Theory of Mind (ToM) is a concept describing the ability to understand what another person is thinking or feeling.Today in my neuroscience medicine news review I ran across a novel, interesting and important research study targeting brain development in ToM.Normally developing children develop ToM around 4 years of age. In the study published in Nature Communications, a research team at the Max Planck Institute in Germany studied white matter development in 3 to 4 year old children.Using a serie........ Read more »
Grosse Wiesmann C, Schreiber J, Singer T, Steinbeis N, & Friederici AD. (2017) White matter maturation is associated with the emergence of Theory of Mind in early childhood. Nature communications, 14692. PMID: 28322222
The evolving epidemic of opioid overdose and overdose deaths is receiving increased public and research attention.Opioids overdoses and overdose deaths are often unintentional or accidental. It has been known that concurrent use of opioids with alcohol or benzodiazepines (i.e. Valium or Xanax) increases risk for overdose toxicity.A recent study published in the British Medical Journal confirmed the association of concurrent benzodiazepine prescription with opioid overdose.This research team exam........ Read more »
Sun EC, Dixit A, Humphreys K, Darnall BD, Baker LC, & Mackey S. (2017) Association between concurrent use of prescription opioids and benzodiazepines and overdose: retrospective analysis. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). PMID: 28292769
Amyloid brain plaques are well-known pathological changes associated with Alzheimer's disease. Changes preceding amyloid plaque build up are less well studied and understood. Some of this relates to limitations to current imaging technology.Klementieva and colleagues from Sweden and Spain recently published an important reserach topic in this area.Their studied used a rat model of Alzheimer's disease and imaging techniques that included infrared microspectroscopy and gel electrophoresis.The........ Read more »
Klementieva, O., Willén, K., Martinsson, I., Israelsson, B., Engdahl, A., Cladera, J., Uvdal, P., & Gouras, G. (2017) Pre-plaque conformational changes in Alzheimer’s disease-linked Aβ and APP. Nature Communications, 14726. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14726
Imagine there is a cookie sitting in front of you. You are hungry. You have been on a diet for months. If you have to look at one more raw, paleo, gluten free snack you are going to scream.... Read more »
Lehne, M., & Koelsch, S. (2015) Toward a general psychological model of tension and suspense. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00079
Naqvi, N., Gaznick, N., Tranel, D., & Bechara, A. (2014) The insula: A critical neural substrate for craving and drug seeking under conflict and risk. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 53-70. PMID: 24690001
Saarikallio, S., Nieminen, S., & Brattico, E. (2012) Affective reactions to musical stimuli reflect emotional use of music in everyday life. Musicae Scientiae, 17(1), 27-39. DOI: 10.1177/1029864912462381
Where are the mammillary bodies?
The mammillary bodies are part of the diencephalon, which is a collection of structures found between the brainstem and cerebrum. The diencephalon includes the hypothalamus, and the mammillary bodies are found on the inferior surface of the hypothalamus (the side of the hypothalamus that is closer to the brainstem). The mam........ Read more »
Processing speed declines significantly with age and contributes to impairment and disability in old age.There is little known about whether age-related processing speed decline can be slowed with interventionA recent clinical trial by a Japanese group targeted processing speed training in a group of 72 elderly.This study found significant effects for a daily 15 minute processing speed training game over 4 weeks.In contrast to a control group, the intervention group found specific improvement in........ Read more »
Nouchi R, Saito T, Nouchi H, & Kawashima R. (2016) Small Acute Benefits of 4 Weeks Processing Speed Training Games on Processing Speed and Inhibition Performance and Depressive Mood in the Healthy Elderly People: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial. Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 302. PMID: 28066229
Are They Pathological Liars? Narcissists? Psychopaths? “Masterful Manipulators”?
Trump Spokesman’s Lecture on Media Accuracy Is Peppered With Lies
Nearly all American politicians lie, but few as blatantly as those affiliated with the present administration. How do they do it? Are they lacking a conscience? Do they believe their own lies? Do they start with small falsehoods, stretch the
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Brain activation during challenges to political vs. non-political beliefs (Figure modified from Kaplan et al., 2016).
Lately I've been despairing about the state of America.
I'm not sure how denying access to affordable health care, opposing scientific facts like global warming and the benefits of vaccines, alienating our allies, banning Muslims, building a wall, endorsing torture, and
... Read more »
Feinberg, M., & Willer, R. (2015) From Gulf to Bridge: When Do Moral Arguments Facilitate Political Influence?. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(12), 1665-1681. DOI: 10.1177/0146167215607842
Kaplan, J., Gimbel, S., & Harris, S. (2016) Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence. Scientific Reports, 39589. DOI: 10.1038/srep39589
A review of classic "split brain" research and critique of a new paper regarding "functional" splits in brain function.... Read more »
Sasai, S., Boly, M., Mensen, A., & Tononi, G. (2016) Functional split brain in a driving/listening paradigm. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(50), 14444-14449. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1613200113
William James authored a seminal book titled The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature that was published in 1902.In this work, James reviewed the nature of religious experiences and noted a lack of scientific inquiry into this human phenomenon.James would have been extremely interested in a recent scientific inquiry into the religious experience from brain researchers at the University of Utah and Harvard University.In this study, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI........ Read more »
Ferguson MA, Nielsen JA, King JB, Dai L, Giangrasso DM, Holman R, Korenberg JR, & Anderson JS. (2016) Reward, Salience, and Attentional Networks are Activated by Religious Experience in Devout Mormons. Social neuroscience. PMID: 27834117
Rates of myocardial infarction and stroke have been declining over the last decade in the U.S. and Europe. However, a recent manuscript suggests there are still significant missed opportunities to prevent stroke.This manuscript presents results of review of electronic primary care records in the United Kingdom.The authors examines a group of over 29,000 subjects with a diagnosis of stroke or transient ischemic attack over a 10 year period.Records were reviewed to assess for compliance with guide........ Read more »
Turner GM, Calvert M, Feltham MG, Ryan R, Fitzmaurice D, Cheng KK, & Marshall T. (2016) Under-prescribing of Prevention Drugs and Primary Prevention of Stroke and Transient Ischaemic Attack in UK General Practice: A Retrospective Analysis. PLoS medicine, 13(11). PMID: 27846215
Aerobic exercise increases brain blood flow and has demonstrated beneficial effects on cognition.The effects of weight training exercise on the brain is less frequently studied. Hence, we know little about the effect and mechanism of weight training on brain function and performance.A recent study provides some needed insight on this topic.A study by C Suo and colleagues from Australia examined the effects of resistance training and cognitive skills training on brain structure and function.The k........ Read more »
Suo C, Singh MF, Gates N, Wen W, Sachdev P, Brodaty H, Saigal N, Wilson GC, Meiklejohn J, Singh N.... (2016) Therapeutically relevant structural and functional mechanisms triggered by physical and cognitive exercise. Molecular psychiatry, 21(11), 1645. PMID: 27090304
There is significant interest in activities that may boost academic achievement in the classroom.I previously posted on evidence that exercise prior to a learning task improved reading comprehension scores.You can access that post by clicking HERE.Now a study has compared two types of activities after a memorization task in male students.In this study, 60 male students completed a learning task and then were randomized into one of three activities for one hour. The three activities were playing ........ Read more »
Kindermann, H., Javor, A., & Reuter, M. (2016) Playing counter-strike versus running: The impact of leisure time activities and cortisol on intermediate-term memory in male students. Cognitive Systems Research, 1-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.cogsys.2016.01.002
Memory impairment is a key symptom of Alzheimer's dementia common to patients with the condition.However, additional cognitive and behavioral symptoms vary between patients with a clinical and pathological diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.A key area of research is focused on understanding factors that contribute to symptom variability in Alzheimer's disease.A team of researchers from Singapore and Harvard Medical School recently published an important study on this topic.They analyzed structural........ Read more »
Zhang X, Mormino EC, Sun N, Sperling RA, Sabuncu MR, Yeo BT, & Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. (2016) Bayesian model reveals latent atrophy factors with dissociable cognitive trajectories in Alzheimer's disease. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 27702899
In a post last week, I highlighted a recent study examining clinical issues in the diagnosis of Lewy body dementia (LBD).This study examined differentiating clinical and neuropsychological factors between LBD, Alzheimer's dementia and Parkinson's disease.You can access this post by clicking HERE.This topic received significant attention following the description of comedian Robin Williams' last years by his wife in the journal Neurology.Robin Williams suffered from LBD and like many, his diagnos........ Read more »
Williams SS. (2016) The terrorist inside my husband's brain. Neurology, 87(13), 1308-1311. info:/
Scientists have identified that social memories are stored in the vetral CA1 region of the brain (in mice). After meeting a mouse and forgetting it, the memories can be reactivated optogenetically, indicating that they exist, but cannot be retrieved after time passes... Read more »
One clinical challenge is making an accurate diagnosis in patients with dementia.Alzheimer's disease is typically the predominant diagnosis in dementia. However a significant number of patients will present with dementia due to Lewy Body disease, Parkinson's dementia, frontotemporal dementia or vascular dementia.A recent study helps clinicians to distinguish Lewy Body from Alzheimer's dementia and Parkinson's disease.Douglas Scharre and collegues from Ohio State University conducted ........ Read more »
Scharre, D., Chang, S., Nagaraja, H., Park, A., Adeli, A., Agrawal, P., Kloos, A., Kegelmeyer, D., Linder, S., Fritz, N.... (2016) Paired Studies Comparing Clinical Profiles of Lewy Body Dementia with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 1-10. DOI: 10.3233/JAD-160384
I wanted to alert Brain Posts readers to a very important ongoing study out of the United Kingdom.The UK Biobank prospective epidemiological study is a study designed to identify imaging markers for a wide variety of diseases. Additionally, a goal of the study is to better understand disease mechanisms.Here is what is being collected on 100,000 healthy participants who will be tracked over decades:Brain structural and functional imaging (fMRI)Brain diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)Neuropsychologica........ Read more »
Miller KL, Alfaro-Almagro F, Bangerter NK, Thomas DL, Yacoub E, Xu J, Bartsch AJ, Jbabdi S, Sotiropoulos SN, Andersson JL.... (2016) Multimodal population brain imaging in the UK Biobank prospective epidemiological study. Nature neuroscience. PMID: 27643430
My Twitter post on a recently published study of brain structure in a group of high performing older adults received quite a bit of attention (see below).Felicia Sun and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School selected an interesting research design.A group of elderly subjects between the ages of 60 and 80 years were identified as showing "superaging". This was defined as scoring like young adults on two neuropsychological tests: The Long Delay Free Recall measure........ Read more »
Sun FW, Stepanovic MR, Andreano J, Barrett LF, Touroutoglou A, & Dickerson BC. (2016) Youthful Brains in Older Adults: Preserved Neuroanatomy in the Default Mode and Salience Networks Contributes to Youthful Memory in Superaging. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 36(37), 9659-9668. PMID: 27629716
A recent 30-page manuscript provides an exhaustive review of the evidence for the efficacy and safety of statin therapy.The authors of this excellent review provide some context for the relative value of statins.The note that putting 10000 individuals with a history of a vascular event on a statin drug for 5 years would prevent 1,000 subsequent events. This is an example of secondary prevention--preventing another adverse outcome in those already experiencing an adverse event.But the statin drug........ Read more »
Collins, Rory, Reith, Christina, & Emberson, Jonathan. (2016) Interpretation of the evidence for the efficacy and safety of statin therapy. Lancet. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31357-5
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