Professor Wray Herbert has written an interesting piece of training older adult drivers to drive more safely. The write-up is based on a study in which the researchers found that older adult drivers focused their visual scanning on the area immediately in front of them rather than in the periphery. Many accidents were associated with this omission of peripheral scanning but this habit was responsive to training. A small study has looked at the feasibility of using repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in the treatment of Depression and the researchers found evidence of the efficacy of this approach in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder. There is a very interesting paper on the Default Mode Network with the authors suggesting on the basis of their neuroimaging work as well neuropathological studies that this network is characterised by the presence of Von Economo neurons. These neurons are very well connected and have been a recent development in primate evolution.
In a recent study, researchers followed 1233 older adults and looked at their calorie intake. They found that those with an average intake of more than 2,143 Kilocalories were nearly twice as likely to have Mild Cognitive Impairment as those taking in an average of less than 1526 Kilocalories a day. The US state of Albuquerque has deployed a new system known as Silver Alert to help find people with Dementia. The system works by deploying information on the Web about the missing person. Meanwhile one company has developed GPS tracking shoes to help locate people with Dementia who have got lost. In another study, neurosurgeons stimulated the Entorhinal Cortex with a Deep Brain Stimulating device during functional neurosurgery for epilepsy and were able to improve learning but only when the stimulation occurred in parallel with the learning. There are many potential applications including disorders of memory although replication is needed as well as studies for specific clinical applications. A drug approved for use by the FDA for cancer has been found to reverse some of the features of Alzheimer’s Disease in a model of the disease although further work will be needed to see if these findings are replicated clinically.
DSM-V has been in the news recently as there has been resistance from many directions. One of the illnesses being considered is ‘Internet Addiction‘. Meanwhile there is an interesting piece on the development of the WHO’s ICD-11 emphasising the multidisciplinary approach.
There is an interesting piece on primates interactions with computers across multiple species. There is also an interesting write-up on a comparative neuroscience study (via @MariaPage) in which Macaques and humans underwent functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to examine brain activity whilst they were watching a clip from the Spaghetti Western ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’. Meanwhile John Hawks finds evidence that the archaic Denisovan hominids expressed the E4 allele of the Apolipoprotein E gene which is a significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease in humans. John Hawks also does some interesting analysis of data from the 1000 genomes project to characterise the Neanderthal similarity in different populations.
The use of Web 2.0 technology has transformed education. One Professor of computing has already delivered a lecture on artificial intelligence to a class of 160,000 and is now aiming to increase this to 500,000.
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