Neuroscience medicine clinicians encounter patients every day who have both a mental and substance use disorder.This co-occurrence, or comorbidity, complicates diagnosis, treatment and outcome.The exact mechanism for this comorbidity issue is unclear.A recent study out of Washington University in St. Louis and King's College London provides some insight into this comorbidity issue.They examined participants in the Study of Addiction: Genetics and Environment (SAGE). These subjects provided genet........ Read more »
Carey CE, Agrawal A, Bucholz KK, Hartz SM, Lynskey MT, Nelson EC, Bierut LJ, & Bogdan R. (2016) Associations between Polygenic Risk for Psychiatric Disorders and Substance Involvement. Frontiers in genetics, 149. PMID: 27574527
"Social priming" has been the punching-bag of psychology for the past few years.
The term "social priming" refers to the idea that subtle cues can exert large, unconscious influences on human behaviour. The classic example of a social priming effect was the "professor priming" study in which volunteers who completed a task in which they had to describe a typical professor, subsequently performed better on a general knowledge task. In other words, as the authors put it, "priming a stereotype o... Read more »
Memory impairment is a key symptom of Alzheimer's dementia common to patients with the condition.However, additional cognitive and behavioral symptoms vary between patients with a clinical and pathological diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.A key area of research is focused on understanding factors that contribute to symptom variability in Alzheimer's disease.A team of researchers from Singapore and Harvard Medical School recently published an important study on this topic.They analyzed structural........ Read more »
Zhang X, Mormino EC, Sun N, Sperling RA, Sabuncu MR, Yeo BT, & Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. (2016) Bayesian model reveals latent atrophy factors with dissociable cognitive trajectories in Alzheimer's disease. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 27702899
Is European neuroscience facing a jobs crisis? Writing in The Lancet Neurology, Mario Bonato and Esperanza Jubera-Garcia sound the alarm:
As young European neuroscientists, we want to bring attention to the dramatic absence of professional long-term opportunities that researchers are facing mostly, although not exclusively, in the south of Europe.
In the past few years, young scientists from several European countries have been forced to move to other countries, or to quit research a... Read more »
Bonato M, & Jubera-Garcia E. (2016) The sharp drop in the number of faculty positions is compromising the future of neuroscience. The Lancet. Neurology, 15(11), 1118-9. PMID: 27647639
High-tech prosthetics, computers that are controlled by thought, the ability to walk or even move again, these are just a few of the promises of technology. Unfortunately, while the tech is -- mostly -- up to the challenge, getting the biology side of things to cooperate has been difficult at best, but that could change. Now, scientists have created a material that could make reading biological signals, from heartbeats to brainwaves, much more sensitive.
... Read more »
Giovannitti, A., Nielsen, C., Sbircea, D., Inal, S., Donahue, M., Niazi, M., Hanifi, D., Amassian, A., Malliaras, G., Rivnay, J.... (2016) N-type organic electrochemical transistors with stability in water. Nature Communications, 13066. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13066
Using online social media does not lead to long-term problems with our ability to concentrate, according to new research. We are social animals, so it is really no surprise that billions of us now use online tools to communicate, educate and inform each other. The advent of social media and social networking has nevertheless been phenomenally rapid.
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New research has demonstrated that a nanoscale device, called a memristor, could be used to power artificial systems that can mimic the human brain. Artificial neural networks (ANNs) exhibit learning abilities and can perform tasks which are difficult for conventional computing systems, such as pattern recognition, on-line learning and classification.
... Read more »
Serb, A., Bill, J., Khiat, A., Berdan, R., Legenstein, R., & Prodromakis, T. (2016) Unsupervised learning in probabilistic neural networks with multi-state metal-oxide memristive synapses. Nature Communications, 12611. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12611
There are many reports of drug use leading to mental health problems, and we all know of someone having a few too many drinks to cope with a bad day. Many people who are diagnosed with a mental health disorder indulge in drugs, and vice versa. As severity of both increase, problems arise and they become more difficult to treat. But why substance involvement and psychiatric disorders often co-occur is not well understood.
... Read more »
Carey, C., Agrawal, A., Bucholz, K., Hartz, S., Lynskey, M., Nelson, E., Bierut, L., & Bogdan, R. (2016) Associations between Polygenic Risk for Psychiatric Disorders and Substance Involvement. Frontiers in Genetics. DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2016.00149
Scientists have discovered a new pathway in the brain that can be manipulated to alleviate depression. The pathway offers a promising new target for developing a drug that could be effective in individuals for whom other antidepressants have failed. New antidepressant options are important because a significant number of patients don't adequately improve with currently available antidepressant drugs.
... Read more »
Brooker SM, Gobeske KT, Chen J, Peng CY, & Kessler JA. (2016) Hippocampal bone morphogenetic protein signaling mediates behavioral effects of antidepressant treatment. Molecular psychiatry. PMID: 27698430
A team of scientists are redefining what it means to be a prion--a type of protein that can pass heritable traits from cell to cell by its structure instead of by DNA. Although prions are infamous for causing Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, fatal familial insomnia, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow's disease, the present study indicates that prions identified in yeast, and possibly in plants, and other organisms may be beneficial.
... Read more »
Chakrabortee, S., Byers, J., Jones, S., Garcia, D., Bhullar, B., Chang, A., She, R., Lee, L., Fremin, B., Lindquist, S.... (2016) Intrinsically Disordered Proteins Drive Emergence and Inheritance of Biological Traits. Cell. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.09.017
A widely-used 'brain stimulation' tool has no effect on the speed of the brain's responses, according to a new study from Australian neuroscientists Jared Horvath et al.
The technique of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) involves attaching electrodes to the scalp and applying a weak electrical current. This current is thought to flow through the brain and alter neural activity in areas close to the electrodes. tDCS is a popular experimental method in neuroscience, and there's a... Read more »
Horvath JC, Carter O, & Forte JD. (2016) No significant effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) found on simple motor reaction time comparing 15 different simulation protocols. Neuropsychologia, 544-552. PMID: 27664296
Among a group of older women, self-reported caffeine consumption of more than 261 mg per day was associated with a 36 percent reduction in the risk of incident dementia over 10 years of follow-up. This level is equivalent to two to three 8-oz cups of coffee per day, five to six 8-oz cups of black tea, or seven to eight 12-ounce cans of cola.
... Read more »
Driscoll, I., Shumaker, S., Snively, B., Margolis, K., Manson, J., Vitolins, M., Rossom, R., & Espeland, M. (2016) Relationships Between Caffeine Intake and Risk for Probable Dementia or Global Cognitive Impairment: The Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glw078
Beyond the well-known Solar System, there is an immensity of other unique systems... Read more »
Johanna K. Teske, Stephen A. Shectman, Steve S. Vogt, Matías Díaz, R. Paul Butler, Jeffrey D. Crane, Ian B. Thompson, & Pamela Arriagada. (2016) The Magellan PFS Planet Search Program: Radial Velocity and Stellar Abundance Analyses of the 360 AU, Metal-Poor Binary "Twins" HD 133131A . Astronomical Journal,. arXiv: 1608.06216v2
Orosz, J., Welsh, W., Carter, J., Fabrycky, D., Cochran, W., Endl, M., Ford, E., Haghighipour, N., MacQueen, P., Mazeh, T.... (2012) Kepler-47: A Transiting Circumbinary Multiplanet System. Science, 337(6101), 1511-1514. DOI: 10.1126/science.1228380
R. Di Stefano, & A. Ray. (2016) Globular Clusters as Cradles of Life and Advanced Civilizations. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL , 827(1). arXiv: 1601.03455v1
Marcelo Tucci Maia, Jorge Melendez, & Ivan Ramirez. (2014) High precision abundances in the 16 Cyg binary system: a signature of the rocky core in the giant planet. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL LETTERS , 790(2). arXiv: 1407.4132v1
Anglada-Escudé, G., Amado, P., Barnes, J., Berdiñas, Z., Butler, R., Coleman, G., de la Cueva, I., Dreizler, S., Endl, M., Giesers, B.... (2016) A terrestrial planet candidate in a temperate orbit around Proxima Centauri. Nature, 536(7617), 437-440. DOI: 10.1038/nature19106
Borucki, W., Agol, E., Fressin, F., Kaltenegger, L., Rowe, J., Isaacson, H., Fischer, D., Batalha, N., Lissauer, J., Marcy, G.... (2013) Kepler-62: A Five-Planet System with Planets of 1.4 and 1.6 Earth Radii in the Habitable Zone. Science, 340(6132), 587-590. DOI: 10.1126/science.1234702
Stephen R. Kane, & Dawn M. Gelino. (2014) On the Inclination and Habitability of the HD 10180 System. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 792(2). arXiv: 1408.4150v1
In a post last week, I highlighted a recent study examining clinical issues in the diagnosis of Lewy body dementia (LBD).This study examined differentiating clinical and neuropsychological factors between LBD, Alzheimer's dementia and Parkinson's disease.You can access this post by clicking HERE.This topic received significant attention following the description of comedian Robin Williams' last years by his wife in the journal Neurology.Robin Williams suffered from LBD and like many, his diagnos........ Read more »
Williams SS. (2016) The terrorist inside my husband's brain. Neurology, 87(13), 1308-1311. info:/
An unexpected sugary snack can give bees a little buzz and appears to lift their mood, even making them optimistic, according to research that suggests pollinators have feelings, too. Since emotions are subjective and difficult to measure—particularly in animals—researchers looked at how bees' behavior changed after they were given a sip of sucrose solution.
... Read more »
Perry, C., Baciadonna, L., & Chittka, L. (2016) Unexpected rewards induce dopamine-dependent positive emotion-like state changes in bumblebees. Science, 353(6307), 1529-1531. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf4454
Scientists have identified that social memories are stored in the vetral CA1 region of the brain (in mice). After meeting a mouse and forgetting it, the memories can be reactivated optogenetically, indicating that they exist, but cannot be retrieved after time passes... Read more »
The journal Neurology published a unique and touching paper today: it's by artist Susan Schneider Williams, the widow of actor Robin Williams, who died by suicide in August 2014. It's titled The terrorist inside my husband's brain, the 'terrorist' being Lewy Body disease (LBD), the neurodegenerative disorder that, as Schneider Williams recounts, destroyed his life.
Here's how she describes the first signs of her husbands' illness:
The colors were changing and the air was crisp; it wa... Read more »
A team of researchers has observed what they believe are the building blocks of memories in a mouse brain. In their paper, the researchers describe how they caused certain neurons to become illuminated when they fired, allowing them to watch in real time as memories were made and then later as they were replayed while the mouse was sitting idle.
... Read more »
Malvache, A., Reichinnek, S., Villette, V., Haimerl, C., & Cossart, R. (2016) Awake hippocampal reactivations project onto orthogonal neuronal assemblies. Science, 353(6305), 1280-1283. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf3319
One clinical challenge is making an accurate diagnosis in patients with dementia.Alzheimer's disease is typically the predominant diagnosis in dementia. However a significant number of patients will present with dementia due to Lewy Body disease, Parkinson's dementia, frontotemporal dementia or vascular dementia.A recent study helps clinicians to distinguish Lewy Body from Alzheimer's dementia and Parkinson's disease.Douglas Scharre and collegues from Ohio State University conducted ........ Read more »
Scharre, D., Chang, S., Nagaraja, H., Park, A., Adeli, A., Agrawal, P., Kloos, A., Kegelmeyer, D., Linder, S., Fritz, N.... (2016) Paired Studies Comparing Clinical Profiles of Lewy Body Dementia with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 1-10. DOI: 10.3233/JAD-160384
For the first time, an antibody was able to target and disrupt the Aβ plaques in the brain.... Read more »
Sevigny, J., Chiao, P., Bussière, T., Weinreb, P., Williams, L., Maier, M., Dunstan, R., Salloway, S., Chen, T., Ling, Y.... (2016) The antibody aducanumab reduces Aβ plaques in Alzheimer’s disease. Nature, 537(7618), 50-56. DOI: 10.1038/nature19323
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