Back in 2009, a crack team of neuroscientists led by Craig Bennett (blog) famously put a dead fish into an MRI scanner and showed it some pictures.They found some blobs of activation - when they used an inappropriately lenient statistical method. Their point, of course, was to draw attention to the fact that you really shouldn't use that method for fMRI. You can read the whole paper here. The Atlantic Salmon who heroically volunteered for the study was no more than a prop. In fact, I believe he ........ Read more »
Bandoh H, Kida I, & Ueda H. (2011) Olfactory Responses to Natal Stream Water in Sockeye Salmon by BOLD fMRI. PloS one, 6(1). PMID: 21264223
Mindfulness is, it seems, in fashion. Every month there seems to be a new TV show or talkback hour on its wondrous curative powers. It made it into our Christmas Dinner Conversation and I am waiting for the mindfulness-branded t-shirts and environmentally friendly canvas shopping bags to emerge. Is it really that good? Well, fortunately [...]... Read more »
Zautra, A., Fasman, R., Davis, M., & Craig, A. (2010) The effects of slow breathing on affective responses to pain stimuli: An experimental study. Pain, 149(1), 12-18. DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2009.10.001
Conduction aphasia is characterized by relatively frequent phonemic speech errors with self-correction attempts and difficulty repeating speech verbatim; comprehension is relatively well-preserved. The classical account holds that conduction aphasia is caused by damage to the arcuate fasciculus. However, we have been arguing for some time that conduction aphasia is caused by damage to area Spt -- a functionally defined region in the vicinity of the left planum temporale that exhibits auditory-........ Read more »
Buchsbaum BR, Baldo J, Okada K, Berman KF, Dronkers N, D'Esposito M, & Hickok G. (2011) Conduction aphasia, sensory-motor integration, and phonological short-term memory - An aggregate analysis of lesion and fMRI data. Brain and language. PMID: 21256582
Of mephedrone, bath salts, and impaired driving.
Automobile accidents are the ninth leading cause of death worlwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). More than a million people are killed on roads annually, and that number could rise to 2.5 million by 2020. WHO estimates that traffic accidents cost developing countries an astonishing 1-2 % of their gross domestic product (GDP).
For years now, police and public health officials have puzzled over the alarming number of tr........ Read more »
Colzato, L., Ruiz, M., van den Wildenberg, W., Bajo, M., & Hommel, B. (2011) Long-Term Effects of Chronic Khat Use: Impaired Inhibitory Control. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2010.00219
Much of my work is on verbs that describe emotion, called "psych verbs." The curious thing about psych verbs is that they come in two varieties, those that put the experiencer of the emotion in subject position (Mary likes/hates/fears John) and those that put the experiencer of the emotion in object position (Mary delights/angers/frightens John).
These verbs have caused a four-decades-long headache for theorists trying to explain how people know what should be the subject and what should be the........ Read more »
Thompson CK, & Lee M. (2009) Psych verb production and comprehension in agrammatic Broca's aphasia. Journal of neurolinguistics, 22(4), 354-369. PMID: 20174592
Leo Tolstoy once said, “It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.” And how complete is this delusion? In a recent study, Tsukiura & Cabeza (2011) provides an insight into this question by investigating the neural mechanism underlying the Beauty-is-Good stereotype. They were interested in the activity of the medial orbito frontal cortex (associated with positive stimuli, reward processing etc); the insular cortex (associated with negative stimuli, punishment processi........ Read more »
Tsukiura T, & Cabeza R. (2011) Shared brain activity for aesthetic and moral judgments: implications for the Beauty-is-Good stereotype. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 6(1), 138-48. PMID: 20231177
One area of nanobiotechnology that will have a massive impact on improving the live of disabled people lies at the interface (literally) between artificial functional materials and living neuronal tissues. Neuroprosthetics is an area of neuroscience that uses artificial microdevices to replace the function of impaired nervous systems or sensory organs. Different biomedical devices implanted in the central nervous system, so-called neural interfaces, already have been developed to control motor d........ Read more »
Ghezzi, D., Antognazza, M., Dal Maschio, M., Lanzarini, E., Benfenati, F., & Lanzani, G. (2011) A hybrid bioorganic interface for neuronal photoactivation. Nature Communications, 166. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1164
In his paper purporting to show that a beneficial, baby-making “religion gene” will sweep through a population and eventually make everyone religious, Robert Rowthorn ignores this inconvenient fact: nearly everyone in the world is already religious. Here is how it breaks down:
Because fifty percent of the “Non-Religious” group is theistic but not “religious,” we can [...]... Read more »
Rowthorn, R. (2011) Religion, fertility and genes: a dual inheritance model. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.2504
A moderately unforgiving critique of an interesting theory of music cognition. Are musical preferences based on the brain's enjoyment of auditory compressibility?... Read more »
Nicholas J Hudson. (2011) Musical beauty and information compression: Complex to the ear but simple to the mind?. BioMed Central. info:/10.1186/1756-0500-4-9
Our brains have evolved to be good at certain things: seeing, hearing, learning language, and interacting with other similar brains, to name a few examples. But say you want it to do something new – look at symbols...
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... Read more »
Dehaene S, Pegado F, Braga LW, Ventura P, Nunes Filho G, Jobert A, Dehaene-Lambertz G, Kolinsky R, Morais J, & Cohen L. (2010) How learning to read changes the cortical networks for vision and language. Science (New York, N.Y.), 330(6009), 1359-64. PMID: 21071632
Back in the bad old days of autism they thought it was caused by "refrigerator mothers".Well, right now, some psychiatrists have decided that the best treatment for autism is something not that far removed from sticking them in a refrigerator - literally. Enter "Le Packing", which is the target of an unprecedented consensus statement just out from a list of 18 big-name autism experts (available free here).This alleged therapy consists of wrapping the patient (wearing only underclothes or naked i........ Read more »
Guidelines are so in aren’t they? I guess this is what happens when evidenced based medicine begins to take hold. Broadly speaking, I reckon it is a good thing. There are caveats of course – see the furore that can emerge when powerful groups don’t like the guidelines – all the more likely when there [...]... Read more »
 Nijs J, Mannerkorpi K, Descheemaeker F, & Van Houdenhove B. (2010) Primary care physical therapy in people with fibromyalgia: opportunities and boundaries within a monodisciplinary setting. Physical therapy, 90(12), 1815-22. PMID: 20847036
 Nijs J, & Van Houdenhove B. (2009) From acute musculoskeletal pain to chronic widespread pain and fibromyalgia: application of pain neurophysiology in manual therapy practice. Manual therapy, 14(1), 3-12. PMID: 18511329
Hot flashes commonly occur in the course of menopause in healthy women. Some women find their hot flashes to be very uncomfortable and distressing. Hormone replacement can reduce the symptom severity of hot flashes, but recent research has underscored the potential risks associated with hormone replacement. Therefore, there is increased interest in finding safer alternatives.Freeman and colleagues recently published a randomized controlled trial of the selective serotonin reupt........ Read more »
Freeman EW, Guthrie KA, Caan B, Sternfeld B, Cohen LS, Joffe H, Carpenter JS, Anderson GL, Larson JC, Ensrud KE.... (2011) Efficacy of escitalopram for hot flashes in healthy menopausal women: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association, 305(3), 267-74. PMID: 21245182
Geller SE, Shulman LP, van Breemen RB, Banuvar S, Zhou Y, Epstein G, Hedayat S, Nikolic D, Krause EC, Piersen CE.... (2009) Safety and efficacy of black cohosh and red clover for the management of vasomotor symptoms: a randomized controlled trial. Menopause (New York, N.Y.), 16(6), 1156-66. PMID: 19609225
You could be forgiven for thinking that there’s no way you could get a useful brain scan of a fish.
First all, if you pay attention to brain scanning, you have probably heard a story about fish in fMRI machines that has become the stuff of scientific legend. The salmon in question being scanned for brain activity was deceased. Pushing up daisies. Size feet under. Joined the choir invisible. In a word, dead.
Yet a brain scan revealed statistically significant brain activity.
Bennett and col........ Read more »
Bandoh H, Kida I, & Ueda H. (2011) Olfactory responses to natal stream water in sockeye salmon by BOLD fMRI. PLoS ONE, 6(1). info:/10.1371/ journal.pone.0016051
by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room
New research touts findings that conservatives have bigger amygdalas while liberals have bigger cingulate cortices. The bigger amygdala means conservatives could be driven by fear while the bigger cingulated cortex means liberals have more decision-making power. Hmmm. Is it possible that our politics are fixed at birth? Probably not. Neuroskeptic takes a look at the [...]
Related posts:Church attendance, dirt and politics (what we don’t know about ourselves)
“Reactions vary along tradi........ Read more »
Michael D. Dodd, John R. Hibbing, & Kevin B. Smith. (2010) The politics of attention: gaze-cuing effects are moderated by political temperament. Attention, Perception and Psychophysics. info:/
When we first learned about the cell cycle in high school, we learned about the stunning simplicity of certain proteins that cycle in order to promote progression through the cell cycle. In reality, that picture is quite complex, with many layers of regulation that affect those cycling proteins. A recent paper from the Nurse lab pares down all of that complexity to show us that the simplicity really has been there all along. The cell cycle is the sequence of events that leads to a cell&rsq........ 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
Coudreuse, D., & Nurse, P. (2010) Driving the cell cycle with a minimal CDK control network. Nature, 468(7327), 1074-1079. DOI: 10.1038/nature09543
Sci saw this paper come out last week, it made it big in the mainstream media, and a couple of blogs covered it. Whenever something like this comes up in the news, I just have to get the paper myself and make sure whether it’s all really true. And now I have it, so here [...]... Read more »
Wagner DD, Dal Cin S, Sargent JD, Kelley WM, & Heatherton TF. (2011) Spontaneous action representation in smokers when watching movie characters smoke. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 31(3), 894-8. PMID: 21248113
An overview and analysis of the recent work linking dopamine to emotional arousal caused by listening to music.... 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, 14(2), 257-262. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2726
There's a lot of talk, much of it rather speculative, about "neuroethics" nowadays.But there's one all too real ethical dilemma, a direct consequence of modern neuroscience, that gets very little attention. This is the problem of incidental findings on MRI scans.An "incidental finding" is when you scan someone's brain for research purposes, and, unexpectedly, notice that something looks wrong with it. This is surprisingly common: estimates range from 2–8% of the general population. It will hap........ Read more »
Cramer SC, Wu J, Hanson JA, Nouri S, Karnani D, Chuang TM, & Le V. (2011) A system for addressing incidental findings in neuroimaging research. NeuroImage. PMID: 21224007
Thomas Metzinger wrote an outline of his book, ‘Being No One’, which puts his theory of consciousness in a very brief, compact form. He puts forward a list of constraints that any system must have to be conscious. The first three constrains gives a simple form of consciousness which he then elaborates with further constrains. [...]... Read more »
Thomas Metzinger. (2005) Precis of - Being No One. Psyche - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Consciousness, 11(5). info:/
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