“Layered Voice Analysis” (LVA) is a controversial technology promoted as a tool for helping detect stress and other emotions by analysis of the human voice. According to the company behind the method, Nemesysco: LVA technology enables better understanding of your suspect’s mental state and emotional makeup at a given moment by detecting the emotional cues [...]... Read more »
Horvath F, McCloughan J, Weatherman D, & Slowik S. (2013) The Accuracy of Auditors' and Layered Voice Analysis (LVA) Operators' Judgments of Truth and Deception During Police Questioning*. Journal of forensic sciences. PMID: 23406506
Comparing human brains (and to a lesser extent all primate brains) to other animals like the mouse, we have many more, much bigger and much more complex astrocytes. Astrocytes have contributed to our larger brain by an order of magnitude more than neurons have. Astrocytes make contact and ’surround’ synapses; one human astrocyte can encompasses [...]... Read more »
Han, X., Chen, M., Wang, F., Windrem, M., Wang, S., Shanz, S., Xu, Q., Oberheim, N., Bekar, L., Betstadt, S.... (2013) Forebrain Engraftment by Human Glial Progenitor Cells Enhances Synaptic Plasticity and Learning in Adult Mice. Cell Stem Cell, 12(3), 342-353. DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2012.12.015
This week, a team of researchers from the University of Toronto published a paper in The Lancet describing the results of a small study using deep brain stimulation (DBS) to treatment severe/chronic anorexia nervosa. Major news outlets, including the BBC, reported on the findings. A few people emailed and messaged me asking me to do a post about it (which is cool! I love it!). So here it is.
DBS is a surgical procedure that involves implanting an electrode that delivers electrical signals to the brain. DBS is used to treat Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders with good success, and has recently been implicated in the treatment of OCD and depression as well. (This is a pretty good video explaining how DBS works for movement disorders. There’s lots of information online about how DBS works, so I won’t go into detail here.)
This is not the first time that DBS has been used to treat anorexia nervosa patients (and I actually remember hearing about this when I was in undergrad, a few years ago). There have been two …
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Lipsman, N., Woodside, D., Giacobbe, P., Hamani, C., Carter, J., Norwood, S., Sutandar, K., Staab, R., Elias, G., Lyman, C.... (2013) Subcallosal cingulate deep brain stimulation for treatment-refractory anorexia nervosa: a phase 1 pilot trial. The Lancet. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)62188-6
There's more to a pair of rat noses than meets the eye. Like tiny, leashless dogs, rats like to sniff each other all over when they meet. Yet not all of this sniffing is aimed at gathering scents. Some of it seems to transmit messages such as "I'm in charge" or "Be cool" or "Please don't bite my face."
Rats and other animals give off odors from the "face, flanks, and anogenital region," says neuroscientist Daniel Wesson of Case Western Reserve University. So it's not surprising that these regions are where rats aim their sniffers when they cross paths. To find out whether there might be more going on, though, Wesson outfitted rats with head-mounted devices that measured the speed of their sniffs. Then, after recording videos of these rats encountering each other, he looked at how sniff frequency lined up with different stages of the rodents' interaction.
He saw that all rats sped up their sniffing when their noses were pointed at each other's flanks or rear ends. But when the rats were sniffing each other's faces, their behavior depended on whether they were socially dominant or subordinate. Higher-ranking rats sped up their sniffing as usual. Lower-ranking rats slowed down their own sniffing in response.
This seemed to be an "appeasement signal," akin to climbing into one's own locker when the school bully approaches. Wesson found that when subordinate rats didn't give this signal—when they kept up their sniffing at the usual rate—dominant rats were quicker to pick a fight.
To further test this idea, Wesson treated the insides of the rats' noses with zinc sulfate, making them temporarily lose their sense of smell. Even though they weren't gathering any odors, rats kept on sniffing. And when they were face-to-face, they acted the same as always: dominant rats sniffed faster, while subordinate ones slowed down to avoid trouble. "This sniffing behavior was interestingly resilient," Wesson says.
Sniffing seems to be a form of communication for rats—but only sniffing in the face, not other body parts. Wesson says this may be because face sniffing is an especially vulnerable position for a rat or other animal to be in. When their eyeballs and whiskers and biting parts are all in close proximity, maybe it's a good time for rats to make clear that they don't want a fight.
Alternately, face-to-face might be the only way a rat can detect another rat's sniffing; maybe the signal wouldn't get through if it were aimed at the tail end. "These are different theories we are testing now," Wesson says. There may also be ultrasonic squeaks or other signals invisible to humans that contribute to the conversation between two rats.
If rats use sniffing for communication, and not only for gathering smells, do other social sniffers do the same thing? "I would predict so," Wesson says. "Other rodents likely use this behavior, as could possibly cats and dogs." He points out that neighborhood dogs who meet on a walk will sniff each other, then either part peacefully or start fighting. Some signal in their sniffing behavior may make the difference, though this idea would have to be tested.
That's not to say dogs or rats aren't also gathering actual smells when they sniff. It would be "frankly silly" to discount the importance of smell in an animal's life, Wesson says. It seems there's much more going on, though, when an animal sticks its nose into the world.
Wesson, D. (2013). Sniffing Behavior Communicates Social Hierarchy Current Biology DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.02.012
Image: Daniel Wesson.
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We all want to be smarter. For a while, it looked like science was ready to deliver. Transcranial electrical stimulation (TES) is a type of noninvasive brain stimulation that works by placing electrodes over a small area of the brain. Direct current administered through these electrodes can cause the targeted brain area to generate electrical [...]... Read more »
Caffeinated plants provide an unforgettable experience.
Honeybees rewarded with caffeine remember the smell of specific flowers longer than bees given only sucrose, according to a study published in Science. “By using a drug to enhance memories of reward,” the study says, “plants secure pollinator fidelity and improve reproductive success.”
Many drugs used by humans come from plants. But what role do the drugs play for the plants themselves? Frequently, they play the role of toxic avenger, providing a chemical defense against attacks by herbivores. But in smaller doses, they often have pharmacological effects on mammals. The researchers looked at two genera of caffeine-producing plants—Coffea and Citrus. “If caffeine confers a selective advantage when these pants interact with pollinators,” the investigators reasoned, “we might expect it to be commonly encountered in nectar.” And it was. Caffeine at very low doses was measured in the nectar of several of the caffeine-producing plant species, including several Coffea species, as well as some citrus nectars—grapefruit, lemons, and oranges among them.
Next, the researchers wanted to find out if the caffeine-laced nectar could affect learning and memory in pollinating bees. They trained individual honeybees to associate various floral scents with sucrose containing various concentrations of caffeine. This pairing of odor and reward, with high-concentration sucrose as the control, demonstrated that low doses of caffeine had almost no effect on the rate of honeybee learning—but a profound effect on long-term memory. Three times as many caffeinated bees remembered the conditioned floral scent 24 hours later, “and responded as if it predicted reward.” Twice as many bees remembered the scent at the 72-hour mark.
What’s the trick? Caffeine’s ability to influence mammalian behavior is due to its action as an adenosine receptor antagonist. “In the hippocampal region,” the authors write, “inhibition of adenosine receptors by caffeine induces long-term potentiation, a key mechanism of memory formation." The Kenyon cells in mushroom bodies of the insect brain, which showed “increased excitability” under the influence of caffeine, are similar in function to hippocampal neurons, they write. “Remembering floral traits is difficult for bees to perform at a fast pace as they fly from flower to flower and we have found that caffeine helps the bee remember where the flowers are,” said Geraldine Wright of the UK’s Newcastle University, who was lead author on the study. “So, caffeine in nectar is likely to improve the bee’s foraging prowess while providing the plant with a more faithful pollinator.”
It is an interesting balancing act by nature: Too much caffeine makes the nectar toxic and repellent to honeybees. Too little, and there is no behavioral effect on bee memory. “This implies that pollinators drive selection toward concentrations of caffeine that are not repellent but still pharmacologically active,” says the report. Humans have selected for a not-too-much, not-too-little dose of caffeine in the form of soda drinks and coffee. Is it possible that the humble coffee bean is pharmacologically manipulating us into taking good care of it? And do we drink it when we read or study because, for one thing, it enhances long-term memory? And speaking of memory, people often forget where they tucked the oregano, but they usually have little difficulty remembering where they stashed the coffee.
More pragmatically, honeybees on caffeine may lead researchers toward a better understanding of the foraging strategies of pollinator insects, and allow for improved management of crops and landscapes.
Wright G.A., Baker D.D., Palmer M.J., Stabler D., Mustard J.A., Power E.F., Borland A.M. & Stevenson P.C. (2013). Caffeine in Floral Nectar Enhances a Pollinator's Memory of Reward, Science, 339 (6124) 1202-1204. DOI: 10.1126/science.1228806
Photo credit: http://www.coorgblog.orangecounty.in
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Wright G. A., Baker D. D., Palmer M. J., Stabler D., Mustard J. A., Power E. F., Borland A. M., & Stevenson P. C. (2013) Caffeine in Floral Nectar Enhances a Pollinator's Memory of Reward. Science, 339(6124), 1202-1204. DOI: 10.1126/science.1228806
As I mentioned before I worked in a rat lab, and over the next few weeks I'd like to write a bit about some of the research I did as a graduate student at UMSL. I spent my time depressing rats and treating some of them with novel plant-derived compounds (some poor rats just got depressed and given placebo). Before I can tell you more about my project I'd like to share with you some of the work that influenced me. "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants ." -- Isaac NewtonOne of the first sources of inspiration for me was an article I read in Wired about research done by Catherine Willmore (et al.) back in 2007. She was researching a relative of Sage from the Lamiaccae family, Salvia divinorum, AKA Diviner's Sage, AKA Mexican Mint. The plant produces hallucinatory effects in humans and thus has been used by religious and recreational consumers. But since salvinorin A (the main active extract derived from the plant) is selective to kappa-opioid receptors, and is one of the few non-alkaloidal hallucinogens, it has potential to influence the development of a new class of pharmacological drugs and is thus interesting to study. Also because many states lack laws regarding sale and use of Salvia it has grown in popularity amongst the youth. (Don't do drugs)The researchers used a drug discrimination paradigm in rats to verify that salvinorin A does in fact target kappa-opioid receptors as a primary mode of action. This was my first exposure to this (apparently well-accepted and robust) paradigm. The researchers began by conditioning rats to press a lever when exposed to an established synthetic kappa-opioid agonist (U-69593 obtained from Sigma-Aldrich right here in St. Louis). To do this, they limited the rats' diet, and then put them into a response box with two levers, on days when they got U-69593 they were rewarded with food after pushing the lever on the right, and on days when they got a saline injection they were rewarded when pushing the left lever. Thus once the rats were sufficiently trained on lever pushing then they were assumed to be able to discriminate between a kappa-opioid agonist and control injections. At that point the trained rats were given salvinorin A instead of U-69593 and they still pushed the correct (right) lever, indicating a similar subjective pharmacological experience between U-69593 and salvinorin A. But it is possible the rats had associated "different from saline" with pushing the right lever. So next the researchers injected the rats with nor-BNI (a kappa-opioid antagonist) which will prevent kappa-opioid agonists from having an effect. After treatment with nor-BNI the rats were given a dose of salvinorin A and placed in the response box. This time the rats pushed the left lever indicating an effect similar to saline.So I think this falls under the heading of talking to the animals. Not in the Doctor Doolittle sense, but this paradigm asked rats, "Does this drug (salvinorin A), make you feel the same as this other drug (U-69593)?" and the rats kindly answered, "Yes. Yes it does."Cool paradigm not withstanding, the results of the experiment largely confirm (in an animal model) information that we already suspected. This is the research that introduced me to Salvia and after some digging I found that there hadn't been a whole lot of science done on this mysterious plant. So that gave me an opportunity to ask some new research questions of my own.Willmore-Fordham CB, Krall DM, McCurdy CR, & Kinder DH (2007). The hallucinogen derived from Salvia divinorum, salvinorin A, has kappa-opioid agonist discriminative stimulus effects in rats. Neuropharmacology, 53 (4), 481-6 PMID: 17681558 ... Read more »
Willmore-Fordham CB, Krall DM, McCurdy CR, & Kinder DH. (2007) The hallucinogen derived from Salvia divinorum, salvinorin A, has kappa-opioid agonist discriminative stimulus effects in rats. Neuropharmacology, 53(4), 481-6. PMID: 17681558
This is a cross-post from the wonderfully informative Science of Eating Disorders blog. ScienceofED covers a broad range of peer-reviewed research articles related to all aspects of eating disorders. Head over and check it out! Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes, but all of them are characterized by the same goal: to avoid weight gain or [...]... Read more »
Guarda AS, Coughlin JW, Cummings M, Marinilli A, Haug N, Boucher M, & Heinberg LJ. (2004) Chewing and spitting in eating disorders and its relationship to binge eating. Eating behaviors, 5(3), 231-9. PMID: 15135335
A tamarin rock star (photographed by Ltshears at Wikimedia)Our moods change when we hear music, but not all music affects us the same way. Slow, soft, higher-pitched, melodic songs soothe us; upbeat classical music makes us more alert and active; and fast, harsh, lower-pitched, dissonant music can rev us up and stress us out. Why would certain sounds affect us in specific emotional ways? One possibility is because of an overlap between how we perceive music and how we perceive human voice. Across human languages, people talk to their babies in slower, softer, higher-pitched voices than they speak to adults. And when we’re angry, we belt out low-pitched growly tones. The specific vocal attributes that we use in different emotional contexts are specific to our species… So what makes us so egocentric to think that other species might respond to our music in the same ways that we do?A serene tamarin ponders where he placed his smoking jacket (photographed by Michael Gäbler at Wikimedia)Chuck Snowdon, a psychologist and animal behaviorist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and David Teie, a musician at the University of Maryland in College Park, teamed up to ask whether animals might respond more strongly to music if it were made specifically for them. Cotton-top tamarins are squirrel-sized monkeys from northern Colombia that are highly social and vocal. As in humans (and pretty much every other vocalizing species studied), they tend to make higher-pitched tonal sounds when in friendly states and lower-pitched growly sounds when in aggressive states. But tamarin vocalizations have different tempos and pitch ranges than our tempos and pitch ranges.Chuck and David musically analyzed recorded tamarin calls to determine the common attributes of the sounds they make when they are feeling friendly or when they are aggressive or fearful. Then they composed music based on these attributes, essentially creating tamarin happy-music and tamarin death metal. They also composed original music based on human vocal attributes. They played 30-second clips of these different music types to pairs of tamarins and measured their behavior while the song was being played and for the first 5 minutes after it had finished. They compared these behavioral measures to the tamarins’ behavior during baseline periods (time periods not associated with the music sessions).An example of happy tamarin music (Copyright by David Teie and available through Biology Letters) can be found here.An example of aggressive tamarin music (Copyright by David Teie and available through Biology Letters) can be found here.As the researchers had predicted, tamarins were much more affected by tamarin music than by human music. Happy tamarin music seemed to calm them, causing the tamarins to move less and eat and drink more in the 5 minutes after the music stopped. Compared to the happy tamarin music, the aggressive tamarin music seemed to stress them out, causing the tamarins to move more and show more anxious behaviors (like bristling their fur and peeing) after the music stopped. The tamarins also showed lesser reactions to the human music. They showed less anxious behavior after the happy human music played and moved less after the aggressive human music played. So, human voice-based music also affected the tamarins to some degree, but not as strongly. This may be because there are some aspects of how we communicate emotions with our voice that are the same in tamarins. (How did the tamarin music make you feel?) Can you imagine what we could do with this idea of species-specific music? Well, David and Chuck did! They have since developed music for cats using similar techniques. Although they're still working on the paper, they have said that the cats prefered and were more calmed by cat music compared to human music. You can find samples and get your own copies here. We often think of vocal signals conveying messages in particular sounds, like words and sentences. But calls seem to do much more than that, making the emotions and behaviors of those listening resemble the emotions of those calling.Want to know more? Check this out:Snowdon, C., & Teie, D. (2009). Affective responses in tamarins elicited by species-specific music Biology Letters, 6 (1), 30-32 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0593... Read more »
Snowdon, C., & Teie, D. (2009) Affective responses in tamarins elicited by species-specific music. Biology Letters, 6(1), 30-32. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0593
Back in 1993 this diagram was published, but the paper I am looking at was published in 1998 by Llinas and others (citation below); it contains the same diagram.
Here is the abstract:
Attempting to understand how the brain, as a whole, might be organized seems, for the first time, to be a serious [...]... Read more »
I've got a new post over on the SFARI (Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative) blog discussing the use of control groups in autism research.Control groups are an essential part of autism research, providing a benchmark against which to assess those with autism. Finding, for instance, that participants with autism score an average of 68 percent on a test is meaningless if you don’t know how people who don’t have autism do on the same test. A control group can also be used to try and rule out alternative and perhaps uninteresting explanations for group differences. The logic is simple: If two groups are matched on one measure, such as intelligence or age, then this can’t explain differences on another measure, such as performance on an emotion recognition test, that is under investigation. Despite its widespread use, there are many issues to consider when designing an experiment with matched controls or when reading and attempting to evaluate such a study. Who should be in the control group? On what measures should they be matched? And how do we decide if the groups are truly matched? The post focuses on this last question and a recent paper by Sara Kover and Amy Atwood, which I think makes some pretty sensible recommendations.Be warned, it involves statistics and made-up data.Reference:sKover ST, & Atwoo AK (2013). Establishing equivalence: methodological progress in group-matching design and analysis. American journal on intellectual and developmental disabilities, 118 (1), 3-15 PMID: 23301899Mervis, C. B., & Klein-Tasman, B. (2004). Methodological Issues in Group-Matching Designs: α Levels for Control Variable Comparisons and Measurement Characteristics of Control and Target Variables. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24, 7-17. PDF... Read more »
Kover ST, & Atwoo AK. (2013) Establishing equivalence: methodological progress in group-matching design and analysis. American journal on intellectual and developmental disabilities, 118(1), 3-15. PMID: 23301899
The third (and final, at the moment) paper in the likelihood calculus series from Dr. Terrence Sanger is Distributed control of uncertain systems using superpositions of linear operators. Carrying the torch for the series right along, here Dr. Sanger continues investigating the development of an effective, general method of controlling systems operating under uncertainty. This is the paper that delivers on all the promises of building a controller out of a system described by the stochastic differential operators we’ve been learning about in the previous papers. In addition to describing the theory, there are examples of system simulation with code provided! Which is a wonderful, and sadly uncommon, thing in academic papers, so I’m excited. We’ll go through a comparison of Bayes’ rule and Markov processes (described by our stochastic differential equations), go quickly over the stochastic differential operator description, and then dive into the control of systems. The examples and code run-through I’m going to have to save for another post, though, just to keep the size of this post reasonable.... Read more »
Sanger, T. (2011) Distributed Control of Uncertain Systems Using Superpositions of Linear Operators. Neural Computation, 23(8), 1911-1934. DOI: 10.1162/NECO_a_00151
Zoloft class action lawsuits are piling up, as more and more women who were told by doctors, who in turn were told by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, the manufacturer of Zoloft – that the popular SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant was safe to take during pregnancy, give birth to infants with potentially lethal defects. Numerous [...]The post Zoloft Class Action Lawsuits: Manufacturer Pfizer Knew About Birth Defect Possibilities, Kept Information Secret appeared first on Life Mental Health.
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Pav M, Kovaru H, Kovaru F, Lisa V, Ondrackova-Zelnickova P, & Fiserova A. (2009) Acute and chronic effects of antidepressants on the G-protein alpha subunit profiles in vitro and in vivo. Neuro endocrinology letters, 30(5), 592-8. PMID: 20035268
A brief illustion of binding problem... Read more »
Gray CM, König P, Engel AK, & Singer W. (1989) Oscillatory responses in cat visual cortex exhibit inter-columnar synchronization which reflects global stimulus properties. Nature, 338(6213), 334-7. PMID: 2922061
Weaning off Zoloft, or any other SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) or SNRI (serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) is no walk in the park. What has been termed “SSRI Withdrawal/Discontinuation Syndrome” includes unpleasant symptoms that include confusion, tremors, realistic nightmares, and sensations of electrical shocks traveling from one’s head to one’s toes. These symptoms can be [...]The post Weaning Off Zoloft: Why Have Military Suicides Reached An All-Time High? appeared first on Life Mental Health.
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Solai LK, Mulsant BH, & Pollock BG. (2001) Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for late-life depression: a comparative review. Drugs , 18(5), 355-68. PMID: 11392444
Maureen O’Connor, former mayor of San Diego and heir to her late husband Robert O. Peterson’s Jack-in-the-Box fortune, won over $1 billion playing video poker over the course of 9 years (2000-2009), according to U-T San Diego. However, she lost an even greater amount during that time, resulting in a net gambling debt of $13 million. To cover some of these losses, she transferred $2 million from her husband's nonprofit foundation to her personal bank account. She was recently charged with misappropriation of funds in federal court.In 2011, O'Connor had surgery to remove a large brain tumor:The tumor was in an area of the brain that involves "logic, reasoning and judgment," said O'Connor's attorney, Eugene Iredale. Is It Possible That Maureen O’Connor’s Gambling Problem Was Caused by the Brain Tumor?Can a tumor cause irrational economic decision-making (Koenigs & Tranel, 2007) and insensitivity to future consequences (Bechara et al., 1994)? In cases of orbitofrontal meningiomas, the answer is yes.T1 + contrast MRI scan shows a large olfactory groove meningioma affecting the medial orbitofrontal cortex. Image source: Radiopedia.While I cannot speak to Ms. O'Connor's specific case, there are a number of reports in the neurological literature of patients who do incur large gambling debts during the time a slow-growing, non-fatal tumor impinges upon the frontal lobes. Specifically, a meningioma (a relatively common and “benign” non-infiltrating tumor in the meninges, or membranes that cover the brain) in the region of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) can grow to be the size of an orange over decades before it is discovered (Tomasello et al., 2011).1Eslinger and Damasio (1985) reported the case study of patient EVR, who had surgery to remove a large meningioma affecting medial OFC bilaterally. Although EVR showed intact cognitive function through standardized neuropsychological testing, he made a series of unwise decisions that led to very negative consequences in his life. His business went bankrupt after he took on an unsavory business partner. He drifted from job to job, often being fired for his unreliability. He got divorced, remarried against the advice of others, and then divorced again shortly thereafter. Bechara et al. (1994) developed what came to be known as the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) to assess the decision-making capacity of patients like EVR. In the task, participants are shown 4 decks of cards (real or virtual) from which they are allowed to draw in a series of gambles. They are told they can win money, but might also win and lose money, and will be informed of the consequences of their choice only after picking a card from one of the decks. Unbenownst to the subjects initially, Decks A and B pay out $100 but also incur larger penalties on an unpredictable schedule ("disadvantageous decks" resulting in a net loss) while Decks C and D only pay $50 but result in smaller penalties ("advantageous decks" resulting in a net gain). In the long run, patients with lesions in medial OFC (aka ventromedial prefrontal cortex, or VMPFC) preferred the higher immediate payoff than the safer decks, while controls showed the opposite pattern.In other words, EVR (and 6 other patients like him) chose from the disadvantageous decks significantly more often than control participants, who appeared to better learn the good and bad nature of the decks. Although the IGT is not without its critics in terms of the cognitive and affective processes necessary for optimal task performance, other studies suggest that VMPFC is indeed important for future-oriented thinking (Fellows & Farah, 2005).2 O'Connor's Plea BargainIn court, Ms. O'Connor pleaded not guilty to money laundering under the terms of a deferred prosecution, according to U-T San Diego. As part of the deal, she has two years to pay back funds "borrowed" from the nonprofit foundation, and she must attend treatment for gambling addiction:The resolution of the case takes into account her poor health but also requires O’Connor to acknowledge she misappropriated the money and obligates her to pay it back and any tax penalties, [Assistant U.S Attorney Philip Halpern] said.She also has to get psychiatric treatment for gambling addiction. [Defense attorney] Iredale said that O’Connor’s doctors have said it’s possible her brain tumor pressed on centers of the brain that affect judgment and reasoning, and could explain in part her gambling addiction.Prosecutors dispute that. “We believe the gambling preceded her medical condition,” Halpern said.ABC 10 News reported:If she does not obey all laws, she could face 10 years in prison.All parties agreed that O'Connor's medical condition render it highly improbable -- if not impossible -- that she could be brought to trial."We think largely as a result of the brain tumor, she had engaged in a period of compulsive gambling in which she systematically gambled away an inheritance that was left to her of several million dollars," said Iredale.CBS News aired an interview with the former mayor. O'Connor said that video poker was "...like electronic heroin. You know, the more you did, the more you needed and the more it wasn't satisfied."As mayor she was always in control. Her gambling was out of control."I thought I could beat that machine," she said. "And when it got worse, I didn't know I had the silent grenade in my head that could go off at any time."The "silent grenade" was a golf ball-sized tumor doctors removed from her brain. They discovered it two years ago when she started hallucinating. She says she believes the slow-growing tumor contributed to her gambling addiction. "It's not an excuse for my gambling, but I think that was, yes, a part of it. You lose your sense of control," she said. How slow-growing?Prosecuting attorney Halpern was skeptical of the tumor explanation, saying "she began her gambling run in 2001 -- a decade earlier. It would have to be a pretty slow-growin... Read more »
Bechara A, Damasio AR, Damasio H, & Anderson SW. (1994) Insensitivity to future consequences following damage to human prefrontal cortex. Cognition, 50(1-3), 7-15. PMID: 8039375
Koenigs, M., & Tranel, D. (2007) Irrational Economic Decision-Making after Ventromedial Prefrontal Damage: Evidence from the Ultimatum Game. Journal of Neuroscience, 27(4), 951-956. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4606-06.2007
Tomasello, F., Angileri, F., Grasso, G., Granata, F., De Ponte, F., & Alafaci, C. (2011) Giant Olfactory Groove Meningiomas: Extent of Frontal Lobes Damage and Long-Term Outcome After the Pterional Approach. World Neurosurgery, 76(3-4), 311-317. DOI: 10.1016/j.wneu.2011.03.021
In the previous post, I’ve described the relationship between environmental factors and the public’s insights. Moreover, what would happen if we have more than an ideal “physical” environment? Will people embrace a brand new world in which virtual components are added to the physical ones?
We all know that more research should be carried out to create software which supports the most complex and time-consuming portions of the analytical process, so that analysts can respond to increasingly more complex questions.... Read more »
Gershon Dublon, & Joseph A. Paradiso. (2012) Tongueduino: hackable, high-bandwidth sensory augmentation. Proceeding CHI EA '12 CHI '12 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1453-1454. DOI: 10.1145/2212776.2212482
Yes, researchers are finding that Prozac weight gain might occur more (metaphorically) in the brain than it does the body. While many people today remain obsessed with body image and weight loss, Prozac lists only the potential for Prozac weight loss, not Prozac weight gain, due to loss of appetite as one of the common [...]The post Prozac Weight Gain: It’s More in the Brain Than the Body appeared first on Life Mental Health.
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Maher AR, & Theodore G. (2012) Summary of the comparative effectiveness review on off-label use of atypical antipsychotics. Journal of managed care pharmacy : JMCP, 18(5 Suppl B). PMID: 22784311
I would like to thank my good friend Anonymous for asking me a great question on a previous post. Anonymous asks: "Are there any known transmitters in the NS that activate both inhibitory receptor subtypes AND excitatory receptor subtypes? Or does every known transmitter activate EITHER a bunch of excitatory subtypes OR a bunch of inhibitory subtypes?" (btw. This doesn't qualify as a LMAYQ post because it's a real true question that someone directly asked, not a search term)While I don't know of any instances of glutamate (excitatory) activating GABA (inhibitory) receptors or of GABA activating glutamate receptors, there is an interesting little way that GABA can activate an inhibitory receptor, but actually help excite the cell. GABA receptor (source) Here's how that works: GABA(A) receptors are permeable to chloride ions, and as the picture above shows, chloride ions (Cl-) are negatively charged. When GABA binds to the receptor, the receptor opens and chloride ions rush in, bringing their negative charge with them. This hyperpolarizes the cell, meaning it brings it lower and lower in total charge (membrane potential), which brings it further and further away from the threshold where it will fire an action potential.BUT.... if there is a lot of chloride inside the cell already (or if the cell is resting more negatively than the chloride reversal potential), chloride will actually flow out of the cell, bringing its negative charge with it. Negative ions flowing out of the cell will depolarize the neuron increasing its total charge (membrane potential), which brings it closer and closer to the threshold where it will fire an action potential.GABA reversing at -62mV (source)A paper published last year in the Journal of Neuroscience shows that in a model of a hippocampal neuron, when a strong excitatory (glutamate) stimulation happens right after a GABA stimulation close by on the dendrite, the cell is actually more likely to fire than when the glutamate stimulation occurs on its own. This effect is dependent on the location of the GABA stimulation along the dendrite.Chiang et al., 2012 Figure 4E (GPSP in the dendrite)This figure shows that a GABA stimuation (first dotted line, blue trace) can push the glutamate (excitatory) stimulation (second dotted line, red trace) up to the point of firing an action potential (green trace). This paper also showed that GABA can still inhibit the action potential in these cells, it just has to be at the soma and almost the same time as the glutamatergic input.Chiang et al., 2012 Figure 4G (GPSP in the soma) So there you have it, GABA enhancing the likelihood of an action potential and acting excitatory sometimes, and acting inhibitory other times. © TheCellularScaleChiang PH, Wu PY, Kuo TW, Liu YC, Chan CF, Chien TC, Cheng JK, Huang YY, Chiu CD, & Lien CC (2012). GABA is depolarizing in hippocampal dentate granule cells of the adolescent and adult rats. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 32 (1), 62-7 PMID: 22219270... Read more »
Chiang PH, Wu PY, Kuo TW, Liu YC, Chan CF, Chien TC, Cheng JK, Huang YY, Chiu CD, & Lien CC. (2012) GABA is depolarizing in hippocampal dentate granule cells of the adolescent and adult rats. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 32(1), 62-7. PMID: 22219270
FOXP2 is the poster child of a sexy gene. In songbirds, decreasing FOXP2 renders a bird incapable of mimicking their tutor, resulting in more variable song. In humans, mutations in the gene is linked to a multitude of language and speech impairments, such as stuttering and trouble with enunciating sounds, syllables and words. There’s no [...]... Read more »
Bowers JM, Perez-Pouchoulen M, Edwards NS, & McCarthy MM. (2013) Foxp2 mediates sex differences in ultrasonic vocalization by rat pups and directs order of maternal retrieval. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 33(8), 3276-83. PMID: 23426656
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