The FDA has conditionally approved the novel contrast agent, Florbetapir, to help in the diagnosis of amyloid beta plaque build up in the brains of Alzheimer’s (or, for that purpose, any damn dementia) patients. Now there are several reasons why … Continue reading →... Read more »
Wong, D., Rosenberg, P., Zhou, Y., Kumar, A., Raymont, V., Ravert, H., Dannals, R., Nandi, A., Brasic, J., Ye, W.... (2010) In Vivo Imaging of Amyloid Deposition in Alzheimer Disease Using the Radioligand 18F-AV-45 (Flobetapir F 18). Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 51(6), 913-920. DOI: 10.2967/jnumed.109.069088
Clark, C., Schneider, J., Bedell, B., Beach, T., Bilker, W., Mintun, M., Pontecorvo, M., Hefti, F., Carpenter, A., Flitter, M.... (2011) Use of Florbetapir-PET for Imaging -Amyloid Pathology. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 305(3), 275-283. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.2008
This came up a while ago and I assumed the idea would die the usual quick and painless death, but the idea seems to be either so fascinating or so irritating to people (mainly in various blog comment sections) that it still twitches and still has a heartbeat, but only as a result of the repeated flogging it is getting.
Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »
Gestational development represents a time in which the organism is at its peak vulnerability for developing lifelong changes. Consequently, an aberrant fetal environment can permanently shape the organization of the individual. We recognize things such as alcohol and other drugs, endocrine disrupting compounds such as bisphenol-A, and vitamin deficiency (to name a few) as possible [...]... Read more »
Vucetic Z, Totoki K, Schoch H, Whitaker KW, Hill-Smith T, Lucki I, & Reyes TM. (2010) Early life protein restriction alters dopamine circuitry. Neuroscience, 168(2), 359-70. PMID: 20394806
Not all neurons are created equally…today’s image is from a paper describing a pathway that regulates the differentiation of specialized neurons in the fruit fly Drosophila.... Read more »
Cachero, S., Simpson, T., zur Lage, P., Ma, L., Newton, F., Holohan, E., Armstrong, J., & Jarman, A. (2011) The Gene Regulatory Cascade Linking Proneural Specification with Differentiation in Drosophila Sensory Neurons. PLoS Biology, 9(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000568
Should a dodgy paper on antidepressants be retracted? And what's scientific retraction for, anyway?Read all about it in a new article in the BMJ: Rules of Retraction. It's about the efforts of two academics, Jon Jureidini and Leemon McHenry. Their mission - so far unsuccesful - is to get this 2001 paper retracted: Efficacy of paroxetine in the treatment of adolescent major depression.Jureidini is a member of Healthy Skepticism, a fantastic Australian organization that Neuroskeptic readers have e........ Read more »
Keller MB, Ryan ND, Strober M, Klein RG, Kutcher SP, Birmaher B, Hagino OR, Koplewicz H, Carlson GA, Clarke GN.... (2001) Efficacy of paroxetine in the treatment of adolescent major depression: a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40(7), 762-72. PMID: 11437014
At the end of the 1990s, cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker infamously characterized music as “auditory cheesecake”: a delightful dessert but, from an evolutionary perspective, no more than a by-product of language. But Pinker was probably right when he wrote: “I suspect music is auditory cheesecake, an exquisite confection crafted to tickle the sensitive spots of...our mental faculties.” Or, to express his idea less graphically: music affects our brains at specific places, thereby sti........ Read more »
Salimpoor, V., Benovoy, M., Larcher, K., Dagher, A., & Zatorre, R. (2011) Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2726
Sci has RETURNED from a bangup AWESOME time at #scio11. Sadly, my trusty netbook was not particularly trusty, and so I wasn’t able to crazy tweet up the conference like other attendees did. But I learned a lot and had a spectacular time meeting and having deep conversations with everyone. It’s like the first week [...]... Read more »
Alves-Neto, W., Guapo, V., Graeff, F., Deakin, J., & Del-Ben, C. (2010) Effect of escitalopram on the processing of emotional faces. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research. DOI: 10.1590/S0100-879X2010005000007
Do smoking scenes in movies make smokers want to light up?
Smokers and former smokers will understand what I mean when I say that an addiction to smoking is like a pilot light that is always lit, always ready to whoosh into full flame with the application of a few milligrams of nicotine. And they will also understand that feeling, like a bolt sliding home, of instant identification that comes from seeing someone else smoking. Especially if you are not smoking, but wish to be.
It makes sense th........ Read more »
Hamilton, A. (2006) Goal Representation in Human Anterior Intraparietal Sulcus. Journal of Neuroscience, 26(4), 1133-1137. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4551-05.2006
By Steve Kamper I’m a physiotherapist, as physios (and we’re not alone here) we love to poke and prod our patients with our fingers and ask if it hurts. Anatomical training and experience tells us exactly which part we are poking and the knowing nod of the head followed by a somber and considered ‘aah [...]... Read more »
Siegenthaler A, Eichenberger U, Schmidlin K, Arendt-Nielsen L, & Curatolo M. (2010) What does local tenderness say about the origin of pain? An investigation of cervical zygapophysial joint pain. Anesthesia and analgesia, 110(3), 923-7. PMID: 20185669
The easiest answer to the title question is “cause side effects”. A more important theoretical and practical aspect of this question is: Do antidepressants have a general property experienced by everyone or are their effects only seen in the presence of depression? Antidepressant drugs have research support for a variety of non-depression indications including: chronic pain, fibromyalgia, migraine prophylaxis, irritable bowel syndrome and pathological crying and laughing.&nb........ Read more »
Serretti A, Calati R, Goracci A, Di Simplicio M, Castrogiovanni P, & De Ronchi D. (2010) Antidepressants in healthy subjects: what are the psychotropic/psychological effects?. European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 20(7), 433-53. PMID: 20079613
Today is Sci’s entry for this month’s CARNAL CARNIVAL. The month’s topic, as you may have guessed…is body odor. (Source) Ah, the big B.O. One of the things that people are by the most sensitive about in countries like the US. In fact, people have been busily covering any sign of their natural scent (and [...]... Read more »
Craig Roberts S, Little AC, Lyndon A, Roberts J, Havlicek J, & Wright RL. (2009) Manipulation of body odour alters men's self-confidence and judgements of their visual attractiveness by women. International journal of cosmetic science, 31(1), 47-54. PMID: 19134127
To my friends whom I love dearly and whom are trying to follow ketogenic diets in order to lose weight:I would advocate moderation in just about everything, except for fun and other adrenaline release-provoking activities. Ketogenic diets have proven helpful to people with uncontrolled epilepsy and may be of benefit to epileptics in general, to victims of stroke and other forms of brain injury and possibly cancer. They come with other effects that may not be worth the discomfort or unintended ri........ Read more »
Bergqvist AG, Chee CM, Lutchka L, Rychik J, & Stallings VA. (2003) Selenium deficiency associated with cardiomyopathy: a complication of the ketogenic diet. Epilepsia, 44(4), 618-20. PMID: 12681013
Brinkworth GD, Buckley JD, Noakes M, Clifton PM, & Wilson CJ. (2009) Long-term effects of a very low-carbohydrate diet and a low-fat diet on mood and cognitive function. Archives of internal medicine, 169(20), 1873-80. PMID: 19901139
Studies looking at potential environmental and genetic causes of autism are pretty much always correlational. They may identify risk factors, but they can only ever show that people exposed to a particular risk factor are more likely to have autism. They don’t show whether it actually causes autism. Eating ice cream is a risk factor for getting sunburnt, but (unless you get your ice cream and your sunscreen mixed up) there’s no sense in which ice cream causes sunburn. Even if we are confiden........ Read more »
Gandal MJ, Edgar JC, Ehrlichman RS, Mehta M, Roberts TP, & Siegel SJ. (2010) Validating γ oscillations and delayed auditory responses as translational biomarkers of autism. Biological psychiatry, 68(12), 1100-6. PMID: 21130222
Emory University's Jennifer Sarrett offers an interesting although sadly brief analysis of the way in which autism is treated in the mass media: Trapped Children.She examines media depictions of children with autism, first in the 1960s, and then today. In those 40 years, professionals radically changed their minds about autism: in the 60s, a lot of people thought it was caused by emotionally distant refrigerator mothers; nowadays, we think it's a neural wiring disorder caused by deleted genes.Y........ Read more »
Sarrett JC. (2011) Trapped Children: Popular Images of Children with Autism in the 1960s and 2000s. The Journal of medical humanities. PMID: 21225325
An under-reported issue in the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords is availability and access to high level trauma care. If you are going to survive a brain gun shot wound or other serious trauma it is crucial to quickly access specialized trauma hospitals and physicians to maximize your chance of survival.Fortunately for Representative Giffords and the other survivors of the Tucson Arizona shootings, the incident occurred within only a few miles of a level I adult a trauma center. U........ Read more »
MacKenzie, E., Rivara, F., Jurkovich, G., Nathens, A., Frey, K., Egleston, B., Salkever, D., & Scharfstein, D. (2006) A National Evaluation of the Effect of Trauma-Center Care on Mortality. New England Journal of Medicine, 354(4), 366-378. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa052049
Patients with less than 30 degrees of cervical rotation during neck flexion were less likely to have migraine headaches and more likely to have cervicogenic headache.... Read more »
Hall TM, Briffa K, Hopper D, & Robinson K. (2010) Comparative analysis and diagnostic accuracy of the cervical flexion-rotation test. The journal of headache and pain, 11(5), 391-7. PMID: 20508964
Erythropoetin (EPO) is a naturally produced hormone that controls erythropoiesis (red blood cell production). It’s been commercially available in the U.S. since 1989 and is used commonly used to combat anemia associated with chemotherapy treatment in cancer. In addition to its effect on red blood cells, EPO appears to play a key role in the brain response to neuronal injury and some role in the healing of wounds.EPO is infamous because of its use by cyclists and other athletes for ........ Read more »
Miskowiak KW, Favaron E, Hafizi S, Inkster B, Goodwin GM, Cowen PJ, & Harmer CJ. (2009) Effects of erythropoietin on emotional processing biases in patients with major depression: an exploratory fMRI study. Psychopharmacology, 207(1), 133-42. PMID: 19705104
Miskowiak KW, Favaron E, Hafizi S, Inkster B, Goodwin GM, Cowen PJ, & Harmer CJ. (2010) Erythropoietin modulates neural and cognitive processing of emotional information in biomarker models of antidepressant drug action in depressed patients. Psychopharmacology, 210(3), 419-28. PMID: 20401747
Miskowiak KW, Vinberg M, Harmer CJ, Ehrenreich H, Knudsen GM, Macoveanu J, Hansen AR, Paulson OB, Siebner HR, & Kessing LV. (2010) Effects of erythropoietin on depressive symptoms and neurocognitive deficits in depression and bipolar disorder. Trials, 97. PMID: 20942940
Anyone who has spent some time around individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia can tell you one thing: they smoke. Even now that smoking amongst the general population has fallen to around 25% (depending upon who is doing the measuring and who is being measured) prevalence of smoking behavior amongst patients with schizophrenia ranges from 60 to 90%. So, why is that?Researchers have believed for some time that this is a form of self-medication, and there is evidence that smoking improves perform........ Read more »
Castner SA, Smagin GN, Piser TM, Wang Y, Smith JS, Christian EP, Mrzljak L, & Williams GV. (2011) Immediate and sustained improvements in working memory after selective stimulation of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Biological psychiatry, 69(1), 12-8. PMID: 20965497
Even if you don’t know what synaptic plasticity is, you should be thankful for it. Synaptic plasticity is the adjustment of a neuron’s response to a signal based on previous signal transmission, and many theorize that synaptic plasticity is the foundation for learning and memory. Today’s image is from a fascinating paper showing the role of myosin in organelle transport within a specific type of neuron, in a process that is important for synaptic plasticity. Purkinje neurons are found i........ Read more »
Wagner, W., Brenowitz, S., & Hammer, J. (2010) Myosin-Va transports the endoplasmic reticulum into the dendritic spines of Purkinje neurons. Nature Cell Biology, 13(1), 40-48. DOI: 10.1038/ncb2132
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 »
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