Rapid eye movement or REM sleep actively converts waking experiences into lasting memories and abilities in young brains reports a new study. The finding broadens the understanding of children’s sleep needs and calls into question the increasing use of REM-disrupting medications such as stimulants and antidepressants.
... Read more »
Michelle C. Dumoulin Bridi, Sara J. Aton, Julie Seibt, Leslie Renouard, Tammi Coleman1, & Marcos G. Frank. (2015) Rapid eye movement sleep promotes cortical plasticity in the developing brain. Science Advances. info:/10.1126/sciadv.1500105
Can we learn without being aware of what we're learning? Many psychologists say that 'unconscious', or implicit, learning exists.
But in a new paper, London-based psychologists Vadillo, Konstantinidis, and Shanks call the evidence for this into question.
Vadillo et al. focus on one particular example of implicit learning, the contextual cueing paradigm. This involves a series of stimulus patterns, each consisting of a number of "L" shapes and one "T" shape in various orientations. For ... Read more »
Vadillo MA, Konstantinidis E, & Shanks DR. (2015) Underpowered samples, false negatives, and unconscious learning. Psychonomic bulletin . PMID: 26122896
A new research article shows that the ventral striatum includes a representation of the value attributed to potential choices in a gambling task, and of the decision eventually reached.... Read more »
Strait, C., Sleezer, B., & Hayden, B. (2015) Signatures of Value Comparison in Ventral Striatum Neurons. PLOS Biology, 13(6). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002173
For decades, researchers in the genetics field have theorized that the protein spools around which DNA is wound, histones, remain constant in the brain, never changing after development in the womb. Now, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have discovered that histones are steadily replaced in brain cells throughout life – a process which helps to switch genes on and off.... Read more »
Maze, I., Wenderski, W., Noh, K., Bagot, R., Tzavaras, N., Purushothaman, I., Elsässer, S., Guo, Y., Ionete, C., Hurd, Y.... (2015) Critical Role of Histone Turnover in Neuronal Transcription and Plasticity. Neuron, 87(1), 77-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.06.014
Previous studies have shown that men find female faces more attractive when the women are ovulating, but the visual clues that allow this are unclear. Now, new research investigating whether it might be to do with subtle changes in skin colour has shown that women’s faces do increase in redness during ovulation, but the levels of change are just under the detectable range of the human eye.... Read more »
Hannah Rowland, & Robert Burriss. (2015) Women’s faces get redder at ovulation, but human eyes can’t pick up on it. PLOS ONE. info:/
This is the second post reviewing recent novel trials for the treatment of bipolar disorder.Again, for my sources I am using are clinicaltrials.gov and PubMed.Clicking on the study title will take you to the clinicaltrials.gov site for more detailed protocol information.Allopurinol Maintenance Study for Bipolar DisorderThis completed study examined the effect of 300 to 600 mg per day of allopurinol on mania prevention. Allopurinol is a drug used primarily for the treatment of gout or kidney ston........ Read more »
Jahangard, L., Soroush, S., Haghighi, M., Ghaleiha, A., Bajoghli, H., Holsboer-Trachsler, E., & Brand, S. (2013) In a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial, adjuvant allopurinol improved symptoms of mania in in-patients suffering from bipolar disorder. Pharmacopsychiatry, 46(06). DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1353345
Lauder S, Chester A, Castle D, Dodd S, Gliddon E, Berk L, Chamberlain J, Klein B, Gilbert M, Austin DW.... (2015) A randomized head to head trial of MoodSwings.net.au: an Internet based self-help program for bipolar disorder. Journal of affective disorders, 13-21. PMID: 25282145
Rapinesi C, Bersani FS, Kotzalidis GD, Imperatori C, Del Casale A, Di Pietro S, Ferri VR, Serata D, Raccah RN, Zangen A.... (2015) Maintenance Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Sessions are Associated with Reduced Depressive Relapses in Patients with Unipolar or Bipolar Depression. Frontiers in neurology, 16. PMID: 25709596
Here’s more evidence that fish oil supplementation and antioxidants might be beneficial for at least some people facing Alzheimer’s disease. A new report describes the findings of a very small study in which people with mild clinical impairment, such as those in the very early stages of the disease, saw clearance of the hallmark amyloid-beta protein and reduced inflammation in neurological tissues. Although the findings involved just 12 patients over the course of 4 to 17 months, the finding........ Read more »
Fiala M, Halder RC, Sagong B, Ross O, Sayre J, Porter V, & Bredesen DE. (2015) ω-3 Supplementation increases amyloid-β phagocytosis and resolvin D1 in patients with minor cognitive impairment. FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. PMID: 25805829
A new paper from a group of American neurologists makes the case that Hitler suffered from Parkinson's disease for much of his life, and that some of his most fateful decisions were influenced by the neurological disorder.
The article is by Raghav Gupta and colleagues and it appears in World Neurosurgery - a journal with an interesting political history of its own.
Gupta et al. note that
The possibility of Hitler suffering from Parkinson's has long been the subject of debate... [a res... Read more »
Gupta R, Kim C, Agarwal N, Lieber B, & Monaco EA 3rd. (2015) Understanding the Influence of Parkinson's Disease on Adolf Hitler's Decision-Making during World War II. World neurosurgery. PMID: 26093359
Researchers led by Toru Takumi at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan have discovered a key mechanism underlying how animals keep track of the seasons. The study shows how circadian clock machinery in the brain encodes seasonal changes in daylight duration through GABA activity along with changes in the amount of chloride located inside certain neurons.... Read more »
Myung J, Hong S, DeWoskin D, Schutter E, Forger, DB, and Takumi T. (2015) GABA-mediated repulsive coupling between circadian clock neurons in the SCN encodes seasonal time. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. info:/10.1073/pnas.1421200112
With the advent of video games, a frequently asked question has been whether we get as engrossed in them emotionally as we do when we see a scary movie. The answer is yes and many game players enjoy the fear caused by the zombies, disfigured humans and darkness they often encounter, the researchers found.... Read more »
Lynch, T., & Martins, N. (2015) Nothing to Fear? An Analysis of College Students' Fear Experiences With Video Games. Journal of Broadcasting , 59(2), 298-317. DOI: 10.1080/08838151.2015.1029128
Behavioral flexibility — the ability to change strategy when the rules change — is controlled by specific neurons in the brain, Researchers have confirmed. Cholinergic interneurons are rare — they make up just one to two percent of the neurons in the striatum, a key part of the brain involved with higher-level decision-making. Scientists have suspected they play a role in changing strategies, and researchers at OIST recently confirmed this with experiments.... Read more »
Aoki, S., Liu, A., Zucca, A., Zucca, S., & Wickens, J. (2015) Role of Striatal Cholinergic Interneurons in Set-Shifting in the Rat. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(25), 9424-9431. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0490-15.2015
Tens of millions of Americans — an estimated 1 to 2 percent of the population — will suffer at some point in their lifetimes from obsessive-compulsive disorder, a disorder characterized by recurrent, intrusive, and disturbing thoughts (obsessions), and/or stereotyped recurrent behaviors (compulsions). Left untreated, OCD can be profoundly distressing to the patient and can adversely affect their ability to succeed in school, hold a job or function in society.... Read more »
Feusner JD, Moody T, Lai TM, Sheen C, Khalsa S, Brown J, Levitt J, Alger J, & O'Neill J. (2015) Brain connectivity and prediction of relapse after cognitive-behavioral therapy in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Frontiers in psychiatry, 74. PMID: 26042054
Comment sections on websites continue to be an environment for trolls to spew racist opinions. The impact of these hateful words shouldn’t have an impact on how one views the news or others, but that may not be the case. A recent study found exposure to prejudiced online comments can increase people’s own prejudice, and increase the likelihood that they leave prejudiced comments themselves.... Read more »
Hsueh, M., Yogeeswaran, K., & Malinen, S. (2015) Leave Your Comment Below: Can Biased Online Comments Influence Our Own Prejudicial Attitudes and Behaviors?. Human Communication Research. DOI: 10.1111/hcre.12059
To finish out the bipolar disorder topic month I will review some of the novel clinical trials in this condition.Clinicaltrials.gov is a valuable resource in searching for active and recently completed clinical trials.Here are some of the rostered trials from this site related to bipolar disorder that caught my attention.Sensoril for Bipolar DisorderSensoril is the trade name for the natural product ashwagandha an herbal extract from the herb Withania somnifera. This trial was sponsored through ........ Read more »
Chengappa KN, Bowie CR, Schlicht PJ, Fleet D, Brar JS, & Jindal R. (2013) Randomized placebo-controlled adjunctive study of an extract of withania somnifera for cognitive dysfunction in bipolar disorder. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 74(11), 1076-83. PMID: 24330893
Deckersbach T, Hölzel BK, Eisner LR, Stange JP, Peckham AD, Dougherty DD, Rauch SL, Lazar S, & Nierenberg AA. (2012) Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for nonremitted patients with bipolar disorder. CNS neuroscience , 18(2), 133-41. PMID: 22070469
Savitz J, Preskorn S, Teague TK, Drevets D, Yates W, & Drevets W. (2012) Minocycline and aspirin in the treatment of bipolar depression: a protocol for a proof-of-concept, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2x2 clinical trial. BMJ open, 2(1). PMID: 22357572
Finding links between disorders felt to be distinct is a helpful tool in understanding genetics and pathophysiology. An example would be the discovery that individuals with genetically determined elevated cholesterol levels had higher rates of cardiovascular disease. This led to drug development of cholesterol lowering agents leading to reduced rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality.A recent population-based study from a research team in Taiwan identified an increased risk of bipolar........ Read more »
Hsu CC, Chen SC, Liu CJ, Lu T, Shen CC, Hu YW, Yeh CM, Chen PM, Chen TJ, & Hu LY. (2014) Rheumatoid arthritis and the risk of bipolar disorder: a nationwide population-based study. PloS one, 9(9). PMID: 25229610
Consciousness — the internal dialogue that seems to govern one’s thoughts and actions — is far less powerful than people believe, serving as a passive conduit rather than an active force that exerts control, according to a new theory proposed by an SF State researcher.... Read more »
Morsella, E., Godwin, C., Jantz, T., Krieger, S., & Gazzaley, A. (2015) Homing in on Consciousness in the Nervous System: An Action-Based Synthesis. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1-106. DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X15000643
A variety of risk factors have been identified in Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.The risk for dementia following major psychiatric syndromes in mid-life is an important research area.Renate Zilkens and colleagues in Australia recently published an informative study of psychiatric disorders and later dementia risk. This study used a population-based case control methodology.The key elements in the design of this study included the following:Subjects: General population in Western........ Read more »
Zilkens, R., Bruce, D., Duke, J., Spilsbury, K., & Semmens, J. (2014) Severe Psychiatric Disorders in Mid-Life and Risk of Dementia in Late- Life (Age 65-84 Years): A Population Based Case-Control Study. Current Alzheimer Research, 11(7), 681-693. DOI: 10.2174/1567205011666140812115004
Researchers at Inserm (Inserm Unit 930 “Imaging and Brain”) attached to François-Rabelais University and Tours Regional University Hospital have combined three clinical, neurophysiological and genetic approaches in order to better understand the brain mechanisms that cause autism. When tested on two families, this strategy enabled the researchers to identify specific gene combinations in autistic patients that distinguished them from patients with intellectual disabilities.... Read more »
Bonnet-Brilhault, F., Alirol, S., Blanc, R., Bazaud, S., Marouillat, S., Thépault, R., Andres, C., Lemonnier, �., Barthélémy, C., Raynaud, M.... (2015) GABA/Glutamate synaptic pathways targeted by integrative genomic and electrophysiological explorations distinguish autism from intellectual disability. Molecular Psychiatry. DOI: 10.1038/mp.2015.75
2014Jessica is depressed again. After six straight weeks of overtime, her boss blandly praised her teamwork at the product launch party. And the following week she was passed over for a promotion in favor of Jason, her junior co-worker. "It's always that way, I'll never get ahead..." She arrives at her therapist's office late, looking stressed, disheveled, and dejected. The same old feelings of worthlessness and despair prompted her to resume her medication and CBT routine."You deserve to be rec........ Read more »
Liu, X., Ramirez, S., Redondo, R., & Tonegawa, S. (2014) Identification and Manipulation of Memory Engram Cells. Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology, 59-65. DOI: 10.1101/sqb.2014.79.024901
Ramirez, S., Liu, X., MacDonald, C., Moffa, A., Zhou, J., Redondo, R., & Tonegawa, S. (2015) Activating positive memory engrams suppresses depression-like behaviour. Nature, 522(7556), 335-339. DOI: 10.1038/nature14514
Children who benefit from a good memory are much better at covering up lies, researchers from the University of Sheffield have discovered. Experts found a link between verbal memory and covering up lies following a study which investigated the role of working memory in verbal deception amongst children.... Read more »
Alloway, T., McCallum, F., Alloway, R., & Hoicka, E. (2015) Liar, liar, working memory on fire: Investigating the role of working memory in childhood verbal deception. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 30-38. DOI: 10.1016/j.jecp.2015.03.013
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