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  • February 6, 2016
  • 03:49 PM
  • 26 views

Brain plasticity assorted into functional networks

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Plasticity of the brain, what does that even mean? Well the good news is that it isn’t just a marketing ploy, the brain needs to be “plastic” because we need to be able to adapt. Frankly speaking, the brain still has a lot to learn about itself. Scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have made a key finding of the striking differences in how the brain’s cells can change through experience.

... Read more »

  • February 6, 2016
  • 09:52 AM
  • 22 views

Do songbirds perceive melody different from humans?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Last week a fascinating study appeared in PNAS on melody cognition in sparrows (Sturnus vulgaris). It provides an alternative interpretation to the widespread believe that songbirds have a strong bias to rely on absolute pitch (AP) for the recognition of melodies (e.g. Hulse et al., 1992).... Read more »

Hulse, S., Takeuchi, A., & Braaten, R. (1992) Perceptual Invariances in the Comparative Psychology of Music. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 10(2), 151-184. DOI: 10.2307/40285605  

Bregman, M., Patel, A., & Gentner, T. (2016) Songbirds use spectral shape, not pitch, for sound pattern recognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201515380. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1515380113  

  • February 5, 2016
  • 03:27 PM
  • 52 views

Man-made underwater sound may have wider ecosystem effects

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Underwater sound linked to human activity could alter the behaviour of seabed creatures that play a vital role in marine ecosystems, according to new research from the University of Southampton. The study found that exposure to sounds that resemble shipping traffic and offshore construction activities results in behavioural responses in certain invertebrate species that live in the marine sediment.

... Read more »

  • February 4, 2016
  • 03:27 PM
  • 66 views

Taser shock disrupts brain function, has implications for police interrogations

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

More than two million citizens have been Tased by police as Taser stun guns have become one of the preferred less-lethal weapons by police departments across the United States during the past decade. But what does that 50,000-volt shock do to a person's brain?

... Read more »

  • February 4, 2016
  • 10:06 AM
  • 59 views

A sense of mystery results from the brain failing to shut down flights of fancy

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

People who have a mystical experience might describe it as being “touched by some higher or greater truth or power“, or as “experiences felt or experienced beyond the realms of ordinary consciousness”. Psychologists define them as a breakdown in the usual sense of time or space, or of the difference between the self and the [Read More...]... Read more »

Cristofori, I., Bulbulia, J., Shaver, J., Wilson, M., Krueger, F., & Grafman, J. (2016) Neural correlates of mystical experience. Neuropsychologia, 212-220. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2015.11.021  

  • February 3, 2016
  • 03:06 PM
  • 75 views

Investigating potential fetal exposure to antidepressants

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Depression is a serious issue for expecting mothers. Left untreated, depression could have implications for a fetus’s health. But treating the disease during pregnancy may carry health risks for the developing fetus, which makes an expecting mother’s decision whether to take medication a very difficult one. To better understand how antidepressants affect fetuses during pregnancy, scientists studied exposure in mice.

... Read more »

  • February 2, 2016
  • 03:03 PM
  • 88 views

Depressed or inflamed? Inflammation attacks brain’s reward center

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Inflammation is a good thing, it helps the body fight disease, and without it we wouldn't survive. Unfortunately, when inflammation isn't kept under control it can wreak havoc on the body. From potentially causing alzheimer's to arthritis it seems that unchecked inflammation can cause all sorts of issues. In fact, a new study adds to the list of issues out of control inflammation causes in the body.

... Read more »

  • February 2, 2016
  • 11:18 AM
  • 58 views

Postmodern Stress Disorder – New psychological problem

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

“Postmodern Stress Disorder” is considered as a relatively new psychological disorder caused by repetitive exposure to violent images and other such things.

Published in:

The American Journal of Medicine

Study Further:

In a study by a researcher from Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Postmodern Stress Disorder has been described as a new disorder that is almost similar to posttraumatic stress disorder, in which a person start feeling stre........ Read more »

  • February 1, 2016
  • 04:14 PM
  • 49 views

Schizophrenia, Hubris and Science

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover





A press-release from the Harvard-MIT Broad Institute reaches astonishing heights of hyperbole in announcing a new schizophrenia study (Sekar et al. 2016). Here's the release:
Genetic study provides first-ever insight into biological origin of schizophrenia

Landmark analysis reveals excessive "pruning" of connections between neurons in brain predisposes to schizophrenia

A landmark study, based on genetic analysis of nearly 65,000 people, has revealed that a person’s risk of schizo... Read more »

Sekar A, Bialas AR, de Rivera H, Davis A, Hammond TR, Kamitaki N, Tooley K, Presumey J, Baum M, Van Doren V.... (2016) Schizophrenia risk from complex variation of complement component 4. Nature. PMID: 26814963  

  • February 1, 2016
  • 03:41 PM
  • 73 views

Blood pressure medicine may improve conversational skills of individuals with autism

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

An estimated 1 in 68 children in the United States has autism. The neurodevelopmental disorder, which impairs communication and social interaction skills, can be treated with medications and behavioral therapies, though there is no cure. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that a medication commonly used to treat high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats may have the potential to improve some social functions of individuals with autism.

... Read more »

  • January 31, 2016
  • 02:57 PM
  • 134 views

The brains of patients with schizophrenia vary depending on the type of schizophrenia

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

I have a friend who lost an eye to his brother. Yes, you read that correctly, his brother tried to kill him and in the process he lost his eye. I’ve told this story before, but whenever new schizophrenia research comes out I feel the need to tell it again. While he has forgiven his brother (partly because not long after, he was diagnosed as schizophrenic), he will not be able to see him again until he is released from prison. A tragedy that could’ve been avoided had he been diagnosed sooner......... Read more »

  • January 31, 2016
  • 07:09 AM
  • 76 views

Coal tar, dyes, and the unlikely origins of psychotherapeutic drugs

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged










While it may be difficult to imagine in a day and age when psychiatric medicines are advertised as a way to treat nearly every mental disorder, only 65 years ago targeted and effective psychiatric medicines were still just an unrealized aspiration. In fact, until the middle of the 20th century, the efficacy and safety of many common approaches to treating mental illness were highly questionable. For example, one method of treating schizophrenia that was common in the 1940s........ Read more »

López-Muñoz, F., Alamo, C., cuenca, E., Shen, W., Clervoy, P., & Rubio, G. (2005) History of the Discovery and Clinical Introduction of Chlorpromazine. Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 17(3), 113-135. DOI: 10.1080/10401230591002002  

  • January 30, 2016
  • 03:21 PM
  • 121 views

Neurological adaptations to the presence of toxic HIV protein

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Nearly half of HIV infected patients suffer from impaired neurocognitive function. The HIV protein transactivator of transcription (Tat) is an important contributor to HIV neuropathogenesis because it is a potent neurotoxin that continues to be produced despite treatment with antiretroviral therapy.

... Read more »

  • January 30, 2016
  • 07:01 AM
  • 92 views

The Automatic Neuroscientist

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

We've learned this week that computers can play Go. But at least there's one human activity they will never master: neuroscience. A computer will never be a neuroscientist. Except... hang on. A new paper just out in Neuroimage describes something called The Automatic Neuroscientist. Oh.



So what is this new neuro-robot? According to its inventors, Romy Lorenz and colleagues of Imperial College London, it's a framework for using "real-time fMRI in combination with modern machine-learning te... Read more »

  • January 29, 2016
  • 08:36 AM
  • 114 views

Depression can easily pass down from a mother to her daughter

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Emotions can easily move down from mother to her daughter, i.e. daughters have more chances of getting from their mother a brain structure that is involved in emotion, especially depression.

Published in:

Journal of Neuroscience

Study Further:

Researchers from University of California – San Francisco (UCSF) studied the brains of 35 families by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They found that the corticolimbic system, a structure of the brain circuitry, can........ Read more »

Yamagata, B., Murayama, K., Black, J., Hancock, R., Mimura, M., Yang, T., Reiss, A., & Hoeft, F. (2016) Female-Specific Intergenerational Transmission Patterns of the Human Corticolimbic Circuitry. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(4), 1254-1260. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4974-14.2016  

  • January 28, 2016
  • 02:36 PM
  • 122 views

It’s complicated: Benefits and toxicity of anti-prion antibodies in the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Immunotherapy to ameliorate neurodegeneration by targeting brain protein aggregates with antibodies is an area of intense investigation. A new study examines seemingly contradictory earlier results of targeting the prion protein and proposes a cautionary way forward to further test related therapeutic approaches.

... Read more »

Reimann, R., Sonati, T., Hornemann, S., Herrmann, U., Arand, M., Hawke, S., & Aguzzi, A. (2016) Differential Toxicity of Antibodies to the Prion Protein. PLOS Pathogens, 12(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005401  

  • January 27, 2016
  • 02:36 PM
  • 121 views

The music of the mind: throwing light on human consciousness

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

UNSW Australia scientists have shown that complex human brain activity is governed by the same simple universal rule of nature that can explain other phenomena such as the beautiful sound of a finely crafted violin or the spots on a leopard. The UNSW team has identified a link between the distinctive patterns of brain function that occur at rest and the physical structure of people's brains.

... Read more »

  • January 27, 2016
  • 04:17 AM
  • 116 views

People with good brain have overall good health

by Usman Paracha in SayPeople

Main Point:

Intelligent people have a genetic ability to fight with most of the health-related problems.

Published in:

Molecular Psychiatry

Study Further:

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have found that genes that are linked to thinking skills and intelligence are also linked to health. This shows that the intelligent people have less chances of becoming sick, getting disease, or die early.

In a new study, researchers worked on the participants of UK Biobank (havin........ Read more »

Hagenaars, S., Harris, S., Davies, G., Hill, W., Liewald, D., Ritchie, S., Marioni, R., Fawns-Ritchie, C., Cullen, B., Malik, R.... (2016) Shared genetic aetiology between cognitive functions and physical and mental health in UK Biobank (N. Molecular Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2015.225  

  • January 26, 2016
  • 03:20 PM
  • 107 views

Why you should never use the term ‘the mentally ill’

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Even subtle differences in how you refer to people with mental illness can affect levels of tolerance, a new study has found. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers found that participants showed less tolerance toward people who were referred to as "the mentally ill" when compared to those referred to as "people with mental illness."

... Read more »

  • January 24, 2016
  • 01:52 PM
  • 115 views

60 genetic disorders affect skin and nervous system

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

One of the most common genetic disorders is a condition called neurofibromatosis, which causes brown spots on the skin and benign tumors on the brain, spinal cord and other parts of the nervous system. Neurofibromatosis is one of at least 60 genetic diseases called neurocutaneous disorders that involve the skin, central nervous system, and/or peripheral nervous system.

... Read more »

Figueiredo, A., Mata-Machado, N., McCoyd, M., & Biller, J. (2016) Neurocutaneous Disorders for the Practicing Neurologist: a Focused Review. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, 16(2). DOI: 10.1007/s11910-015-0612-7  

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