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  • September 11, 2011
  • 01:49 PM

Neuroscience Fails Stats 101?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

According to a new paper, a full half of neuroscience papers that try to do a (very simple) statistical comparison are getting it wrong: Erroneous analyses of interactions in neuroscience: a problem of significance.Here's the problem. Suppose you want to know whether a certain 'treatment' has an affect on a certain variable. The treatment could be a drug, an environmental change, a genetic variant, whatever. The target population could be animals, humans, brain cells, or anything else.So you giv........ Read more »

  • September 10, 2011
  • 04:22 AM

Slowing perception down

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts

According to one way of understanding perception, it would not be surprising if perception was completed before conscious awareness could contain the percept. Why is it important to examine this? So that experiment methods of assessing conscious awareness are valid. Gregori-Grgic, Balderi and de’Sperati look at this question (see citation below) by slowing the processes [...]... Read more »

  • September 8, 2011
  • 02:27 AM

Optical clearing with Scale

by Paul O'Neill in the Node

Transparency. A desirable virtue in many walks of life, and a particularly useful trait in developmental biology.  Model organisms that are see-through offer unique advantages, especially when it comes to detailed 3D imaging. A new report in Nature Neuroscience offers a potential advance in this area. Researchers from Japan have stumbled upon a novel aqueous [...]... Read more »

Hama, H., Kurokawa, H., Kawano, H., Ando, R., Shimogori, T., Noda, H., Fukami, K., Sakaue-Sawano, A., & Miyawaki, A. (2011) Scale: a chemical approach for fluorescence imaging and reconstruction of transparent mouse brain. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2928  

  • September 7, 2011
  • 11:59 AM

Neurobiology of Tourettes Syndrome

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Tourette Sydrome is a neuropsychiatric, childhood-onset disorder characterized my motor tics in addition to vocal (phonic) tics.  Original estimates of the prevalence of this condition was that it was very rare.  However, it appears that many individuals with the condition has a relatively mild form of the disorder.  Including these individuals produces a prevalence rate of between .1% and 1% of the population.Common motor tics presenting on average around ages 5 to 7 years of age........ Read more »

Felling RJ, & Singer HS. (2011) Neurobiology of tourette syndrome: current status and need for further investigation. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 31(35), 12387-95. PMID: 21880899  

  • September 6, 2011
  • 05:41 PM

Meet the Brain's Timekeepers

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

There are minutes and hours of our lives in which nothing happens, and these don't seem on the surface to be very challenging for our memories. At least, they make for succinct stories: "I waited 20 minutes for the doctor to come in." "I tossed and turned for hours last night." But how do we know it's been hours? How do we represent these chunks of lost time in our memories, accounting for all the empty minutes without actually losing them? Researchers at Boston University think they've found th........ Read more »

  • September 6, 2011
  • 11:19 AM

How Golf Practice Changes the Brain

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Neuroscience research provides increased understanding of how behavior and specific activities change the brain.  This type of research underscores the concept of neuroplasticity--that our brains change in response to how it is used on a daily basis.One area of research in neuroplasticity is the effect of specific cognitive and motor behavior on brain structure.  A novel study published in The Journal of Neuroscience examined the effect of golf practice on brain structure.  Bezzol........ Read more »

Bezzola L, Mérillat S, Gaser C, & Jäncke L. (2011) Training-induced neural plasticity in golf novices. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 31(35), 12444-8. PMID: 21880905  

  • September 5, 2011
  • 01:24 PM

Can brain trauma cause cognitive enhancement?

by Bradley Voytek in Oscillatory Thoughts

Another post inspired by Quora. Someone asked the question: "Can brain trauma cause cognitive enhancement?".Obviously this topic is dear to me, so I felt compelled to answer.(Read previously on my TEDx talk, my Neuron paper on functional recovery after stroke, my PNAS paper on working memory network deficits after stroke, why we don't need a brain, and my discussion of Rep. Grabrielle Giffords' brain surgery).The full response to the Quora question is below.*****Maybe! But most likely only in ve........ Read more »

  • September 5, 2011
  • 10:21 AM

Walk Along the Paper Trail: Taste Hotsprings

by Michael Patterson in ...And You Will Know Me By The Trail of Papers

The Zuker lab recently reported the existence of taste hotspots in gustatory cortex. I go through the paper, and look at what that means.... Read more »

Chen X, Gabitto M, Peng Y, Ryba NJ, & Zuker CS. (2011) A gustotopic map of taste qualities in the mammalian brain. Science (New York, N.Y.), 333(6047), 1262-6. PMID: 21885776  

  • September 5, 2011
  • 08:00 AM

Walk Along the Paper Trail: Taste Hotsprings

by Michael Patterson in ...And You Will Know Me By The Trail of Papers

I haven't done many walkalongs about new papers, so let's review a new paper from Charles Zuker's lab.

Trail Prep

First, two pieces of background. There are two diametrically opposed theories of taste coding. The "labeled line" theory states that each taste quality (sweet, salty, bitter, etc.) is encoded by a single cell type, and individual cells respond to single taste qualities. In contrast,... Read more »

Chen X, Gabitto M, Peng Y, Ryba NJ, & Zuker CS. (2011) A gustotopic map of taste qualities in the mammalian brain. Science (New York, N.Y.), 333(6047), 1262-6. PMID: 21885776  

  • September 2, 2011
  • 10:19 AM

Neuroethics Aside, In Search of the Spotless Mind

by Adam Rickart in The Memory Modulation Blog

No, fly me, fly me, far as pole from pole;
Rise Alps between us! and whole oceans roll!
Ah, come not, write not, think not once of me,
Nor share one pang of all I felt for thee.
Thy oaths I quit, thy memory resign;
Forget, renounce me, hate whate'er was mine.
Fair eyes, and tempting looks (which yet I view!)
Long lov'd, ador'd ideas, all adieu!

Alexander Pope’s 1717 poem Eloisa to Abelard describes Eloisa’s wish to escape the suffering of separation from he........ Read more »

  • September 1, 2011
  • 09:03 AM

Inside the mind of a London cabbie

by thesoftanonymous in the.soft.anonymous

If modern London was ancient Athens, London taxi drivers would be worshipped as the Gods of Navigation, appeased only by offerings of fluffy dice and pine-scented air fresheners. Because, before being able to drive one of the legendary black cabs, a wannabe taxi driver must pass a gruelling trial known as ‘The Knowledge’. This consists [...]... Read more »

  • September 1, 2011
  • 02:05 AM

Is and ought

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts

There is a piece of wisdom, an ‘is’ can not make an ‘ought’. But also the opposite is true, an ‘ought’ can not make an ‘is’. Just because we feel we ought to have a rational moral sense, does not mean we do have. Just because utilitarianism (least total harm/greatest total benefit) is considered by [...]... Read more »

  • August 31, 2011
  • 03:31 PM

Prions and the “science” of zombies

by NerdyOne in Try Nerdy

When I say that prions are one of the coolest biological phenomena in existence, I mean to say that they are one of the most sci-fi and potentially frightening things you could encounter. They are the causative agent behind mad cow disease, which you’ve probably heard of, and which might not seem too terrifying. But the way prions work, and the fact that there is a “human form” of mad cow disease, will be enough to give you the creeps.

Did I mention that prion infection is t........ Read more »

Edgeworth JA, Gros N, Alden J, Joiner S, Wadsworth JD, Linehan J, Brandner S, Jackson GS, Weissmann C, & Collinge J. (2010) Spontaneous generation of mammalian prions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(32), 14402-6. PMID: 20660771  

Fryer HR, & McLean AR. (2011) There is no safe dose of prions. PloS one, 6(8). PMID: 21858197  

  • August 31, 2011
  • 09:02 AM

Discovering the cause of Lou Gehrig’s disease

by Pieter Droppert in Biotech Strategy Blog

Lou Gehrig Scores   Photo: Library of Congress In a letter to the science journal Nature, published online on August 21, 2011, scientists from Northwestern University in Chicago report findings that could help develop drugs for patients with Amyotrophic Lateral … Continue reading →... Read more »

Deng, H., Chen, W., Hong, S., Boycott, K., Gorrie, G., Siddique, N., Yang, Y., Fecto, F., Shi, Y., Zhai, H.... (2011) Mutations in UBQLN2 cause dominant X-linked juvenile and adult-onset ALS and ALS/dementia. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature10353  

  • August 31, 2011
  • 08:38 AM

Add Exercise or an Antidepressant for Depression?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Although the psychological benefits of exercise are well recognized, the role of exercise in the treatment of psychological disorders is less clear.  Randomized control trials are limited and so clinicians are left without much data to advise patients on the proper role of exercise in a comprehensive treatment program.Madukar Trivedi and colleagues recently published a study of exercise therapy in a group of individuals with major depressive who had not reached complete remission of depress........ Read more »

Trivedi, M., Greer, T., Church, T., Carmody, T., Grannemann, B., Galper, D., Dunn, A., Earnest, C., Sunderajan, P., Henley, S.... (2011) Exercise as an Augmentation Treatment for Nonremitted Major Depressive Disorder. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 72(05), 677-684. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.10m06743  

  • August 30, 2011
  • 02:59 PM

Obesity, Inflammation and Depression

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Obesity commonly occurs in the context of markers of inflammation.  Additionally, there is increasing evidence of a link between depression and systemic markers of inflammation such as the cytokine marker interleukin-6 (IL-6).  How these three conditions might tie together is an important research question.Capuron and colleagues from France recently published a manuscript that looked at a specific group with obesity--women who were severely or morbidly obese and were waiting for gastri........ Read more »

Capuron, L., Poitou, C., Machaux-Tholliez, D., Frochot, V., Bouillot, J., Basdevant, A., Layé, S., & Clément, K. (2010) Relationship between adiposity, emotional status and eating behaviour in obese women: role of inflammation. Psychological Medicine, 41(07), 1517-1528. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291710001984  

  • August 30, 2011
  • 12:31 PM

The Embodiment of Time, Tenderness, and Weight

by Sam McNerney in Why We Reason

I’ve been hearing it for years now – the brain is “embodied“. It’s a strange concept. I understand that brains aren’t disembodied, and Descartes was horribly wrong to suggest that, “there is a great difference between mind and body, inasmuch as body is by nature always divisible, and the mind is entirely indivisible.” But what [...]... Read more »

Jostmann, N., Lakens, D., & Schubert, T. (2009) Weight as an Embodiment of Importance. Psychological Science, 20(9), 1169-1174. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02426.x  

Miles, L., Nind, L., & Macrae, C. (2010) Moving Through Time. Psychological Science, 21(2), 222-223. DOI: 10.1177/0956797609359333  

Slepian, M., Weisbuch, M., Rule, N., & Ambady, N. (2010) Tough and Tender: Embodied Categorization of Gender. Psychological Science, 22(1), 26-28. DOI: 10.1177/0956797610390388  

  • August 29, 2011
  • 03:29 PM

Can the Flu Make You Narcoleptic?

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Narcolepsy doesn't strike at random. After studying the medical records of a large group of Chinese narcoleptics, researchers concluded that their symptoms--sudden naps, constant sleepiness, hallucinations--were most likely to have started in the month of April. In fact, each year's new cases of narcolepsy appeared in a cyclical pattern, following the seasons. Could narcolepsy be a delayed reaction to the flu?The brains of narcoleptics fail to produce enough hypocretin (also called orexin),........ Read more »

Han, F., Lin, L., Warby, S., Faraco, J., Li, J., Dong, S., An, P., Zhao, L., Wang, L., Li, Q.... (2011) Narcolepsy onset is seasonal and increased following the 2009 H1N1 pandemic in china. Annals of Neurology. DOI: 10.1002/ana.22587  

  • August 29, 2011
  • 09:54 AM

Improving Diagnostic Accuracy of Bipolar Disorder

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

A key clinical challenge in the mood disorders is to determine whether patients with depression actually have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  This can be quite difficult as patients may have limited insight while suffering a manic episode.  They may have impairments in memory during manic episodes that reduce their ability to provide an accurate psychiatric history.The symptoms of mania are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statitistical Manual-Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IVTR) a........ Read more »

  • August 28, 2011
  • 04:21 AM

Drug Trials in 'At Risk' Youth

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Is it ethical to medicate healthy teenagers "at risk" of developing psychosis to prevent a symptom that may not occur? One such clinical trial in Australia was recently stopped before it could even begin:
Drug trial scrapped amid outcryJill Stark
August 21, 2011

FORMER Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry has aborted a controversial trial of antipsychotic drugs on children as young as 15 who are "at risk" of psychosis, amid complaints the study was unethical.The Sunday Age can reveal ........ Read more »

Mechelli, A., Riecher-Rossler, A., Meisenzahl, E., Tognin, S., Wood, S., Borgwardt, S., Koutsouleris, N., Yung, A., Stone, J., Phillips, L.... (2011) Neuroanatomical Abnormalities That Predate the Onset of Psychosis: A Multicenter Study. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(5), 489-495. DOI: 10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.42  

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