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  • January 13, 2011
  • 07:22 AM

When it's moving, it's hard to see it changing.

by Psychothalamus in Psychothalamus

Change blindness is a phenomenon whereby people fail to detect sizable changes in a visual scene. This can occur even when they are actively trying to locate the change (Simons & Ambinder, 2005). If you are unaware of this phenomenon, you can go to UBC's psychology department where they have some interesting video examples. In a new study, Suchow & Alvarez (2011) demonstrates a novel visual illusion whereby motion induces failure to detect change - or what they call 'silencing'. Look at the........ Read more »

Suchow JW, & Alvarez GA. (2011) Motion Silences Awareness of Visual Change. Current biology : CB. PMID: 21215632  

Simons, D., & Ambinder, M. (2005) Change Blindness. Theory and Consequences. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(1), 44-48. DOI: 10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00332.x  

  • January 12, 2011
  • 11:43 PM

Self-reflection In the Brain

by Colin Clark in Mens Rea

How do you know how well you're doing when you perform a task? Let's make it really easy -- let's say I quickly flash a word in front of your eyes, and you have to say what that word is. Now how confident are you that you got it right?Making this kind of decision falls into the realm of metacognition, or thinking about thinking. It's something that we do all the time -- "Am I remembering that ... Read more »

Fleming SM, Weil RS, Nagy Z, Dolan RJ, & Rees G. (2010) Relating introspective accuracy to individual differences in brain structure. Science (New York, N.Y.), 329(5998), 1541-3. PMID: 20847276  

  • January 12, 2011
  • 06:00 AM

If Earth’s Spin Speeds Up We’ll All Get Fat and Uninhibited

by Sharon Neufeldt in I Can Has Science?

Almost all plants and animals have an internal “clock” – called a circadian clock – that synchronizes our biological rhythms with Earth’s cycle of day and night. Conveniently, our biological clocks are best at synchronizing to a 24 hour day, … Continue reading →... Read more »

Karatsoreos IN, Bhagat S, Bloss EB, Morrison JH, & McEwen BS. (2011) Disruption of circadian clocks has ramifications for metabolism, brain, and behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21220317  

  • January 12, 2011
  • 04:14 AM

Hotheads by nature

by Kevin Mitchell in Wiring the Brain

If some guy spilt your beer by accident, would you punch him in the face? If he was unapologetic, you might at least consider it – you might in fact feel a pretty strong urge to do it. What stops you? Or, if you’re the type who acts on those urges, what doesn’t stop you? New research has found a mutation in one gene that may contribute to these differences in temperament. Self-control is the ability to inhibit an immediate course of action in the pursuit of a longer-term goal or to c........ Read more »

Verweij KJ, Zietsch BP, Medland SE, Gordon SD, Benyamin B, Nyholt DR, McEvoy BP, Sullivan PF, Heath AC, Madden PA.... (2010) A genome-wide association study of Cloninger's temperament scales: implications for the evolutionary genetics of personality. Biological psychology, 85(2), 306-17. PMID: 20691247  

Bevilacqua L, Doly S, Kaprio J, Yuan Q, Tikkanen R, Paunio T, Zhou Z, Wedenoja J, Maroteaux L, Diaz S.... (2010) A population-specific HTR2B stop codon predisposes to severe impulsivity. Nature, 468(7327), 1061-6. PMID: 21179162  

  • January 11, 2011
  • 05:44 PM

Lupus May Involve Brain Long Before CNS Symptoms

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The brain manifestions of systemic lupus erthematosis can be quite variable.  Many patients do not experience any central nervous system symptoms.  Others can be quite disabled by their CNS symptoms including severe depression, psychosis and delirium.  This variability in the brain is not surprising given that lupus involves a variety of other organ systems (i.e. cardiac) with a range of effects specific to individuals with the disorder.  A group of Chinese radiologists and r........ Read more »

  • January 11, 2011
  • 11:00 AM

Cannabis: What The BBC Forgot to Tell You

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

An analysis of the BBC program "Cannabis: How Drugs Work" based on the evidence.... Read more »

  • January 10, 2011
  • 04:40 PM

Brain training – it happens all the time

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

At the risk of seeming untrendy, the trend to rave on about neuroplasticity can be a bit overdone.  Not, I add quickly, because it doesn’t happen, or it’s not important – in fact, quite the opposite – but because it happens all the time.  And at the back of our minds, I think we’ve known … Read more... Read more »

Iannetti, G., & Mouraux, A. (2010) From the neuromatrix to the pain matrix (and back). Experimental Brain Research, 205(1), 1-12. DOI: 10.1007/s00221-010-2340-1  

Neugebauer, V., Galhardo, V., Maione, S., & Mackey, S. (2009) Forebrain pain mechanisms. Brain Research Reviews, 60(1), 226-242. DOI: 10.1016/j.brainresrev.2008.12.014  

  • January 10, 2011
  • 03:00 PM

The Lone Wolf or the Support Group Enthusiast?

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

What type of person are you?? When tough times come around – whether it is stress at work, a painful injury, or forced participation in Secret Santa – what do you do? Some people, those lone wolf types, find relief in being alone, taking some time to regroup, and dealing with the problem themselves. Others, [...]... Read more »

  • January 10, 2011
  • 10:51 AM

The Source of Levodopa’s Unwanted Dance

by Rob Mitchum in ScienceLife

The motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease - tremor, inability to initiate movement, rigidity - result from the loss of neurons that secrete the neurotransmitter dopamine. It therefore follows that the best way to treat these symptoms is by replacing a person’s lost dopamine, the strategy behind the drug levodopa. For the first few years, levodopa [...]... Read more »

Ding Y, Won L, Britt JP, Lim SA, McGehee DS, & Kang UJ. (2010) Enhanced striatal cholinergic neuronal activity mediates L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia in parkinsonian mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21187382  

  • January 10, 2011
  • 09:56 AM

Gabrielle Giffords' brain surgery: Decompressive hemicraniectomy

by Bradley Voytek in Oscillatory Thoughts

Description of Congresswoman Giffords' neurosurgery... Read more »

Voytek B, Secundo L, Bidet-Caulet A, Scabini D, Stiver SI, Gean AD, Manley GT, & Knight RT. (2010) Hemicraniectomy: a new model for human electrophysiology with high spatio-temporal resolution. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22(11), 2491-502. PMID: 19925193  

  • January 10, 2011
  • 04:13 AM

Change blindness illusion

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts

Jordan Suchow has some illustrations of an illusion (here) that accompany the paper whose citation is below. It an excellent demonstration of change blindness. Here is the abstract:
Loud bangs, bright flashes, and intense shocks capture attention, but other changes – even those of similar magnitude – can go unnoticed. Demonstrations of change blindness have shown [...]... Read more »

  • January 9, 2011
  • 10:02 PM

It’s really all about the brain

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

Neuroscience is such a geeky area to study. And I have to say I didn’t really study the brain all that well in my undergraduate training all those years ago – but oh, how the worm has turned! It’s so exciting to see how basic science directly influences treatments that we can use for people … Read more... Read more »

  • January 7, 2011
  • 02:59 PM

Marijuana and Testicular Cancer

by Dirk Hanson in Addiction Inbox

NIDA touts controversial 2009 study.

After 50 years of rumor, study, and argument in the research community, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has come out squarely behind the assertion that marijuana use in men “may increase their risk for developing testicular cancer.”

But a problem exists. The evidence just isn’t that good. Especially if you base the conclusion on a single small study, as NIDA is apparently doing.

Writing in NIDA Notes for December, 2010, Lori Whitten high........ Read more »

Daling, J., Doody, D., Sun, X., Trabert, B., Weiss, N., Chen, C., Biggs, M., Starr, J., Dey, S., & Schwartz, S. (2009) Association of marijuana use and the incidence of testicular germ cell tumors. Cancer, 115(6), 1215-1223. DOI: 10.1002/cncr.24159  

  • January 7, 2011
  • 12:49 PM

No Crying in Baseball (and John Boehner)

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The short YouTube clip from the movie A League of Their Own illustrates a common (but exaggerated) response to outbursts of tears in inappropriate situations.  Tom Hanks is managing a womens replacement baseball during World War II.  He becomes upset when one player starts to cry and shouts out a memorable line: "There's no crying in baseball".  The tearful display of emotions of the new Speaker of the House John Boehner has prompted discussion of the appropriateness and meaning o........ Read more »

Parvizi J, Arciniegas DB, Bernardini GL, Hoffmann MW, Mohr JP, Rapoport MJ, Schmahmann JD, Silver JM, & Tuhrim S. (2006) Diagnosis and management of pathological laughter and crying. Mayo Clinic proceedings. Mayo Clinic, 81(11), 1482-6. PMID: 17120404  

Pioro EP, Brooks BR, Cummings J, Schiffer R, Thisted RA, Wynn D, Hepner A, Kaye R, & Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy Results Trial of AVP-923 in PBA Investigators. (2010) Dextromethorphan plus ultra low-dose quinidine reduces pseudobulbar affect. Annals of neurology, 68(5), 693-702. PMID: 20839238  

  • January 7, 2011
  • 06:00 AM

Finding an Alzheimer’s Drug From Scratch

by Sharon Neufeldt in I Can Has Science?

Pharmaceutical companies sometimes get a bad rap, but most people don’t realize just how labor/money-intensive the process of drug discovery is.  A recent paper offers a little glimpse at the process – although this research was done by chemists at … Continue reading →... Read more »

MacMillan, K., Naidoo, J., Liang, J., Melito, L., Williams, N., Morlock, L., Huntington, P., Estill, S., Longgood, J., Becker, G.... (2011) Development of Proneurogenic, Neuroprotective Small Molecules. Journal of the American Chemical Society. DOI: 10.1021/ja108211m  

  • January 7, 2011
  • 04:29 AM

Antidepressants Still Don't Work In Mild Depression

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

A new paper has added to the growing ranks of studies finding that antidepressant drugs don't work in people with milder forms of depression: Efficacy of antidepressants and benzodiazepines in minor depression.It's in the British Journal of Psychiatry and it's a meta-analysis of 6 randomized controlled trials on three different drugs. Antidepressants were no better than placebo in patients with "minor depressive disorder", which is like the better-known Major Depressive Disorder but... well, not........ Read more »

  • January 7, 2011
  • 12:43 AM

Friday Weird Science: SPERM…IN…SPAAAAAACE!

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

Sometimes Sci has a wonderful week in which she is completely inundated with fabulous possibilities for Friday Weird Science. Such a week was this one. There is SO MUCH CRAZY SCIENCE OUT THERE YOU GUYS. So first I was going to do one paper, and then another, and then a third, and finally Mary Roach [...]... Read more »

Tash JS, Johnson DC, & Enders GC. (2002) Long-term (6-wk) hindlimb suspension inhibits spermatogenesis in adult male rats. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 92(3), 1191-8. PMID: 11842058  

  • January 6, 2011
  • 03:35 PM

Video Games Enhance Visual Attention

by A. Goldstein in WiSci

Video games might cause aggressive behavior,1 and they may contribute to childhood obesity,2 but recent research by Daphne Bavelier and her colleagues at the University of Rochester suggests that playing video games can have at least one benefit: they enhance visual attention. Visual attention is the mental mechanism we use to select relevant visual information [...]... Read more »

  • January 6, 2011
  • 07:33 AM

More Friends on Facebook Does NOT Equal a Larger Amygdala

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Bottom image adapted from Fig. 2 of Schumann et al. (2010). Neuroanatomy of the human amygdala postmortem. Nissl-stained section of amygdala nuclei.The amygdala is a subcortical structure located within the medial temporal lobes. It consists of a number of different nuclei, or collections of neurons delineated by commonalities in morphology and connectivity. The amygdala is best known for major roles in fear conditioning (Paré et al., 2004) and responding to emotional stimuli more generally (Ph........ Read more »

Bickart, K., Wright, C., Dautoff, R., Dickerson, B., & Barrett, L. (2010) Amygdala volume and social network size in humans. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2724  

  • January 5, 2011
  • 03:00 PM

The elusive x-factor

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

What is it about some clinicians? They just seem to get great results by doing almost nothing! Could that be true? What is that elusive x-factor? Well, fortunately for us, Laura von Bertouch has agreed to tell us about a paper she does read that covers exactly that. Here is what Laura had to say: [...]... Read more »

Dole JA, Sinatra GM. (1998) Reconceptualising change in the cognitive construction of knowledge. Educational Psychologist, 109-128. info:/

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