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  • December 26, 2014
  • 05:10 AM
  • 324 views

The Science of Addiction: How Drugs Affect the Brain

by Imtiaz Ibne Alam in Medical-Reference - A Pioneer in Medical Blogging

For centuries, the theory behind drug addiction was labored in the fogs of awkward myths and misconceptions. Drug abusers were then depicted as individuals with lack of morality and willpower, not as patients with a chronic brain disease.... Read more »

  • December 24, 2014
  • 04:43 AM
  • 202 views

Gluten-free diet affecting EEG findings?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Acknowledging that a certain 'jolly' person with a beard wearing a red suit will be visiting a few homes across the globe quite soon (the only time of the year that most people would let a stranger enter their home via a chimney) I want to briefly direct your attention to the paper by Parisi and colleagues [1] talking about how in "the presence of unexplained EEG abnormalities and/or other neurological disorders/SDB [sleep disordered breathing] an atypical or silent CD [coeliac di........ Read more »

  • December 23, 2014
  • 02:15 PM
  • 242 views

The science of dietary restriction and it’s benefits (or what to do after the holidays)

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In a new study, researchers have identified a key molecular mechanism behind the health benefits of dietary restriction — or reduced food intake without malnutrition. Also known as calorie restriction or simply a diet, dietary restriction is best known for its ability to slow aging in laboratory animals. The findings here show that restricting two amino acids, methionine and cysteine, results in increased hydrogen sulfide (H2S) production and protection against ischemia reperfusion injury, or ........ Read more »

Hine, C., Harputlugil, E., Zhang, Y., Ruckenstuhl, C., Lee, B., Brace, L., Longchamp, A., Treviño-Villarreal, J., Mejia, P., Ozaki, C.... (2014) Endogenous Hydrogen Sulfide Production Is Essential for Dietary Restriction Benefits. Cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.048  

  • December 23, 2014
  • 01:10 PM
  • 252 views

Know your brain: Ventral tegmental area

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Where is the ventral tegmental area?











Ventral tegmental area along with other structures in the brain connected by dopamine pathways.






The ventral tegmental area, or VTA, is in the midbrain, situated adjacent to the substantia nigra. Although it contains several different types of neurons, it is primarily characterized by its dopaminergic neurons, which project from the VTA throughout the brain. The VTA is considered an integral part of a........ Read more »

  • December 23, 2014
  • 05:26 AM
  • 198 views

The bipolar - schizoaffective - schizophrenia spectrum?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"This pattern of results is consistent with the conceptualisation of a spectrum of disorders, ranging from BDP [bipolar disorder] at one end, to SAD [schizoaffective disorder] in the middle, and SCZ [schizophrenia] at the other end." So concluded the paper by Serafino Mancuso and colleagues [1] examining clinical data derived from the Australian Survey of High Impact Psychosis (SHIP).The thing about perfection is that it's unknowable.I'm not going to dwell too ........ Read more »

  • December 22, 2014
  • 02:42 PM
  • 112 views

Everyone is attracted to creativity. But which creative acts are the sexiest?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

Who finds Bill Gates' creativity sexy?By guest blogger Sam McNerneyEver since the Sirens seduced Odyssey’s crew, Sophocles entertained ancient Athens, and our Paleolithic ancestors decorated cave walls in Lascaux, individuals have been drawn to acts of creativity. Today, the allure of creativity is all the more apparent. After Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web in 1991, we’ve witnessed a proliferation of creative expression on YouTube channels, blogs, and even Twitter. Given the........ Read more »

  • December 22, 2014
  • 06:25 AM
  • 206 views

Statistics Show: Males Do More Stupid Things Than Women

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

There’s one prestigious honor, the Darwin Award, which is given to people that helped improving the human gene pool. However, nobody is really keen on receiving this noble recognition: Darwin Award winners eliminate themselves (or anyway lose their reproductive abilities) in such stupid ways that ensure there’s an idiot less on Earth.... Read more »

Lendrem BA, Lendrem DW, Gray A, & Isaacs JD. (2014) The Darwin Awards: sex differences in idiotic behaviour. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 25500113  

  • December 22, 2014
  • 05:48 AM
  • 202 views

Cytokines activating the kynurenine pathway in schizophrenia?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

I'm a bit of a fan of tryptophan biochemistry on this blog. This quite remarkable aromatic amino acid and it's off-shoot metabolites, which appear to have no end of biological uses, have taken quite a bit of my blogging time down the years. Most recently was the suggestion that a metabolite slotting in between serotonin (5-HT) and melatonin might require quite a bit more investigation when it comes to at least some cases of autism (see here).See ya later, President Fartfeathers.The findings repo........ Read more »

  • December 22, 2014
  • 01:57 AM
  • 256 views

Many people are not completely sure about their math ability

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Many people are unaware of their mathematics-related abilities, and these abilities have to be considered in their evaluations and life outcomes.

Published in:

Journal of Personal and Social Psychology

Study Further:

Mathematics is one of the most disliked subjects of students. It is probably due to its logical dealing with the quantity, shape, and arrangements, but interesting part of the life is that many people have no clue about their mathematics-related abilities,........ Read more »

  • December 22, 2014
  • 12:32 AM
  • 215 views

Go to Bed Early and Cure Your Negative Ruminations!

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Source: Alyssa L. Miller, Flickr.For nearly 9 years, this blog has been harping on the blight of overblown press releases, with posts like:Irresponsible Press Release Gives False Hope to People With Tourette's, OCD, and SchizophreniaPress Release: Press Releases Are PrestidigitationNew research provides fresh evidence that bogus press releases may depend largely on our biological make-upSave Us From Misleading Press Releasesetc.So it was heartening to see a team of UK researchers formally evalua........ Read more »

  • December 21, 2014
  • 03:51 AM
  • 180 views

Vitamin D for autism... a double-take?

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

Yes, I know. Another post on the 'day of rest' but I promise you that this will not become a habit. The reason: the paper by Feiyong Jia and colleagues [1] published in the premier journal Pediatrics. The authors describe a case report of a young child with autism who is observed to have shown improvement in some of the core symptoms of autism following supplementation with the [sunshine] vitamin/hormone of the hour: vitamin D. Further reporting on the paper can be seen here.Altho........ Read more »

Feiyong Jia, Bing Wang, Ling Shan, Zhida Xu, Wouter G. Staal, & Lin Du. (2014) Core Symptoms of Autism Improved After Vitamin D Supplementation. Pediatrics. info:/doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-2121

  • December 20, 2014
  • 01:46 PM
  • 213 views

Antidepressants and the effects on your unborn child

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Think you know what causes depression? Well unfortunately scientists don’t have the exact answer, surprised? That’s not the only problem, there is an ever growing concern that we live in an over medicated society and a newly released study doesn’t paint a better picture. About 15 percent of women in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders and depression during their pregnancies, and many are prescribed antidepressants. However little is known about how early exposure to these medic........ Read more »

Altieri SC, Yang H, O'Brien HJ, Redwine HM, Senturk D, Hensler JG, & Andrews AM. (2014) Perinatal vs. Genetic Programming of Serotonin States Associated with Anxiety. Neuropsychopharmacology. PMID: 25523893  

  • December 20, 2014
  • 07:37 AM
  • 207 views

The Ethics of Joke Science

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

What happens when scientists publish papers that aren't meant to be taken seriously? Is ironic, satirical and joke science all in good fun, or can it be dangerous?



This is the question asked by Drexel University researchers Maryam Ronagh and Lawrence Souder in a new paper is called The Ethics of Ironic Science in Its Search for Spoof.

The British BMJ journal is known for an annual Christmas special issue filled with unusual articles. For example, two years ago they explored the questio... Read more »

Ronagh M, & Souder L. (2014) The Ethics of Ironic Science in Its Search for Spoof. Science and engineering ethics. PMID: 25510233  

  • December 20, 2014
  • 04:00 AM
  • 209 views

Joint hypermobility and links to psychiatry

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

"The relationship between JH/HDCT [joint hypermobility / heritable disorders of connective tissue] and mental disorders merits further attention in order to improve current knowledge and clarify a possible common etiology."There is nothing in the desert and no man needs nothing.That was the conclusion reached in the paper by Carolina Baeza-Velasco and colleagues [1] looking at the possibility of some interesting connections, outside of just physical presentation, when it come........ Read more »

  • December 19, 2014
  • 10:40 PM
  • 203 views

Know your brain: Pituitary gland

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged







The pituitary gland (in red). Image courtesy of Life Science Databases (LSDB).






Where is the pituitary gland?The pituitary gland is a small (about the size of a pea) endocrine gland that extends from the bottom of the hypothalamus. It is divided into two lobes in humans, the anterior pituitary and posterior pituitary. The anterior pituitary does not have direct neural connections to the hypothalamus, but is able to communicate with it through a system of blo........ Read more »

Amar, A., & Weiss, M. (2003) Pituitary anatomy and physiology. Neurosurgery Clinics of North America, 14(1), 11-23. DOI: 10.1016/S1042-3680(02)00017-7  

  • December 19, 2014
  • 03:15 PM
  • 82 views

Is being a worrier a sign of intelligence?

by BPS Research Digest in BPS Research Digest

We usually see worry as a bad thing. It feels unpleasant, like a snake coiling in the pit of your stomach. And worriers are often considered weak links in a team - negative influences who lack confidence. But of course, anxiety has a useful function. It's about anticipating and preparing for threats, and learning from past mistakes.Increasingly psychologists are recognising the strengths of anxious people. For example, there's research showing that people more prone to anxiety are quicker to det........ Read more »

  • December 19, 2014
  • 02:06 PM
  • 189 views

Why “fat shaming” makes the problem worse

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Thanks to the internet age we have lost touch with the fact that there is a human out there reading these words. Because of this, the golden rule –treat others the way you want to be treated — went out the window. Making fun of “fat” people now seems to be a internet hobby and that insensitivity can (and does) bleed over into “normal” non-internet life. Now a new study shows that women whose loved ones are critical of their weight tend to put on even more pounds, which is probably no........ Read more »

  • December 19, 2014
  • 10:40 AM
  • 245 views

Dogs Not Great at Math (Wolves Are Better)

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish



Even a brilliant dog may not be able to count as high as the number of feet she has. In a cheese cube counting challenge, dogs struggled to prove they have any number sense at all. Embarrassingly for the dogs, some wolves took the exact same test and passed it. This may be a hint about what dogs lost when they moved to a cushy life of domestication.

At the Wolf Science Center in Austria, Friederike Range and her colleagues raise both wolves and dogs by hand, then train them to take part i........ Read more »

Range F, Jenikejew J, Schröder I, & Virányi Z. (2014) Difference in quantity discrimination in dogs and wolves. Frontiers in psychology, 1299. PMID: 25477834  

  • December 19, 2014
  • 08:56 AM
  • 187 views

Head Motion Biases Brain Structural Scans

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A regular theme here at Neuroskeptic is the worrying issue of head movement during brain scans. We've seen that motion can alter measures of functional and structural connectivity, and that common approaches to dealing with this problem may be inadequate.


Now a new study reveals that even measures of the gross structure of the brain can be biased by excessive motion: Head motion during MRI acquisition reduces gray matter volume and thickness estimates.

Harvard neurologists Martin Reuter ... Read more »

  • December 19, 2014
  • 07:02 AM
  • 191 views

Simple Jury Persuasion: You are loved and cared for

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

We are again honored by our inclusion in the ABA Blawg 100 list for 2014. If you value this blog, today is the last day to vote for us here in the Litigation Category. Is this perhaps the anti-reptile theory? We don’t know, but it is potentially a powerful stealth weapon for cases where your opponent is attempting […]

Related posts:
Simple Jury Persuasion: In the face of ambiguity, we just make stuff up!
Simple Jury Persuasion: “That was the witness who spoke so sadly”
Simp........ Read more »

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