Model of crytalized ketamine moleculeStandard antidepressant therapies typically take two weeks or more to begin to act.Ketamine is an anesthetic drug recently demonstrated to have a rapid antidepressant effect.The mechanism for this effect is unknown. A recent mouse study of ketamine and metabolites of ketamine show some potentially groundbreaking insight for the treatment of depression.This study found these significant findings:Ketamine like most organic compounds is made of boty an R an........ Read more »
Zanos, P., Moaddel, R., Morris, P., Georgiou, P., Fischell, J., Elmer, G., Alkondon, M., Yuan, P., Pribut, H., Singh, N.... (2016) NMDAR inhibition-independent antidepressant actions of ketamine metabolites. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature17998
Over the past few years I've covered (1,2,3) the work of Anders Eklund, a Swedish researcher who has discovered a potentially serious flaw in software commonly used to analyse fMRI data.
Eklund has shown that popular parametric statistical analysis tools for fMRI are prone to false positives - they often 'find' brain activation even where it doesn't exist. The issue affects the leading software packages such as FSL and SPM.
The main root of the problem is spatial autocorrelation - the ... Read more »
Kriegeskorte, N., Bodurka, J., & Bandettini, P. (2008) Artifactual time-course correlations in echo-planar fMRI with implications for studies of brain function. International Journal of Imaging Systems and Technology, 18(5-6), 345-349. DOI: 10.1002/ima.20166
The good things in Melbourne are hidden away. Behind non-descript doors and trick bookcases. On rooftops. Down laneways. Pop-ups, warehouses, basements; Lady Melbs rewards those who seek. Which requires little persuasion, I have noticed. Melburnians go silly at the whiff of intrigue.... Read more »
Berridge, K., Robinson, T., & Aldridge, J. (2009) Dissecting components of reward: ‘Liking’, ‘wanting’, and learning. Current Opinion in Pharmacology, 9(1), 65-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.coph.2008.12.014
Bromberg-Martin, E., Matsumoto, M., & Hikosaka, O. (2010) Dopamine in motivational control: Rewarding, aversive, and alerting. Neuron, 68(5), 815-834. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.11.022
Craig, A. (2009) How do you feel — now? The anterior insula and human awareness. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10(1), 59-70. DOI: 10.1038/nrn2555
Limb, C., & Braun, A. (2008) Neural substrates of spontaneous musical performance: An fMRI study of jazz improvisation. PLoS ONE, 3(2). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001679
McPherson, M., Barrett, F., Lopez-Gonzalez, M., Jiradejvong, P., & Limb, C. (2016) Emotional intent modulates the neural substrates of creativity: An fMRI study of emotionally targeted improvisation in jazz musicians. Scientific Reports, 1-14. DOI: 10.1038/srep18460
An important study was published today in Lancet Psychiatry. This study examined the role of depression symptoms in risk for later development of dementia including Alzheimer's disease.Previous work on this topic has relied on cross-sectional risk factor design. However, the study published today used a prospective longitudinal design for elderly individuals participating the Rotterdam study.Depressive symptoms were measured over time and compared to latter risk for development of dementia......... Read more »
Mirza, S., Wolters, F., Swanson, S., Koudstaal, P., Hofman, A., Tiemeier, H., & Ikram, M. (2016) 10-year trajectories of depressive symptoms and risk of dementia: a population-based study. The Lancet Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1016/S2215-0366(16)00097-3
Yesterday I posted a link to a New York Times article that posted a summary outcome in fourteen participants in TV's "The Biggest Loser" show.The study found a trend towards post-show weight gain for 13/14 of the participants.Four participants actually gained so much weight that after six years they weighed more than before participating in the show.A key finding from the study was this weight gain could be explained by a metabolic response resulting in up to 800 calories less burned daily ........ Read more »
Fothergill, E., Guo, J., Howard, L., Kerns, J., Knuth, N., Brychta, R., Chen, K., Skarulis, M., Walter, M., Walter, P.... (2016) Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition. Obesity. DOI: 10.1002/oby.21538
Delirium is an acute confusional state that is common in elderly hospitalized patients.I think of it light a sign of acute brain failure requiring aggressive attentional for detection and treatment of any reversible underlying causes.Delirium in elderly hospitalized patients is a marker for poor outcome in a variety of medical and surgical subjects.A recent study published by a Norwegian team found effects on outcome for delirium following surgical aortic valve replacement. The key findings from........ Read more »
Eide LS, Ranhoff AH, Fridlund B, Haaverstad R, Hufthammer KO, Kuiper KK, Nordrehaug JE, Norekvål TM, & Delirium in Octogenarians Undergoing Cardiac Surgery or Intervention-CARDELIR Investigators. (2016) Delirium as a Predictor of Physical and Cognitive Function in Individuals Aged 80 and Older After Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation or Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. PMID: 27106745
Vaccines don't cause autism, but because the brain is so complex, we still don't know how much of it works so figuring out the real causes (as in more than one) of autism has been slow going. Well, researchers have identified a brain receptor that appears to initiate adolescent synaptic pruning, a process believed necessary for learning, but in this case it is one that appears to go awry in both autism and schizophrenia.... Read more »
Sonia Afroz, Julie Parato, Hui Shen Sheryl, & Sue Smith. (2016) Synaptic pruning in the female hippocampus is triggered at puberty by extrasynaptic GABAA receptors on dendritic spines . eLife. info:/
Psychiatric drugs come in many kinds: there are antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications, and more. But what all of these categories have in common is that they're anti- something. This is how we classify these drugs - by what they treat.
Except there's a problem - very few psychiatric drugs are only used to treat one thing. Take "antipsychotics". They're used in psychosis, but they're also a key tool in the treatment of mania, a different disorder entirely. Many of these dru... Read more »
Zohar J, Stahl S, Moller HJ, Blier P, Kupfer D, Yamawaki S, Uchida H, Spedding M, Goodwin GM, & Nutt D. (2015) A review of the current nomenclature for psychotropic agents and an introduction to the Neuroscience-based Nomenclature. European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 25(12), 2318-25. PMID: 26527055
NINETY-TWO percent of retired National Football League players have decreased cognitive function, according to a new study:“In the NFL group, baseline neuropsychological assessments showed 92% of players had decreased general cognitive proficiency, 86% had decreased information processing speed, 83% had memory loss, 83% had attentional deficits, and 85% had executive function impairment.”The Truth?The study reported on a self-selected sample of 161 current and retired NFL players recruite........ Read more »
Daniel G. Amen, Kristen Willeumier, Bennet Omalu, Andrew Newberg, Cauligi Raghavendra, & Cyrus A. Raji. (2016) Perfusion Neuroimaging Abnormalities Alone Distinguish National Football League Players from a Healthy Population. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. info:/10.3233/JAD-160207
Insomnia, fun fact those of us who have served or are serving in the military have a much higher incidence of sleep problems. So if you are like me and have ever been prescribed something to help you sleep, you know that there are some unwanted side effects. For instance the time I lost memory of a whole day of interacting with people to the ambien I had taken the night before, not fun. Thankfully Danish researchers found that the level of salts in the brain plays a critical role in whether we a........ Read more »
Ding, F., ODonnell, J., Xu, Q., Kang, N., Goldman, N., & Nedergaard, M. (2016) Changes in the composition of brain interstitial ions control the sleep-wake cycle. Science, 352(6285), 550-555. DOI: 10.1126/science.aad4821
In a new Nature paper, Berkely neuroscientists Alexander G. Huth and colleagues present a 'semantic atlas' of the human brain. Huth et al. have mapped which brain areas respond to words, according to the semantics (meanings) of each word. It turns out that these maps are highly similar across individuals - which could have implications for 'mind reading' technology.
Huth et al. recorded brain activity with fMRI while seven volunteers listened to over two hours of audio narrative (taken fr... Read more »
Huth AG, de Heer WA, Griffiths TL, Theunissen FE, & Gallant JL. (2016) Natural speech reveals the semantic maps that tile human cerebral cortex. Nature, 532(7600), 453-8. PMID: 27121839
The whole of human intelligence, right at your fingertips. Sure it might not make the layman an engineer or physicist, but if we want to learn about a particular topic the internet can give us that information. But you better hold on tight before you lose it. New research finds retweeting or otherwise sharing information creates a “cognitive overload” that interferes with learning and retaining what you’ve just seen.
... Read more »
Jiang, T., Hou, Y., & Wang, Q. (2016) Does micro-blogging make us “shallow”? Sharing information online interferes with information comprehension. Computers in Human Behavior, 210-214. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.008
Neuroscientists have a schizophrenic view of how neurons. On the one hand, we say, neurons are ultra-efficient and are as precise as possible in their encoding of the world. On the other hand, neurons are pretty noisy, with the variability in … Continue reading →... Read more »
Back in 2013, I wondered if we would ever discover the neural basis of spontaneous thoughts. Why, I asked, do certain ideas just "pop" into our minds at particular times? Now a new paper published in Neuroimage, Canadian neuroscientists Melissa Ellamil and colleagues reports on the neural basis of spontaneous thoughts.
Ellamil et al. recruited a group of 18 volunteers, all of whom were highly experienced practitioners of mindfulness meditation. These individuals were selected, the authors... Read more »
Ellamil M, Fox KC, Dixon ML, Pritchard S, Todd RM, Thompson E, & Christoff K. (2016) Dynamics of neural recruitment surrounding the spontaneous arising of thoughts in experienced mindfulness practitioners. NeuroImage. PMID: 27114056
Why does one person who tries cocaine get addicted, while another might use it and then leave it alone? Why do some people who kick a drug habit manage to stay clean, while others relapse? And why do some families seem more prone to addiction than others? According to a new study, the road to answering these questions may have a lot to do with specific genetic factors that vary from individual to individual.
... Read more »
Flagel, S., Chaudhury, S., Waselus, M., Kelly, R., Sewani, S., Clinton, S., Thompson, R., Watson, S., & Akil, H. (2016) Genetic background and epigenetic modifications in the core of the nucleus accumbens predict addiction-like behavior in a rat model. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201520491. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1520491113
Happiness. It’s something we all strive for, but how do we measure it — as a country? A global community? Not so surprisingly, researchers are turning to social media to answer these questions and more. In a newly published study, computer scientists used two years of Twitter data to measure users’ life satisfaction, a component of happiness.
... Read more »
Yang, C., & Srinivasan, P. (2016) Life Satisfaction and the Pursuit of Happiness on Twitter. PLOS ONE, 11(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150881
Does the thought of money make people more selfish? Last year, I blogged about the theory of 'money priming', the idea that mere reminders of money can influence people’s attitudes and behaviors. The occasion for that post was a study showing no evidence of the claimed money priming phenomenon, published by psychologists Rohrer, Pashler, and Harris. Rohrer et al.'s paper was accompanied by a rebuttal from Kathleen Vohs, who argued that 10 years of research and 165 studies establish that mone........ Read more »
Vadillo MA, Hardwicke TE, & Shanks DR. (2016) Selection bias, vote counting, and money-priming effects: A comment on Rohrer, Pashler, and Harris (2015) and Vohs (2015). Journal of Experimental Psychology. General, 145(5), 655-63. PMID: 27077759
image: Mihály Vöröslakos / University of Szeged “Don't Lose Your Head Over tDCS,” I warned last time. Now the infamous cadaver study has reared its ugly hot-wired head in Science News (Underwood, 2016).The mechanism of action of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) had been called into question by Dr. György Buzsáki during his presentation at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society meeting....Or had it?To recap, my understanding was that an unpublished study of transcranial e........ Read more »
Ozen, S., Sirota, A., Belluscio, M., Anastassiou, C., Stark, E., Koch, C., & Buzsaki, G. (2010) Transcranial Electric Stimulation Entrains Cortical Neuronal Populations in Rats. Journal of Neuroscience, 30(34), 11476-11485. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5252-09.2010
Underwood, E. (2016) Cadaver study challenges brain stimulation methods. Science, 352(6284), 397-397. DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6284.397
In a new paper called Molecular fMRI, MIT researchers Benjamin B. Bartelle, Ali Barandov, and Alan Jasanoff discuss technological advances that could provide neuroscientists with new tools for mapping the brain.
Currently, one of the leading methods of measuring brain activity is functional MRI (fMRI). However, as Bartelle et al. note, it has its limitations:
Because brain activity mapping with fMRI depends on neurovascular coupling, resolution at the level of single cells is out of reach.... Read more »
No one knows Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) quite like veterans. Unfortunately, it is a major cause of mortality and morbidity, often causing lifelong disability for those who survive. There is simply no treatment, jut care, but a new study might change that. Stem cell therapy has recently been receiving attention as a way to promote […]... Read more »
Junling Gao, Raymond J. Grill, Tiffany J. Dunn, Supinder Bedi, Javier Allende Labastida, Robert A. Hetz, Hasen Xue, Jason R. Thonhoff, Douglas S. DeWitt, Donald S. Prough.... (2016) Human Neural Stem Cell Transplantation-Mediated Alteration of Microglial/Macrophage Phenotypes after Traumatic Brain Injury. Cell Transplantation. DOI: 10.3727/096368916X691150
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