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  • October 13, 2010
  • 04:50 PM
  • 1,909 views

The Brain Insula: Function and Disease

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Nature Reviews Neuroscience is a scientific journal dedicated to neuroscience topics that recently celebrated it’s ten year anniversary.  To commemorate the accomplishment, the most highly cited articles from each of the last 10 years was identified.  This method provides a good proxy for the most important publication each year.  The 2009 most cited article was Dr. A.D. Craig’s article entitled: “How do you feel—now? The anterior insula and human awareness”.Dr. Craig’........ Read more »

Luo L, Rodriguez E, Jerbi K, Lachaux JP, Martinerie J, Corbetta M, Shulman GL, Piomelli D, Turrigiano GG, Nelson SB.... (2010) Ten years of Nature Reviews Neuroscience: insights from the highly cited. Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 11(10), 718-26. PMID: 20852655  

  • October 13, 2010
  • 02:59 PM
  • 1,162 views

Caffeine makes us Crazy - or at least messes with our sleep

by mc in begin to dig (b2d)

i *love* good coffee. You? Do you know how you react to coffee? Do you find caffeine keeps you awake/alert? Yes? or maybe you find it doesn't affect your getting to sleep? We know that the magic in coffee is caffeine. Guess what? apparently whether or not we can fall asleep with caffeine is less of an issue than what it does to our sleep quality, in particular, our deep sleep state. That is, it ... Read more »

  • October 13, 2010
  • 02:45 PM
  • 561 views

Babies, balls and creationists

by Daniel in Ego sum Daniel

A recently published study in PNAS explores how small babies relate order and disorder, or entropy, to the different types of things that may cause them. Amazingly, babies as small as 12 months old show some understanding of the difference between the deliberate and goal-directed "agents" that can cause order, such as a person, and those randomly acting inanimate objects that cannot, such as a bouncing ball. This means that we have some sort of general understanding that the way agents act on t........ Read more »

Newman, G., Keil, F., Kuhlmeier, V., & Wynn, K. (2010) Early understandings of the link between agents and order. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(40), 17140-17145. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0914056107  

  • October 13, 2010
  • 08:16 AM
  • 551 views

Cannabinoids in Huntington's Disease

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Two recent papers have provided strong evidence that the brain's endocannabinoid system is dysfunctional in Huntington's Disease, paving the way to possible new treatments.Huntington's Disease is a genetic neurological disorder. Symptoms generally appear around age 40, and progress gradually from subtle movement abnormalities to dementia and complete loss of motor control. It's incurable, although medication can mask some of the symptoms. Singer Woodie Guthrie is perhaps the disease's best known........ Read more »

Van Laere K, Casteels C, Dhollander I, Goffin K, Grachev I, Bormans G, & Vandenberghe W. (2010) Widespread decrease of type 1 cannabinoid receptor availability in Huntington disease in vivo. Journal of nuclear medicine : official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine, 51(9), 1413-7. PMID: 20720046  

Blázquez C, Chiarlone A, Sagredo O, Aguado T, Pazos MR, Resel E, Palazuelos J, Julien B, Salazar M, Börner C.... (2010) Loss of striatal type 1 cannabinoid receptors is a key pathogenic factor in Huntington's disease. Brain : a journal of neurology. PMID: 20929960  

  • October 13, 2010
  • 07:51 AM
  • 354 views

Critiquing LaPlant et al, 2010, in Nature Neuroscience, Part 1. Let’s get this going.

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

So Sci was sitting in a seminar the other day. We were mentioning this paper, some problems we had with it, some of the things we LIKED about it, and various approaches, etc, in our usual sciencey fashion. As the discussion got intense (in a good way), one of the PIs there leaned over and [...]... Read more »

LaPlant Q, Vialou V, Covington HE 3rd, Dumitriu D, Feng J, Warren BL, Maze I, Dietz DM, Watts EL, Iñiguez SD.... (2010) Dnmt3a regulates emotional behavior and spine plasticity in the nucleus accumbens. Nature neuroscience, 13(9), 1137-43. PMID: 20729844  

  • October 12, 2010
  • 02:05 PM
  • 1,078 views

The deaf have super vision, and other tales of neural plasticity

by Casey Rentz in Natural Selections


Ever been asked--if you had to choose, would you rather be deaf or blind? Its a futile hypothetical dilemma (as if the choice is ever available to anyone to make) that was probably first posed by some perpetually dramatic and irrevocably bored teenager OR--could it be--by a neuroscientist!

Perhaps we cherry pick vision and hearing for our speculative crises because they are particularly important to us and essential to achieve something our species is known for: high level mobility and naviga........ Read more »

  • October 12, 2010
  • 01:17 PM
  • 1,020 views

Family Therapy for Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There is very limited research to guideline clinicians, patients and their family members in choosing the best treatments for anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders.  So when a well-designed and informative study is published it is noteworthy and important to review.   James Lock and colleagues summarized their findings from a randomized trial of family therapy versus individual therapy in a randomized controlled trial for adolescents with anorexia nervosa in the October 2010........ Read more »

  • October 12, 2010
  • 09:25 AM
  • 515 views

Can Video Games Train Your Brain?

by APS Daily Observations in Daily Observations

On September 30, the Marian Koshland Science Museum in Washington, DC, held an interactive lecture which posed the question: “Can you train your neural pathways to stay active and strong ... Read more »

  • October 12, 2010
  • 09:20 AM
  • 1,280 views

Can a magician trick people with autism?

by Jon Brock in Cracking the Enigma

Are people with autism susceptible to magical illusions? There are a number of reasons to suspect that they might not be.Firstly, magicians rely on misdirection. They'll use eye gaze and gesture to make sure the audience is looking one way, while they're secretly switching the cards or sneaking an elephant into a hat (or whatever it is they do). People with autism, it's argued, are less sensitive to these kinds of social cues, so perhaps they're not as easily misdirected.Second, as mentioned in........ Read more »

Kuhn G, Kourkoulou A, & Leekam SR. (2010) How Magic Changes Our Expectations About Autism. Psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society / APS. PMID: 20855904  

  • October 12, 2010
  • 02:00 AM
  • 587 views

Research Blogging: The Postpartum Brain

by Dr Becca in Fumbling Towards Tenure Track

I describe a new paper that looks at spine density and cognitive function in the brains of postpartum female rats.... Read more »

  • October 11, 2010
  • 03:30 PM
  • 717 views

Location Location Location. Acupuncture and chronic shoulder pain – CAM or Sham?

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

Having written a number of posts on acupuncture (see here, here, and here) I guess my particular biases are reasonably apparent. So imagine my surprise when a large RCT published in the journal “Pain” reports a significant and substantial effect of Chinese acupuncture in comparison with sham acupuncture or conventional orthopaedic therapy for chronic shoulder [...]... Read more »

  • October 9, 2010
  • 04:51 AM
  • 913 views

Friston and Freud

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts


I have liked Friston’s ideas for some time, so what a shock it is to find him defending Freudian ideas. Naïve me, I thought that Freud’s model was dead in the water. Why? It is untested, does not fit with current evidence and, further, is probably untestable therefore not good science. It fails the Occam’s [...]... Read more »

  • October 8, 2010
  • 01:52 PM
  • 966 views

Virtual cataract surgery: advanced optics helping surgeons and... patients

by Pablo Artal in Optics confidential

Virtual cataract surgery is a customized optical modeling helping the design of intraocular lenses and improving vision of cataract patients... learn more... Read more »

  • October 8, 2010
  • 01:18 PM
  • 855 views

Still More on Why the Tears of Strangers Are Only Water

by David Berreby in Mind Matters


This paper in the current issue of the journal Neuron claims to add some MRI findings to the evidence that human empathy and kindness stop at the border between "our group" and "others." Tania Singer, Grit Hein and their colleagues found that Swiss soccer fans feel more, and do more, about the suffering of fellow fans than they do for supporters of a rival team.
The researchers recruited 16 Zurich men from a local fan club, telling them they would be involved in a comparison of brain ........ Read more »

  • October 8, 2010
  • 03:31 AM
  • 834 views

The evolutionary roots of laughter

by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest

To evolutionary psychologists, the noise made by gorillas, chimps and bonobos when you tickle their feet is no laughing matter. These distinctive vocalisations suggest that rather than evolving separately, laughter evolved in a shared common ancestor before becoming tailored in each primate species, including humans.

To find support for this idea, Diana Szameitat and her colleagues scanned the brains of 18 men and women whilst they listened to the sound of human tickle-induced laughter as well ........ Read more »

  • October 7, 2010
  • 11:28 PM
  • 752 views

Is Obesity like Drug Addiction? Maybe… The Role of BDNF

by neurobites in Neurobites

As a general rule, the cells of your body ought only grow, survive and proliferate when so directed by upstream messages, hormonal or otherwise.  In light of the supreme importance of proper and well-timed growth, it is these messaging systems that have recently become the stars of the show.  One area of particular importance is [...]... Read more »

  • October 7, 2010
  • 08:34 PM
  • 945 views

Internal forward models -- New insight or just hype?

by Greg Hickok in Talking Brains

In case you haven't noticed, the concept of internal forward models -- an internal prediction about a future event or state -- are all the rage. The concept comes out of the motor control literature where one can find pretty solid evidence that motor control makes use of forward predictions of the sensory consequences of motor commands (e.g., check out the seminal paper by Wolpert, Ghahramani, & Jordan, 1995). These concepts have been extended to speech (e.g., Tourville et al. 2008; van Wassen........ Read more »

Wolpert, D., Ghahramani, Z., & Jordan, M. (1995) An internal model for sensorimotor integration. Science, 269(5232), 1880-1882. DOI: 10.1126/science.7569931  

  • October 7, 2010
  • 04:47 PM
  • 737 views

White Matter and Reading Ability

by Livia in Reading and Word Recognition Research

Accessibility:  Intermediate-Advanced



Hello folks.  Things are pretty busy over here and I might be having to review a lot of papers soon, so there's a possibility that entries here will get shorter and a bit more technical.  But we'll...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]



... Read more »

  • October 7, 2010
  • 01:59 PM
  • 844 views

Cannabis Use and Psychosis

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

There is growing interest in the relationship between cannabis use and psychosis.  Epidemiologic studies support higher rates of cannabis use in those that develop psychosis, but this could just be an association finding rather than a causal effect.  For example, a genetic factor that increases risk for psychosis could also increase risk for cannabis use.   Alternatively, subtle pre-psychosis onset symptoms may increase risk for the use of cannabis—cannabis may be used to t........ Read more »

  • October 7, 2010
  • 01:37 AM
  • 334 views

On Music and The Brain (3)

by Glialdance in Glial Dance

A study investigating the effect of musical training on memory, researchers used familiarity of a certain instrumental melody as a recollection measure to study the role of musical training on memory and recollection. By using fMRI and Voxel-based morphology assays, the differences in modes of recollection were studied among frequent listeners compared to musicians. The [...]... Read more »

Mathilde Groussard, Renaud La Joie, Géraldine Rauchs, Brigitte Landeau, Gaël Chételat, Fausto Viader, Béatrice Desgranges, Francis Eustache, & Hervé Platel. (2010) When Music and Long-Term Memory Interact: Effects of Musical Expertise on Functional and Structural Plasticity in the Hippocampus. PloS ONE. info:/10.1371

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