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  • September 12, 2016
  • 02:19 PM
  • 447 views

Learning to turn down your amygdala can modify your emotions

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Training the brain to treat itself is a promising therapy for traumatic stress. The training uses an auditory or visual signal that corresponds to the activity of a particular brain region, called neurofeedback, which can guide people to regulate their own brain activity. However, treating stress-related disorders requires accessing the brain's emotional hub, the amygdala, which is located deep in the brain and difficult to reach with typical neurofeedback methods.

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  • September 12, 2016
  • 12:36 PM
  • 530 views

Opioid Abuse: Treatment Guidelines

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Molecular model of the drug buprenorphineThe U.S. Surgeon General recently sent a letter to all physicians about the danger of prescription opioids, particularly when used in combination with benzodiazepines (i.e. Valium, Xanax).  This combination greatly increases the risk of overdose death.Clinicians can successfully assist those with opioid use disorders. Marc Schuckit, M.D. recently published a nice summary review of entitled "Treatment of Opioid-Use Disorder" in the New England Journal........ Read more »

Schuckit, M. (2016) Treatment of Opioid-Use Disorders. New England Journal of Medicine, 375(4), 357-368. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1604339  

  • September 11, 2016
  • 03:12 PM
  • 478 views

A microRNA plays role in major depression

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A tiny RNA appears to play a role in producing major depression, the mental disorder that affects as many as 250 million people a year worldwide. Major depression, formally known as major depressive disorder, or MDD, brings increased risk of suicide and is reported to cause the second-most years of disability after low-back pain.

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  • September 9, 2016
  • 02:16 PM
  • 457 views

Study could herald new treatment for muscular dystrophy

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

New research has shown that the corticosteroid deflazacort is a safe and effective treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The findings could pave the way for first U.S.-approved treatment for the disease.

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Griggs, R., Miller, J., Greenberg, C., Fehlings, D., Pestronk, A., Mendell, J., Moxley, R., King, W., Kissel, J., Cwik, V.... (2016) Efficacy and safety of deflazacort vs prednisone and placebo for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Neurology, 10. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000003217  

  • September 9, 2016
  • 12:10 PM
  • 726 views

Statin Therapy: Rethinking Benefits and Risks

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

A recent 30-page manuscript provides an exhaustive review of the evidence for the efficacy and safety of statin therapy.The authors of this excellent review provide some context for the relative value of statins.The note that putting 10000 individuals with a history of a vascular event on a statin drug for 5 years would prevent 1,000 subsequent events. This is an example of secondary prevention--preventing another adverse outcome in those already experiencing an adverse event.But the statin drug........ Read more »

Collins, Rory, Reith, Christina, & Emberson, Jonathan. (2016) Interpretation of the evidence for the efficacy and safety of statin therapy. Lancet. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31357-5

  • September 8, 2016
  • 04:28 PM
  • 496 views

How new experiences boost memory formation

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Most people remember where they were when the twin towers collapsed in New York ... new research reveals why that may be the case. The study has shed new light on the biological mechanisms that drive the process, known as flashbulb memory.

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Takeuchi, T., Duszkiewicz, A., Sonneborn, A., Spooner, P., Yamasaki, M., Watanabe, M., Smith, C., Fernández, G., Deisseroth, K., Greene, R.... (2016) Locus coeruleus and dopaminergic consolidation of everyday memory. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature19325  

  • September 7, 2016
  • 12:05 PM
  • 532 views

Nuturing the Gifted: II

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Earlier this summer I posted a review and commentary on a Duke University study of the outcome of children identified as gifted.You can access this post by clicking HERE.Today in Nature News, Tom Clynes publishes a nice review of the history of this topic.He notes there have several large scale studies to examine prospectively children with high academic potential. The cohorts include:Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth-SMPY (Johns Hopkins)Duke University Talent Identification ProgramMunich........ Read more »

  • September 6, 2016
  • 11:17 AM
  • 531 views

Keeping the Weight Off

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Weight loss and maintenance of weight loss is difficult if not nearly impossible for most people.A registry of individuals who have lost 30 pounds or more and maintained their weight loss over a year exists in the U.S. This research effort is known as the National Weight Control Registry. It currently has over 10,000.I was looking at some of the published research results from this study. A paper published in 2012 used cluster analysis to identify sub-types of individuals with successful long-te........ Read more »

  • September 4, 2016
  • 03:25 PM
  • 540 views

Parents' math skills 'rub off' on their children

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Parents who excel at math produce children who excel at math. This is according to a recently released study, which shows a distinct transfer of math skills from parent to child. The study specifically explored intergenerational transmission--the concept of parental influence on an offspring's behavior or psychology--in mathematical capabilities.

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  • September 2, 2016
  • 02:21 PM
  • 564 views

Babies chew on subtle social, cultural cues at mealtime

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

At the dinner table, babies do a lot more than play with their sippy cups, new research suggests. Babies pay close attention to what food is being eaten around them - and especially who is eating it. The study adds evidence to a growing body of research suggesting even very young children think in sophisticated ways about subtle social cues.

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Liberman, Z., Woodward, A., Sullivan, K., & Kinzler, K. (2016) Early emerging system for reasoning about the social nature of food. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(34), 9480-9485. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1605456113  

  • September 2, 2016
  • 11:53 AM
  • 566 views

Obesity Surgery: VA Outcome Study

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Weight loss (bariatric) surgery is likely to become increasingly important to address the obesity epidemic in the U.S. and other nations.There are several types of surgical techniques used for bariatric surgery.One of the most invasive is the Rous-en-Y gastric bypass (RYG) operation. This operation involves bisection of the small intestine and reattachment of the upper section to a position lower down the small intestine. This provides for a shorter distance for food to be absorbed.Less invasive........ Read more »

Maciejewski ML, Arterburn DE, Van Scoyoc L, Smith VA, Yancy WS Jr, Weidenbacher HJ, Livingston EH, & Olsen MK. (2016) Bariatric Surgery and Long-term Durability of Weight Loss. JAMA surgery. PMID: 27579793  

  • September 1, 2016
  • 03:32 PM
  • 574 views

Can Dogs Understand Speech?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

A paper just published in Science has given rise to some astonishing headlines:
Dogs can understand human speech, scientists discover

Dogs process language like us

Dogs understand both words and intonation of human speech
But is the media's excitement justified, or are they barking up the wrong tree?



Here's the paper, from Hungarian neuroscientists Atilla Andics and colleagues. It was a canine fMRI study: dogs were trained to lie still in the MRI scanner and were played voice reco... Read more »

Andics A, Gábor A, Gácsi M, Faragó T, Szabó D, & Miklósi Á. (2016) Neural mechanisms for lexical processing in dogs. Science (New York, N.Y.). PMID: 27576923  

  • September 1, 2016
  • 01:36 PM
  • 495 views

Trauma's epigenetic fingerprint observed in children of Holocaust survivors

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The children of traumatized people have long been known to be at increased risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and mood and anxiety disorders. However, there are very few opportunities to examine biologic alterations in the context of a watershed trauma in exposed people and their adult children born after the event.

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Yehuda, R., Daskalakis, N., Bierer, L., Bader, H., Klengel, T., Holsboer, F., & Binder, E. (2016) Holocaust Exposure Induced Intergenerational Effects on FKBP5 Methylation. Biological Psychiatry, 80(5), 372-380. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.08.005  

  • September 1, 2016
  • 04:22 AM
  • 690 views

Music from Your Brain

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

The journal Brain has a new review on the history of converting the electroencephalogram (EEG) into sound (Lutters & Koehler, 2016). The translation of data into sound, known as sonification, has been applied to brain waves since the 1930s. In addition to early scientific and medical applications, sonification of the EEG has been used in the field of experimental music.In 1965, physicist Edmond Dewan and composer Alvin Lucier collaborated on Music for the Solo Performer:Sitting on a cha........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2016
  • 02:55 PM
  • 530 views

Scientists show that a 'Superman' disguise could actually work

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Ever think it's silly that people don't recognize Clark Kent is actually Superman? Well as it turns out, glasses are actually a fairly good way to disguise yourself. In fact, researchers have shown that small alterations to a person's appearance, such as wearing glasses, can significantly hinder positive facial identification.

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  • August 31, 2016
  • 11:30 AM
  • 473 views

Brain Scans Show Your Dog Loves You And Food

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

An fMRI study shows different dogs have different preferences for food and social interaction.A recent fMRI study investigates individual differences in dogs’ preferences for food and social interaction with their owner. The results have been widely – and erroneously – reported as showing that dogs prefer praise to food. In fact, the results paint a far more interesting picture of how brain activity predicts canine choice.I think most people feel subjectively that their dog loves them. The........ Read more »

Cook PF, Prichard A, Spivak M, & Berns GS. (2016) Awake Canine fMRI Predicts Dogs' Preference for Praise Versus Food. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience. PMID: 27521302  

  • August 30, 2016
  • 04:18 PM
  • 454 views

Caffeine reverts memory deficits by normalizing stress responses in the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

A new study describes the mechanism by which caffeine counteracts age-related cognitive deficits in animals. The international teams showed that the abnormal expression of a particular receptor - the adenosine A2A, target for caffeine - in the brain of rats induces an aging-like profile namely memory impairments linked to the loss of stress controlling mechanisms.

... Read more »

  • August 30, 2016
  • 11:59 AM
  • 594 views

Dyslexia Improvement in Medication Trial

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Dyslexia or developmental reading disorder is a common learning disorder affecting about 5% of the school age population.Treatment of dyslexia is difficult and typically is focused on special education classes and reading exercises.Medication treatment for dyslexia is nearly unheard of as no FDA-approved drug is available for the condition.However, a recent randomized clinical drug trial found evidence to support the potential use of atomoxetine for dyslexia.Atomoxetine is a drug approved for at........ Read more »

  • August 29, 2016
  • 02:49 PM
  • 434 views

Use it or lose it: Stopping exercise decreases brain blood flow

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

We all know that we can quickly lose cardiovascular endurance if we stop exercising for a few weeks, but what impact does the cessation of exercise have on our brains? New research examined cerebral blood flow in healthy, physically fit older adults (ages 50-80 years) before and after a 10-day period during which they stopped all exercise.

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Alfini, A., Weiss, L., Leitner, B., Smith, T., Hagberg, J., & Smith, J. (2016) Hippocampal and Cerebral Blood Flow after Exercise Cessation in Master Athletes. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2016.00184  

  • August 29, 2016
  • 12:08 PM
  • 498 views

Mediterranean Diet and Cognition

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The evidence for a beneficial effect of a Mediterranean style diet (MedDiet) on brain health grows on a regular basis.For those interested in a good summary of the effects of the MedDiet on cognition, I recommend reading the free full text review recently published in Frontiers in Neuroscience.In this review, Roy Hardman and colleagues searched for research studies on cognition and the Mediterranean diet published between 2000 and 2015.A figure in the review proposed several mechanisms where com........ Read more »

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