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  • October 3, 2011
  • 12:33 PM

Low-dose Doxepin for Insomnia in the Elderly

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

July Sunset Santa Fe, New MexicoI had previously reported on the use of low-dose doxepin for the treatment of insomnia.  A new study on this topic has been published in the journal Sleep.  Dr. Andrew Krystal from Duke University and colleagues presented results of an efficacy and safety trial of doxepin at 1 mg and 3 mg in a series of elderly subjects with chronic primary insomnia studied over a 12-week period.Long-term efficacy studies for insomnia are important because the condition ........ Read more »

  • October 3, 2011
  • 07:20 AM

Scientists successfully reconstruct the mind’s eye for the first time as a video output

by Neurobonkers in Neurobonkers

fMRI used to create a video output based on a dictionary created by showing participants 7200s of random colour video.... Read more »

  • October 3, 2011
  • 04:21 AM

Failed Drug Company... Failed Drug?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

The pharmaceutical industry is in trouble at the moment, with many companies pulling out of development in certain areas and psychiatry is high on the list.The tale of one troubled would-be antidepressant has just been published in the form of a clinical trial that was terminated early when the parent company went under. But another company came along to save the day, so the drug might live on.Amitifadine is a triple reuptake inhibitor (TRI). What's that? Prozac and other SSRI antidepressants wo........ Read more »

  • October 3, 2011
  • 12:48 AM

At face value: the amygdala recognizes the whole, not parts

by Jordan in Gaines, on Brains

Yesterday I was scanning through my iPhoto library when I came across some photos I had taken of my friends' eyes—just their eyes—from my freshman year of undergrad (it was finals week, and we were playing pool. I can't claim the best study habits, but I got into grad school, alright?). I turned to my boyfriend and had him identify whose eyes they were. To my surprise, he didn't get all of them correct, and he hesitated on most. Aren't a person's eyes their most identifying feature?As it tur........ Read more »

Ueli Rutishauser, Oana Tudusciuc, Dirk Neumann, Adam N. Mamelak, A. Christopher Heller, Ian B. Ross, Linda Philpott, William W. Sutherling, & Ralph Adolphs. (2011) Single-Unit Responses Selective for Whole Faces in the Human Amygdala. Current Biology. info:/10.1016/j.cub.2011.08.035

  • October 1, 2011
  • 11:59 AM

Does brain plasticity trump innateness?

by Kevin Mitchell in Wiring the Brain

The fact that the adult brain is very plastic is often held up as evidence against the idea that many psychological, cognitive or behavioural traits are innately determined. At first glance, there does indeed appear to be a paradox. On the one hand, behavioural genetic studies show that many human psychological traits are strongly heritable and thus likely determined, at least in part, by innate biological differences. On the other, it is very clear that even the adult brain is highly plastic........ Read more »

  • September 29, 2011
  • 11:20 AM

Improving Dementia Diagnosis With a Sleep Marker

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Dementia presents a growing challenge for clinicians both in the assessment as well as treatment domains.  Autopsy remains the only definitive diagnostic intervention that can confirm Alzheimer's disease and the other forms of senile dementia including vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, frontotemporal dementia and other dementia variants.Since autopsy studies do not provide clinicians or their patients any direct benefits during the patient's lifetime, better diagnostic tests and........ Read more »

Bliwise, D., Mercaldo, N., Avidan, A., Boeve, B., Greer, S., & Kukull, W. (2011) Sleep Disturbance in Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Alzheimer’s Disease: A Multicenter Analysis. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders, 31(3), 239-246. DOI: 10.1159/000326238  

  • September 29, 2011
  • 05:59 AM

Why Brain Scanners Make Your Head Spin

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Here at Neuroskeptic we see a lot of dizzyingly bad (and sometimes even good) neuroscience, but did you know that brain scanners can literally send your head into a spin? A new paper explains why, with implications for all MRI researchers.MRI scanners rely on extremely powerful magnetic fields. This is why you can't take metal objects into the scanner room, as they'd be pulled into it. Yet the fields can also exert other kinds of effects on the body.I'd always been told that static, unchanging m........ Read more »

Roberts, D., Marcelli, V., Gillen, J., Carey, J., Della Santina, C., & Zee, D. (2011) MRI Magnetic Field Stimulates Rotational Sensors of the Brain. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.08.029  

  • September 28, 2011
  • 01:44 AM

Not exactly mind-reading

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts

I don’t pretend to understand the computations that have been used in this study, only the general idea. The results are both a lot more and also a lot less than they appear. This is a group that have been able to fairly accurately identify a black and white photo that a subject in a [...]... Read more »

  • September 27, 2011
  • 03:34 PM

The Ways We Talk About Pain

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

Excerpts from the Personal Journal of Krystal D’Costa [i] Tuesday: I fell. Again. This time it was while getting out of the car. I’m not sure how I managed it. I got my foot caught on the door jamb and tumbled forward. I hit my shin—hard—against the door jamb and I think I tweaked my [...]

... Read more »

Pia Haudrup Christensen. (1999) "It Hurts": Children's Cultural Learning About Everyday Illness. Stichting Ethnofoor, 12(1), 39-52. info:/

  • September 27, 2011
  • 03:09 PM

Even Monkeys Can Tell Red from Grue

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Unsure of the difference between ochre and ecru? Mauve and maize? Don't feel bad, because there's at least one color distinction you can handle: warm versus cool colors. You may have thought it was made up by your art teacher to torment you, but the concept is biologically based and universal to cultures around the world. Even a monkey knows the difference.

Researchers led by Youping Xiao at Mount Sinai School of Medicine based their study, in part, on data from the World Color Survey. That ........ Read more »

  • September 27, 2011
  • 02:22 PM

Topiramate Augmentation in Major Depression

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Molecular Model of the Drug TopiramateCurrently available antidepressants provide significant relief from major depression in many patients.  However, a significant number of patients receive little or limited relief following an initial trial of a standard first-line drug from the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor class of agents.A common clinical strategy after initial drug non-response and non-remission is to consider pharmacological augmentation.  Augmentation options for cli........ Read more »

  • September 26, 2011
  • 05:00 PM

Empathy, distress and mindfulness

by Bronwyn Thompson in Healthskills: Skills for Healthy Living

One of the main thrusts of the paper by Hadjistavropoulos, Craig, Duck, Cano, Goubert, Jackson, et al., is that pain communication can serve several functions – it can be an action where a message is sent or received; it can be an interaction where the message is sent, received and interpreted; or it can be … Read more... Read more »

Hadjistavropoulos, T., Craig, K., Duck, S., Cano, A., Goubert, L., Jackson, P., Mogil, J., Rainville, P., Sullivan, M., de C. Williams, A.... (2011) A biopsychosocial formulation of pain communication. Psychological Bulletin. DOI: 10.1037/a0023876  

  • September 26, 2011
  • 01:25 PM

Thinking with Portals

by Bradley Voytek in Oscillatory Thoughts

My love for Portal, Portal 2, and video games in general is certainly no secret. Nor is my love for comics and other geekery.Recently I played through the Portal 2 single- and multi-player campaigns (with my Activision and Call of Duty buddy, Bryan).I love the Portals.(Screenshot from Portal 2)Of course, me being... well... me, I couldn't help but think about why I loved the game and then a bunch of weird brainy neuro stuff.Basically the end result of my over-intellectualization was that sometim........ Read more »

  • September 26, 2011
  • 12:29 PM

Fitness, Hippocampus and Forgetting

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Hippocampus in Green from 3D Brain iPad AppCardiorespiratory fitness appears to be associated with a variety of benefits in cognitive functioning.  The mechanisms for this benefit are unclear.  Association studies do not provide evidence for the pathways between related variables.  For understanding pathways, clinical trials, longitudinal studies and multivariate approaches are more powerful approaches.Amanda Szabo and colleagues at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign r........ Read more »

Szabo, A., McAuley, E., Erickson, K., Voss, M., Prakash, R., Mailey, E., Wójcicki, T., White, S., Gothe, N., Olson, E.... (2011) Cardiorespiratory fitness, hippocampal volume, and frequency of forgetting in older adults. Neuropsychology, 25(5), 545-553. DOI: 10.1037/a0022733  

  • September 25, 2011
  • 05:40 AM

The Neurophysiology of Pain During REM Sleep

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

In the last post, we learned about The Phenomenology of Pain During REM Sleep. Real life pain can intrude into dreams, as was shown for experimentally induced pain (Nielsen et al., 1993) and in hospitalized burn patients (Raymond et al., 2002). In this post we'll hear about a fascinating experiment that recorded laser evoked potentials directly from the brains of epilepsy patients who were being surgically monitored for seizures (Bastuji et al. 2011). Only under rare circumstances can intracran........ Read more »

  • September 24, 2011
  • 05:52 PM

Decoding fMRI activity evoked by natural movies

by Patrick Mineault in xcorr

The Gallant lab have just published a new paper in Current Biology about decoding visual activity in fMRI evoked through natural movies. TryNerdy has a very high level overview of the paper. Here I’ more interested in the nitty gritty computational/statistical details. The idea is to train an encoding model using fMRI responses during natural [...]... Read more »

Shinji Nishimoto, An T. Vu, Thomas Naselaris, Yuval Benjamini, Bin Yu, & Jack L. Gallant. (2011) Reconstructing visual experiences from brain activity evoked by natural movies. Current Biology. info:/10.1016/j.cub.2011.08.031

  • September 23, 2011
  • 04:40 PM

Computer decodes and exposes the mind’s eye

by NerdyOne in Try Nerdy

Well, it looks like the future is finally here. I wasn’t quite sure how it was going to present itself, but it seems to have come in the form of UC Berkeley scientists who have developed a “decoder” that can measure our brain activity and reconstruct our visual experiences. In other words, 20 years from now we might not ask eye-witnesses to describe a suspect…we’ll just analyze their brain activity and reconstruct the suspect’s image for ourselves.

I could........ Read more »

Naselaris T, Kay KN, Nishimoto S, & Gallant JL. (2011) Encoding and decoding in fMRI. NeuroImage, 56(2), 400-10. PMID: 20691790  

  • September 23, 2011
  • 02:00 PM

Physical consciousness?

by davejhayes in neurosphere

We are physical beings in a physical world. This is the thesis of physicalism, the view that reality is made up of one kind of ‘stuff,’ and that stuff is physical. ... Read more »

Chalmers, D., & Jackson, F. (2001) Conceptual Analysis and Reductive Explanation. The Philosophical Review, 110(3), 315. DOI: 10.2307/2693648  

  • September 23, 2011
  • 10:54 AM

Embodied solutions to neural delays: Information and Network Motifs

by Andrew Wilson in Notes from Two Scientific Psychologists

One of the bugbears of direct perception is the fact of neural delays. The transmission of signals through the nervous system takes time, and this means that there is a lag between something happening (at, say, the retina) and that event having consequences in cortex, let alone behaviour. In control theory terms, delays in a system can lead to instability in that system's behaviour as you are forced to make corrections that are then incorrect and must themselves be corrected. It's typically sugg........ Read more »

Montagne, G., Durey, A., Bootsma, R., & Laurent, M. (1999) Movement reversals in ball catching. Experimental Brain Research, 129(1), 87-92. DOI: 10.1007/s002210050939  

Vicente, R., Gollo, L., Mirasso, C., Fischer, I., & Pipa, G. (2008) Dynamical relaying can yield zero time lag neuronal synchrony despite long conduction delays. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(44), 17157-17162. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0809353105  

  • September 22, 2011
  • 12:42 PM

Is Lithium a Potential Aid in Traumatic Brain Injury?

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

Lithium carbonate serves as a primary treatment option in the treatment of mania and bipolar affective disorder.  An elemental metal, lithium has atomic number 3 in the periodic table of elements.The mechanism of action for lithium carbonate in bipolar disorder is unclear.  Some of the proposed mechanisms for lithium in the central nervous system include:alteration of the neurotransmitter glutamate (affected by other drugs linked to therapeutic effect in bipolar disorder, i.e. sodium v........ Read more »

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