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  • December 17, 2010
  • 12:14 PM

Getting Off Xanax or Klonopin

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Benzodiazepine drugs such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan, Klonopin and other compounds presents a significant challenge.  The benzodiazepines quickly reduce anxiety in a variety of anxiety disorders such as panic disorder and social anxiety disorder.  They can also be effective adjuncts to other agents in providing symptom relief.However, these agents to have the potential to produce significant withdrawal symptoms.  The withdrawal symptoms appear to be most severe for patients who have........ Read more »

  • December 16, 2010
  • 04:53 PM

What Diseases Get Researched?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Dorothy Bishop (of BishopBlog) has a nice PLoS paper looking at: Which neurodevelopmental disorders get researched and why?.She took 35 "neurodevelopmental" disorders, ranging from rare genetic syndromes like Rett's, up to autism, ADHD and specific language impairment (SLI), and compared their prevalence stated in a textbook, to the number of scientific papers published about them over the past 15 years.Note that with something like Rett's, there's no question that they're problems with brain de........ Read more »

  • December 16, 2010
  • 05:10 AM

Why is science talking about freewill?

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts

Science is about the physical reality. Scientists themselves can also think about things outside of physical reality but that is not science. So why is there a trickle of papers dealing with freewill? I ask this because I cannot find anything for freewill to be free-from other then the processes of matter and energy in [...]... Read more »

  • December 16, 2010
  • 12:58 AM

Genetic Link to ADHD Identified

by Walter Jessen in Highlight HEALTH

A recent study published in The Lancet finds that children with ADHD are more likely to have small segments of their DNA duplicated or missing than other children that don't have the disorder.... Read more »

Williams NM, Zaharieva I, Martin A, Langley K, Mantripragada K, Fossdal R, Stefansson H, Stefansson K, Magnusson P, Gudmundsson OO.... (2010) Rare chromosomal deletions and duplications in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a genome-wide analysis. Lancet, 376(9750), 1401-8. PMID: 20888040  

  • December 15, 2010
  • 05:34 PM

Mental Disorders: Diseases or Behavioral Conditions?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Clinical neuroscience conditions represent a heterogeneous group of conditions with varying contributions from genetic and environmental influences.  It has been common to view some of these conditions under the disease model presumed to represent a specific pathophysiology, tissue pathology (i.e. Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease).  Other conditions have been classified as representing primarily a disorder of behavior (i.e. anorexia nevosa, substance use disorders).The dis........ Read more »

  • December 15, 2010
  • 03:00 PM

Real World Attempts To Bring Science To Practice 101

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

This article reminds me of the last time I spent 2 years obstinately trying to prove a point! Why? Mainly because I just received, hot off the press, this very article in which our team in Perth describes what we consider to be a really great way of approaching modern health care! One might also [...]... Read more »

Davies S, Quintner J, Parsons R, Parkitny L, Knight P, Forrester E, Roberts M, Graham C, Visser E, Antill T.... (2010) Preclinic Group Education Sessions Reduce Waiting Times and Costs at Public Pain Medicine Units. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). PMID: 21087401  

  • December 15, 2010
  • 02:35 PM

Towards a scientific concept of free will

by Björn Brembs in

Today, the Royal Society published my article reviewing the invertebrate data supporting a scientific concept of free will. In it, I first reiterate that the metaphysical concept of free will is long dead (since the 1970s). Then I emphasize that determinism has been dead for even longer (basically since quantum mechanics). Finally, I propose that the ability to behave differently in identical circumstances forms the basis for a scientific concept of free will. Basically, IMHO, free will is a bi........ Read more »

Björn Brembs. (2010) Towards a scientific concept of free will as a biological trait: spontaneous actions and decision-making in invertebrates. Proc. R. Soc. B. info:/

  • December 15, 2010
  • 09:36 AM

Kan luisteren de hersenen beïnvloeden? [Dutch]

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

This week a video entry with a clip of the Dutch tv program Vrije Geluiden: Last Sunday prof. Erik Scherder (Free University Amsterdam) explained some recent research (by, e.g., Hyde et al., 2009) on the influence of music performance and music listening on brain plasticity. The full episode can be viewed here (N.B. no subtitles).Hyde, K., Lerch, J., Norton, A., Forgeard, M., Winner, E., Evans, A., & Schlaug, G. (2009). Musical Training Shapes Structural Brain Development Journal of Neurosci........ Read more »

Hyde, K., Lerch, J., Norton, A., Forgeard, M., Winner, E., Evans, A., & Schlaug, G. (2009) Musical Training Shapes Structural Brain Development. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(10), 3019-3025. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5118-08.2009  

  • December 15, 2010
  • 02:37 AM

We really do believe we’ve got more free will than the other guy.

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

I tweeted this link all over the internets the other day, and not surprisingly, it got picked up a lot. And why not? Free will is one of those subjects that is particularly interesting to, well, just about everyone. It’s one the deep philosophical questions pondered by philosophers, and high people everywhere: DO we really [...]... Read more »

Pronin, E., & Kugler, M. (2010) People believe they have more free will than others. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1012046108  

  • December 14, 2010
  • 05:15 PM

The Time Travelling Brain

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

What's the difference between walking down the street yesterday, and walking down the street tomorrow?It's nothing to do with the walking, or the street: that's the same. When seems to be something external to the what, how, and where of the situation. But this creates a problem for neuroscientists.We think we know how the fact that the brain could store the concept of "walking down the street" (or "walking" and "street"). Very roughly, simple sensory impressions are thought to get built up into........ Read more »

Nyberg L, Kim AS, Habib R, Levine B, & Tulving E. (2010) Consciousness of subjective time in the brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21135219  

  • December 13, 2010
  • 11:48 AM

Do Personalities Converge After Marriage?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Spouses tend to share some personality features in most studies of psychometric personality assessment.  This findings prompts the question of whether spousal personalities become more similar after marriage or are these features present at the time of marriage.  The concept of assortative mating is well known in studies of spousal selection.  Assortative mating is the concept that individuals tend to associate and select partners that share personality and other characteristics.&........ Read more »

Humbad MN, Donnellan MB, Iacono WG, McGue M, & Burt SA. (2010) Is Spousal Similarity for Personality A Matter of Convergence or Selection?. Personality and individual differences, 49(7), 827-830. PMID: 21116446  

  • December 13, 2010
  • 11:32 AM

Cognitive enhancement goes Hollywood

by Bradley Voytek in Oscillatory Thoughts

My pals Kevin and m1k3y over at recently posted about a little viral-intent video for the upcoming movie starring Bradley Cooper: Limitless.I'm intentionally trying to not read too much about this movie beforehand, so I can't really give a plot synopsis beyond what I've gathered from the YouTube video and Wikipedia write-up. But from what I've gleaned, apparently Bradley Cooper's character gets hold of an experimental drug ("NZT"), and quickly finds that it greatly enhances his cogni........ Read more »

Greely, H., Sahakian, B., Harris, J., Kessler, R., Gazzaniga, M., Campbell, P., & Farah, M. (2008) Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy. Nature, 456(7223), 702-705. DOI: 10.1038/456702a  

Maher, B. (2008) Poll results: look who's doping. Nature, 452(7188), 674-675. DOI: 10.1038/452674a  

  • December 13, 2010
  • 09:50 AM

After the dung-fly: parasite effects on human behaviour

by davesbrain in Dave Hubble's ecology spot

Following my recent post about behavioural modification of insects by Fungi such as Entomophthora, I was sufficiently intrigued to digress from my usual ecological and entomological subject matter and look at work on related processes in humans. Rather than a fungus, the organism I am particularly interested in is the widespread parasitic protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. Spread to humans (and many, many other species) by various mechanisms including handling and consumption of raw meat, transplacent........ Read more »

Henriquez, S.A., Brett, R., Alexander, J., Pratt, J., & Roberts, C.W. (2009) Neuropsychiatric disease and Toxoplasma gondii infection. Neuroimmunomodulation, 16(2), 122-133. PMID: 19212132  

  • December 13, 2010
  • 08:33 AM

BDNF and Depression

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

I’ve written a bunch of posts in the past on serotonin, the serotonin theory of depression (and why it’s probably wrong), and some stuff on current antidepressant treatments. And I even talked before a little bit about the serotonin theory vs the BDNF theory. But I’ve never really COVERED what the BDNF theory IS and [...]... Read more »

Schmidt HD, & Duman RS. (2010) Peripheral BDNF Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects in Cellular and Behavioral Models. Neuropsychopharmacology : official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. PMID: 21085113  

  • December 12, 2010
  • 10:41 PM

Not Miley Cyrus: A small human trial of salvinorin A

by David J Kroll in Terra Sigillata

Some interesting news came out last week regarding Salvia divinorum, the hallucinogenic mint plant, whose primary active constituent, salvinorin A, is a highly selective kappa opioid receptor agonist that is remarkable as a nonnitrogenous psychoactive compound. However, my interest had nothing to do with the widely-discussed video at showing actress and singer-songwriter Miley Cyrus doing a [...]... Read more »

  • December 12, 2010
  • 02:05 PM

The painful legacy of torture

by Lorimer Moseley in BodyInMind

Torture has received a great deal of deserved media attention in recent years. In large part this is due to people who should know better somewhat shamelessly jumping through legal hoops in attempts to distinguish which ways of abusing their fellow humans are acceptable and distinct from torture. This should be surprising in the current [...]... Read more »

Williams AC, Peña CR, & Rice AS. (2010) Persistent pain in survivors of torture: a cohort study. Journal of pain and symptom management, 40(5), 715-22. PMID: 20678891  

  • December 12, 2010
  • 02:00 PM

Optics & stereopsis: how 3D vision is affected by retinal image quality?

by Pablo Artal in Optics confidential

Stereo (3D) vision is affected by the quality of the images in the retina. An adaptive optics instrument allows the testing of 3D vision and more...... Read more »

  • December 12, 2010
  • 04:00 AM

Ketogenic Diet for Alzheimer’s Disease?

by Steve Parker, M.D. in Diabetic Mediterranean Diet Blog

Ketogenic diets have seen a resurgence in the last two decades as a treatment for childhood epilepsy, particularly difficult-to-control cases not responding to drug therapy.  It works, even in adults.  That’s why some brain experts are wondering if ketogenic diets … Continue reading →... Read more »

Gasior M, Rogawski MA, & Hartman AL. (2006) Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet. Behavioural pharmacology, 17(5-6), 431-9. PMID: 16940764  

  • December 11, 2010
  • 05:30 PM

The transcendant temporal lobe

by Tom Rees in Epiphenom

The temporal lobe of the brain - the bit just above where your ear is - keeps cropping up in studies of spirituality.

In this latest one, Peter Van Schuerbeek and colleagues from the University of Brussels have looked at the volume of grey matter in different parts of the brain in young women.

They were interested to see how the volumes of different parts of the brain correlate with personality, and in particular testing a particular model of personality called the Cloninger personality model......... Read more »

  • December 11, 2010
  • 01:16 PM

Perspectives on Psychological Science: Blogs Don't Exist

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

The Seductive Allure of Neuroscience ExplanationsThe previous post, Voodoo Correlations: Two Years Later, was a retrospective on the neuroimaging methods paper that was widely discussed in the blogosphere before it was considered "officially" published (Vul et al., 2009). The article, a controversial critique of the statistical analyses used by fMRI investigators in social neuroscience, made its initial appearance on Ed Vul's website once it was accepted by Perspectives in Psychological Sciences........ Read more »

Beck, D. (2010) The Appeal of the Brain in the Popular Press. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5(6), 762-766. DOI: 10.1177/1745691610388779  

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