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  • March 22, 2012
  • 06:35 AM

Genetics behind Schizophrenia Revealed

by Vivek Misra in Uberbrain Research Frontier

At least half of schizophrenia patients who have no family history of the disorder harbor de novomutations, according to research published online on Sunday (August 7) in Nature Genetics, suggesting genetics may play a role even when the disease is not inherited.  Specifically, researchers sequenced the exomes, or protein-coding DNA, of 53 patients with non-inherited cases of schizophrenia—meaning they had no immediate family members nor aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews or gr........ Read more »

Xu, B., Roos, J., Dexheimer, P., Boone, B., Plummer, B., Levy, S., Gogos, J., & Karayiorgou, M. (2011) Exome sequencing supports a de novo mutational paradigm for schizophrenia. Nature Genetics, 43(9), 864-868. DOI: 10.1038/ng.902  

  • March 21, 2012
  • 05:15 PM

What would you do if you had no sense of smell?

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

No, really. What would you do? What scents would you miss the most? Freshly laundered sheets? A certain perfume or cologne worn by someone you care about? Mom/dad/Aunt Jane’s meatloaf? The roses in your garden? While I might miss my favorite perfume, I’ll tell you what I wouldn’t miss: subway body odors. But what about [...]

... Read more »

Croy I, Negoias S, Novakova L, Landis BN, & Hummel T. (2012) Learning about the Functions of the Olfactory System from People without a Sense of Smell. PLoS ONE, 7(3). info:/

  • March 21, 2012
  • 04:06 PM

Risk Factors for Pathological Gambling

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The risk for developing pathological gambling appears to vary among individuals in the population.  Risk factors that have been identified include male gender, a substance use disorder including alcohol, drug or nicotine dependence, and a proneness to other impulsive behaviors.  Individuals who seek novelty and exposure to risk appear to be more likely to get into pathological gambling behaviors.There may also be some protective factors in risk for pathological gambling.  Strong b........ Read more »

Wang, S., Krajbich, I., Adolphs, R., & Tsuchiya, N. (2012) The Role of Risk Aversion in Non-Conscious Decision Making. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00050  

  • March 21, 2012
  • 10:00 AM

How animals, Shrek, and Yoda stimulate your neurons.

by TheCellularScale in The Cellular Scale

Is CellularDog thinking 'yum'? or 'aww'? (I took this picture)(and, yes, sometimes I wear ugly Christmas pants)Recent studies have found that specific cells in the human brain respond to specific things.  And I don't just mean those vision neurons that respond to lines or circles that you learned about in psychology 101.  There are neurons in your brain that selectively respond to concepts (like celebrities, faces, and animals).  Let's talk about animal cells...(that is ........ Read more »

Mormann F, Dubois J, Kornblith S, Milosavljevic M, Cerf M, Ison M, Tsuchiya N, Kraskov A, Quiroga RQ, Adolphs R.... (2011) A category-specific response to animals in the right human amygdala. Nature neuroscience, 14(10), 1247-9. PMID: 21874014  

  • March 21, 2012
  • 03:45 AM

Brain Scanning - Just the Tip of the Iceberg?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Neuroimaging studies may be giving us a misleading picture of the brain, according to two big papers just out.By big, I don't just mean important. Both studies made use of a much larger set of data than is usual in neuroimaging studies. Thyreau et al scanned 1,326 people. For comparison, a lot of fMRI studies have more like n=13. Gonzalez-Castillo et al, on the other hand, only had 3 people - but each one was scanned while performing the same task 500 times over.Both studies found that pretty mu........ Read more »

  • March 21, 2012
  • 02:21 AM

Rett Syndrome - Immuno-Genetic Prospective

by Vivek Misra in Uberbrain Research Frontier

Rett syndrome is a devastating genetic disease in which brain development—along with communication and motor skills—regresses after about 18 months of normal development. An Immuno-Genetic Prospective... Read more »

Derecki, N., Cronk, J., Lu, Z., Xu, E., Abbott, S., Guyenet, P., & Kipnis, J. (2012) Wild-type microglia arrest pathology in a mouse model of Rett syndrome. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature10907  

  • March 19, 2012
  • 09:49 PM

Is the display resolution of the new Ipad adequate for the eye?

by Pablo Artal in Optics confidential

Visual optics tell us if the resolution of the new Ipad display enough for the eye and how compares with the ipad2... ... Read more »

  • March 19, 2012
  • 03:47 PM

Normalization as a canonical neural computation

by Patrick Mineault in xcorr

There’s an excellent review on normalization in the January 2012 edition of Nature Reviews Neuroscience by Carandini and Heeger. The theory and mathematics of normalization have stayed consistent since the seminal papers Heeger (1992) and  Carandini and Heeger (1994). The response of a given neuron is divided by the summed output of a normalization pool, [...]... Read more »

  • March 19, 2012
  • 01:16 PM

Does the Human Dorsal Stream Really Process Elongated Vegetables?

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

What do zucchini and hammers have in common? Both might be processed by the dorsal stream.The primate visual system is divided into ventral ("what") and dorsal ("where") visual streams that are specialized for object recognition and spatial localization, respectively (Mishkin et al., 1983; Haxby et al., 1991).Goodale and Milner (1992) conceptualized the two pathways as "vision for perception" and "vision for action":We propose that the ventral stream of projections from the striate cortex to t........ Read more »

Sakuraba S, Sakai S, Yamanaka M, Yokosawa K, & Hirayama K. (2012) Does the human dorsal stream really process a category for tools?. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 32(11), 3949-53. PMID: 22423115  

  • March 18, 2012
  • 06:28 PM

“Bath Salts” and Ecstasy Implicated in Kidney Injuries

by Dirk Hanson in Addiction Inbox

“A potentially life-threatening situation.”
Earlier this month, state officials became alarmed by a cluster of puzzling health problems that had suddenly popped up in Casper, Wyoming, population 55,000. Three young people had been hospitalized with kidney injuries, and dozens of others were allegedly suffering from vomiting and back pain after smoking or snorting an herbal product sold as “blueberry spice.” The Poison Review reported that the outbreak was presently under investigation b........ Read more »

Adebamiro, A., & Perazella, M. (2012) Recurrent Acute Kidney Injury Following Bath Salts Intoxication. American Journal of Kidney Diseases, 59(2), 273-275. DOI: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2011.10.012  

  • March 18, 2012
  • 07:46 AM

Functional neurogenesis induced by operant but not by classical conditioning

by Björn Brembs in neuro JC

Some studies on olfactory conditioning in rodents have shown that long term memory of the conditioned odor depends on neurogenesis, while other studies did not detect such a dependence on neurogenesis. In their paper entitled „Involvement of Newborn Neurons in Olfactory Associative Learning? The Operant or Non-operant Component of the Task Makes All the Difference“, [...]... Read more »

  • March 17, 2012
  • 02:38 PM

The powerful neurotoxin that is Botox

by Jordan Gaines in Gaines, on Brains

Did you know that Botox—the quick fix solicited by 6 million Americans each year and 75% of celebrities over the age of 35—is composed of the same deadly toxin responsible for botulism poisoning that can cause paralysis and respiratory failure? ... Read more »

  • March 17, 2012
  • 09:48 AM

Psychotropic Medications Increase Cardiac Death

by ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Honkola et al. (2012) tell us what we already knew, that is, that psychotropic medications increase cardiac mortality. In addition, they have found that combined anti-psychotic and anti-depressant treatment leads to a 'very high risk' of sudden cardiac death. ... Read more »

Honkola J, Hookana E, Malinen S, Kaikkonen KS, Junttila MJ, Isohanni M, Kortelainen ML, & Huikuri HV. (2012) Psychotropic medications and the risk of sudden cardiac death during an acute coronary event. European heart journal, 33(6), 745-51. PMID: 21920969  

  • March 16, 2012
  • 11:25 AM

How to Slim Down, Manage Your Man, and Stay Tight with Your Girlfriends!

by Elizabeth Preston in Inkfish

Who ever said science wasn't for us ladies? This week's research is full of tips on looking good, eating right, and taking care of your man! Plus: Don't miss a shocking true story about a girls' get-together turned deadly.

The calorie-free way to de-bland your diet

You try to eat right. But sometimes that low-sodium poached chicken breast on lettuce doesn't thrill your taste buds. What if merely looking at pictures of steak, pizza or pastries made your healthy meal taste hearti........ Read more »

  • March 16, 2012
  • 12:02 AM

Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Neurophysiological Impairments Relate to Head Impacts

by Jacqueline Phillips in Sports Medicine Research (SMR): In the Lab & In the Field

Breedlove et al recently did just this, while also trying to establish correlations between hits and changes in neurophysiology.... Read more »

Breedlove EL, Robinson M, Talavage TM, Morigaki KE, Yoruk U, O'Keefe K, King J, Leverenz LJ, Gilger JW, & Nauman EA. (2012) Biomechanical correlates of symptomatic and asymptomatic neurophysiological impairment in high school football. Journal of biomechanics. PMID: 22381736  

  • March 15, 2012
  • 04:43 PM

The Blinking Brain - A Problem For fMRI?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Every time we blink, a wave of activity sweeps through our brain - and this could be a serious problem for some fMRI researchers.French neuroscientists Hupé et al report on A BOLD signature of eyeblinks in the visual cortex. They found that spontaneous blinks are associated with a neural activation pattern over the occipital cortex areas responsible for processing vision.In many ways this is not surprising - when you blink, everything goes dark, and then lights up again, all within a fraction o........ Read more »

  • March 15, 2012
  • 09:02 AM

Young or old it doesn't matter: we need them both

by EE Giorgi in CHIMERAS

To honor Brain Awareness Week I thought I'd try and discuss a neuroscience paper this week. It's not my field, so you'll have to be patient with me (and you experts out there are more than welcome to pitch in). I found a really fascinating story in the latest issue of Science [1] on the differences in information processing between "young" and "old" neurons. In order to understand the story, I had to take a couple of steps back and review a few things about the brain. The hippocampus is the part........ Read more »

  • March 15, 2012
  • 04:44 AM

Why mislead people?

by Janet Kwasniak in Thoughts on thoughts

Is it important to society that the public believes in free will even if learned scientists and philosophers do not. Apparently there are those that hold that view. James Miles (see citation) writes that this is irresponsible and a disservice.
Here is the abstract:
Over the last few years, a number of works have been published [...]... Read more »

  • March 14, 2012
  • 12:38 PM

Social butterflies or wallflowers? Two brain regions and a peptide

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

Zebra finches are really social little birds. When conditions are not right for breeding (usually when there’s not enough rain), they hang out in flocks of hundreds. And in the intimate mood the rain brings, groups break up into more manageable sizes of 10-20 birds, which still seems like a lot to me. Although, if you’re the type to have a “quiet night in” with just a dozen or so of your closest friends, you may be able to relate to the gregarious zebra finch. This is a zebra finch ........ Read more »

Kelly, A., Kingsbury, M., Hoffbuhr, K., Schrock, S., Waxman, B., Kabelik, D., Thompson, R., & Goodson, J. (2011) Vasotocin neurons and septal V1a-like receptors potently modulate songbird flocking and responses to novelty. Hormones and Behavior, 60(1), 12-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2011.01.012  

  • March 14, 2012
  • 10:58 AM

Plant Neurons? Sensation and action in the Venus Flytrap

by TheCellularScale in The Cellular Scale

Plants are more electric than you might think.  (Venus Fly Trap by Nick Ford at nickpix2012)While they don't have neurons in the proper sense, they have sensory receptors, ion channels,  action potentials, and can process information. One of the most remarkable feats of plant information processing occurs in the venus flytrap.  The venus fly trap is remarkable among plants because it has very fast and very specific information processing capabilities.  It can ........ Read more »

Benolken RM, & Jacobson SL. (1970) Response properties of a sensory hair excised from Venus's flytrap. The Journal of general physiology, 56(1), 64-82. PMID: 5514161  

Forterre Y, Skotheim JM, Dumais J, & Mahadevan L. (2005) How the Venus flytrap snaps. Nature, 433(7024), 421-5. PMID: 15674293  

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