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  • October 25, 2014
  • 09:58 PM
  • 9 views

Fright Week: The Waking Nightmare of Lord Voldemort

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Nightmares can seem very real at times, but then we wake up and realize it was all a bad dream. Now imagine having a vivid nightmare with all the reality of waking life and then... it turns out you're actually awake through it all!This happened to an 11 year old Italian boy who reported frightening auditory and visual hallucinations of Voldemort, the archenemy of Harry Potter, for three straight days. These hallucinations began after a bout of sore throat and fever (38°C).  As Vita et........ Read more »

Vita MG, Batocchi AP, Dittoni S, Losurdo A, Cianfoni A, Stefanini MC, Vollono C, Della Marca G, & Mariotti P. (2008) Visual hallucinations and pontine demyelination in a child: possible REM dissociation?. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 4(6), 588-90. PMID: 19110890  

  • October 24, 2014
  • 05:20 PM
  • 36 views

The Genetics of Congenital Heart Defects Slowly Emerge from Down Syndrome Study

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Down syndrome, of all the genetic defects people are born with, is the most common (as far as chromosomal abnormalities go). Down syndrome involves having a third copy of all or part of chromosome 21 (for those who do not recall we are typically born with 23 pairs of chromosomes). In addition to intellectual disability, individuals with Down syndrome have a high risk of congenital heart defects. However, not all people with Down syndrome have them – about half have structurally normal hearts.... Read more »

Ramachandran D, Mulle JG, Locke AE, Bean LJ, Rosser TC, Bose P, Dooley KJ, Cua CL, Capone GT, Reeves RH.... (2014) Contribution of copy-number variation to Down syndrome-associated atrioventricular septal defects. Genetics in medicine : official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics. PMID: 25341113  

  • October 24, 2014
  • 11:29 AM
  • 14 views

Breaking Research: WIDE AWAKE is a newly identified gene that explains how we become sleepy at night

by Bethany Christmann in Fly on the Wall

The body’s biological clock is responsible for keeping track of time and synchronizing behavior with the environment, so that you feel alert during daylight hours and sleepy at night. This biological clock (also called the circadian clock or circadian rhythms) consists of three major parts: The central pacemaker, which oscillates with a period of about […]... Read more »

Liu Sha, Qili Liu, Masashi Tabuchi, Yong Yang, Melissa Fowler, Rajnish Bharadwaj, Julia Zhang, Joseph Bedont, Seth Blackshaw, & Thomas E. Lloyd. (2014) WIDE AWAKE Mediates the Circadian Timing of Sleep Onset. Neuron, 82(1), 151-166. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2014.01.040  

  • October 23, 2014
  • 10:20 AM
  • 49 views

Smartphone App Boosts Alcoholism Treatment Outcome

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Smartphone apps and other mobile technology are emerging as promising tools in medical treatment.A recent randomized study published in JAMA Psychiatry found evidence that a smartphone app improves alcoholism treatment outcomes.David Gustafson and colleagues conducted a study funded by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.A series of 349 adults with DSM-IV alcohol dependence were enrolled as they entered a alcoholism residential treatment program.Approximately half of the subje........ Read more »

Gustafson DH, McTavish FM, Chih MY, Atwood AK, Johnson RA, Boyle MG, Levy MS, Driscoll H, Chisholm SM, Dillenburg L.... (2014) A smartphone application to support recovery from alcoholism: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA psychiatry, 71(5), 566-72. PMID: 24671165  

  • October 23, 2014
  • 09:05 AM
  • 67 views

The Monster Mash – Diseases That May Have Spawned Monster Legends

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Creepy diseases that produce symptoms that mimic characteristics associated with legendary monsters!... Read more »

Schulenburg-Brand D, Katugampola R, Anstey AV, & Badminton MN. (2014) The cutaneous porphyrias. Dermatologic clinics, 32(3), 369. PMID: 24891059  

Deshmukh S, & Prashanth S. (2012) Ectodermal dysplasia: a genetic review. International journal of clinical pediatric dentistry, 5(3), 197-202. PMID: 25206167  

Ramirez-Bermudez J, Aguilar-Venegas LC, Crail-Melendez D, Espinola-Nadurille M, Nente F, & Mendez MF. (2010) Cotard syndrome in neurological and psychiatric patients. The Journal of neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences, 22(4), 409-16. PMID: 21037126  

  • October 22, 2014
  • 03:55 PM
  • 61 views

Converting Skin Cells to Neurons: A Fight Against Huntington’s

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Neurological diseases are some of the hardest to fight against (in my opinion). The big reason is the brain, we still know so little about it and treatment for anything effecting it can be difficult to say the least. Take Huntington’s disease, an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder. There is no cure and no real treatment, but that might change relatively soon thanks to a new discovery.... Read more »

Victor, M., Richner, M., Hermanstyne, T., Ransdell, J., Sobieski, C., Deng, P., Klyachko, V., Nerbonne, J., & Yoo, A. (2014) Generation of Human Striatal Neurons by MicroRNA-Dependent Direct Conversion of Fibroblasts. Neuron, 84(2), 311-323. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.10.016  

  • October 21, 2014
  • 11:25 AM
  • 61 views

Sleep Problems in Alcoholism Treatment

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

In a previous post, I summarized a research study six month outcome of insomnia in a group of subjects treated for alcoholism.This study found a high persistence of insomnia despite reduction, and in many cases abstinence, from alcohol.A second study recently published by investigators at the National Institute of Health provides some additional insight into this topic.Gwenyth Wallen and colleagues studied a series of 164 participants admitted to a 4-6 week inpatient program for alcohol dependen........ Read more »

  • October 20, 2014
  • 10:56 AM
  • 65 views

Persistent Insomnia and Alcoholism

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Sleep problems complicate the treatment and recovery in alcoholism. Heavy alcohol consumption modifies the nature of sleep architecture.A high blood alcohol concentration at bedtime may promote sleep early in the sleep cycle.However, as alcohol levels decline, sleep is often interrupted with limiting rapid eye movement (REM) sleep duration.Shortened total sleep time with alcohol can produce a lack of feeling well rested on awakening.For those with alcoholism or alcohol dependence, successfu........ Read more »

Brower KJ, Krentzman A, & Robinson EA. (2011) Persistent insomnia, abstinence, and moderate drinking in alcohol-dependent individuals. The American journal on addictions / American Academy of Psychiatrists in Alcoholism and Addictions, 20(5), 435-40. PMID: 21838842  

  • October 18, 2014
  • 09:34 AM
  • 88 views

Merit’s Liquidity

by nooffensebut in The Unsilenced Science

The latest SAT and ACT data suggest that America’s cognitive elite have been enjoying new geographic mobility, but difficult economic times push them out of the elite strata, contrary to a prediction of The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray.... Read more »

nooffensebut. (2014) Parents’ Income is a Poor Predictor of SAT Score. Open Differential Psychology, 1-19. info:other/

  • October 17, 2014
  • 10:29 PM
  • 74 views

Translational Findings: Fruit fly contributions to research in circadian rhythms

by Bethany Christmann in Fly on the Wall

What are circadian rhythms, and why are they important to humans? Over the past century, technological innovations have changed human society dramatically, undeniably for the better. But the advent of jet travel, round-the-clock manufacturing, and internet communication has also had a disruptive effect on our bodies’ circadian rhythms. The word “circadian” comes from the latin […]... Read more »

  • October 17, 2014
  • 11:40 AM
  • 66 views

October 17, 2014

by Erin Campbell in HighMag Blog

For years the prettiest cells to image were flat cells in a dish. Thanks to the tireless work of many, beautiful high-resolution images can now come from tissue in a living organism. Today’s image is from a paper showing improved techniques for imaging fine cellular processes within large volumes, from the lab of recent Nobel prize winner, Eric Betzig. A material’s refractive index refers to how light travels through it; the simplest example being how light bends when passed through wat........ Read more »

Wang, K., Milkie, D., Saxena, A., Engerer, P., Misgeld, T., Bronner, M., Mumm, J., & Betzig, E. (2014) Rapid adaptive optical recovery of optimal resolution over large volumes. Nature Methods, 11(6), 625-628. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.2925  

  • October 17, 2014
  • 06:50 AM
  • 68 views

The Friday Five for 10/17/2014

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Coolest science news stories of the week: stem cells to treat diabetes, fake testes, erasing memories, more!... Read more »

DeMartini DG, Ghoshal A, Pandolfi E, Weaver AT, Baum M, & Morse DE. (2013) Dynamic biophotonics: female squid exhibit sexually dimorphic tunable leucophores and iridocytes. The Journal of experimental biology, 216(Pt 19), 3733-41. PMID: 24006348  

Pagliuca, F., Millman, J., Gürtler, M., Segel, M., Van Dervort, A., Ryu, J., Peterson, Q., Greiner, D., & Melton, D. (2014) Generation of Functional Human Pancreatic β Cells In Vitro. Cell, 159(2), 428-439. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.09.040  

  • October 16, 2014
  • 02:19 PM
  • 89 views

Is Axon Guidance by Attraction and Repulsion, or by a Roll of the Dice?

by Wadsworth in Wadsworth Guidance

Attractants and repellants guide axons to their targets.  On its journey, a migrating axon may be confronted with multiple attractive and repulsive guidance cues.  This presents a conundrum. How does the axon avoid a tug-of-war between attractants and repellants?  Does the strongest cue win?  Can one cue negate the effects of another?  Can an axon switch its responsiveness to cues until they all match?   0 0 1 83 474 Robert Wood Johnson Medical School ........ Read more »

Tang, X., & Wadsworth, W. (2014) SAX-3 (Robo) and UNC-40 (DCC) Regulate a Directional Bias for Axon Guidance in Response to Multiple Extracellular Cues. PLoS ONE, 9(10). info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0110031

  • October 15, 2014
  • 02:49 PM
  • 84 views

A Random Walk into the Genetics of Axon Guidance

by Wadsworth in Wadsworth Guidance

The man claimed he was a wizard and had cast the “spell of attraction” on the target.  Now the target would guide his arrow to the mark.  So we gave the man a broken arrow and watched to see if this arrow could hit the target.  The man took the arrow and flung it at the target.  Indeed, this arrow too could hit the target. Credit: Nina Matthews PhotographyPerhaps we had asked the wrong question.  Instead of looking at whether the arrow made it to the target........ Read more »

  • October 15, 2014
  • 02:22 PM
  • 118 views

You can tell [my mood] by the way I walk

by Gabriel in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever see a guy walking down the street and know he’s depressed? Or how about someone happy, with a little bounce in their step? The way we walk says a lot and by some estimates roughly 90% of what we are telling people isn’t coming out our mouth, it’s all body language. Our walk says a lot about the kind of mood we are in, but in the question of what came first our mood or our walk, researchers have now shown that it works both ways.... Read more »

  • October 15, 2014
  • 09:13 AM
  • 96 views

Remembering visual images

by Janet Kwasniak in Neuro-patch

There is an interesting recent paper (see citation) on visual memory. The researchers’ intent is to map and areas and causal directions between them for a particular process in healthy individuals so that sufferers showing lost of that process can be studied in the same way and the areas/connections which are faulty identified. In this […]... Read more »

Nenert, R., Allendorfer, J., & Szaflarski, J. (2014) A Model for Visual Memory Encoding. PLoS ONE, 9(10). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107761  

  • October 15, 2014
  • 04:36 AM
  • 90 views

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Mid-Cingulate Cortex

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

What happens in the brain during a highly immersive reading experience? According to the fiction feeling hypothesis (Jacobs, 2014), narratives with highly emotional content cause a deeper sense of immersion by engaging the affective empathy network to a greater extent than neutral narratives. Emotional empathy – in this case, the ability to identify with a fictional character via grounded metarepresentations of ‘global emotional moments’ (Hsu et al., 2014) – relies on  a number of b........ Read more »

  • October 14, 2014
  • 09:30 PM
  • 93 views

What is the habenula?

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Despite the fact that it is present in almost all vertebrate species, very little was known about the habenula until fairly recently. In the past several years, however, the habenula has received a significant amount of attention for its potential role in both cognition (e.g. reward processing) and disorders like depression. Still, the habenula remains a little-known structure whose functions are yet to be fully elucidated.Where is the habenula?The habenula is part of the diencephalon and, toget........ Read more »

  • October 14, 2014
  • 09:34 AM
  • 93 views

What do we share with other primates in terms of cognition?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Below a beautiful summary of the recent literature on the neurobiology of action imitation/understanding, language, and rhythmic processing/auditory timing (Mendoza & Merchant, in press). The neural circuitry that is thought to be involved in all three higher cognitive functions is shown here for three closely related primates: the macaque monkey, chimpanzee and human brain.... Read more »

Merchant, H., & Honing, H. (2013) Are non-human primates capable of rhythmic entrainment? Evidence for the gradual audiomotor evolution hypothesis. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7(274). info:/

  • October 14, 2014
  • 09:30 AM
  • 73 views

Zombies And The Loss of Free Will

by Mark E. Lasbury in The 'Scope

Nature is rife with examples of how one organism can rob another of its free will, turning them into zombies so to say. Who would have guessed that Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds was really a zombie movie.... Read more »

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