brain – ultrasound. There are already a number of established ways of modulating human brain activity. As neuronal firing is essentially electrical, most of these methods rely on electricity – such as TDCS – or on magnetic […]The post Is Ultrasonic Brain Stimulation The Future? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • February 8, 2014
  • 01:09 PM
  • 899 views

Depression: Ketamine Eyes Hath Seen The Glory?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Ketamine: club drug, ‘horse-tranquillizer’, and… miracle antidepressant? I’ve blogged about the research behind the claim that ketamine has rapid-acting antidepressant effects several times. Since 2009, my view has been that it is impossible to tell whether ketamine has specific antidepressant properties, because ketamine has never been compared against an ‘active placebo‘ control. In trials, patients […]The post Depression: Ketamine Eyes Hath Seen The G........ Read more »

Murrough JW, Iosifescu DV, Chang LC, Al Jurdi RK, Green CE, Perez AM, Iqbal S, Pillemer S, Foulkes A, Shah A.... (2013) Antidepressant efficacy of ketamine in treatment-resistant major depression: a two-site randomized controlled trial. The American journal of psychiatry, 170(10), 1134-42. PMID: 23982301  

Dakwar E, Anerella C, Hart CL, Levin FR, Mathew SJ, & Nunes EV. (2014) Therapeutic infusions of ketamine: Do the psychoactive effects matter?. Drug and alcohol dependence. PMID: 24480515  

  • February 3, 2014
  • 01:29 PM
  • 860 views

All That Glitters Is Not BOLD For fMRI Scanning?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new paper warns that: All that glitters is not BOLD. This title seems designed to worry neuroscientists, because the blood oxygenation-level dependent (BOLD) phenomenon is what allows fMRI scanning to detect brain activity. Or is it? Writing in Scientific Reports, Finnish neuroscientists Ville Renval, Cathy Nangini and Riitta Hari argue that BOLD isn’t always […]The post All That Glitters Is Not BOLD For fMRI Scanning? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • February 1, 2014
  • 10:40 AM
  • 726 views

Medical Journal Apologizes “For The Distress Caused” By A Paper

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Anaesthesia and Intensive Care (AIC) is an Australian medical journal. The latest issue, just published online, contains a remarkable – and possibly even unique – pair of Letters. These letters take the form of apologies for the distress caused by the publication of an article – I do not know of any similar cases in […]The post Medical Journal Apologizes “For The Distress Caused” By A Paper appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • January 23, 2014
  • 06:14 PM
  • 834 views

A Brain Basis for Musical Hallucinations?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Why do some people hear music that’s not there? Musical hallucinations are most commonly found in people who have suffered hearing loss or deafness. But why they happen is unknown. In a new paper in Cortex, British neuroscientists Kumar et al claim to have found A brain basis for musical hallucinations Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), the […]The post A Brain Basis for Musical Hallucinations? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Kumar S, Sedley W, Barnes GR, Teki S, Friston KJ, & Griffiths TD. (2013) A brain basis for musical hallucinations. Cortex. PMID: 24445167  

  • January 19, 2014
  • 08:53 AM
  • 802 views

Psychiatrists From Another Dimension (Part 1)

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Remember DSM-5? After all the criticisms, the street protests and the scholarly debates, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was finally published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in May 2013. And then… well, that was it. The launch itself was a something of an anticlimax – as I […]The post Psychiatrists From Another Dimension (Part 1) appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Gibbons RD, Weiss DJ, Pilkonis PA, Frank E, Moore T, Kim JB, & Kupfer DJ. (2012) Development of a computerized adaptive test for depression. Archives of general psychiatry, 69(11), 1104-12. PMID: 23117634  

  • January 12, 2014
  • 01:43 PM
  • 768 views

Pitfalls When Scanning Two Brains In Synchrony

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The past few years have seen many neuroscientists becoming interested in ‘hyperscanning‘. Rather that contenting themselves to scan just one brain at a time, hyperscanners simultaneously measure activity from two (or even more) people, using techniques such as fMRI and EEG. This technically demanding method is said to provide information about what happens in the […]The post Pitfalls When Scanning Two Brains In Synchrony appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • January 10, 2014
  • 12:57 PM
  • 818 views

The Reliability of fMRI Revisited

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new paper brings worrying news for neuroscientists using fMRI to study memory: Across-subject reliabilities were only poor to fair… for novelty encoding paradigms, the interpretation of fMRI results on a single subject level is hampered by its low reliability. More studies are needed to optimize the retest reliability of fMRI activation for memory tasks. […]The post The Reliability of fMRI Revisited appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Brandt DJ, Sommer J, Krach S, Bedenbender J, Kircher T, Paulus FM, & Jansen A. (2013) Test-Retest Reliability of fMRI Brain Activity during Memory Encoding. Frontiers in psychiatry, 163. PMID: 24367338  

  • January 6, 2014
  • 04:08 PM
  • 821 views

The Teacher Who Forgot How To Read

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The journal Neurology features an interesting – and rather heartwarming – case report: “Teacher interrupted” Authors Jason Cuomo et al, of Loyola University Chicago, write: Reading to children was a source of fulfillment in the life of M.P., a 40-year-old aunt, kindergarten teacher, and reading specialist … But all of that changed when, on a […]The post The Teacher Who Forgot How To Read appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • January 4, 2014
  • 02:07 PM
  • 903 views

Science Is Interpretation

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

You don’t need new data to produce new science. A re-analysis or re-interpretation can be just as important and original as a new set of results. I say this because there’s an interesting discussion going on over at PubPeer. In brief, British physicists Julian Stirling and colleagues have released a draft paper using reanalysis to […]The post Science Is Interpretation appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Julian Stirling, Ioannis Lekkas, Adam Sweetman, Predrag Djuranovic, Quanmin Guo, Josef Granwehr, Raphaël Lévy, & Philip Moriarty. (2013) Critical assessment of the evidence for striped nanoparticles. arXiv. arXiv: 1312.6812v1

  • December 27, 2013
  • 09:27 AM
  • 1,037 views

The Inaccuracy of National Character Stereotypes

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Are Germans dour, Brits reserved, and Americans brash? Popular wisdom says yes – and, even if most people would take these stereotypes with a pinch of salt, few of us could claim to be immune to them. But what does the evidence say? An international team of psychologists led by Robert McCrae says that it’s […]The post The Inaccuracy of National Character Stereotypes appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

McCrae RR, & et al. (2013) The Inaccuracy of National Character Stereotypes. Journal of Research in Personality, 47(6). PMID: 24187394  

  • December 22, 2013
  • 07:04 AM
  • 1,296 views

Quantum Theory Won’t Save The Soul

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Could quantum mechanics save the soul? In the light of 20th century physics, is free will plausible? Such as been the hope of some philosophers, scientists (and pretenders to those titles) – but neuroscientist Peter Clarke argues that it’s just not happening, in an interesting new paper: Neuroscience, quantum indeterminism and the Cartesian soul Clarke […]The post Quantum Theory Won’t Save The Soul appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • December 17, 2013
  • 04:38 PM
  • 1,075 views

Why Waiting Lists Could Be Bad For Your Health

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

No-one likes waiting their turn, but according to a new study, just knowing that you’re ‘on a waiting list’ could change your behaviour: Exploratory randomized controlled trial evaluating the impact of a waiting list control design The research was conducted by an Canadian team led by John A. Cunningham, and it made use of a […]The post Why Waiting Lists Could Be Bad For Your Health appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • December 13, 2013
  • 11:04 AM
  • 714 views

Legal Threats Backfire

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Last week, a young radiation biologist by the name of Benjamin J Hayempour was featured on the blog Retraction Watch. Hayempour had just had a paper retracted for its ‘unexplained close similarity’ to another paper – a phrase that many people would consider a euphemism for ‘plagiarism’. Plagiarism is so common that it’s a bit […]The post Legal Threats Backfire appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • December 8, 2013
  • 04:53 AM
  • 906 views

Does Nasal Oxytocin Enter The Brain?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Oxytocin is hot. There are now hundreds of studies looking at the effect of this hormone on the human brain. A dose of oxytocin, delivered in the form of a nasal spray, can make people nicer towards the ostracised, reduce marijuana cravings, and ‘enhance brain function’ in autistic children – and much more, if you believe […]The post Does Nasal Oxytocin Enter The Brain? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • December 7, 2013
  • 04:14 AM
  • 882 views

Augmenting Memory With A Neuroprosthesis

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new paper in the Journal of Neural Engineering describes Facilitation of memory encoding in primate hippocampus by a neuroprosthesis that promotes task-specific neural firing The research – from Sam Deadwyler’s team at Wake Forest University (and funded by DARPA) really is pretty amazing – if it pans out. Four Rhesus macaques were trained to […]The post Augmenting Memory With A Neuroprosthesis appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • December 3, 2013
  • 02:34 PM
  • 1,065 views

Men, Women, and Big PNAS Papers

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

This morning, the world woke up to the news that Scientists discover the difference between male and female brains Britain’s Independent today actually made that their front page. They went on to discuss “the hardwired difference that could explain why men are ‘better at map reading’”. The rest of the world’s media were no less […]The post Men, Women, and Big PNAS Papers appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • November 26, 2013
  • 04:53 PM
  • 678 views

Head Movement Is Bad News For Neuroscience (Again)

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Claims that children with autism have abnormal brain white matter connections may just reflect the fact that they move about more during their MRI scans. So say a team of Harvard and MIT neuroscientists, including Nancy “Voodoo Correlations” Kanwisher, in a new paper: Spurious group differences due to head motion in a diffusion MRI study. […]The post Head Movement Is Bad News For Neuroscience (Again) appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • November 18, 2013
  • 04:28 PM
  • 1,212 views

Are One In Ten Men Sexually Attracted To Children?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

So say Colorado-based researchers Sandy K. Wurtele and collegues in a new paper in the journal Sexual Abuse: Nearly 10% of males and 4% of females reported some likelihood of having sex with children or viewing child pornography. The study is an interesting attempt to probe the darkest depths of human nature, and raises questions […]The post Are One In Ten Men Sexually Attracted To Children? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • November 15, 2013
  • 09:45 AM
  • 1,027 views

Random Brain Waves Save Free Will?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new paper adds to the perennial free will debate, by casting doubt on the famous Libet experiment. Back in 1983, neuroscientists led by Benjamin Libet found that, about two seconds before someone presses a button ‘of their own free will’, a negative electrical potential – dubbed the Readiness Potential (RP) – began to build […]The post Random Brain Waves Save Free Will? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

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