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Neuroskeptic
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  • November 14, 2013
  • 04:57 AM
  • 628 views

Dopamine Equals ‘Don’t Be Mean’?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Men whose brains generate and store more dopamine are less prone to aggression, according to a group of German researchers: The Impact of Dopamine on Aggression: An [18F]-FDOPA PET Study To quantify how aggressive the participants were, the researchers got them to play a game, for cash, in which a selfish ‘opponent’ sometimes stole their […]The post Dopamine Equals ‘Don’t Be Mean’? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • November 11, 2013
  • 03:34 PM
  • 694 views

Why Are (Some) Tweets Getting Shorter?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

I like Twitter and I like scientific papers. So I like this new paper by University of the Philippines researchers Christian M. Alis and May T. Lim: Spatiotemporal variation of conversational utterances on Twitter Using Twitter’s API, they downloaded 229 million ‘conversational’ tweets from 2009-2012. They defined as ‘conversational’ any tweet starting with the character […]The post Why Are (Some) Tweets Getting Shorter? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • November 6, 2013
  • 06:10 PM
  • 765 views

fMRI: Adrift on Ten-Second Waves?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

For the first time, neuroscientists have directly observed a slow, steady fluctuation – a ‘wave’ – in the blood flow to the brain. The oscillation, which has a frequency of 0.1 Hz, or one cycle every 10 seconds, is mysterious, and could have big implications for neuroscience. The researchers, led by Aleksandr Rayshubskiy of Columbia […]The post fMRI: Adrift on Ten-Second Waves? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Rayshubskiy A, Wojtasiewicz TJ, Mikell CB, Bouchard MB, Timerman D, Youngerman BE, McGovern RA, Otten ML, Canoll PD, McKhann GM 2nd.... (2013) Direct, intraoperative observation of ~0.1 Hz hemodynamic oscillations in awake human cortex: Implications for fMRI. NeuroImage. PMID: 24185013  

  • November 3, 2013
  • 10:21 AM
  • 614 views

Tales of Neuro-Terror

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

At this time of year, people are fond of telling scary tales – generally involving ghosts, ghouls, and other frightening creatures. Neuroscientists have their own horror stories, however – more niche, perhaps, but no less terrifying. Picture the scene: a group of PhD students are gathered around a flickering MRI console. The elder of the […]The post Tales of Neuro-Terror appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Gallichan D, Scholz J, Bartsch A, Behrens TE, Robson MD, & Miller KL. (2010) Addressing a systematic vibration artifact in diffusion-weighted MRI. Human brain mapping, 31(2), 193-202. PMID: 19603408  

  • October 31, 2013
  • 05:35 PM
  • 629 views

How Flexible Is Brain Organization?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A new Journal of Neuroscience paper makes a bold claim: Functional reorganization of cortical activity can occur within minutes of neural disruption to maintain cognitive abilities. The authors, San Francisco’s Zanto et al, temporarily disrupted a certain brain region, the right inferior frontal junction (IFJ), using magnetic stimulation (TMS). As the IFJ is involved in […]The post How Flexible Is Brain Organization? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Zanto TP, Chadick JZ, Satris G, & Gazzaley A. (2013) Rapid functional reorganization in human cortex following neural perturbation. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 33(41), 16268-74. PMID: 24107958  

  • October 20, 2013
  • 06:18 AM
  • 1,216 views

The Colorful Case of the Philosophical Zombie?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The philosophical zombie, or p-zombie, is a hypothetical creature which is indistinguishable from a normal human, except that it has no conscious experience. Whether a p-zombie could exist, and whether it even makes sense to ask that question, are popular dinner-table topics of conversation amongst philosophers of mind. A new case report from Swiss neurologists […]The post The Colorful Case of the Philosophical Zombie? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • October 12, 2013
  • 11:01 AM
  • 776 views

Is America Less Mentally Healthy Than A Chilean Jail?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The average prison inmate in Chile has better mental health than the average American citizen, according to an eyebrow raising report just published. Researchers Adrian Mundt and colleagues ran a random survey of 1000 participants from among Chile’s 47,000 prisoners. Fieldworkers went into the prisons and aimed to determine rates of DSM-IV diagnoses. They found [...]The post Is America Less Mentally Healthy Than A Chilean Jail? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Mundt AP, Alvarado R, Fritsch R, Poblete C, Villagra C, Kastner S, & Priebe S. (2013) Prevalence rates of mental disorders in chilean prisons. PLoS ONE, 8(7). PMID: 23894415  

  • October 9, 2013
  • 03:58 PM
  • 642 views

Firecrackers and Mouths Don’t Mix

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

This is a neuroscience blog. But occasionally, in my search for neuroscience, I come across an unrelated paper so astonishing that I just have to write about it. This is one of them: An Explosion in the Oral Cavity by a Firecracker, published last month. A 16 year old South Korean boy suffered severe facial [...]The post Firecrackers and Mouths Don’t Mix appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Seung Min Nam, MD. (2013) An Explosion in the Oral Cavity by a Firecracker. The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, 24(5). DOI: 10.1097/SCS.0b013e31829aca1f  

  • October 8, 2013
  • 07:08 PM
  • 795 views

Child Behaviour: Not In Their Genes?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A paper just published reports that there are: No Genetic Influence for Childhood Behavior Problems From DNA Analysis This is pretty big. Using a powerful approach called GCTA, King’s College London researchers Maciej Trzaskowski and colleagues found no evidence that genetics can explain differences in children’s behavioural and conduct difficulties. First some background. ‘Missing heritability‘ [...]The post Bad Kids Can’t Blame Their Genes? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • October 6, 2013
  • 09:30 AM
  • 778 views

Jazz Guitar After Brain Damage

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The journal World Neurosurgery has just published a remarkable case report: the rather uplifting story of Pat Martino: Jazz, Guitar and Neurosurgery Martino (born in 1944 in Philadelphia) was playing jazz guitar by the age of 12. By 20 he had a record deal and a series of successful albums followed. But in 1976, he [...]The post Jazz Guitar After Brain Damage appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Galarza M, Isaac C, Porcar OP, Mayes A, Broks P, Montaldi D, Denby C, & Simeone F. (2013) Jazz, Guitar and Neurosurgery: the Pat Martino Case Report. World neurosurgery. PMID: 24076057  

  • September 25, 2013
  • 06:22 AM
  • 800 views

Are Men’s Brains Just Bigger?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

The comparative anatomy of male and female brains is an incredibly popular topic. From teachers to cartoonists, everyone’s interested in it. One supposed dude-dame dimorphism is the width of the corpus callosum, the white matter bridge that connects the brain’s left and right hemispheres. Some studies suggest that women have a larger corpus callosum, relative [...]The post Are Men’s Brains Just Bigger? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • September 22, 2013
  • 02:50 PM
  • 632 views

Rethinking The Brain’s Mind Modules?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Neuroscientists are interested in how brains interact socially. One of the main topics of study is ‘mentalizing’ aka ‘theory of mind’, the ability to accurately attribute mental states – such as beliefs and emotions – to other people. It is widely believed that the brain has specific areas for this – i.e. social “modules” (although [...]The post Rethinking The Brain’s Mind Modules? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • September 19, 2013
  • 05:24 PM
  • 893 views

The Hydraulic Brain

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

People used to think that nerves were literally pipes, conveying impulses in the form of pressure waves of water. Even 100 years ago, this ‘hydraulic’ view was still influencing psychologists such as Freud, with his ideas about mental pressures building up inside the brain. Still, after physiologists Hodgkin and Huxley explained nerve conduction as an [...]The post The Hydraulic Brain appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • September 15, 2013
  • 07:25 AM
  • 552 views

Neuroskeptic Citations

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Over the past few months, this blog has been cited twice in peer-reviewed journals: here in a discussion about publication bias in industrial psychology, and again in a paper about publication bias in studies about breakfast. To cap it off, one of my tweets got quoted in this interesting-looking article about evolutionary psychology: We need [...]The post Neuroskeptic Citations appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • September 8, 2013
  • 07:58 PM
  • 597 views

Empathy + Placebo = Healing?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Psychotherapy, voodoo, and complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) are all cut from the same cloth; they are ‘healing methods’ that relieve symptoms because they provide two key things: empathy and the placebo effect (E&P). That’s according to Belgian physicians Mommaerts and Devroey in a new paper: From “Does it work?” to “What is it?” They say that, [...]The post Empathy + Placebo = Healing? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • September 7, 2013
  • 05:40 AM
  • 1,451 views

The Erogenous Zones of The Brain

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A paper just published in the journal Cortex discusses the nature of human erogenous zones: Reports of intimate touch The results cast doubt on a number of popular theories about this topic – including one from a leading neuroscientist. Oliver Turnbull and colleagues of Bangor University in the UK had 793 volunteers anonymously complete an [...]The post The Erogenous Zones of The Brain appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Turnbull OH, Lovett VE, Chaldecott J, & Lucas MD. (2013) Reports of intimate touch: Erogenous zones and somatosensory cortical organization. Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior. PMID: 23993282  

  • September 2, 2013
  • 02:38 PM
  • 688 views

The Ethics of ‘Mini Human Brains’

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

You’ve probably already heard about the: Miniature ‘human brain’ grown in laboratory. The research, involving the growth of cerebral ‘organoids’ from human stem cells, was published in Nature on Wednesday. For some good coverage of the science behind this work, see Ed Yong’s piece here and the FAQ here. It’s not hard to see why [...]The post The Ethics of ‘Mini Human Brains’ appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • August 30, 2013
  • 12:27 PM
  • 586 views

MRI Killed The Radiotracer

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) was once the most powerful technique available for measuring localized human brain activity. By injecting a volunteer with a radioactive tracer, such as a glucose derivative, and monitoring the radiation emitted from the brain over the next few hours, neuroscientists could see where in the brain most glucose was being absorbed [...]The post MRI Killed The Radiotracer appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • August 29, 2013
  • 07:26 AM
  • 640 views

Training to De-Bias Teen Minds?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Spanish psychologists Itxaso Barberia and colleagues discuss an ambitious new program to train teenagers to better understand causality:  Implementation and Assessment of an Intervention to Debias Adolescents against Causal Illusions The problem is that we are bad at judging causality - Our cognitive system has evolved to sensitively detect causal relationships in the environment, as [...]The post Training to De-Bias Teen Minds? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

  • August 21, 2013
  • 01:32 PM
  • 986 views

Can You See Your Own Brain Waves?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

An intriguing new paper in the Journal of Neuroscience introduces a new optical illusion – and, potentially, a new way to see ones own brain activity. The article is called The Flickering Wheel Illusion: When Alpha Rhythms Make a Static Wheel Flicker by Sokoliuk and VanRullen. Here’s the illusion: It’s a simple black and white [...]The post Can You See Your Own Brain Waves? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.... Read more »

Sokoliuk R, & Vanrullen R. (2013) The Flickering Wheel Illusion: When Alpha Rhythms Make a Static Wheel Flicker. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 33(33), 13498-504. PMID: 23946408  

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