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  • March 5, 2015
  • 03:01 PM
  • 11 views

Was Neuroscience's Most Famous Amnesiac, "HM", A Victim of Medical Error?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

According to a new paper, one of neuroscience's most famous case-studies came about as a result of a serious medical blunder.

Henry Molaison (1926 - 2008), better known as HM, was an American man who developed a dramatic form of amnesia after receiving surgery that removed part of the temporal lobes of his brain. The 1953 operation was intended to treat HM's epilepsy, but it had the side effect of leaving him unable to form new memories.



The consequences of HM's surgery are well known ... Read more »

  • March 5, 2015
  • 02:18 PM
  • 16 views

Not “just” crazy – Some psychoses caused by autoimmunity

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Antibodies defend the body against bacterial, viral, and other invaders. But sometimes the body makes antibodies that attack healthy cells. In these cases, autoimmune disorders develop. Immune abnormalities in patients with psychosis have been recognized for over a century, but it has been only relatively recently that scientists have identified specific immune mechanisms that seem to directly produce symptoms of psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions. In other words, some forms of ps........ Read more »

  • March 4, 2015
  • 04:02 PM
  • 35 views

A study of twins shows that autism is largely genetic

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In the fight against misinformation about autism it seems science is starting to come out on top, finally. A new study hopes to add to the recent advancements made in the understanding of autism, which finds that a substantial genetic and moderate environmental influences were associated with risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and broader autism traits in a study of twins.... Read more »

Colvert, E., Tick, B., McEwen, F., Stewart, C., Curran, S., Woodhouse, E., Gillan, N., Hallett, V., Lietz, S., Garnett, T.... (2015) Heritability of Autism Spectrum Disorder in a UK Population-Based Twin Sample. JAMA Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.3028  

  • March 3, 2015
  • 10:36 PM
  • 38 views

Know your brain: Pineal gland

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

Where is the pineal gland?











Pineal gland (in red). Image courtesy of life science databases.






The pineal gland is considered part of the epithalamus, which is one the main structures that makes up the diencephalon. The pineal gland was so named because it has a pine-cone like appearance. Unlike many structures in the brain, the pineal gland is unpaired; in other words, many brain structures like the hippocampus or amygdala are symmetrical........ Read more »

Dora Sapède,, & Elise Cau. (2013) The Pineal Gland from Development to Function. Current Topics in Developmental Biology. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-416021-7.00005-5  

  • March 3, 2015
  • 02:41 PM
  • 33 views

Early life stress may result in a serotonin deficiency

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

If you have experienced — or are experiencing — mood disorders like anxiety or depression, you know about SSRI’s and chances are they didn’t do much for you. In fact studies indicate that the majority of people with mood and anxiety disorders who receive Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) are not helped by these medications. Sadly, they are the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressant medications, this is because SSRIs are designed to increase serotonin levels, a ........ Read more »

  • March 3, 2015
  • 10:44 AM
  • 35 views

When lexical competition becomes lexical cooperation

by Dan Mirman in Minding the Brain

Lexical neighborhood effects are one of the most robust findings in spoken word recognition: words with many similar-sounding words ("neighbors") are recognized more slowly and less accurately than words with few neighbors. About 10 years ago, when I was just starting my post-doc training with Jim Magnuson, we wondered about semantic neighborhood effects. We found that things were less straightforward in semantics: near semantic neighbors slowed down visual word recognition, but distant semantic........ Read more »

  • March 2, 2015
  • 04:43 PM
  • 45 views

Drug already on the market could help treat MS and other neurological diseases

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Multiple sclerosis, unless you suffer from nerve damage it is a pain you (thankfully) will never have to feel. In most cases, treating the brutal pain caused by this (and other neurological diseases) is the only help that can be offered to people. The pain is caused by damage to myelin, the fatty insulator that enables communication between nerve cells, which characterizes multiple sclerosis (MS) and other devastating neurological diseases.... Read more »

Abiraman, K., Pol, S., O'Bara, M., Chen, G., Khaku, Z., Wang, J., Thorn, D., Vedia, B., Ekwegbalu, E., Li, J.... (2015) Anti-Muscarinic Adjunct Therapy Accelerates Functional Human Oligodendrocyte Repair. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(8), 3676-3688. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3510-14.2015  

  • March 2, 2015
  • 04:06 AM
  • 46 views

Single-Unit Recordings Reveal Limitations of fMRI MVPA?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

Multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA) is an increasingly popular approach for analyzing the results of fMRI scanning experiments that measure brain activity. MVPA searches for patterns of activation that correlate with a particular mental state. This is called 'decoding' neural activity.

Now a new paper in the Journal of Neuroscience from Caltech neuroscientists Julien Dubois et al. reports that MVPA is unable to decode certain kinds of information, even though single-unit recordings confirm th... Read more »

Dubois J, de Berker AO, & Tsao DY. (2015) Single-Unit Recordings in the Macaque Face Patch System Reveal Limitations of fMRI MVPA. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 35(6), 2791-802. PMID: 25673866  

  • March 1, 2015
  • 09:49 AM
  • 101 views

Link between image and sound

by Janet Kwasniak in Neuro-patch

Babies link the sound of a word with the image of an object in their early learning of language and this is an important ability. How do they come to have this mechanism? Are there predispositions to making links between sounds and images? Research by Asano and others (citation below) shows one type of link. […]... Read more »

  • February 28, 2015
  • 10:04 AM
  • 109 views

Meditating For Alice In Wonderland Syndrome

by Chiara Civardi in United Academics

Dear Alice’s fan, this poem by Shel Silverstein is titled ‘Alice’ and now it’s your turn: are you ready to go down the rabbit hole again and be guided in our mind’s wonderland? So, let’s see what the blow up-potion and the shrinking-cake are made of.... Read more »

  • February 28, 2015
  • 04:34 AM
  • 23 views

What are the Unsolved Problems of Neuroscience?

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic_Discover

In an interesting short paper just published in Trends in Cognitive Science, Caltech neuroscientist Ralph Adolphs offers his thoughts on The Unsolved Problems of Neuroscience.





Here's Adolphs' list of the top 23 questions (including 3 "meta" issues), which, he says, was inspired by Hilbert's famous set of 23 mathematical problems:
Problems that are solved, or soon will be:
I. How do single neurons compute?
II. What is the connectome of a small nervous system, like that of Caenorhabi... Read more »

Adolphs R. (2015) The unsolved problems of neuroscience. Trends in cognitive sciences. PMID: 25703689  

  • February 27, 2015
  • 05:23 PM
  • 68 views

New compounds protect nerves from the damage of MS

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Autoimmune diseases are tough to live with, frankly we don’t really understand the reasons they start at all, how to treat them, or even where to start in forming a cure. Well there might be some good news — as far as a treatment goes anyway — a newly characterized group of pharmacological compounds block both the inflammation and nerve cell damage seen in mouse models of multiple sclerosis.... Read more »

Haines, J., Herbin, O., de la Hera, B., Vidaurre, O., Moy, G., Sun, Q., Fung, H., Albrecht, S., Alexandropoulos, K., McCauley, D.... (2015) Nuclear export inhibitors avert progression in preclinical models of inflammatory demyelination. Nature Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1038/nn.3953  

  • February 27, 2015
  • 11:17 AM
  • 88 views

How Deep Mind learns to win

by neuroecology in Neuroecology

About a year ago, DeepMind was bought for half a billion dollars by Google for creating software that could learn to beat video games. Over the past year, DeepMind has detailed how they did it. Let us say that you were … Continue reading →... Read more »

Mnih V, Kavukcuoglu K, Silver D, Rusu AA, Veness J, Bellemare MG, Graves A, Riedmiller M, Fidjeland AK, Ostrovski G.... (2015) Human-level control through deep reinforcement learning. Nature, 518(7540), 529-533. PMID: 25719670  

Volodymyr Mnih, Koray Kavukcuoglu, David Silver, Alex Graves, Ioannis Antonoglou, Daan Wierstra, & Martin Riedmiller. (2013) Playing Atari with Deep Reinforcement Learning. arXiv. arXiv: 1312.5602v1

  • February 27, 2015
  • 10:44 AM
  • 56 views

Breaking Research: Separable short- and long-term memories can form after a momentous occasion

by Bethany Christmann in Fly on the Wall

When was your first kiss? What were you doing the last time you heard life-changing news? After only a single experience, your brain was somehow able to form a long-term memory of these events. This phenomenon has baffled neuroscientists for decades, but in a recent paper published in PNAS, Yamagata et al. report a surprising […]... Read more »

Yamagata Nobuhiro, Yoshinori Aso, Pierre-Yves Plaçais, Anja B. Friedrich, Richard J. Sima, Thomas Preat, Gerald M. Rubin, & Hiromu Tanimoto. (2014) Distinct dopamine neurons mediate reward signals for short- and long-term memories. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(2), 578-583. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1421930112  

  • February 26, 2015
  • 03:04 PM
  • 98 views

Dr. Frankenstein might be impressed, the human head transplant

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Sure it sounds like something from the book Frankenstein, but Sergio Canavero of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group has made it known that he intends to announce at this summer’s American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons meeting, that he believes he has put together a group of techniques that should make it possible to attach a human donor body to a head.... Read more »

  • February 25, 2015
  • 12:02 AM
  • 92 views

Can’t stand the sounds of chewing, loud breathing, or pen clicking? Dutch psychiatrists propose that may be the symptom of a new disorder

by Megan Cartwright in Science-Based Writing

Dutch psychiatrists have proposed that misophonia – a hypersensitivity to common, irritating noises like eating, loud breathing, and pen clicking – be classified as its own psychiatric disorder. After evaluating 42 Dutch patients with the disorder, the psychiatrists concluded that … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 23, 2015
  • 04:21 PM
  • 74 views

Brain waves help memory formation

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Our brains generate a constant hum of activity: As neurons fire, they produce brain waves that oscillate at different frequencies. Long thought to be merely a byproduct of neuron activity, recent studies suggest that these waves may play a critical role in communication between different parts of the brain.... Read more »

  • February 23, 2015
  • 06:23 AM
  • 77 views

Greenish Red: Does It Exist?

by RAZ Rebecca A. Zarate in United Academics

Why is there no such thing as greenish red? Learn everything about color oppositions and experience fun optical illusions ... Read more »

Neitz J, & Neitz M. (2011) The genetics of normal and defective color vision. Vision research, 51(7), 633-51. PMID: 21167193  

  • February 22, 2015
  • 07:00 PM
  • 100 views

New neurons in the adult brain help us adapt

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

The discovery that the human brain continues to produce new neurons in adulthood challenged a major dogma in the field of neuroscience, but the role of these neurons in behavior and cognition is still not clear. In a review article researchers synthesize the vast literature on this topic, reviewing environmental factors that influence the birth of new neurons in the adult hippocampus, a region of the brain that plays an important role in memory and learning.... Read more »

  • February 22, 2015
  • 09:57 AM
  • 95 views

Associating brain structure with function and the bias of more = better

by neurosci in Neuroscientifically Challenged

It seems that, of all of the behavioral neuroscience findings that make their way into popular press coverage, those that involve structural changes to the brain are most likely to pique the interest of the public. Perhaps this is because we have a tendency to think of brain function as something that is flexible and constantly changing, and thus alterations in function do not seem as dramatic as alterations in structure, which give the impression of being more permanent.After all, until relativ........ Read more »

Lazar, S., Kerr, C., Wasserman, R., Gray, J., Greve, D., Treadway, M., McGarvey, M., Quinn, B., Dusek, J., Benson, H.... (2005) Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness. NeuroReport, 16(17), 1893-1897. DOI: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000186598.66243.19  

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