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  • October 5, 2016
  • 02:14 PM
  • 471 views

Scientists find new path in brain to ease depression

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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 »

  • October 4, 2016
  • 05:36 PM
  • 468 views

Revising the meaning of 'prion'

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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  

  • October 3, 2016
  • 05:05 PM
  • 614 views

Can Electricity Stimulate Your Brain To Work Faster?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

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 »

  • October 3, 2016
  • 01:54 PM
  • 482 views

For women, caffeine could be ally in warding off dementia

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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  

  • October 3, 2016
  • 12:08 PM
  • 689 views

The 7 Most Interesting Extrasolar Systems.

by Jeffrey Daniels in United Academics

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

  • October 3, 2016
  • 10:56 AM
  • 561 views

Robin Williams and Lewy Body Disease

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

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:/

  • October 2, 2016
  • 02:32 PM
  • 463 views

Sugar gives bees a happy buzz

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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 »

  • September 29, 2016
  • 11:25 PM
  • 553 views

Locating social memories in the brain

by adam phillips in It Ain't Magic

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 »

Okuyama, T., Kitamura, T., Roy, D., Itohara, S., & Tonegawa, S. (2016) Ventral CA1 neurons store social memory. Science, 353(6307), 1536-1541. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf7003  

  • September 29, 2016
  • 12:11 PM
  • 699 views

The Terrorist Inside Robin Williams' Brain

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

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 »

Williams SS. (2016) The terrorist inside my husband's brain. Neurology, 87(13), 1308-11. PMID: 27672165  

  • September 28, 2016
  • 01:51 PM
  • 444 views

Research team may have observed building blocks of memories in the brain

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

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  

  • September 28, 2016
  • 11:10 AM
  • 582 views

Lewy Body Versus Alzheimer's Dementias and Parkinson's

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

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  

  • September 28, 2016
  • 10:20 AM
  • 479 views

A New Hope For Alzheimer’s Disease Immunotherapy

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

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  

  • September 26, 2016
  • 01:35 PM
  • 461 views

Why do more men than women commit suicide?

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Why do more men die when they attempt suicide than women? The answer could lie in four traits, finds scientists. There are over 6,000 British lives lost to suicide each year, and nearly 75 per cent of those are male. However, research has found women are more likely to suffer from depression, and to attempt to take their own life.

... Read more »

Deshpande, G., Baxi, M., Witte, T., & Robinson, J. (2016) A Neural Basis for the Acquired Capability for Suicide. Frontiers in Psychiatry. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2016.00125  

  • September 25, 2016
  • 02:57 PM
  • 459 views

Linking perception to action

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Researchers studying how the brain uses perception of the environment to guide action offer a new understanding of the neural circuits responsible for transforming sensation into movement.

... Read more »

  • September 21, 2016
  • 11:46 AM
  • 500 views

Brain Imaging: UK Biobank Epidemiology Study

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

I wanted to alert Brain Posts readers to a very important ongoing study out of the United Kingdom.The UK Biobank prospective epidemiological study is a study designed to identify imaging markers for a wide variety of diseases. Additionally, a goal of the study is to better understand disease mechanisms.Here is what is being collected on 100,000 healthy participants who will be tracked over decades:Brain structural and functional imaging (fMRI)Brain diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)Neuropsychologica........ Read more »

Miller KL, Alfaro-Almagro F, Bangerter NK, Thomas DL, Yacoub E, Xu J, Bartsch AJ, Jbabdi S, Sotiropoulos SN, Andersson JL.... (2016) Multimodal population brain imaging in the UK Biobank prospective epidemiological study. Nature neuroscience. PMID: 27643430  

  • September 19, 2016
  • 11:11 AM
  • 520 views

Preventing Depression Following Brain Injury

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Depression is a common feature following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Post-TBI depression may be difficult to treat and evolve into a chronic depression syndrome.A recent published study demonstrates that prophylactic SSRI antidepressant treatment may reduce the incidence of depression following TBI.This study was conducted by investigators affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa.Ninety four subjects were recruited to this randomized........ Read more »

  • September 16, 2016
  • 10:16 AM
  • 591 views

The Brain in Super Agers

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

My Twitter post on a recently published study of brain structure in a group of high performing older adults received quite a bit of attention (see below).Felicia Sun and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School selected an interesting research design.A group of elderly subjects between the ages of 60 and 80 years were identified as showing "superaging". This was defined as scoring like young adults on two neuropsychological tests: The Long Delay Free Recall measure........ Read more »

Sun FW, Stepanovic MR, Andreano J, Barrett LF, Touroutoglou A, & Dickerson BC. (2016) Youthful Brains in Older Adults: Preserved Neuroanatomy in the Default Mode and Salience Networks Contributes to Youthful Memory in Superaging. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 36(37), 9659-9668. PMID: 27629716  

  • September 15, 2016
  • 02:22 PM
  • 503 views

MRI scanner sees emotions flickering across an idle mind

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

As you relax and let your mind drift aimlessly, you might remember a pleasant vacation, an angry confrontation in traffic or maybe the loss of a loved one. And now a team of researchers say they can see those various emotional states flickering across the human brain.

... Read more »

  • September 13, 2016
  • 03:48 PM
  • 527 views

Entitlement -- a damning recipe for happiness

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Entitlement--a personality trait driven by exaggerated feelings of deservingness and superiority--may lead to chronic disappointment, unmet expectations and a habitual, self-reinforcing cycle of behavior with dire psychological and social costs, according to new research. In a new theoretical model, researchers have mapped how entitled personality traits may lead to a perpetual loop of distress.

... Read more »

  • September 13, 2016
  • 01:39 PM
  • 593 views

How Well Does Brain Structure Predict Behaviour?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

To what extent does brain structure correlate with different psychological traits? An interesting new paper from Massachusetts General Hospital researchers Mert R. Sabuncu and colleagues uses a new method to examine what the authors call the 'morphometricity' of various behaviours and mental disorders.



Sabuncu et al. define morphometricity as "the proportion of phenotypic variation that can be explained by macroscopic brain morphology" - in other words, the degree to which people with sim... Read more »

Sabuncu MR, Ge T, Holmes AJ, Smoller JW, Buckner RL, Fischl B, & Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. (2016) Morphometricity as a measure of the neuroanatomical signature of a trait. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 27613854  

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