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  • March 6, 2012
  • 12:50 AM

Folk neuropsychology

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts

I find the traces of old theories in our language intriguing. We still talk about heat in ways that hark back to the phlogiston theory – we talk of the flow of heat like it was a fluid. We talk of the sun rising, as if Galileo had never been, although we all know it [...]... Read more »

  • March 5, 2012
  • 02:08 PM

To Sleep, Perchance to Synthesize Proteins

by Karen Kreeger in Penn Medicine News Blog

Sleep keeps neuroscientist Marcos Frank awake, studying the importance of slumber during early life. Building on his research showing that the brain during sleep is fundamentally different from the brain during wakefulness, Frank an associate professor of Neuroscience at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has found that cellular changes in the sleeping brain may promote the formation of memories. In the newest study from the lab, published in the March 1 issue of C........ Read more »

Seibt, J., Dumoulin, M., Aton, S., Coleman, T., Watson, A., Naidoo, N., & Frank, M. (2012) Protein Synthesis during Sleep Consolidates Cortical Plasticity In Vivo. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.02.016  

  • March 5, 2012
  • 01:19 PM

Time for neuroimaging to clean up its act

by Dorothy Bishop in bishopblog

I suggest that people find brain images so compelling that they are blinded to the poor methodological quality of many studies. I illustrate with a study by Temple et al (2003) that appeared in PNAS.... Read more »

  • March 4, 2012
  • 08:44 PM

Night Owls Get a Coffee Break

by Dirk Hanson in Addiction Inbox

“Morning people” have more caffeine-related sleep problems.

Let me start by saying that I love this caffeine study for personal reasons. As a lifelong night owl, I have been chastised by wife, family, and friends over the years for my regular habit of drinking coffee after 10 pm. (And falling easily asleep two or three hours later, if I choose to.) Other coffee drinkers have told me how rare and weird this is. If we have a cup, they tell me, or even an afternoon sip, we toss and turn all n........ Read more »

  • March 4, 2012
  • 04:14 PM

Can you have sex so mind-blowing you can't remember it?

by Bradley Voytek in Oscillatory Thoughts

(Yet another post prompted by a question on Quora that got me thinking about some fun ideas. As always, caveat lector: this is just some more "science jazz"... playing around with ideas to get me thinking about things I normally wouldn't think about from a neuroscientific context.)Okay, so there's a relatively more banal answer and then a much more fun answer.Let's start with the more fun.Totally Spitballing Fun AnswerMost people know about the studies in the 1........ Read more »

Cejas C, Cisneros LF, Lagos R, Zuk C, & Ameriso SF. (2010) Internal jugular vein valve incompetence is highly prevalent in transient global amnesia. Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation, 41(1), 67-71. PMID: 19926838  

  • March 4, 2012
  • 01:52 PM

Methylphenidate enhances extinction of contextual fear

by Sathishk in neuro JC

Posted on behalf of Neloy Kumar Chakroborty
Summary: Prefrontal cortex (PFC) is known to be an important area regulating the extinction of fear. Psychostimulants that can increase the extracellular levels of dopamine (DA) in the PFC were reported to be involved in the fear extinction, although the reports were dilemmatic. Methylphenidate hydrochloride (MPH) or Ritalin (trade [...]... Read more »

Abraham AD, Cunningham CL, & Lattal KM. (2012) Methylphenidate enhances extinction of contextual fear. Learning , 19(2), 67-72. PMID: 22251891  

  • March 4, 2012
  • 12:21 PM

Using psychology to silence your enemies: the speech-jammer gun

by Jordan Gaines in Gaines, on Brains

Chances are you've been in a quiet, peaceful place, such as a library or work cubicle, concentrating intently on a task at hand, when suddenly someone's obnoxious ringtone goes off. That's bad enough. But then they answer it, and you're subjected to five or ten minutes of one-sided conversation, giggles, and abject, torturous curiosity. Don't you just want to shoot that person? Well, now you can.... Read more »

  • March 3, 2012
  • 07:46 PM

Spikes trigger LFP waves: the rebuttal

by Patrick Mineault in xcorr

Nauhaus, Busse, Carandini and Dario Ringach published an influential paper in 2009 with pretty convincing evidence that spikes trigger traveling waves of activity visible in LFPs; that these waves travel laterally; and because the dynamics of these waves change during stimulation compared to spontaneous activity, that stimulation modulates functional connectivity. This could imply that a [...]... Read more »

  • March 2, 2012
  • 01:00 PM

Your Sense of Sight Helps You Smell

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Imagine the smell of an orange. Have you got it? Are you also picturing the orange, even though I didn't ask you to? Try fish. Or mown grass. You'll find it's difficult to bring a scent to mind without also calling up an image. It's no coincidence, scientists say: Your brain's visual processing center is doing double duty in the smell department.

Since previous studies had shown that the brain's visual center lights up with activity when someone does a purely smell-related task, a group of r........ Read more »

Jadauji, J., Djordjevic, J., Lundstrom, J., & Pack, C. (2012) Modulation of Olfactory Perception by Visual Cortex Stimulation. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(9), 3095-3100. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.6022-11.2012  

  • March 2, 2012
  • 07:02 AM

You are naked in public! Did your brain make you do it?

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Wardrobe malfunctions. We know what they are. Some of us have had them. We can’t show you a picture of a wardrobe malfunction up though because this is not that sort of website. Yet the question is simple: Can your brain make you disrobe in public without your awareness? As in, “it’s not my client’s [...]
Related posts:
And the jury says: “His brain really DID make him do it!”
Do our brains ‘make us’ murder?
Confused about brain scans? Welcome to the club!
... Read more »

Wortzel, H., Strom, L., Anderson, A., Maa, E., & Spitz, M. (2012) Disrobing Associated with Epileptic Seizures and Forensic Implications. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 57(2), 550-552. DOI: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.01995.x  

  • March 1, 2012
  • 09:40 AM

Tarsiers -- Communication in the Ultrasound

by Jim Ryan in Wild Mammals

By contributing writer Sarah Buckleitner

It is difficult for humans to imagine that a world of color and sound exists outside of the one that we can perceive, but for some organisms that world is a reality. Usually these animals aren't ones that we can readily relate to; bats and dolphins are two examples that both possess the ability to hear and emit high-frequency sounds. And so the discovery that a fellow primate, the Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), may have the ability to emit s........ Read more »

Ramsier, M., Cunningham, A., Moritz, G., Finneran, J., Williams, C., Ong, P., Gursky-Doyen, S., & Dominy, N. (2012) Primate communication in the pure ultrasound. Biology Letters. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.1149  

  • March 1, 2012
  • 05:34 AM

Removing epigenetic memory blockages in Alzheimer's disease

by Andrew Watt in A Hippo on Campus

The progressive deterioration of one’s social and cognitive functioning is often thought of as being synonymous with the normal aging process. After all we all forget names, misplace our keys and stumble over our words from time to time. Hell, sometimes it even happens in the absence of that second glass of wine. Yet you only need to look at Christopher Plummer's recent Oscar acceptance speech to realise that a deteriorating mind is not an inherent part of growing old. After all Plumm........ Read more »

  • February 29, 2012
  • 10:30 AM

Group Meetings at Work May Lower Intelligence, Scientists Say

by United Academics in United Academics

The theory goes that meetings boost creativity and smart thinking among employees, but a new research from the Virginia Tech Crilion Research Institute suggests just the opposite: that they actually make people less efficient.... Read more »

  • February 29, 2012
  • 02:35 AM

Bringing the Real World into Brain Scanning

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Canadian Neuroscientists Jacqueline Snow et al propose a new method of making brain scanning studies a bit more realistic.Typically, in an fMRI or other neuroimaging study, any visual stimuli shown to the volunteer are just pictures on a screen. Sometimes videos will be used, but in almost all cases they're just 2D images. Is that adaquate? People have hoped so.Snow et al's data suggest that it might not be.They created a contraption for presenting subjects with real objects during a scan. See a........ Read more »

  • February 28, 2012
  • 03:32 PM

If you give a mouse a placebo...

by TheCellularScale in The Cellular Scale

...It might ask for some cocaine.  Or it might feel the effects of cocaine anyway.  Just say no, Rat (source)The "Placebo Effect" occurs when someone takes a functionally ineffectual drug, but feels the effects anyway. There are many examples of this: Someone in pain takes a sugar pill, but is told that it is a painkiller might report 'feeling much less pain'.  A Parkinson's patient takes a sugar pill having been told it was their 'L-dopa' medication and c........ Read more »

  • February 27, 2012
  • 05:00 PM

Walk Along the Paper Trail: Drosophiliac Dopaminergic Sweet Tooth

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

Rather than repine about the worst Cell paper I've ever read*, let's cover a new Cell paper from David Anderson's lab. In my past posts on taste, I've covered a lot of the Zuker lab's work on mammalian taste receptors, and other labs' work on how neuromodulators can effect taste receptors. Parallel with the work on mammalian receptors, many taste receptors have been identified in the fly, ... Read more »

  • February 27, 2012
  • 08:23 AM

Risk Factors for Accidental Overdose Death

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The recent accidental overdose deaths of Whitney Houston and other celebrities highlights the growing problem of prescription drug abuse.  I have previous highlighted some recent important clinical research studies in prescription drug abuse including:The Epidemiology of Prescription Opioid AbusePathways to Prescription Opioid OverdosePrescription Opioid Overdose ToxicologyNow there is a recent study that examines some of the risk factors for accidental overdose death.  This study by B........ Read more »

  • February 27, 2012
  • 07:31 AM

Depression and VMPFC/DLPFC

by Neuro Love in NeuroLove

How depression seems to be affected in prefrontal cortex... Read more »

  • February 27, 2012
  • 03:56 AM

Nerves of a feather, wire together

by Kevin Mitchell in Wiring the Brain

Finding your soulmate, for a neuron, is a daunting task. With so many opportunities for casual hook-ups, how do you know when you find “the one”? In the early 1960’s Roger Sperry proposed his famous “chemoaffinity theory” to explain how neural connectivity arises. This was based on observations of remarkable specificity in the projections of nerves regenerating from the eye of frogs to their targets in the brain. His first version of this theory proposed that each neuron found its t........ Read more »

Osterhout, J., Josten, N., Yamada, J., Pan, F., Wu, S., Nguyen, P., Panagiotakos, G., Inoue, Y., Egusa, S., Volgyi, B.... (2011) Cadherin-6 Mediates Axon-Target Matching in a Non-Image-Forming Visual Circuit. Neuron, 71(4), 632-639. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.07.006  

Williams, M., Wilke, S., Daggett, A., Davis, E., Otto, S., Ravi, D., Ripley, B., Bushong, E., Ellisman, M., Klein, G.... (2011) Cadherin-9 Regulates Synapse-Specific Differentiation in the Developing Hippocampus. Neuron, 71(4), 640-655. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2011.06.019  

  • February 26, 2012
  • 12:00 PM

Seeing into the future? The neuroscience of déjà vu

by Jordan Gaines in Gaines, on Brains

Déjà vu is a French term that literally means "already seen" and is reported to occur in 60-70% of people, most commonly between the ages of 15 and 25. The fact that déjà vu occurs so randomly and rapidly—and in individuals without a medical condition—makes it difficult to study, and why and how the phenomenon occurs is up to much speculation. Psychoanalysts may attribute it to wishful thinking; some psychiatrists cite mismatching in the brain ca........ Read more »

Bartolomei F, Barbeau EJ, Nguyen T, McGonigal A, Régis J, Chauvel P, & Wendling F. (2012) Rhinal-hippocampal interactions during déjà vu. Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology, 123(3), 489-95. PMID: 21924679  

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