Annual News Round-Up 2013 (Updated 2.1.14)

2013 was a year which saw a lot of important developments in Psychiatry. The arrival of DSM-5 was accompanied by a rich debate about the nature of diagnosis and a reflection on the revisions in the new manual. In the UK there was strong political support for improving services and quality of life for people with Dementia and their carers.  For me one of the most remarkable findings was a study which found a 29 fold increase in urinary tract infections in people with Schizophrenia who had relapsed compared to a control group. Although this finding would benefit from replication it leads onto other interesting questions. There were other significant developments in genetics which we are going to see increasingly. Many mental illnesses now have a large number of gene associations although some of the effect sizes are small.

Mood Disorders

Researchers in this study looked at the outcome in mood disorders in the period before the widespread introduction of antidepressants, major tranquilisers and mood stabilisers. Subjects were follow up for between 1 and 30 years. The studies included 14,000 people and were published before 1970. The researchers had three main findings

1. Median rate of recovery was lower than in more recent studies

2. The time to recovery was longer than in more recent studies

3. The rate of recovery was higher than in more recent studies.

However there were methodological limitations. For instance antidepressants were introduced in the 1950′s and so this does not preclude the use of effective antidepressants in these older studies.

In one study (n=131) researchers looked at the relationship between depression and cognition in people with Alzheimer’s Disease. The researchers found that in their study there was no significant change in cognition in cases with remission of Depression at 24 weeks.

The relationship between Depressive symptoms in women over the age of 85 was examined in this study (n=302). Researchers used the 15 item Geriatric Depression Scale and found that with a score of <6 at baseline 46% had normal cognitive status 5 years later. With a score >6 at baseline 19% had normal cognitive status 5 years later.

There is a round-up of links at the BPS Research Digest which includes a TEDx collaboration with publishers Wiley to deliver a set of neuroscience talks with supplementary material. The Somatosphere blog features links to articles including one on lay accounts of Depression.

Professor Wray Herbert has a very good write-up of a study looking at memory in people with Depression. The researchers found that an ancient technique for storing memories – the method of loci – was effective in helping people with Depression improve their recall of positive memories.

Researchers at the Diabetes agency in Italy have undertaken a meta-analysis of longitudinal studies looking at the risk of Diabetes in people with Depression. The researchers looked at 1898 longitudinal studies and after excluding irrelevant studies were left with 23. These 23 studies included 424,557 subjects who were followed up on average for just over eight years. After adjusting for other risk factors the researchers found that people with Diabetes were 1.38 times more likely to develop incident Diabetes (new Diabetes) than people without Diabetes. The 95% confidence interval was 1.23 to 1.55 (P was less than 0.001). The adjusted risk of Diabetes in people with untreated depression was 1.56 although the confidence interval was wide and included values under one. The researchers suggest that this information can be used to help improve the health of people with Depression.

Simon and colleagues looked at how well people were able to recall their response to antidepressants. The researchers looked at 1878 people who had two more episodes of clinical depression. The subjects were asked to complete structured recall of response to previous medications. This was then compared against the medical records. In the medical records treatment response was evaluated using PHQ-9 scores. The researchers concluded that there was a low agreement (Kappa 0.10 with a 95% confidence interval of 0 to 0.25) between structured recall and PHQ-9 scores for response attributed to treatment. The researchers comment on the utility of interview assessments on the basis of their results.

There is an interesting study (via @claudiamegele) about the genetics of Depression. A study involving an international collaboration of 86 scientists looking at studies with a cumulative total of 34, 549 participants found no strong genetic links to Depression. There are various studies which show there can be a strong family history of Depression but these most recent findings suggest important lessons are yet to be learnt in understanding the relationship between genetics and unipolar Depression.

In a meta-analysis of Magnetic Resonance Imaging studies Sexton and colleagues identified a reduction in the volume of the Hippocampus in older adults with Depression compared to control groups. The researchers also identified similar volume reductions in the Thalamus, Putamen and Orbitofrontal Cortex.

At the American Academy of Neurology 65th Annual meeting in San Diego one research group will be presenting their research findings in a study involving 10,500 people aged 25-74.  This was a 21-year prospective study. The researchers found a four-fold increase in mortality in people who had a Stroke with Depression compared to those with a Stroke without Depression after controlling for a number of confounding factors. These are the preliminary findings and it is more usual to look at these results after they have been published in a peer reviewed journal.

A study which is due to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting looked at 250,000 people and investigated a possible relationship between the use of sweeteners and the prevalence of Depression. The researchers found that the prevalence of Dementia increased with an increasing use of sweeteners. However these results are preliminary and as above it is more usual to look at results after they are published in a peer reviewed journal. Indeed in the BBC article Gaynor Bussell of the British Dietetic association points out possible confounders while Beth Murphy from Mind points out the importance of people with Depression advises readers to follow the guidance of health professionals in the management of Depression.

A Canadian meta-analysis looked at the use of high frequency repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in the treatment of Depression. This approach to treating Depression has been examined in the research setting. The authors of this study compared actual treatment with sham treatment. The meta-analysis included a cumulative total of 392 people with Major Depression. At the end of the study period for the trials the researchers found that the remission rate for treatment was higher than that for sham treatment. For those receiving the treatment there was a 53.8% remission rate compared to 38.64% in those receiving sham treatment. The odds ratio was 2.42 with a 95% confidence interval of 1.27-4.61 (p=0.007). Although the study does show benefit this does not mean that it would be used in routine clinical practice. This would depend on a number of factors including an evaluation of the technology in relevant policies.

There is a write-up of a study here on gene factors predicting response to antidepressants based on the genome wide analysis of 2799 people being treated for Major Depressive Disorder with antidepressants.

Psychiatrist Dr Alex Mitchell gives an excellent overview of clinical Depression for the general public in this video.

Researchers undertook a meta-analysis of 22 studies looking at the relationship between Mediterranean Diet adherence and risk for a number of diseases. They found a significant relationship between high adherence to the Mediterranean diet and reduced risk for Depression and Stroke as well as for cognitive impairment.

A write-up looking at British Journal of Psychiatry study, looks at arterial spin labelling to characterise depression.

Researchers looked at people with Bipolar Disorder and found a link with personality.

Depression increases the risk of mortality with cardiovascular disease. A new study suggests that sleep may link the two. Subjects were from the British Whitehall II study (n=5813), aged 50-74. Risk factors included less than 5 hours of sleep and disturbed sleep.

Research suggests exercise has complex relationship with mood in Bipolar Disorder via medwireNews.

In the PREDIMED study published in BMC Medicine, the researchers found that the Mediterranean diet was related to reduced Depression risk in Diabetes Type 2.

In this Finnish study a healthy diet which included vegetables and fruits was associated with less Depression. 2000 men were followed up for 13-20 years.

There is an interesting MedWire News write-up of research linking two genetic pathways to Bipolar Disorder. The genes code for proteins involved in synapse formation and an enzyme. The enzyme is thought to be influenced by mood stabilisers while the synapse forming protein is associated with increased excitation of neurons.

A look at the evidence for Depression screening in chronic illness in a cross-sectional PLOS One study (the review highlights recommendations on stratifying risk groups within populations with chronic illness as well as methodological limitations e.g. a need to focus on psychological therapies)

In a meta-analysis looking at Zinc levels in people with Depression, researchers included 17 studies (n=2447) and found statistically significant lower Zinc levels in subjects with Depression compared to controls (95% confidence interval of -2.51 to -1.19 µmol/L, p < .00001). Curiously the effect size for the difference was larger in inpatient versus community settings.

A look at research studies investigating complementary and alternative therapy in antenatal depression (the review comments on the lack of evidence and looks at some of the methodological difficulties that need to be addressed)

In a small fMRI study researchers looked at 15 people with late life depression and 13 controls . Previous research would suggest decreased executive performance in people with Depression. In this study the researchers found that on a test of executive performance there was increased activation in various parts of the Brain in people with late life Depression compared with controls. The study showed activation was increased in areas including the Superior Frontal cortex bilaterally, Insular cortex, Caudate and Putamen.

Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia

A recent audit of memory clinics by the Royal College of Psychiatrists shows a four-fold increase in the number of people attending memory clinics since 2011.

A look at cognitive tests that may be used in clinical trials with a mention of correlations with Amyloid load.

Results from the Whitehall II cohort study (a cohort of British civil servants) published in the British Journal of Psychiatry suggests that smoking in combination with drinking alcohol above the recommended limits was associated with a higher rate of cognitive decline. Compared to a group of people who did not smoke and drank moderately the high alcohol, smoking group experienced accelerated cognitive decline which was statistically significant. The decline amounted to an extra 2 years of cognitive decline for every 10 years of aging.

Interesting findings in a study showing correlations between blood pressure variability and cognition.

The researchers in this study find a possible relationship between bradycardia and Frontotemporal Dementia but recommend further research to confirm this relationship (Robles et al, 2013).

Researchers in this study identified differences in visual motion event related potentials between people with Alzheimer’s Disease and healthy controls (Fernandez et al, 2013).

There is a look at subjective cognitive impairment in this paper which is available at Neurologia (Garcia-Ptacek et al, 2013).

One research group suggests that a protein CD33 may be involved in the development of Late Onset Alzheimer’s Disease through an action on the brain’s support cells – the microglia  . The talk below covers CD33 amongst many other associations with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Several DNA regions have been identified in a Genome Wide Association study which may play a role in Alzheimer’s Disease (one of which is associated with Tau and Amyloid-Beta).

In this study there wasn’t found to be a difference in Hippocampal volume between people with Alzheimer’s Disease and behavioural variant Frontotemporal Dementia. The researchers suggest Hippocampal sclerosis in the latter group may account for this finding.

Researchers in this meta-analysis found a small but significant relationship between Amyloid Beta load and cognition.

The Alzheimer’s Society website features a cognitive assessment toolkit for professionals here. The toolkit was developed in conjunction with the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Department of Health, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the College of Mental Health Pharmacy and the Dementia Action Alliance.

The Alzheimer’s Research Forum has just expanded and added to their risk factor database for Alzheimer’s Disease which includes a meta-analysis of study data on the 10 risk factors they include.

The Alzheimer’s Research Forum have a write-up on the 7th Human Amyloid Imaging Conference in Florida. The write-up includes a look at some of the work going on with Tau tracer compounds 18F-T807 and T808.

Hamilton and colleagues looked at the relationship between performance on a visuospatial task (Block design task) and subsequent development of visual hallucinations in people with Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia. The researchers found that severe visuospatial deficits (2.5 standard deviations below the mean) were associated with conversion to visual hallucinations of new onset in 61% of cases of people we’ve Lewy body dementia and 38% of those with Alzheimer’s disease. Mild visuospatial deficits were associated with a much lower percentage of people come developing new onset visual hallucinations. These findings therefore suggest that visuospatial performance may influence the likelihood of visual hallucinations in both Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia but more so in the latter condition.

A Cochrane Systematic Review concluded that although promising there was insufficient evidence to recommend Cerebrolysin for the treatment of Vascular Dementia at this point.

In a recent House of Commons debate several MP’s have told of their experience in looking after parents with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Disease is a degenerative condition which affects the brain and leads to problems with memory and other areas of cognition. While medication, exercise and a number of other approaches can slow down progression of the illness other approaches are being investigated. One of these approaches is Deep Brain Stimulation which has already produced positive results in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. In this write-up there is a look at the use of Deep Brain Stimulation in Alzheimer’s Disease. The researchers are stimulating selective areas in the brain including the Fornix and the Frontal Lobes. At the time of writing however it is too early to say whether this approach will be successful.

Researchers in this study (n=419, 70-90 years of age) looked at the relationship between Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and the risk of falls.  The researchers found that non-amnestic MCI was associated with an odds ratio of 1.98 for falls (95% Confidence Interval 1.11-3.53) compared to those without MCI.

Researchers in this study looked at risk factors associated with Mild Cognitive Impairment in their sample of 757 older adults aged 70-90 living in the community. The researchers found a variation in risk factors according to age and gender. In all group the APOE4 allele was a risk factor as were high Homocysteine levels and lower performance on identification of odours (although this can be confounded by smoking).

In this study, the researchers looked at risk factors for conversion from amnestic MCI to Dementia. There is a lot of research in this area. The researchers identified two aspects of memory function which were strong predictors of conversion to Dementia and to a lesser extent other factors such as age.

At the Alzheimer’s Research Forum there is coverage of a number of clinical trial results

There is a nice write-up of two studies at the Alzheimer’s Research Forum. The first study suggests that a better quality of sleep reduces the risk of developing Dementia of Alzheimer’s Type in people who have a gene that increases the risk of Dementia of Alzheimer’s Type. In our genome we have a lot of a genes. There can be many different versions of a gene in the population – these are known as alleles. One allele of the gene for the ApoE lipoprotein increases the risk of Dementia of Alzheimer’s Type 3-4 fold above that of people with other versions of the gene. The researchers in this study used sleep actigraphy to investigate sleep. The gold standards for investigating sleep has been an approach called overnight polysomnography which usually takes place in a sleep laboratory and includes techniques such as Electroencephalography. Actigraphy involves the use of sensors attached to the body (e.g. wrists) to detect movement and other measures. This is a relatively low cost approach and has been quickly gaining ground.

A write-up of an FDA approved Amyloid imaging agent.

Researchers find accumulation of alpha-synuclein in gastrointestinal system in Parkinson’s Disease.

Post-mortem brain biopsy study looks at sensitivity in the diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders.

This study suggests DNA methylation may be a therapeutic target in FTLD. However further research needed.

This small study finds anterior Cingulate atrophy in bvFTD and posterior Cingulate atrophy in DAT.

This autopsy ADNI study show evidence of 100% specificity and 80% sensitivity for detecting DLB with Occipital FDG-PET.

Australian AIBL study finds 30.5% rate of conversion from MCI to DAT over 18 months in the study sample.

This CSF study investigates biomarkers to distinguish DAT from control and finds two metabolite candidates.

CSF-Presenilin 1 complexes were elevated in DAT in this post-mortem study.

A look at the evidence on omega-3 fatty acids and cognitive decline

An updated Cochrane review finds evidence for a benefit of exercise on cognition but not mood in Dementia. 16 trials were included with a total of 937 subjects.

Failure in reverse fox test was linked to Parietal hypoperfusion in DAT

Researchers develop new preparation of Methylene Blue using nanoparticles.

Researchers in this EEG study find difference in right temporal region frequencies in DAT compared with controls.

This Alzheimer’s Research Forum article looking at new international developments in sharing of clinical trial data.

Researchers have found a link between retinal thickness and Alzheimer’s Disease using optical coherence tomography.

There is an interesting Alzheimer’s Research Forum write-up of a study looking at amyloid plaques up to 1 year after TBI.

Researchers find Alzheimer’s Disease related Presenilin mutation increases the frequency of Dementia in Alzheimer’s Disease related Amyloid Precursor Protein cleavage.

The National Institute of Health has released the genome data from their Alzheimer’s Disease sequencing project. The project includes 410 people within 89 families.

In a meta-analysis of the effects of an antihistamine on cognition, researchers looked at 5 RCT’s and reported a finding for only one of several cognitive scores (NPI) in studies investigating Dementia in Alzheimer’s Disease.

New research suggests that the Alzheimer’s Disease associated Amyloid stimulates the alpha 7 nicotinic receptor causing Astrocytes to release Glutamate which is involved in a process leading to neuronal cell death.

A call for a national database of people with Dementia to help police has produced a mixed response with the Department of Health calling for evidence to support such a move.

The researchers found that if people in the study had the ApoE4 allele and they had a good quality of sleep, their risk of developing Dementia of Alzheimer’s Type was increased 2-fold instead of 3-4 fold (relative to those with other alleles). The researchers also looked at the brains of people who had died and found that better sleep quality was linked to a lower density of neurofibrillary tangles. Neurofibrillary tangles are another structure found in the brains of people with Dementia of Alzheimer’s Type and are thought to play a central role in Alzheimer’s Disease.

This type of result also gives us insight into another debate – genes versus environment. A longstanding debate is whether our fate is determined by the environment or by our genes. There are various ways our environment can impact on sleep e.g. noise, stressors and so these results might show one route through which the environment might modify genetic determinism.

In a widely reported study, researchers identified a compound which stopped the development of Prion disease in a model with similarities to Alzheimer’s Disease. However it will be interesting to see the results of clinical trials.

Duration, severity and age were risk factors for developing psychosis in Parkinson’s Disease in this study.

A group of researchers in Sweden followed up a cohort of people in three age groups: 85, 90 and over 90. The researchers found that people in these groups were less likely to develop Dementia if they scored more highly on cognitive testing (the Mini-Mental State Examination) or if they had more social contacts. Depression was associated with a higher incidence of Dementia over 5 years.

The Alzheimer’s Society has launched a new Dementia guide for people diagnosed with Dementia.

The rate of atrophy of the Hippocampus was examined in this study (n=277). The researchers compared the atrophy rate in mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s Disease and controls. The researchers found a greater rate of atrophy in people with Alzheimer’s Disease. Although the size of the Hippocampus is more likely to be reduced in Alzheimer’s Disease compared to the other two groups knowing about differences in the rate of atrophy between groups is helpful.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has become a Dementia Friend.

Researchers have identified ‘non-Amyloid’ forms of Dementia in Alzheimer’s Disease in up to one third of cases. While the presentation may be similar the underlying pathology is clearly different. Researchers have suggested a number of explanations. One possibility that has been raised is that the tracer compounds used for identifying plaques may be sensitive to subtle differences in Amyloid.

There is an interesting write up of research into the possible relationship between insulin and Alzheimer’s Disease.

A PLOS Medicine round-up looks at incontinence in Dementia.

Researchers suggest Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans involved in Alzheimer’s Disease. Enzymes for receptors may be a target.

Researchers investigate Alzheimer’s Disease using EEG analysis and suggest characteristics based on their analysis.

Researchers are undertaking a study into the effects of tailored activity programs for people with Dementia.

The recently published Alzheimer’s Disease International ‘World Alzheimer’s Report‘ predicts that Dementia of Alzheimer’s Type will affect 277 million people globally by 2050.

Research suggests that PirB binds Beta Amyloid before it forms the Beta Amyloid plaque and this may contribute to the neurodegenerative process.

Researchers found a number of factors that help carers for people with strokes including reminiscing about past experiences, making sense of experiences an planning for the future.

A GBA gene mutation leads to early Parkinson’s Disease through lipid changes. The lipids also have an independent link with cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s Disease in people who do not have this gene mutation. 

The National Institutes of Health in America are allocating significant funding for Alzheimer’s Disease prevention studies.

In this study researchers found that detecting the smell of Peanut Butter through the left nostril was impaired in people with Alzheimer’s Disease. Smell can also be affected in Lewy Body Dementia but an important confounder is the history of smoking which can also lead to an impairment in smell.

There is an interesting write-up of a paper by Jucker and Walker in which they suggest Prion like proteins spread through brain in many neurodegenerative disease.

Researchers have developed three tracer compounds to help image the pathology in Alzheimer’s Disease. Thee are two write-ups of the studies (here and here) which discuss PBB3, THK’s and a third compound. With the PBB3 tau ligand the researchers suggest that it will bind many forms of tau aggregate that occur in different diseases including Frontotemporal Dementia.

Does tau travel between neurons?

PLOS One study – 95 older adults without Dementia – inflammation showed a negative correlation with Corpus Callosum integrity.

An Australian group have looked at the ability to think about the future in people with behavioural variant Frontotemporal Dementia (bvFTD). There were 30 subjects in the study, 10 with bvFTD, 10 with Alzheimer’s Disease and 10 controls. Amongst other results, the researchers found that atrophy in the medial temporal regions (specifically identifying the right Hippocampus) and Occipital Cortex was associated with impairments in thinking about the future. This is a small sized study and it would be interesting to see the results of further replication studies.

This interview looks at research into blocking mglu5 to restore memory.

In an interesting multifaceted study researchers looked at memory loss and aging. They identified a gene that was decreasingly expressed with age and found evidence that expression of the gene in the Dentate Gyrus was important for memory.

There is a write-up here of two studies on Dementia published in the Lancet. In one study (1) the researchers sampled 7635 people over the age of 65 screening for Dementia. Two decades later they screened 7796 people and compared the two groups using various statistical adjustments. The researchers concluded that there had been a lower prevalence in the latter group (6.5% v 8.3%) and that this was statistically significant. These results may not generalise to other areas and populations and there is also commentary in the above write-up. In the second study in Denmark, people who were in their 90′s were assessed on their cognition at two points in time a decade apart. The researchers found that there had been an improvement in the performance on a standardised cognitive test as well on activities of daily living over the study period.

There is a report here on the first Dementia dogs starting work with people with Dementia.

There is a brief write-up here of a study linking difficulties with emotive memories and the orbitofrontal cortex in Frontotemporal Dementia.

Researchers in one study found evidence that people with Alzheimer’s Disease may experience difficulties in recognising changes in affect in themselves* (Verhülsdonk S et al, 2013).

There is a look at  Tetracyclines and Amyloidosis in this paper (Stoilova et al, 2013).

Researchers in Japan suggest that there may be subtypes of Alzheimer’s Disease determined by comorbidity on the basis of their neuroimaging findings (Fukazawa et al, 2013).

Researchers have characterised the Magnetic Resonance Imaging findings for a C9ORF72 variant of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. They distinguished these MRI findings from those in people with the C9O4F72 variant of Frontotemporal Dementia.

One or more reported episodes of Delirium occurred in 25% of people with Lewy Body Dementia in comparison with 7% of people with Alzheimer’s Disease in this retrospective study (n=180).

A Cochrane Database Systematic Review investigated Rivastigmine in the treatment of Vascular Dementia and Vascular Mild Cognitive Impairment. The researchers identified only three trials (n=800) with two trials showing no benefit but a third showing some benefit for cognition at 24 weeks versus placebo in Vascular Dementia (n=710). Nevertheless it will be interesting to see the findings in further meta-analyses as more studies become available for inclusion.

An intriguing Swedish study has looked at the effects of Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors (ACHEI’s) on the risk of developing myocardial infarcts in people being treated for Alzheimer’s Disease (this included people with Alzheimer’s Mixed Dementia). This was a cohort study (n=7073) using data from the Swedish Dementia Register and national registers for other health outcomes. Amongst other findings the researchers found that people taking the highest dose of AChEI’s had a significantly lower risk of developing Myocardial Infarcts relative to the control group who had not used them. In this cases the hazard ratio was 0.35 (95% Confidence Interval 0.19-0.64).

Mild cognitive impairment was associated with a reduction in quality of life in this study (n=205). The QOL-AD (Alzheimer’s Disease) instrument was used to assess quality of life.

There is a detailed write-up at the Alzheimer’s Research Forum of a paper published in JAMA Neurology looking at the relationship between late onset Epilepsy or epileptiform activity and cognitive decline. The researchers examined people with mild cognitive impairment as well as Alzheimer’s Disease. They found that epileptiform activity was associated with cognitive decline.

Impaired glucose tolerance was associated with cognitive impairment in this study.

NHS Choices looks at the recent study suggesting slower decline in Dementia and an association with ACE inhibitors. There is other research which has also examined this relationship.

Researchers in this study found an association between Human Herpes Virus 6 infection and cognitive dysfunction.

Researchers have announced preliminary results suggesting alterations in a BCHE gene promoter linked to Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). They found a link with 20% of LBD cases but it is important to note that these are preliminary findings.

A Genome Wide Association study identified 11 new gene candidates for Alzheimer’s Disease.

A PLOS One study finds that Dementia tweets are mainly about research and health matters. The researchers encourage the Dementia research community to use this medium.

There is a write-up here of a study in which Anaemia was associated with a higher risk of incident Dementia in a cohort of 2552 older adults. The paper was published in the Journal Neurology.

One research group looked at classifying cognitive impairment in traumatic brain injury. There is a good write-up of the 3 clusters identified from the neuropsychological testing.

The authors of one paper on the aging brain conclude that although there is evidence of plasticity in older adulthood in response to cognitive stimulation there is still a need for research into how gains are generalised. The authors also cite evidence from studies such as the Experience Corps Project which show that the environment can play a significant role in achieving cognitive gains.

Apathy (measured using the apathy evaluation scale) in people with Dementia or Mild Cognitive Impairment was associated with reduced daytime activity (measured using a wrist-worn actigraph) in this study.

South Korea is reported to have a rapidly aging population and the anticipated increase in people with Dementia is examined in detail in this article.

Psychosis

Researchers looked at involuntary treatment in people with Schizophrenia in Denmark using a Psychiatry register. The researchers looked at the data for 18599 patients over a 7 year period. Of these patients 3078 underwent involuntary treatment. The researchers found that treatment with antipsychotics accounted for 99.5% of involuntary psychotropic drugs administered. Electroconvulsive therapy accounted for only 4.8% of all involuntary treatments. These findings may not be generalisable to other countries as there are many factors that can influence these results including the structure of health services.

There is a study from Hong Kong in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry looking at relapse rates in first-episode psychosis. The researchers looked at the cumulative relapse rate as well as risk factors for relapse. The researchers identified many risk factors for relapse which included non-concordance with medication (Hui et al, 2013).

There is an open-access article on structural MRI findings in Schizophrenia in the Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association available in both Norwegian and English. The researchers found evidence of reduced Hippocampal volume but increased volume in the Globus Pallidus in study subjects with Schizophrenia compared to controls.

In another experimental study (n=20) published in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers found that Sodium Nitroprusside was effective in the treatment of psychosis with the effect beginning within 4 hours and lasting up to 4 weeks after a single administration with these effects not observed in the placebo group. Further studies will be needed to see if this effect is seen in large samples and to assess the risk-benefit ratio of using this medication which like other medications has side-effects. It will be interesting to see the results of further research in this area.

Musical hallucinations were more likely in females and people with left-sided hearing impairment in this study looking at people undergoing audiometry testing. In their sample of 194 people, 3.6% experienced musical hallucinations. Age and severity of hearing impairment were not risk factors however.

Professor Julian Leff has been using virtual reality environments to help people with Schizophrenia who hear voices, manage their experiences. There is a write-up here.

Dr Emily Dean has an interesting piece on NMDA receptor antibody encephalitis as a cause of Schizophrenia with papers presented at the recent American Psychiatric Association annual meeting.

There is a recent case study of Olfactory Reference Syndrome misattributed to Trimethylaminuria in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease .

Via @SameiHuda there is an intriguing JAMA study looking at the effects of a vasodilator on symptoms in Schizophrenia and it will be interesting to see the results of follow-up studies in this area.

Smoking and Diabetes are risk factors that affect mortality during the 6.2 year follow-up period in this study. The study was looking at people with Schizophrenia and there is a good summary in the write-up above.

An American group have produced an overview of guidelines used for treatment approaches in Schizophrenia.

There is an interesting write-up at the Schizophrenia Research Forum on the psychosis prodrome from the 2013 International Prodromal Research Network Meeting in Florida.

The risk of urinary tract infections was found to be increased 29 fold in relapse of Schizophrenia compared to healthy controls in this study http://ow.ly/jL11G 

A new rating scale for the negative symptoms of Schizophrenia – the CAINS is covered in this piece.

The Schizophrenia Bulletin features a large meta-analysis of the relationship between childhood adversity and the subsequent development of psychosis and the article is open-access. The authors concluded that people who had developed psychosis were 2.72 times as likely to have experienced childhood adversity as controls. The authors combined different types of studies (e.g crosssectional and longitudinal). The issue of integrating different types of adverse events is complex. However there are many outcomes including non-psychotic disorders or healthy adaptations. These findings provide evidence to better characterise one of the possible outcomes.

The New York Time has a piece by Professor Elyn Saks who discusses his diagnosis of Schizophrenia and how he has developed a successful academic career. Professor Saks offers many insights into how illness can impact on functioning and his own personal experience of overcoming these difficulties.

via @Keith_Laws there is an interesting study looking at language lateralisation in people with Schizophrenia. There is an evolutionary theory developed by Professor Tim Crow which states that language results from lateralisation in the brain and that this lateralisation process can be affected in Schizophrenia. The researchers in this study looked at previous investigations of lateralisation using dichotic listening tasks. These tasks involve the presentation of bilateral auditory stimuli. Subsequent testing can pick up subtle differences in the way the right or left auditory stimuli are processed if this difference is present. The researchers in this study found that subjects with Schizophrenia had a lower degree of language lateralisation compared to a control group. However the magnitude of this difference became much larger in the subgroup with auditory hallucinations.

McCarthy-Jones and colleagues have undertaken a fascinating study into auditory hallucinations in people with Schizophrenia and other diagnoses associated with hallucinations (n = 199). The researchers found that in 39% of people, auditory hallucinations were related to memories of conversations that people had experienced previously. 45% of the subjects reported the voices as manifesting the same content and the researchers have developed subtypes on the basis of a cluster analysis of their findings.

The effect of trauma/PTSD in people with Schizophrenia was investigated in this study (n=292). The researchers didn’t find evidence of cognitive impairment (using a neuropsychological test battery). However there was evidence of an increase in depression in the group with trauma/PTSD compared to those without.

The March 2013 edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry includes a meta-analysis of non-pharmacological interventions in Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, a meta-analysis of Metabolic Syndrome comorbidity in Bipolar Disorder and a Swedish cohort study looking at comorbidity in Schizophrenia. There is an accompanying podcast.

The February 2013 edition of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry features clinical trials of Desvenlafaxine in major Depression and Lurasidone in Schizophrenia, the use of high frequency Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (see above) as well as a prevalence study on attenuated psychotic symptoms. There is an accompanying podcast.

There is an  article into Journal of medical case reports where the researchers document a case of delusional parasitosis associated with hyperthyroidism. In Delusional Parasitosis a person believes that they have a parasitic  infestation. This is a rare type of delusion. Few people with Hyperthyroidism would get this delusion and few people with this delusion would have Hyperthyroidism. That is what makes this case so interesting although the relationship with Hyperthyroidism had been previously documented. In this case study the researchers had followed the patient up over a prolonged period of time and identified the resolution and relapse of the delusion with the remission and relapse of Hyperthyroidism. The chronic course of this relationship strengthened the hypothesis that the Hyperthyroidism was linked. Nevertheless single case studies are usually interpreted with caution as there are many confounding factors which can also play a role.

The Schizophrenia Research Forum has an interesting piece looking at the negative symptoms in Schizophrenia. There is a detailed write-up which covers one study which looks at a subgroup of people with a specific genotype treated with Vitamin B12 supplements. The second study finds evidence of an association with interruption of the Right Arcuate Fasciculus, the Left Uncinate Fasciculus and the Right Inferior Longitudinal Fasciculus. Check out the write-up for further details.

Dr Oliver Sacks has published a paper in Brain describing a variation of musical hallucinations. In this form of musical hallucinations people see the musical score.

50 cases of Delusional Infestation are covered in the Asian Journal of Psychiatry.

Write up of genome wide association study finding new gene associations with Schizophrenia.

Study finds inflammatory markers raised in first-episode Schizophrenia (n=96).

This write-up at MedWire News looks at fMRI research suggesting complex differences between striatal-Prefrontal Cortex connections in people in this study with Schizophrenia compared with a control group.

via MedWire News the researchers in one study found that retinal venules were wider in people with Schizophrenia than in a control group (n=922) although the significance is unclear.

Researchers looked at auditory verbal hallucinations in older adults with Schizophrenia (n=198) and found that compared to younger adults with Schizophrenia in previous reports. The researchers findings included that in older adults with Schizophrenia auditory verbal hallucinations were more likely to be associated with depressive symptoms.

Mental Elf reviews the Cochrane Review of Fluphenazine treatment for Schizophrenia in this post.

Meta-cognitive training to address cognitive distortions was found to improve ratings of delusions in people with Schizophrenia in this study. The training had an additive effect to medication.

Research studies into telehealth in people with Schizophrenia were examined in this study. Both advantages and disadvantages to internet access were found with a benefit for empowerment and recommendations were made for future studies.

Researchers investigated various social neuroscience methodologies for use in trials for people with Schizophrenia. One approach in particular appeared to have advantages for use in research.

There have been a few new findings in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome which can leads to a number of conditions including Schizophrenia, Graves disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis and has a prevalence of 1 in 4,000 (although it may be more common). Both Velocardofacial syndrome or DiGeorge’s syndrome result from 22q11.2 deletion but the term ’22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome’ subsumes both of these syndrome names. There has been an established link with Autistic Spectrum Disorders but  a recent study suggests this is not the case. Dr Angkustsiri and colleagues at UC Davis have found that although 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome is associated with social impairment, this does not meet the criteria for Autistic Spectrum Disorders. In another study researchers found that 4 out 159 people with 22q11.2  Deletion Syndrome had Parkinson’s Disease with age of onset between 39 and 48 years of age. These initial findings will need further confirmation.

Garety and Freeman looked at Delusions in this November 2013 British Journal of Psychiatry paper. They found a link between worry, catastrophisation, attributional bias and jumping to conclusions and Delusions. They found no link between Delusions and theory of mind however.

There is an interesting MedWire News write-up of a study which found a link between self-reported mood stability and psychotic episodes. The researchers looked at the responses to a question about mood stability that was administered in a large survey. They found a link between a high self-rating of mood instability and likelihood of psychotic experiences.

Researchers in this small 12-week trial of an SSRI in depression looked at grey matter volume at the beginning of the trial and cognitive and mood changes by the end of the trial. Subjects were aged 55 and over (n=34). The researchers found that a larger improvement in mood was associated with greater grey matter volume in several areas including the Cingulate gyrus as well as the superior and middle Frontal gyri.

This Cochrane trial looked at methods for retaining recruits to randomised trials. The reviewers concluded that incentives either after return of a completed questionnaire or with the questionnaire with a further incentive were the most effective methods for retaining recruits.

There is an interesting MedWire News write-up of a meta-analysis in which researchers looked at cardiometabolic risk factors in people with Schizophrenia. There were 185, 606 people with Schizophrenia included in the meta-analysis and the control subjects across the studies totalled 3,900,000. The data showed that the people with Schizophrenia in this study were 4.43 times more likely to have abdominal obesity than the control subjects. Furthermore they found that the risk for Diabetes was doubled relative to the controls.

Delirium

Researchers in this study looked at people over the age of 65 with Dementia who developed Delirium while in hospital and found 25% mortality over 30 days. However there were 139 subjects in the study and it will be useful to see further replication studies.

In this study, researchers found evidence for the efficacy of the Observational Scale of Level of Arousal in detecting Delirium.

Researchers in this study found that severe white matter hyperintensities on MRI scans were a significant predictor of postoperative Delirium in Cardiac surgery (OR: 3.9; 95% CI: 1.2-12.5) and that this information could be clinically useful.

There is a small case series (n=5)  looking at Ramelteon in Delirium. Ramelteon is a Melatonin receptor agonist. Further studies will be needed to see if this effect is seen in large samples and to assess the risk-benefit ratio of using this medication which like other medications has side-effects. It will be interesting to see the results of further research in this area.

In one study researchers looked at 581 people undergoing major non-cardiac surgery. They identified a number of risk factors for developing Delirium and stratified people into low and high risk groups. For the entire group the risk of  postoperative delirum was 40% at 1-2 days post-op. The high risk group developed Delirium in 72% of cases if they had postoperative pain and used high dose Opioids. In comparison those in the low risk group who used low-dose Opioids and low level pain developed Delirium in 20% of cases. As Delirium is common, these findings are helpful in monitoring emerging Delirium.

A new tool for assessing Delirium has been published. The AWOL tool for Delirium allows risk stratification by utilising four risk factors: (A) age > 80, (W) results on a specific cognitive subtest (O) orientation and (L) nursing assessment of illness severity. There are a number of tools for assessing Delirium and this multidisciplinary assessment tool has the potential to support clinical decision making.

Mental and Behavioural Disorders Due to Psychoactive Substance Use

In a meta-analysis of pre-operative alcohol use and post-operative surgical complications, researchers found a statistically significant relationship between high alcohol use preoperatively and risk of post-operative mortality (relative risk 2.68 (95% CI 1.5-4.78)). Premorbid alcohol use was associated with an increased risk of postoperative general infections (relative risk 1.73 (95% CI 1.32-2.28) amongst other findings.

A look at a Cochrane review of evidence for psychosocial interventions in people with severe mental illness and substance misuse (in the review it is suggested that harm reduction can be a useful outcome and there is a need to address methodological difficulties in future studies).

In a longitudinal study by Bobo and colleagues the researchers looked at men aged 50 and over during a 10 year period to identify predictors of alcohol use. The researchers found that 30.7% of the men in the study were classed as moderate drinkers during the study period. The results were complex and dependent on the baseline characteristics and interacted with the number of variables including age education and self-reports of health. The researchers recruited people from the health and retirement study and the research was undertaken by the Centre for Public health research and evaluation in Seattle Washington.

Psychiatrist Professor Hamid Ghodse has passed away. Professor Ghodse made immense contributions to the field of addictions and more details can be found here and here.

Smokers genes – the evidence from a 4 decade study.

There is a write-up of a study by older adult psychiatrist Dr Tony Rao here in which he found that over the 10 year study period admissions for older adults with alcohol misuse had increased 150%.

Researchers looked at a selection of smartphone smoking cessation applications and found evidence of a low adherence to specific American clinical guidelines.

Miscellaneous

A study of older adults aged 65-84 provided evidence of increased social activity in men being linked with reduced mortality which the researchers found was partially mediated by mobility.

Authors on the Mental Elf Blog look at the BMC Psychiatry systematic review of internet-based interventions for eating disorders in adults, a PLOS One systematic review of music therapy, two meta-analyses looking at self-harm, a review of treatments for pain associated with behavioural problems in Dementia and a review of a randomised controlled trial on screening and counselling in primary care for intimate partner violence.

A study investigating Williams Syndrome was published in Developmental Neuropsychology. The researchers found that evoked response potentials differed from a control group when sounds and faces were presented which may be linked to other findings relating to social skills.

This Swedish study looks at risk factors for mental illness in over 1 million people and finds a link with downward social mobility.

This meta-analysis found evidence of efficacy of CBGT for social anxiety disorder compared to control conditions.

A PLOS One meta-analysis confirms a link between mortality and sitting and also finds that risk modification is linked with exercise.

The authors of a PLOS One study looked at a selection of handheld medical display devices and found evidence of variation in display image quality.

NHS England has started to publish NHS health data which can be downloaded and used under an Open Government License.

The Hospital Episode Statistics Mental Health Minimum Datasets  report summary statistics make for interesting reading. Approximately 1.29 million service users for adult mental health services were identified.

An updated Cochrane review of mobile phone messaging reminders to attend clinic appointments. The reviewers conclude that there is evidence that text messages are as effective as phone call reminders and more effective than either no reminders or letters. However the reviewers call for more research in the form of randomised trials.

A PLOS One meta-analysis looked at the utilisation of clinical laboratory tests. The authors found evidence of over and underutilisation which varied across clinical settings. The authors noted the low cost of laboratory tests relative to other aspects of management and highlight the importance of early tests.

A German research group have developed a method for comparing scores on 11 self-reporting Depression questionnaires and state that their findings can inform the use of questionnaires across settings as well as being useful in the research setting.

The authors of a meta-analysis looking at mental health websites found a statistically significant relationship between the source of funding of the website and the focus on biological versus psychosocial causes of illness and treatment.

There is an updated Cochrane review looks at the research studies investigating an atypical antipsychotic treatment in Schizophrenia and recommends further research amongst other findings.

There is a brief write-up here of an RCT of cognitive rehabilitation in Multiple Sclerosis.

A review of a study on the use of MRI scanning for diagnosis of Autism in infants (this is a fascinating study which looks at findings on developing brain volume in the sample population)

- A review of a cohort study on early exposure to intimate partner violence (in parents) and parental self-reported depressive symptoms (the review picks up on confounders such as peer interactions as well as highlighting associations found with ADHD)

BMC Psychiatry have published an Open-Access series on treatment resistance in eating disorders including this editorial by Secondo Fassino and Giovanni Abbate-Daga. Approaches include reconceptualisations of psychodynamic formulations by psychoanalysts such as Donald Winnicott (some of his works have been reviewed elsewhere on this blog e.g here). The series includes a clinical overview, a study finding a relationship with altered facial expression, a literature review of nutritional rehabilitation, a look at ADHD and weight loss and a multicentre trial of inpatient treatment.

NHS Choices features a number of good write-ups of recent research studies. Write-ups include a looks at a study investigating the use of Pimavansarin in psychosis in Parkinson’s Disease, a write-up that contextualises a recent opinion piece on increasing diagnosis rates of ADHD and a write-up that looks at a recent study suggesting that bilingualism reduces the risk of Dementia.

The Mental Elf Blog features reviews of studies looking at payment for injections, trauma exposure, looking at wellbeing in people with psychosis, and a Cochrane Review of smoking cessation strategies. The Mental Elf also features a review of a study looking at St John’s Wort. In interpreting the study the reviewer comments on the variation between preparations (which makes comparison difficult) as well as the absence of direct comparison studies. Direct comparison data is essential in identifying different side-effect profiles in either identical (cross-over design) or similar populations (e.g RCTs). For instance – look specifically at the side-effect profile detailed on the NHS Choices site - to see what type of side-effects may have been examined in a direct comparison. The characteristics of the patient population as well as dosing and route of administration can have an important influence on the side-effect profile (e.g compare this study and this study). This in turn can impact on an economic analysis. Another point is that as it appears the Meta-analysis is unpublished we don’t see estimates of publication bias (i.e were negative studies simply unpublished). In addition a lot of work has gone into licensed medications in the form of Phase I-III trials. Although there is Phase III data on St John’s Wort this is preparation specific (e.g see here) which raises one of the most important drawbacks of this study. The meta-analysis amalgamates many different preparations. Although Hypericum Performatum has been described as the psychoactive ingredient, 20% of the compounds that can be extracted are bioactive and there are 7 identified classes of medically active components. There is evidence of differing efficacy in Depression in studies (including non-efficacy) using different preparations. In my opinion therefore, the economic analysis doesn’t hold up because the inclusion of different preparations in the unpublished meta-analysis means that effective preparations may be inflating the performance of one or more ineffective preparations – we just don’t know. The economic analysis is not specific to preparations and if a preparation does not demonstrate efficacy then that has implications for the economic analysis.

There is a write-up at ‘Mental Elf’ of a study looking at the effects on the family of being present during cardiopulmonary resuscitation of a relative.

Medical students in North Carolina are being taught Mindfulness meditation in an effort to reduce the risk of burnout.

Researchers in this PLOS One study looked at the instructions for authors for Psychiatry Journals. The researchers were particularly interested in specific instructions for registration of clinical trials. On the basis of their findings the researchers commented on areas of good practice and recommended stricter enforcement of publishing data on trial registration.

JAMA have published the new version of the Declaration of Helskinki’s ethical principles for medical research.

In this study, automated calls to go to clinic for a blood pressure check were linked to better controlled Hypertension (n=64773).

Researchers in this study found that after watching videos of experience narratives, patients were more confident in the decisions they made.

A PLOS One study shows that e-readers set to show a few words per line can facilitate reading in some people with Dyslexia.

There is a Nature video on a research study looking at the relationship between training using brain training software and cognition in older adults.

Researchers have found a complex relationship between weight gain over the age of 50 and mortality.

Researchers in this study look at effects of changing calories in closely monitored diets on refeeding syndrome in anorexia.

Researchers in this Nature Communications paper suggests that a mutation in the gene for Brain Derived Neutrophic Factor (with a prevalence of up to 20%) is linked to Hippocampus atrophy and anxiety.

This New England Journal of Medicine opinion paper suggests 3 year medical degree in America for selected students.

Can this technology reduce intravenous drug errors? The researchers have used a technique known as SERS (surface enhanced raman scattering) to analyse fluid content in real time.

Research suggests that the expression of Sirt 1 in the Hypothalamus may be associated with longevity. In the BRASTO model expression of Sirt1 in Hypothalamus was associated with increased activity, deeper sleep and also influenced the structure of sarcomeres. Sirt 1 is supposed to mediate the effects of a specific type of diet (although recent research provides evidence against the benefits of the latter).

A PLOS One systematic literature review on ADHD suggests (amongst other findings) that comorbid oppositional or conduct disorder increased risk taking during gambling tasks. The evidence for the comorbid oppositional/conduct disorder link came from two of the included studies.

There is a brief but interesting write-up of a proposed framework for supporting clinicians when they are making difficult decisions.

In a recent development, microneedles enable patches to deliver drugs through skin with little wasted medication.

One study suggests motor learning differences with aging in retired athletes (n=30). Glutamate was suggested as a mediator. Participants were screened with the Mini-Mental State Examination for inclusion and underwent a motor sequence learning task.

Interesting write-up on the meta-analysis that suggests volunteering can extend life. This is consistent with research into meaning and purpose.

Sweet taste receptors are to be found in the intestine, not just tongue. This study suggests an alteration in Diabetes Type II.

The results from this study suggests that Anxiety traits increase interpersonal space. Also personal space around the face averages 20-40 cm

Researchers look at clinical trials and estimate new treatments better than standard treatments over 50% of time.

Placebos differ in their effects – there is an interesting write-up here.

This study investigated the effects of dual Orexin receptor antagonists on sleep.

A new approach to drug preparation leads to medications released in the small intestine.

This small study (via @Nebula63) looks at the possible relationship between Dopa agonists and habit learning and it would be interesting to see the results of further research in this area.

The project to understand protein function complements the Human Genome Project.

The most well connected online health initiatives.

This study suggests that in retirement, utilisation of free time rather than amount of time related to life quality. Researchers used quality of life instrument and interviewed 454 retirees.

There is a write-up here of how hospitals are using social media to get feedback from patients.

Researchers find a link between the TOP3B gene in a Finnish population and Fragile X and Schizophrenia. The gene is linked to mRNA.

Multiple blood pressure components help to stratify the vascular risk profile – there is a write-up at MedWire News.

Researchers report initial findings in locked-in syndrome with system that analyses pupillary changes.

There is a case study of anti-NDMAR induced Encephalitis in Hong Kong.

Medifund is a crowdfunding project which is helping to fund students through medical school in countries where there is a shortage of doctors. There is a good write-up here.

The Office of National Statistics reports the latest happiness index with a small improvement in the UK which may be related to the Jubilee and the Olympics.

Researchers in a Japanese study looks at central fatigue. Physical fatigue which can be divided into peripheral fatigue and central fatigue. Peripheral fatigue may involve muscles, the nerves supplying those muscles or the neuromuscular junction. In contrast central fatigue involves areas proximal to the peripheral nerves. In this study, researchers wanted to see what areas of the brain might be involved in central fatigue mechanisms. They used a technique known as magnetoencephalography (MEG) to investigate this phenomenon. A proxy marker of fatigue was used – a subjective feeling of fatigue. The researchers found a correlation between this proxy marker of fatigue and activity in the Posterior Cingulate Cortex and they suggest that the relationship was mediated through classical conditioning. There are various conditions which involve fatigue and this research may be relevant.

A recent Meta-analysis suggests that in people at high clinical risk of conversion to Schizophrenia, working memory and visual learning were significantly correlated with risk of conversion (n=593) and it will be interesting to see further research in this area.

One study failed to find a significant relationship between telomere length and physical parameters of aging. Telomeres are nucleotide sequences at the end of Chromatids. An extensive line of research has shown that longer Telomeres are associated with longer survival rates of cell lineages. In light of these cellular findings it has been suggested that Telomere length might be associated with longevity. However this study argues against a simple relationship between Telomere length and physical parameters such as grip strength.

Researchers have transform microscopes with light emitting diodes and computers increasing captured information 100 fold through a combination of increased resolution whilst retaining field view. This has the potential for many biomedical applications.

There is an interesting piece about new 3D scanners which probably have significant and abundant potential medical applications.

The Dutch Eindhoven region has been identified as the world’s most inventive region with many patents including medical innovations.

A recent meta-analysis of treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry looking at the results of 112 studies. The researchers concluded that there were many effective treatments but a direct comparison was difficult because of the characteristics of the patient populations in the different studies.

Digital tablets are used to see if medication is taken as well as to examine associated physiological parameters. In a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry researchers investigated the use of digital tablets in 27 people who had completed the study. Interestingly the researchers found that 67% of medication was taken within 2 hours of the scheduled dosing time. The tablets also provided information on postural changes during sleep. There is a good write-up here.

Researchers in this study identified 26 genes that are coexpressed in Autism. The genes were expressed in the Granule cells in the Cerebellum.

Researchers in this study used analysis of movements to support the diagnosis of Autism.

Researchers in this population based study in women (n=1084) found an association between mood disorders and increased gastro-oesophageal reflux disease symptoms using the strcutured clinical interview for DSM-IV-TR and GHQ-12. Lifetime mood disorders was associated with an adjusted odds ratio of 1.6 (95% CI 1.1-2.4).

In the US NIH funded REGARDS study researchers found that exercise was associated with lower stroke risk (n=27,000 for the data included in the analysis). The study found a curious difference between genders with only men experiencing a significant reduction in stroke risk.

Migraine was associated with variations in structure of brain arteries in this study.  Researchers looked at 170 people with and without migraine. They found an association of Migraine with incomplete circle of willis. However there were many cases without this association.

This small study (n=26) suggests Modafanil was associated with increased activation in dorsal attention networks.

There is a write-up of a study finding an increase in cases of Powassan Encephalitis in New York State, caused by black legged ticks.

MK-8931, a BACE inhibitor was associated with reduced Amyloid load in this study.

Results in a Phase II study reported at Medpage Today suggest that CHF5074 is associated with improvement (statistically significant) on several cognitive tasks (Trail Making Tests, immediate and delayed word recall) although further research will be needed (Phase III trials).

Eating nuts as part of the Mediterranean diet was investigated in this study.

Ruth Francis, head of communications at BioMed Central has this interesting piece on tips for medical journalists.

This write-up looks at the SNIFF-long study which investigated intranasal Insulin in Alzheimer’s Disease.

There is a write-up of a study by Professor Coid and colleagues investigating psychiatric illness in gang members in two areas in the UK. Relative to a control group the researchers found that gang members were less likely to have depression than a comparator group. However the gang members were more likely to have other conditions.  The subject group were atypical in that they were older than the age of the average group member and the researchers recommend further longitudinal studies.

In the MATRICS study researchers found evidence that working memory and visual learning performance were risk factors for transition to psychosis in an at-risk group.

In a whole-genome sequencing study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, researchers have found evidence for approximately 50% of the genetic variation in risk for Autistic Spectrum Disorders. The researchers identified previously recognised gene associations as well as several new associations.

Researchers publishing in BMC Psychiatry have found evidence from a moderately sized study (n=191) looking at women with eating disorders that comorbid ADHD differed between eating disorders subtypes. The researchers found evidence for a significantly higher comorbidity of ADHD in Bulimia Nervosa, Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified Bulimic Subtype and Binge Eating Disorders compared with Anorexia Nervosa . The researchers comment that there was a small sample size in the group with Anorexia Nervosa.

One research group in Japan have published a case-control study (n=40) in BMC Neurology examining the relationship between GADA antibodies and cognitive function. The researchers looked at people with GADA positive Diabetes compared to a control group with GADA negative NIDDM. In the results, the researchers identified a significant reduction in the Full Scale IQ in the GADA positive group (Japanese version of the WAIS-III) as well as performance on perceptual organisation and verbal fluency tasks. The findings suggest that GADA antibodies may influence cognition and it will be interesting to see the results of further research in this area.

Scientific American has an article looking at anticipated scientific developments in the coming year including the publication of DSM-V.

Nevertheless studies of this type although good at finding possible relationships require further different types of studies to investigate these relationships more closely. It will be interesting to see the results of further studies in this area to clarify the nature of these initial findings.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists in conjunction with several mental health charities have responded to the refreshing of the NHS mandate by emphasising the need for parity of physical and mental health problems.

Neurologist and writer Professor Oliver Sacks has written an excellent piece on his experience of aging as he approaches his 80th birthday.

Researchers have clarified the function of the MECP-2 gene, a gene involved in Rett Syndrome, a neurodegenerative condition. The researchers found evidence that mutations at two key locations in the gene produce Rett Syndrome.

There is a call to publish trials in the BMJ. The authors look at issues such as publication bias and discuss solutions.

There is a write-up here of a study looking at bright light therapy for daytime sleepiness in 18 people with traumatic brain injury.

There is an interesting study in PLOS One (n=86) in which researchers looked at the relationship between exercise and cognition in older adults. The researchers looked at people aged 70-80 undergoing twice weekly aerobic training, twice-weekly balance and tone classes or twice weekly resistance training over a period of 6 months. The researchers found that the resistance training group showed a performance improvement in the Stroop test (which can be used to examine executive function ) which was statistically significant (p=0.04) in comparison with the control group (balance and tone group).  The researchers suggest this approach might be considered for Mild Cognitive Impairment and it will be interesting to see the results of further research in this area. The selection criteria for these exercises is important also as some people may not be suitable due to health issues and would need to consult with their physician.

Recent research has clarified how Thioridazine one of the first antipsychotics to be used is also effective in the treatment of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

There is a nice write-up of a study looking at Pepper consumption and the risk of Parkinson’s Disease. The researchers compared 490 people with Parkinson’s Disease with 644 people without Parkinson’s Disease. The researchers found that people without Parkinson’s Disease were less likely to have eaten peppers and that there was a dose-related effect i.e the more Peppers a person ate per week the less likely they were to have Parkinson’s Disease.  However it will be interesting to see further research in this area.

Researchers compared two measures of non-motor Parkinson’s Disease symptoms – the MDS-UPDRS Part 1 and the Non-Motor Symptoms Scale NMSS. The researchers found that the scales had good convergent validity generally but not in cases where the non-motor symptoms were severe (Martinez-Martin et al, 2013).

The Journal of Molecular Psychiatry recently started up. There is an editorial here.

This research looked at the sensitivity of frontal lobe testing after MRI-confirmed right frontal CVA.

There is a look at the evidence supporting a relationship between Lithium and neuroprotection in this paper (available at Pubmed Central). The authors recommend further long-term studies to further investigate this relationship.

Researchers in this study used a novel approach for assessing medial frontal lobe function – a test of object alternation (Freedman et al, 2013). The researchers found that performance on an object alternation task was correlated with medial frontal lobe grey matter volume in people with Frontotemporal Dementia.

Vaughan Bell interviews psychiatrist Professor Michael Owen about the relationship between genes and mental illness.

The University of New South Wales has a short piece debunking common myths about DSM-5.

The Shrinkrap bloggers celebrated their seventh year of blogging recently.

A group of researchers in America have looked at how people access information about mental health on Google through the year. They looked at search date from 2006 to 2010 and found that people were more likely to look for information on terms including anxiety, depression and schizophrenia in the winter than in the summer. They identified a gap between peak and trough of 14% in the USA. In their conclusion the researchers note the similarity between their findings and the seasonal variation evident in Seasonal Affective Disorder.

There is coverage of a New England Journal of Medicine study showing evidence of several brain regions involved in pain. Analgesia reduced the signal supporting the relationship.

There is coverage of a study (n=28) in which increased physical activity levels were associated with improved attention.

There is an interesting post at ‘Whose Shoes?’ which looks at resilience and aging as well as the process of Dementia Research.

There is a British Journal of Psychiatry paper on anti-stigma training for medical students here.

Researchers have found evidence that Oligodendrocytes may play a role in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

This paper looks at the effect of language on the influence of Psychiatry articles

Source memory was unimpaired in people with Parkinson’s Disease compared to an older adult control group in this study although there was an impairment in executive function in the former group (in keeping with previous research).

This systematic review did not show evidence of impaired social cognition in people with Bulimia Nervosa in the studies examined.

Increased risk of Stroke estimated with the Framingham Stroke Risk Profile was associated with reduced cognitive performance in several areas in this study. Previous research shows the relationship between cognition and vascular risk factors and this study supports this evidence.

Standardized low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography (sLORETA) showed evidence of altered activity in the Default Mode Network in people with Vascular Cognitive Impairment Non Dementia in this study.

There is a tour by the Chinese American Psychoanalytic Alliance (CAPA) in China in 2013 http://bit.ly/ZlL6HB 

There is an open-access paper on e-prescribing in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association where the authors have estimated a 48% reduction in medication errors (95% confidence interval of 41% to 55%). There is a good write-up of the paper here.

There is a short piece at Family Practice News on the anxiety disorders category that has been proposed. The big news is that PTSD (and related conditions) and OCD spectrum disorders would be moved to category distinct from the anxiety disorders (i.e Panic Disorders and Generalised Anxiety Disorder).

There is an interesting talk by Professor Douglas Turkington on Cognitive Behavioural Treatment of Schizophrenia (via @keithlaws).

Researchers have looked at gene variants in older adults and children. Hypothesising that gene variants that were more common in older adults promoted longevity and those more common in children did not, the researchers identified 4 gene variants which potentially increase lifespan. These genes were mainly involved in alternative splicing.  Alternative splicing is a process which enables many different proteins to be coded for by a single gene.

Scientific American have an interesting piece on a man who couldn’t speak and who was studied by the French Neurologist Paul Broca. The man had a lesion in the brain which Broca hypothesised as being responsible for his difficulties with speech. This area was subsequently named as Broca’s area.

Vaughan Bell at Mind Hacks reviews a paper on the proposed illness Munchausen-by-Internet in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. The writeup summarises a number of the findings of the authors of the paper.

At Psy Post there is an overview of Professor Blumstein’s research into treating aphasia. In Blumstein’s funcional Magnetic Resonance Imaging research she has identified networks of brain regions that encode meaning in words and these are organised according to similar sounding words and words of similar meaning replicating research findings elsewhere. The treatment approach involves people with Aphasia generating words under different conditions e.g singing words and then speaking them.

The Enteric Nervous System controls the gastrointestinal system and the incredible sophistication is often overlooked in comparison with the complexity of the CNS. There is a fascinating open-access review at ‘Nature Reviews of Gastroenterology and Hepatology’ including primary and secondary disorders of the Enteric Nervous System. In the latter category Parkinsons disease is discussed in detail. There is probably a great detail of insight to be gained from a consideration of the similarities and differences between the Central Nervous System and the Enteric Nervous System.

There is a brief but interesting review of research findings examining the relationship between Glutamate and mental illness here.

Feng and colleagues looked at 228 people aged 55 and above using Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the brain as well as a number of blood tests and physical measures. The researchers were interested in the associations with elevated Homocysteine. The researchers found that elevated Homocysteine levels were associated with lower performance on cognitive testing and reduced white-matter volume. However the elevated Homocysteine levels were not correlated with decreased Hippocampal volume or the volume of white-matter hyperintensities.

The Institute of Psychoanalysis has a fascinating piece on the influence of Shakespeare on the development of psychoanalysis including the influence of Hamlet on Freud’s ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’.

There is an interesting video of Psychiatrist Dr Mark Salter giving a talk on the meaning of pain.

One group has developed a gene chip looking at SNP’s (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms). These are short gene sequences. This gene chip is being used to identify specific traits in people with a high degree of confidence.

Researchers investigated the addition of I-methylfolate to augment SSRI’s in this double-blind placebo-controlled trial (n=148). The researchers used two doses of I-methylfolate and found a significant advantage for the higher dose of I-methylfolate in response rate and symptom improvement. The study period was 60 days.

In America, the Associated Press have released guidelines on the coverage of mental illness. These guidelines have the potential to reduce mental illness related stigma. The guidelines state that mental illness labels should not be used to describe non-health issues and also provide guidance on other unhelpful associations.

A new international multicentre study has provided evidence that empathy – the ability to understand the minds of others – could begin to develop before 2 years of age. The researchers in this study looked at non-verbal responses to a false belief task. The researchers concluded that the non-verbal responses at this early stage implied an understanding of another person’s mind.

Researchers have looked at data from over 75,000 adults on measurements of empathy and concluded that scores on these tests reaches a peak in both genders in women in their 50′s.

In this cross-sectional study, researchers investigated the relationship between hyponatraemia and bone mineral density in people with anorexia (n=404). The researchers found that people with anorexia and hyponatraemia had a significantly lower bone mineral density at several sites including the hips than people with anorexia without hyponatraemia. The researchers suggest hyponatraemia may lead to osteopenia in people with anorexia and it will be interesting to see the results of further research.

One approach in psychotherapy trials involves a cross-over design. As the psychotherapist is integral to the therapy, cross-over trials involve the same psychotherapist delivering different forms of psychotherapy. One potential confounder is that psychotherapists may favour one treatment over another which may influence outcome. In this meta-analysis, the researchers identified 39 cross-over trials. In those studies were therapist allegiance was controlled for the researchers found no influence of therapist allegiance on therapy outcome. Therapist allegiance did influence therapy outcome in studies in which therapist allegiance was not controlled for. These findings are important in informing research trials.

A number of people in the field of mental health have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list including Professor Simon Wessely, Professor Jacky Hayden, Dr Edward Ritson, Professor Janet Treasure, Vanessa Cameron, Professor David Clark and Fay Deadman.

There is a nice write-up of a very interesting study published in Nature Communications at Psych Central. A research group wanted to take a closer look at the function of a peptide known as Hypocretin as well as the peptide Melanin Concentrating Hormone. The researchers looked at a group of subjects who were due to undergo brain surgery. The people in the study had electrodes implanted in the brain in order to identify areas of brain tissue which would be spared or targeted during surgery. The researchers used other equipment with the electrodes to monitor the levels of the peptides through the day. Subjects kept a diary of their subjective mood. The researchers found that levels of Hypocretin were increased during periods of higher rated subjective mood. They also found that Melanin Concentrating Hormone levels were decreased during social interaction. The write-up contains further details about the study.

Current Psychiatry Online has a review which discusses how to adapt Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to older adults.

A new UK Department of Health website is being launched in March 2013 and more details can be found here.

The Journal ‘Academic Psychiatry’ March 2013 edition is published here. There are papers about learning psychopathology through the analysis of horror films and developing a research program in an older adult mental health services.

Dr Aronson has a piece on Journals that accept stories and short essays by physicians.

3D printing materials which function like living tissues have been produced using a 3D printer

Researchers at Vienna University have created a virtual reality maze of unlimited size but which can be navigated within a single room (in the real world). The maze is generated as the person walks through the virtual world while maintaining firm boundaries with the confines of the real world room that the person is in (meaning that they won’t walk into real walls). There is a video at the New Scientist website which illustrates the virtual maze in action. There are many potential research applications of this technology.

A new research study suggests that there are now 7 social classes in Britain.

NHS Choices have a very helpful look at recent research looking at the benefits of walking http://bit.ly/YAB2HU 

This study looks at how lifestyle in adulthood influences loss of height with age.

There is coverage of a remarkable technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology which amplifies motion in videos at the New York Times. In the examples, respiratory rate and heart rate can be determined from the processed footage. The video below illustrates the technology.

There is a round-up of anthropology news here which includes a brief discussion about how anthropologists are taking on difficult issues such as healthcare access.

Health and Wellbeing

Bolier and colleagues undertook a meta-analysis of positive psychology interventions (see Appendix) in randomised control trials. They looked at outcomes for subjective and objective well-being and depression. The researchers used standardised effect sizes when comparing different treatment approaches.

1471-2458-13-119-1

Diagram from (Bolier et al, 2013), Creative Commons 2.0

The researchers found positive effects for subjective and objective well-being as well as Depression. The results for Depression are shown below.

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Diagram from (Bolier et al, 2013), Creative Commons 2.0

For Depression, Cohen’s D was 2.0 (95% Confidence Interval 0.09-0.30 with p<0.1).

Neuroscience

Researchers in this study identified the protein FNDC5 as a possible link between exercise and brain health. The expression of PGC-1α is increased in muscles after exercise in a murine model and this in turn was associated with an increase in FNDC5 which in turn is associated with an increase in expression of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Growth Factor.

There is an interesting piece on the Turkish artist Eşref Armağan who uses touch to sense his surroundings and paint. Armağan has been investigated by researchers and has undergone functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging while painting (showing activity in the visual cortex).

A large variation in DNA has been found between neurons in the brain in this study. Copy number variants are large sequences of DNA that are either added or subtracted from the genome. The researchers looked at post-mortem brains and surprisingly found wide variation in the DNA in neurons.

In a PLOS One study, Dodell-Feder and colleagues have published their findings on their new Theory of Mind task. The task uses a story by Ernest Hemingway to test empathy. The subjects had an above average IQ (mean 120) and the researchers found a significant correlation of performance with IQ. However performance also correlated with a task in which subjects gauged the emotional state of an actor by looking at their eyes (the Eyes Task) supporting the validity of the new task (interestingly performance on this task is also correlated with IQ).

This write-up looks at a study in which researchers investigate discourse comprehension (the ability to understand spoken and written language)  by examining function in people with damage to certain parts of the brain. The researchers concluded that Frontal and Parietal regions are needed for the executive functions necessary for discourse comprehension.

This write-up looks at an important study finding that intracellular calcium was not necessary for adaptation to sounds.

There is a write-up here of a study looking at cognition and the number of recessions a person has lived through.

Researchers publishing a repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) study looked at speech repetition. They used rTMS on the left hemisphere as a model for cerebrovascular accidents. The researchers found right hemisphere compensation with speech repetition. Such rapid adaptation gives possible insights into brain plasticity.

A mutation in the gene coding for the GABAA Beta 1 subunit was linked to excessive alcohol consumption in mice in this study.

Researchers investigated people undergoing surgery for Epilepsy. Brain electrodes can be used in the preoperative preparation. In this study, researchers used virtual reality environments to link activity in place cells in the Hippocampus with memories which effectively had ‘spatial tags’.

There is a write-up here of a study looking at features of sleep (including non-restorative sleep and initial insomnia) and mortality.

The replication of 10 out of 13 effects in psychological studies has been widely reported. At a superficial level it seems promising that a large proportion of the effects can be replicated. However in the above link Tal Yarkoni provides a more detailed assessment with reference to the blogosphere.

What does compassion sound like? This study has an answer.

Social networks make society ‘smarter’ by distributing knowledge/skills – study uses model of society.

This write-up looks at a study in which researchers investigate discourse comprehension (the ability to understand spoken and written language)  by examining function in people with damage to certain parts of the brain. The researchers concluded that Frontal and Parietal regions are needed for the executive functions necessary for discourse comprehension.

A write-up of a study providing evidence that creativity in the arts is increasing and in writing decreasing.

Coffee in the afternoon was associated with sleep reduction in this study.

This study suggests nostalgia is linked to optimism. Subjects recalled nostalgic memories and   songs.

This face recognition fMRI study looked at the context of facial recognition. Activity in the fusiform gyrus and Superior Temporal Sulcus were correlated with facial recognition.

Researchers identify a 5th type of boredom – apathetic boredom and the researchers suggest that people mainly experience just one type of boredom.

This write-up looks at an important study finding that intracellular calcium was not necessary for adaptation to sounds.

There is a write-up here of a study looking at cognition and the number of recessions a person has lived through.

There is a write-up here of a study looking at features of sleep (including non-restorative sleep and initial insomnia) and mortality.

Purpose in life linked to improved emotional recovery after presentation of negative stimuli in PLOS One study.

BIOME features a round-up of the latest news biology research. There is a write-up of a Frontiers in Human Neuroscience study investigating reading. The researchers were able to accurately predict how well subjects could comprehend words within the context of a sentence and also how well they recognised words. The predictions were based on Electroencephalography and Electrooculographic readings.

Artem Kaznatcheev has an interesting piece on models “Are all models wrong?” on the blog Theory, Evolution and Games Group. Models are a fundamental aspect of science and there has been much interesting debate on this subject within Psychiatry. Kaznatcheev starts with a quote from statistician George Box and goes on to discuss heuristic models, abstractions and Godel. On a related note, Vaughan Bell at Mind Hacks looks at some of the work that Douglas Hofstadter is doing.

There has been a lot of research published on Neanderthals recently. Neanderthals were a distinct hominin species which contribute between 2 and 5% of DNA to the modern human genome. Differences between the human and Neanderthal genomes reveal several genes that are linked to diseases and so there are various reasons why understanding Neanderthals will help us understand health and illness in humans (nevertheless there are overwhelming genetic similarities between Neanderthals and humans and the gene differences represent a tiny part of the respective genomes).

Evidence from Gibraltar suggest that this is the last home of the Neanderthals. Research by Dr Matt Pope and colleagues however suggests that the Neanderthals were living in Jersey as recently as 47, 000 years ago. A recent finding in Spain suggested that Neanderthals ate herbs based on an analysis of dental tartar and were possibly using these for medicinal purposes. In a more recent response to this Professor Chris Stringer suggests that these dental findings may have resulted from consumption of animals that in turn had consumed these herbs. This possibility relates to how the food is processed. Professor Stringer argues that these patterns of consumption are hallmarks of cold adaptation. Indeed Associate Professor John Hawks suggested that Neanderthals were using animal organs as cooking vessels similarly to the way in which Haggis is prepared. However Professor Stringer does not discount the possibility of medicinal herb use. These discussions also hold relevance to models of hunter-gatherer societies which underlie many evolutionary theories of illness.

Dr Stoet, Professor Keith Laws and colleagues have published a new study in BMC Psychology examining the question of whether men or women are better at multitasking. The researchers administered a real world task and a more abstract task and concluded that men and women performed similarly on the tasks. There were some exceptions with women in the study performing slightly better on a task in which they formed a strategy to look for a key. You can try the task at a link in this BBC write up.

Neurons appear to fire backwards during sleep in rats – in this study!

Donald Hebb’s theory of how synapses form and strengthen has been central in Neuroscience for a long time. There is competition now from a new model which suggests that neurons form synapses when electrical activity falls below a threshold.

This PLOS One study suggests that emotional faces influence older adults and younger adults in listening to speech. Older adults focused more on the congruent positive facial emotional expressions.

There is a very good piece on willpower by Christian Jarrett on using techniques such as routine building, gargling, distraction & clenching muscles.

Professor Byrne has found evidence that African elephants understand human gesturing even when they have not previously encountered this. Elephants and humans shared a common ancestor approximately 100 million years ago. Professor Byrne will investigate whether the Elephant uses the trunk for gesturing.

Researchers have combined multiple lines of evidence including brain imaging data and fossil records to hypothesise that human ancestors developed hand dexterity before agility in the feet. The human brain has a special representation of the toe and of the fingers which is not found in monkeys – the former is needed for walking. The researchers also drew conclusions from analysis of Ardipithecus Ramidus.

The authors of this paper propose the evolution of conscious experience over 500 million years ago with vertebrates during the Cambrian period. The basis for the proposition is that conscious experience would result from the development of multiple levels of somatic representation beginning in the simplest vertebrates. One of the simplest extant vertebrates is the Lamprey (although the earliest Lamprey fossil records are from the Carboniferous period.

In a PLOS One paper, researchers suggest a new taxonomy of smell with 10 types.

Do flies see in slow motion? Researchers in this study found evidence for this and the general conclusion that smaller species see events more slowly. The researchers suggest a phenomenon known as critical flicker fusion frequency may account for this and therefore relates specifically to the perception of time. There is a write-up here as well.

The researchers in this study suggests on the basis of their findings that fingers can sense tiny structures with 760 nanometre grooves with 13 nanometer amplitude.

The SIRP-Alpha protein may be involved in forming memories as well as protecting against an autoimmune response. In this study, researchers found that when two neurons communicated with each other frequently, the SIRP protein would be released in increasing quantities.

Computer science Professor hypothesises that online browsing leads to ‘information overload‘. However this hypothesis needs to be tested against the data as the contradictory hypothesis that online browsing does not lead to information overload can also be stated.

Age at fatherhood was correlated with likelihood of autism in the second generation in this study.

A brain fertility switch was clarified in this study in which Kisspeptin-Gpr54 acts on Gonadotrophin releasing hormone neurons.

In this PLOS One functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging study there was found to be no difference in brain activation between people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and a control group during Theory of Mind tasks. Both regions of interest and whole brain analyses were undertaken to compare the subjects.

There is a case report of one person with Epilepsy who developed an aura of bliss and wellbeing. The aura was reproduced by stimulating the Anterior Insular Cortex.

There is a PLOS One study looking at improving workflow in research studies.

There is an interesting write-up at New Scientist on the search for genes related to handedness. One candidate PCSK6 is associated with symmetry during development.

A new tool for assessing fine motor control suggests development takes longer than previously thought.

A PLOS One study looking at young and older adults doesn’t support the positivity hypothesis for older adults. This hypothesis states that older adults are better at processing and remembering information with a positive emotional valence. The researchers in this study used electroencephalography to investigate brain response to face stimuli.

Researchers have found that the Tet1 gene is linked to memory extinction and this knowledge may guide the future development of treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (although this is speculative). There are a number of other genes which are linked to memory extinction.

A high resolution scanning probe microscope has enabled researchers to measure electrical activity at synapses at an unprecedented level of detail.

Reesearchers have identified a gradient of inhibition in the Entorhinal cortex and suggest this influences synchronisation.

Facebook study suggests Nucleus Accumbens activity during certain types of social feedback is correlated with the time spent on Facebook.

A study looks at cognitive skills in older adults playing video game, finding performance maintained, EEG correlates.

A write-up of a study mapping numerosity in the brain.

Waking and anaesthesia – study investigates differences in consciousness.

Haptic technology progresses – touch data recorded, stored, ‘replayed.

This fascinating MEG study suggests organisation of face and body perception in the brain.

This PLOS One study suggests having older siblings may affect academic but not economic performance.

This PLOS One study suggests delayed action rerecruits ventral stream visual information at time of action.

This PLOS One study suggests D1R and NMDAR interaction may influence link between Dopamine and Glutamate.

An Overview of current state of neuroscience via @SusanDeLeonMD.

Musician Mickey Hart uses brain activity data in his musical performances.

The researchers in this study found that working memory training can lead to improved reaction times on a working memory task.

fMRI was used to self-regulate prefrontal cortex activity (DLPFC) and improve working memory in this study.

One man’s brain controls another man’s brain through a combination of Electroencephalography and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.

A map of dialects for different words in America gives insights into language.

This research suggests a benefit for Glutathione Peroxidase in yeast and fly models of Huntington’s Disease. Glutathione Peroxidase referenced is an enzyme that reduces lipid hydroperoxides and hydroperoxides to alcohol and water.

Researchers have managed to combine PET and MRI to investigate the Brain.

Inhibitory neurons may play a role in age differences in learning, stronger inhibitory signals with age.

Evidence suggests that an inhibitory neuron microcircuit may guide visual development in ocular dominance columns in this model.

Researchers find that auditory and visual stimuli influence dominance of each other (Shepard tone used).

Write up of study on synchronised heart beat and out-of-body experiences.

Does a network involving the lateral prefrontal cortex & the Posterior Parietal Cortex account for human cognitive success?

Neuroscientist Professor Dorothy Bishop takes a critical look at neuroscience on her blog. In this article she undertakes an interesting analysis of a study investigating a possible link between the Arcuate Fasciculus and word learning.  Bishop discusses species differences in the Arcuate Fasciculus as well as individual variation before contextualising the present study and interpreting the findings. The research discussed here is important to the broader understanding of the relationship of the Arcuate Fasciculus to language.

Researchers in this PLOS One study found difference in the visual system parameters between individuals.

Researchers correlate reading ability components with gray matter volume in different brain regions.

There is a brief write-up here and podcast of a small study which suggests that the lunar cycle may influence sleep in humans.

Courtesy of bbsrc media there is an interesting video explaining research into the ageing Brain – the Cam-Can Project.

There is a fascinating project known as OpenWorm which aims to create a virtual Nematode i.e a computer generated Nematode. Members of the OpenWorm project write about their attendance at an Open Source Brain event in Sardinia here.

What effect does drinking water have on cognition? This write-up looks at a study which finds that drinking water increases reaction times.

BPS Research Digest has these psychology links from the past week.

Courtesy of bbsrc media there is an interesting video explaining research into the ageing Brain – the Cam-Can Project.

A study in the Lancet found no benefit for exercise on Depressive symptoms in nursing home residents in this National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme study. Many studies have found positive benefits for exercise on mental illness including Depression and it will be interesting to see the results of further research in this area.

Researchers have proposed an explanation for a falling buildings illusion observed with Hong Kong skyscrapers. There is a write-up here.

There was a fascinating study which suggests that the movement of mitochondria in neurons affects synaptic firing.

In one study 1121 diners were given menus with and without calorie information and the choices were compared between the different menus. The calorie information didn’t appear to influence choice.

There is an overview of and link to recent studies in this article including drugs for new Serotonin receptors in this Scientific American MIND news roundup.

Transient monocular visual impairment was associated with Internal Jugular venous abnormalities in this study.

Disney have developed a new haptic technology discussed in this post which has many potential applications.

Researchers in China have translated sign language into text in real time.

A new theory of sleep is based on the concept of ‘local sleep’ where groups of neurons exhibit sleep related activity.

This Plos One meta-analysis looks at fMRI studies and the relationship between sample size and activation foci.

Researchers in this study found evidence that bodily and facial expressions may compete for attention from the other person during social interactions. The expressions influence the  brain responses (event related potentials) of the other person.

In this study evoked response potentials were examined in adult and older adult subjects. The researchers found that older adults were slower to modify ERP amplitude response to repetitive stimuli.

There is an NHS Choices analysis of the full moon and sleep impairment study.

There is a very interesting article on how a 97 year old digital artist Hal Lasko has been producing creative masterpieces with a simple desktop painting program.

Robotic Parkour?

There is a write-up here about a consortium of organisations referred to as the ‘Global Alliance’ that are developing standards to share information about the human genome as well as clinical data. This has the potential to facilitate research in human genetics.

There is a write-up here of a study in which the researchers found a significant relationship between the width of the retinal venules (blood vessels on the back of the eye) and IQ in their subjects. It will be interesting to see the results of further replication studies.

Researchers have used atmospheric atomic explosions to examine neurogenesis in the human brain in adulthood. There has been a longstanding debate about whether the brain gives rise to new neurons in adulthood. This has been a tricky area to examine due to a number of technical difficulties.

However when nuclear weapons were detonated in the atmosphere between 1945 and 1963 this increased the amount of Carbon-14 in the atmosphere. Carbon is an essential component of living organisms and therefore the uptake of C14 during this period left a signature.

The ratio of these different forms of Carbon enabled researchers to calculate the age of organic tissue. By looking at the brains of several subjects region by region they were able to identify brain regions with evidence of neurogenesis. The analysis is complex but the researchers concluded that neurogenesis occurs in the Dentate gyrus throughout adult life. There were other findings and there is a good write-up at New Scientist.

In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers have used a statistical model to investigate the origins of languages. The researchers concluded in their analysis that several groups of Eurasian languages had their roots in a 15,000 year old language.

Professor Wray Herbert looks at a method called ‘episodic future thinking’ as a means for achieving goals and examines the evidence.

‘Research Digest’ links include a look at pro-active avoidance, a look at a blogosphere discussion on study sample sizes and Vaughan Bell’s article on genetics and mental illness.

Kelly Tyrell looks at how science and journalism are coming closer together with the field of data journalism.

Charles Fernyhough looks at neuroscience in fiction in this piece.

New Scientist covers software developed by an Australian group that assesses emotions in photographs in this piece.

There is brief coverage of a study in which researchers found that playing music to people sleeping improved memory if it was synchronous with the slow wave activity in the person’s brain during sleep.

At Psychology Today, Dr Klitzman looks at the significance of the 10th Anniversary of the completion of the mapping of the human genome.

There is a write-up of a study here looking at a cluster of neurons in the Inferior Temporal Gyrus which are active when a person looks at numerals.

There is an interesting interview with philosopher Professor Daniel Dennett here in which he briefly discusses his thoughts on empathy and reductionism.

Neuroscientist Hugo Spiers discusses his research looking at London black cab drivers learning ‘the knowledge’. The research is helping to clarify the role of the Hippocampus.

Researchers have clarified the structures of the Serotonin 1B and 2B receptors using x-ray crystallography. This should aid in the development of drugs targeted to these receptors.

Professor Dorothy Bishop looks at blogging as post-publication peer review in this post.

There is an interesting study in which researchers applied transcranial direct current stimulation to the Prefrontal Cortex in research subjects and measured the effect on a problem solving task. Not only did the subjects generate responses more quickly (by as much as 1 second) but they produced many more responses. There is a detailed write-up of the study here.

The Neurocritic and Vaughan Bell had guest posts at Nature Communications as part of Brain Awareness Week.

March 11-17 is Brain Awareness Week. Readers can find out more information at the DANA Foundation website here.

Detailed brain scans being used in the Human Connectome Project are discussed in this piece. There is a discussion about how a more detailed neuroanatomical knowledge might help to improve the understanding of mental illness.

Does a network involving the lateral prefrontal cortex & the Posterior Parietal Cortex account for human cognitive success?

Neuroscientist Professor Dorothy Bishop takes a critical look at neuroscience on her blog. In this article she undertakes an interesting analysis of a study investigating a possible link between the Arcuate Fasciculus and word learning.  Bishop discusses species differences in the Arcuate Fasciculus as well as individual variation before contextualising the present study and interpreting the findings. The research discussed here is important to the broader understanding of the relationship of the Arcuate Fasciculus to language.

A new open-access journal PeerJ is starting up at the end of January. This journal has an interesting business model where researchers can pay a one-off fee to submit articles.

Scientific American has a good write-up of research which showed that people were able to eat less by remembering the experience of eating past meals. In the study subjects were given bowls of soup to eat. Those that thought they had eaten bigger portions than they had done were less hungry than those that thought they had eaten smaller portions regardless of the size of the portions.

The Neurocritic has an interesting piece on Synaesthesia. In Synaesthesia a person will perceive information from one sensory modality as a percept associated with another sensory modality. In this case instead of feeling shapes a person with Graphene Colour Synaesthesia would interpret touch in colours. The Neurocritic has looked at a case series in which people developed Graphene Colour Synaesthesia from the early use of Fisher-price sets.

There is a write-up of a recent brain mapping conference in Seattle which includes a discussion of recent brain mapping projects around the world.

There is an fMRI study which will stir debate and is interpreted as meaning that the Temporoparietal Junction (TPJ) is associated with the ‘buzz’ of social interactions. The study which had a relatively small sample size involved two groups of subjects, one group assessing the ideas for TV pilots. The other group acted as producers and would need to be persuaded of the value of the TV pilots by the first group. The subjects in the first group had more activity in the TPJ when first listening to the details about the pilot if they were more successful in persuading the ‘producers’. The researchers concluded that this region was important in generating ideas that would be successful socially and that there were a number of potential applications of this methodological approach.

Researchers looked at virtual reality characters – avatars – in the treatment of depressive symptoms in young adults in this study. They found an improvement in depressive symptoms compared to an attention control intervention comparator group.

A research team based at the Science Museum have published the results of a public study in intelligence in the journal Neuron. The researchers presented 12 types of cognitive tasks and analysed the results from 45,000 subjects with over 1 million data points. The researchers found that people that self-reported playing computer games frequently scored more highly on reasoning and memory tasks whereas smokers performed worse on memory tasks.

The Bystander Effect occurs when a person observing a person in distress is less likely to act in the presence of other observers. There is also evidence that the likelihood of a response diminishes as the number of other observers increases.  One team at University College London investigated this phenomenon using virtual reality. They found that people were more likely to react in the environment to a virtual character appearing to be in distress if the character had a similar affiliation to themselves or if the character appearing in distress looked directly at them.

Andrew Ng has published a template for neural networks, a form of artificial intelligence using hardware costing $20,000 – a cost which can be achieved within many global research settings. Ng foresees this template being used to understand the functioning of human vision.

Neuroscientist Chris Chambers reports on research which suggests finger tapping can facilitate self-control under experimental conditions.

This write-up looks at research investigating the relationship between sleep quality and external noise.

Researchers publishing in Science have produced a 3-dimensional representation of the brain of a 65 year old woman for use by neuroscientists.

A variation of the Dopamine gene has been found to be associated with longevity in one study. The gene variant (allele) known as DRD4 7r allele was investigated in people aged 7-109 years of age. Those people aged 90-109 years (n=310) were 66% more likely than the younger age (7 -45 years of age, n=2902) to have this allele. The researchers also undertook research into mice which corroborated these findings.

There is a study in rats that suggests that forgetting is more difficult in older rats. These findings might be relevant for humans.

A single protein significantly influence both brain expansion and folding during development based on the findings from a study in the Journal Cell (Stahl et al, 2013).

Dr Micah Allen has an interesting piece on what multivariate analysis might mean for understanding functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging data.

Researchers in one study have found evidence in mice of neurons that respond to stroking. These are distinct from neurons that would respond to other types of stimulation and may be relevant to behavioural traits related to group related behaviours.

There is an interesting website which features a group of artists who deprived themselves of sleep for a week and wrote up their experiences.

There is an interesting small study from a team in Italy. The researchers were investigating the cerebellum’s role in procedural learning. Procedural learning is a type of learning that results in the development of skills. For instance learning to ride a bike would be an example of procedural learning. Success in procedural learning is usually considered to be the ability to automatically complete the learnt activity. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the cerebellum plays a central role in procedural learning.

The cerebellum is located underneath the cerebral cortex. The cerebellum plays a key role in movement. Transcranial direct current stimulation is a technique which involves the application of electrical current directly to brain areas. In this study the researchers wanted to generate currents in the cerebellum and see how this influences procedural learning. The researchers compared direct current stimulation with a sham application. In other words people in the study who received sham treatment were not receiving direct current stimulation. This was a small study and the subjects were aged between 20 and 49 years of age.

The learning task involved presenting subjects with visual stimuli which they needed to respond to by pressing a key. Success on this task was measured by the response time. The shorter the response time the better the score.The researchers found that stimulating the cerebellum improved the response times for this particular task. The researchers suggest that this approach might be useful for improving procedural learning. However it should be noted that this was a small study and it will be useful to see the results of further replication studies. Transcranial direct current stimulation isn’t yet used routinely in clinical practice. There are a number of research studies that have investigated the use of this approach in different conditions. This study adds to the evidence base suggesting that Transcranial direct current stimulation may have many useful applications.

Scientific American has an interesting write-up about consciousness which also features a link to the video of Joseph Ledoux interviewing Prof Ned Block about the nature of consciousness. The interview covers a broad range of issues about the nature of consciousness and the responses are thought-provoking.

Researchers have reconstructed a language spoken 7000 years ago based on a software analysis of over 600 Australian-Pacific languages. The results were compared with the results of analysis completed by linguists and has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. There are various benefits of this type of research. For instance there have been recent findings of cultural adaptation according to population structures and geographic boundaries. These insights may offer a further understanding of the relationship between language and culture which in turn influence health and illness.

There is a new database of Dementia research trials.

There is an interesting writeup at the Well blog at the New York Times on animals studies showing that mood and memory gains from exercise can be lost after periods of inactivity. However this shouldn’t be too surprising if exercise promotes memory and mood.

The Medical Research Council have a fascinating piece on the pioneers of Magnetic Resonance Imaging including an early photograph of the team featuring Sir Peter Mansfield.

A recent study looking at 4802 people in the University of North California Alumni Heart Study concluded that people that never married were more than twice as likely to die in the study than those who had been in a stable marriage throughout adult life.

Anthropology Report have a comprehensive roundup of anthropology in 2012 (published in 2013).

Emeritus Professor Geoff Cumming has written a piece on confidence intervals which he advocates in place of p values in scientific reporting.

David Brooks has an interesting piece on how behavioural research has been used in government policy citing several important examples

Professor Deevy Bishop has a helpful piece on reporting research on genetic variation and neuroimaging.

Devon and Cornwall police are trialling a mental health project. Mental health clinicians accompany police in the community and are able to triage people with mental health needs where appropriate.

In a Cochrane review, researchers looked at psychosocial family interventions in the management of Schizophrenia. High expressed emotions in the family have been identified as a risk factor for relapse in Schizophrenia. Researchers looked at psychosocial interventions and suggested that further research was needed to reach firm conclusions on which are most effective.

A Meta-analysis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after Stroke studies suggests 1 in 4 people with Stroke or Transient Ischaemic Attacks will experience PTSD (n=1138).

Stroke symptoms were associated with cognitive impairment in the REGARDS study (n=23830). There were 7223 subjects with stroke symptoms.

An MRI study suggests that Narcissistic Personality Disorder is associated with reduced Insular Cortical Thickness (n=34)

A recent White House conference looked at mental health issues including stigma.

One study found no relationship between ApoE ε4/ε4 alleles and the prevalence of Parkinson’s Disease.

One Diffuse Tensor Imaging study suggests that amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease can be differentiated by Splenium mean diffusivity values.

An interesting study suggests that many of the causes of cognitive decline remain to be elucidated.

A small study showed cognitive benefits of repeated cognitive training in people with Alzheimer’s Disease also treated with Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors.

The ZARADEMP study (n=4803) provided evidence of a relationship between severe Depression and incident Alzheimer’s Disease (incidence rate ratio: 3.59 [95% confidence interval: 1.30-9.94] which will be helpful in informing management and preventative studies.

The authors of a comparison of 15 antipsychotics suggests that 1st and 2nd generation antipsychotics was not a useful categorisation. This was based on a meta-analysis of studies with 43049 people in total and which was published in the Lancet. The researchers looked at the side-effect profile for the antipsychotics using odds ratios and found that there wasn’t a straightforward relationship between the side-effects and the dichotomous categorisation.

Researchers stratified people with Alzheimer’s Disease according to language and memory difficulties and identified different gene associations.

There is a write-up of a study investigating the use of Memantine for cognitive dysfunction in Bipolar Disorder.

There is an interesting Smithsonian piece looking a series of studies investigating memory including interference, losing teeth and predicting behaviours

An American program called Timeslips has been effective in helping medical students to understand the creative skills of people with Dementia.

There is an interesting paper looking at musicophilia – a craving for music – in Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration.

An American expert panel is convening to consider diagnostic criteria for Mild Cognitive Impairment in Parkinson’s Disease.

One study looked at the relationship between saturated fat in the diet and CSF AB42 and ApoE which are associated with the pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Traumatic brain injury was associated with a neuronal damage signal (reduced fractional anisotropy) in the Auditory Cortex using diffuse tensor imaging in this study.

Researchers in one study looked at activity in the Visual Cortex in subjects who were presented with combinations of danger and safety-associated visual stimuli. The researchers monitored visual cortex activity using Electroencephalography. The researchers found that the visual cortex processed stimuli differently depending on their emotional content. The researchers were interested in the effects of anxiety disorders on visual processing and they concluded that visual processing was influenced by fear provoking (auditory) stimuli even in healthy subjects. This has implications for understanding the processing of stimuli in anxiety disorders.

via (@Neuroskeptic) one research group have looked at variations of folk tales using techniques from population genetics research. There were over 700 variations on the studied folk tale. The researchers found that population boundaries and geographical location strongly influenced the folk tales. These findings have wider application in the study of cultural variation.

Twitter have released their findings after a study of UK Twitter users. Of 10 million UK users identified in the report 60% were estimated to be using Twitter while watching TV. 40% of Tweets during peak time were about Television.

Researchers looked at personality traits in research across 9 languages to examined culture-independent personality traits. The researchers found two invariant traits across these languages – social self-regulation and dynamism.

PLOS-One have an interesting paper on a study looking at how metaphors influence decision making. The researchers in this study gave subjects a problem to solve and examined the effects of metaphor use on decision-making by the subjects. The researchers found evidence for metaphor influencing decision-making. The researchers found that even if subjects did not have an explicit memory of the metaphor it still influenced their decision making.

There is an interesting piece on 12 cognitive biases at IO9 including confirmation and ingroup bias.

Dr Shock takes a look at a video about empathy with a strong narrative about the neuroscience research linking neurochemistry and empathy.

There is an interesting feature article at Nature which provides an overview the issue of free will with perspectives from neuroscience and philosophy.

Goethe’s views on colour are examined in this post.

Issue #5 of Psychology Tommorrow Magazine’s theme is interconnectedness.

One group have been investigating emotions using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. The researchers have proposed a model of emotions which involves attending to the emotions, expressing the emotional state and also the intensity of the emotions.

Research Digest Psychology links from the past week.

Dr Guadagno discusses internet memes that go viral in terms of a theory of emotional contagion in this post.

Mo Costandi covers the decoding of dreams in this piece.

The ambitious Human Brain Project in Europe is covered in this piece but President Obama has announced another ambitious project – the Brain Mapping Initiative.

Does chewing speed up cognitive processing? http://dlvr.it/3BXlLW 

There is an interesting article in Time which looks at the ‘Temporal Doppler Effect‘ whereby memories of past events seem further away than anticipated but equidistant events in the future.

There is a write-up here of an interesting development in sleep research where applications have been developed for smart watches to facilitate research.

There is a write-up here of a Japanese study in which researchers ran a large scale neural network simulation. Neural networks represent a perspective on how collections of neurons work together and are based on fundamental biological properties of neurons. The researchers simulated 1.73 billion nerve cells connected by 10.4 trillion synapses. This type of analysis is dependent on the contents of the simulation although in this case it was a technical exercise to see if the hardware could effectively simulate such large networks. The researchers suggest that it may be possible to simulate networks equivalent to the size of the human brain with exa-scale computers.

Neuroscience in Fiction is discussed in this post at Scientific American http://bit.ly/12sbYCy

Evidence for how children might learn scientific thinking from their parents.

This study looks at traumatic brain injury and CSF alpha-synuclein positing a possible relationship which merits further research.

The Retrosplenial Cortex and long term memory.

Vitamin P and neuronal damage are examined in this study.

A possible role for microsaccades.

Psychiatry 2.0

Psychcentral feature #12 mental health videos from 2012.

There is an interesting article on the expansion of open-access publishing in 2012.

The Lords Science Committee is looking at the UK government’s open access policy.

There is an interesting piece on open access science at Ars Technica.

Does Facebook help with loneliness? That was the question asked in one study. The study looked at over 200 students at Arizona University in the USA. The researchers found that students that updated their Facebook status more frequently had lower scores on a measure of loneliness. Although frequent status updates might be associated with more feedback from others in their network, the researchers found evidence that this feedback was not necessary for lowering feelings of loneliness.

There is a useful resource called ‘The Open Brain‘ which allows people to share resources for developing models of the brain. There is also an ‘Open Source Brain’ Twitter account here.

There is an interesting write-up of a yet to be published fMRI study in which language areas of the brain appeared to be involved in Jazz playing.

There is a write-up of a study here looking at the disorganised firing of place cells in the Hippocampus in a model of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Researchers have developed experimental apparatus to investigate handwriting during brain scans.

One study suggests impressionists use their Insular Cortex and Inferior Frontal Gyrus.

There is a new pan-European project to allow researchers to access imaging technologies for use in biology and medicine.

There are new insights into Hubel and Wiesel’s classic work on development in the visual cortex. The new research suggests that Thalamic input not just genetics is necessary for ocular dominance columns.

There is an online brain database at the Montreal Neurological Institute.

Researchers in this fMRI study were able to predict which letters a person was reading.

Alpha waves or not? Flickering Wheel Visual Illusion via the Neuroskeptic

One study has found altered Ventral Temporal Occipital activity in Autistic children who scored better in maths tests when compared with a control group.

This study finds that children with Autism have contagious yawning.

Identifying patterns in cognitive function with aging.

Mo Costandi has an interesting piece on the ever popular mirror neurons.

New technique separates out left and right handed molecules more easily using Palladium.

There is a brief but interesting write-up here of how the brain works on purpose or according to habit.

Changes in brain activity in the supplementary motor area during sleep correlated with motor learning.

An fMRI study used artificial intelligence to analyse the patterns of activity. Emotions were divided into 9 categories and there were found to be distinct differences between positive and negative emotions. The patterns were also distributed throughout the brain rather than in circumscribed areas traditionally associated with emotions.

Researchers found evidence that there is the perception that time passes more slowly with the practice of mindfulness meditation in this study.

A recent study suggests that SIRT1 not only related to aging but also to circadian rhythm. There may be a relationship between these two roles.

Evolutionary Psychiatry/Evolution/Culture

Professor John Hawks is starting a series in which he reviews Charles Darwin’s ‘The Descent of Man’.

Dr. Svante Pääbo and colleagues have published a more complete sequence of the Neandertal genome. Pääbo and colleagues based at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have made the sequence freely available (the total sequence size is approximately 159 Gigabytes). The team extracted DNA from 0.038 grams of bone material from a phalanx discovered in the Denisova cave in the Altai mountains.  This cave is notable for the discovery of the Denisovans which are thought to be a separate species and the region is noted for the earliest evidence of dog-like canids (33000 years ago). The sample was contaminated with modern human DNA estimated at 1% of the sample. The team achieved a 50 fold coverage of the genome. Pääbo’s groundbreaking publication of the genome sequencing in 2010 revealed that approximately 3% of the modern human genome is inherited from Neandertals. There are several genes which differentiate humans and Neandertals and which are associated with illnesses. Associate Professor Hawks covers the announcement here.

Researchers have combined multiple lines of evidence including brain imaging data and fossil records to hypothesise that human ancestors developed hand dexterity before agility in the feet. The human brain has a special representation of the toe and of the fingers which is not found in monkeys – the former is needed for walking. The researchers also drew conclusions from analysis of Ardipithecus Ramidus.

Researchers have found evidence that Neanderthals were eating Salmon from a nearby river 45,000 years ago. The Neanderthals were living in a cave inhabited by other species such as the Cave Bear at different times. The researchers examined the radioisotopes of the specimens to determine that the Salmon were most likely associated with the Neanderthal remains. This is consistent with findings in Gibraltar where Neanderthal remains were associated with marine life remains.

There is a PLOS One paper by Condemi and colleagues looking at a mandible from Italy circa 40,000 years ago. The researchers found that the mandible had features consistent with Neandertals as well as humans when using different types of analysis. A sample of mitochondrial DNA was consistent with Neandertal mitochondrial DNA. The specimen was suggested to be the earliest evidence of Neandertal-human hybridisation although other interpretations are possible. Indeed there is a good write-up on this piece by associate Professor John Hawks. Hybridisation has significance for a number of reasons including several important disease gene differences.

Evidence that Neanderthals were using toothpicks and string.

Researchers have found evidence of flowers being used in burials approximately 12,000 years ago in the Natufian culture.

There is a short video here about a 14,000 year old tomb found in France recently.

Evidence of early clothing in humans and Neanderthals.

A comparative morphometric analysis of Homo Floresiensis and other specimens including pathological modern human skulls provides further support for H.Floresiensis as a separate species. There is also an article here which among other things looks at the likely fauna on the island of Flores during extensive time periods which included the estimated period of habitation by Homo Floresiensis.

Researchers have undertaken an analysis of the mitochondrial DNA of the hominid species discovered in a cave in Atapeurca in Spain. This species was initially thought to be Homo Heidelbergensis but was recently reclassified as Homo Neanderthalensis. Now researchers analysing the mitochondrial DNA have linked them instead with the Denisovans and hypothesise that they may be ancestors of the Denisovans.

A report (in French) outlines the details of an archaeological excavation of a 110,000 year old Neanderthal site in Normandy, France. The site is unique as it features the remains of a walrus as well as Neanderthal footprints that have been well preserved due to the geological conditions.

Researchers have been analysing an area inhabited by Peking Man approximately 300,000 years ago. Using the pattern of wear on stones and other data the researchers hypothesised that Peking man was utilising wood, attaching spear heads to wooden shafts and fashioning hide possibly with the intention of using this as clothing. Previous research suggests that 68% of the population  had a life expectancy of less than 14 years of age.

Professor John Hawks has an interesting piece on Neanderthal subsistence. He hypothesises that Neanderthals were able to cook foods but in the absence of ceramic cooking vessels adapted organic materials much as people do for certain modern dishes.

New Scientist has an interesting subscription article about how Kalahari hunters were recruited to interpret footprints from the Ice Age in a cave in France.

One of the mutations leading to Diabetes in humans appears to have been inherited from Neanderthals according to this study.

Recent archaeological finding suggest there is a separate species Homo Floresiensis that lived as recently as 17,000 years ago. There has been debate. Researchers looked at the Carpal bones (in the hand) and found that they were significantly different from the carpal bones in humans and not likely to result from a developmental disorder. The researchers suggest this would have impacted on their susceptibility to Arthritis and their tool making ability. However there is evidence of stone tools dating back 800,000 years ago on the island of Flores and it has been estimated that this species arrived 1 million years ago.

There have been some big announcements in the field of human evolution on five skulls found in Georgia. The skulls date back 1.8 million years and are viewed as a variation on Homo Erectus. The crux of the debate is whether this means that many other species were simply Homo Erectus (due to significant variation in form) or that other species are still viable (e.g Homo Rudolfensis).  As usual Associate Professor John Hawks has an excellent summary of the findings and is able to offer a balanced perspective.

A research team publishing in Current Biology have estimated the date of the last common human ancestor at 160,000 years ago. They obtained this figure after combining mitochondrial DNA data from specimens covering a period of 20,000 years with estimated DNA mutation rates.

Researchers have used data on snail genes to hypothesise that Ireland was first inhabited by southern Europeans approximately 8000 years ago.

Researchers have found evidence that the forerunner of the mammal may have survived the Permian-Triassic extinction event through hibernating in burrows 250 million years ago. The research took place in South Africa but which 250 million years ago was part of Gondwana.

John Hawks reviews a National Geographic article challenging the stereotypes of Bonobos which are our second nearest living relatives.

Recent research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the Frontal Lobe has not increased disproportionally in humans relative to other parts of the brain. The researchers conclude that the Cerebellum and connections between different parts of the brain have also played an important role in human evolution.

National Geographic features an article about the recently discovered archaic Hominins – the Denisovans which have contributed to the modern human genome.

There is evidence that plants are able to pace the rate of starch consumption overnight suggesting that they have mechanisms for calculations. These calculations are subtle and likely arise from the plant’s biochemistry. This research may be relevant to the phenomenon of Circadian rhythms.

The oldest sample of DNA for sequencing has been obtained from a horse recovered from Canadian permafrost and is over 700,000 years old.

A Mayan city was recently discovered in the Mexican jungle giving insights into the spread of civilisation.

There is a write-up here of research looking at 6000 year old North American cave art which is interpreted in terms of mythology.

Professor Wray Herbert has another good write-up this time on memory. He reports on research by one group who are looking at the evolutionary basis of memory. Human memory has many characteristics including biases in the way that we remember information. The researchers suggested that the way we remember animate and inanimate objects may differ as our responses to these two types of objects will determine our ability to respond appropriately to the environment and to adapt as necessary. The researchers in the study found that people were better able to remember words for and at rather than inanimate objects.

There is a fascinating piece on Marmoset communication. Our lineages diverged about 40 million years ago. Marmosets are very vocal and researchers think that understanding their communication might help to answer questions about our own communication. In particular when Marmosets vocalise to each other there is an approximate 5 second pause before responding. Additionally the Marmosets display turn taking during vocalisations as is the case in human conversations. In the article above there is speculation about why such turn taking exists.

There is a very interesting piece here showing photographs of how cats and humans might see the same scene based on physiology.

A fossil dating back 55 million years found in China is thought to be amongst the earliest Primates. The species has been named Archicebus and is just over 7 cm in length although there are similarly sized extant Primates (see video below). The dating of the specimen is relatively close to the end of the Cretaceous period. The expansion of the arboreal primates is an important stage in human evolution with some adaptations to this environment being conserved. This specimen may not have given rise to our lineage ultimately although in that case there are still likely to be important similarities to our ancestors at that time.

The estimated date of the earliest life on earth has been moved back to 3.49 billion years by Professor Noffke and colleagues in Virginia who looked at patterns formed by ancient microbes in well preserved sandstone.

The strength of Chimpanzees relative to humans is covered in this article.

There is evidence that one species of Lemur undergoes hibernation for up to 8 months of the year.  This is the second Primate species that has been found to undergo hibernation.

There is an interesting write up on the debate about the possible ‘mind reading’ abilities of Crows.

Researchers investigating the origin of placental mammals looked at 4500 physical characteristics in 86 mammal species many of which are extinct. They have identified a now extinct mammal as the likely progenitor of all placental mammals. This species was likely to be a mouse-sized insectivore.

Assistant Psychiatry Professor Peter Freed looks at mourning in Dolphins in this post.

There is a piece at Science Daily on a paper looking at the trichromatic vision system in Tarsiers and what this might mean for the evolution of the human visual system.

A DNA study links groups in Polynesia and Brazil and sheds light on possible early migration routes.

Professor Pigliucci asks if culture is an evolutionary process in this post

De-extinction is covered in this post.

Sniffing may act as a form of communication in some species with supporting evidence from this study.

Neandertal findings in Kalamakia suggest this may have been an early point of contact with humans.

There is a look at the evolution of handedness in humans in this article.

Associate Professor John Hawks has in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison generously offered a free online course on human evolution due to start later in the year. Interested readers can sign up here.

Researchers studying Chimpanzees at Lincoln Park Zoo have identified five personality dimensions that correlate well with behaviour. The researchers identified 5 Chimpanzee personality  dimensions including dominance and agreeableness. They monitored the behaviour of 99 Chimpanzees over a two year period and correlated this with the personality measures. The researchers also used two raters to validate the personality measures. Chimpanzees are our nearest extant relative and the classification of Chimpanzee personality may be relevant to personality traits in humans.

There is an open access publication of a comparison of Chimpanzee, Bonobo and human genomes at Nature.

There is an interesting write-up of evidence of a link between the lithic technologies used in the Thar and Sahara deserts in the middle Paleolithic supporting migration pathways between these areas during this period.

Virginia Hughes looks at a study comparing aging in 46 species including humans with some interesting results.

Researchers find evidence of the evolution of evolvability in Lyme disease bacteria.

Researchers find that ‘Huh’ is used across several languages and suggest convergent language evolution. The researchers looked at 10 languages.

Recent research suggests that the Zagros mountain region in Iran may have played a role in the origins of agriculture along with other areas in the fertile crescent.

Professor Clive Finlayson writes about a recent excavation in Gorham’s cave in Gibraltar where they have uncovered evidence of Neandertal tool use for processing of limpets. Professor Finlayson and colleagues have also recently published on the use of lithic technology at Gorham’s Cave at PLOS One.

There was little DNA recovered from 10,000 year old copal preserved insects in this study. Copal is a precursor to amber which is relevant to an extensive collection of insects fossilised in amber dating back millions of years ago. The hope was that DNA could be extracted from these insects in this preserved state which would give useful insights into evolution. However it is interesting to note that DNA has been recovered from much older Neanderthal cave specimens and similarly for Woolly Mammoths. Indeed blood was recovered from one recently thawed mammoth. Analysis of ancient DNA is a current area of research interest which is providing fascinating insights into evolution.

Evidence that Orang-Utans may plan their journeys many hours in advance.

An Italian team publishing in PLOS One provide evidence that Neandertals were possibly applying haematite to shells to produce pendants approximately 47,000 years ago.

There is recent evidence of 5000 year old writing in China.

Babies engage with the sound of their parents…and lemurs suggesting a possible hardwired response. Lemurs are distantly related to us.

Researchers have identified what may be Dinosaur feathers preserved in amber from approximately 80 million years ago. The research looked at a collection of amber specimens and the team believe that they may have identified Dinosaur feathers and protofeathers with colour preservation. These findings can give valuable insights into the more general features of evolution such as species adaptations.

Researchers find that orphaned chimpanzees play for shorter periods and are more likely to be aggressive during play.

A recently discovered 23-25 million year old fossil monkey in China may be related to the extant Orang Utan which is amongst our closest relatives.

Exaptation is a process through which adaptations are utilised for another purpose and explained in this write-up of a study investigating this phenomenon.

Researchers have identified two large species of Virus known as Pandoraviruses and are arguing for a new taxonomy based on their distinctiveness.

Chimpanzees were found to exhibit self-control in inhibiting responses in a delayed response task in this study.

There is evidence that creatures were living on land 2.2 billion years ago.

A multidisciplinary team have developed a mathematical theory which suggests that small organisms do not form species.

Researchers looked at the effect of social group size in two species of Lemur in this interesting study.

There is an interesting experimental archaeology study reconstructing 10,000 year old settlements in Ireland.

Researchers concluded that 7 million year old Italian ape Oreopithecus Bambolii didn’t habitually walk upright.

The world’s oldest calendar was found in a Scottish field and dates back 10,000 years.

Linguists have discovered a new language in the early stages of developed in the village of Lajamanu in Australia.

A recent study suggests that up to 5% of the genes in the human genome are functional on the basis of a comparative analysis of several genomes.

This hypothesis states that gesticulations in humans may be related to fish fins as there is evidence that they are used for communication.

In a study published in the Journal Science, Poznik and colleagues at Stanford University have analysed the genomes of 49 ethnic groups from across the world. They used this data to estimate the age of the parents of all humans alive today. The mother (mitochondrial Eve) and father (Y Chromosome Adam) are most likely to have lived at different times and places. In previous analysis these time periods have been significantly different. In the analysis by Poznik and colleagues they estimated that mitochondrial Eve lived between 120,000 and 156,000 years ago whilst Y Chromosome Adam lived between 99,000 and 148,000 years ago. There were other interesting findings and there are good write-ups here, here and here.

The oldest identified ancestor of rats, Rugosodon Eurasiaticus has been identified in China. Other younger specimens have been identified in Europe. The mammal would have climbed trees and had sharp teeth. This specimen is estimated to be 160 million years old.

The researchers in this study conclude that Dogs imitate and remember human actions.

This write-up looks  at a study in which researchers found that mutations in the FOXP2 gene are associated with impaired singing in adult Zebrafinches.

Researchers have found evidence of hominins in Kent hunting giant elephants with stone tools approximately 420,000 years ago (interestingly there were also Barbary Macaque specimens there also). The stone tools were of the Clactonian type so called because tools of this type were first found in Clacton-on-sea in Essex, UK although the species responsible is unclear and suggested as Homo Erectus*. In the layers above these specimens were tools of the Acheulian type and it was not clear if there had been a transition between the two cultures. In Indonesia meanwhile other researchers have found evidence that hominins were hunting a relative of the modern elephant with stones. This relative was known as Stegodon.

Mysteries of the 400 million year old fish that came back – the Coelacanth. There are estimated to be only a few hundred in existence. Researchers analysing several specimens have determined the parentage and some generalisations.

Difficulties with social cognition were associated with psychosis in this comparison of people with psychosis and affective disorders.

There is an interesting write-up of a study which looked at the factors that influenced whether female Bonobos would win conflicts with male Bonobos.

Researchers are beginning to classify personality types in primate species. Comparison gives hints about humans.

Study finds that chimpanzees and orang-utans use breast stroke when swimming.

Dolphins were found to be able to imitate the actions of humans even when blindfolded suggesting they switched to echolocation.

A new species of Lemur has been identified – the Lavasoa Dwarf Lemur. Lemurs diverged from our ancestors approximately 63 million years ago.

Human activity may restrict macaques use of stone tools – possible implications for how we understand evolution.

Urban animals have bigger brains than rural animals – city living boosts brain size?

Research suggests that the lowest possible temperature for life is -20c below which cellular dehydration occurs.

How did ancient humans settle in South America over 12,000 years ago and survive the world’s driest place?

The evolution (or not) of feet.

The possible origins of mammals are hinted at by this fossil.

A PNAS study shows that Neolithic farmers were using manure in their farming approximately 8000 years ago. The research has implications for assessing the dietary habits of people at that time and there is a discussion in the write-up.

Information Theory application reveals size of Dolphin and Whale vocabularies, more data needed for accuracy.

Study finds that wolves howl louder when a high ranking member leaves the pack.

Parts of Octopus intelligence located throughout body.

Researchers use new technique to estimate weaning ages in ancient humans.

Another perspective on ant intelligence.

The British Geological Survey has launched a 3D database of scanned fossils.

Professor Byrne has found evidence that African elephants understand human gesturing even when they have not previously encountered this. Elephants and humans shared a common ancestor approximately 100 million years ago. Professor Byrne will investigate whether the Elephant uses the trunk for gesturing.

The authors of this paper propose the evolution of conscious experience over 500 million years ago with vertebrates during the Cambrian period. The basis for the proposition is that conscious experience would result from the development of multiple levels of somatic representation beginning in the simplest vertebrates. One of the simplest extant vertebrates is the Lamprey (although the earliest Lamprey fossil records are from the Carboniferous period.

A new theory for the Cambrian explosion of life suggests many reasons including a rise in sea levels.

Education/Academic

There is a discussion of interesting research suggesting that when teachers use hand gestures they are more effective at teaching maths to students – this is discussed at National Geographic http://dlvr.it/3BRxnK.

There are tips on how to get projects from the ideas stage to paper http://ow.ly/jNVZr and then how to generate a powerpoint presentation from the finished paper http://ow.ly/jNVZk 

How to get from a dissertation to a book in 12 steps is covered in this piece

Is good science related to a clear methodology? http://ow.ly/jNVIU

Seven tips for efficient teaching.

What is a syllabus?

Awareness

There are two blog posts – one on relapse of Depression and the other on Dementia.

Psychiatry 2.0

There is an interesting paper via (@Neuroskeptic) which discusses an approach to publishing neuroimaging data as part of the open data movement.

The science of science communication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Interesting write-up of open access study finding up to 50% of papers are open access.

New Scientist news round-up includes virtual science library.

Science in 6 seconds, lots of times (4 min 12).

There are a few interesting articles from the blogosphere on the nature of consciousness

Is data sharing a form of publication?

The researchers in this study found a prevalence of 9.1-14.4% for duplicates in searches of popular life science databases.

Developing an open source map of road traffic accidents across the world.

Consciousness

Introduction to Consciousness http://ow.ly/jNW2z 

Consciousness of the Future at the TSC http://ow.ly/jNW2t 

In Search of the Mind: An Introduction to the Hard Problem of Consciousness – Part one http://ow.ly/jNW47  In Search of the Mind: An Introduction to the Hard Problem of Consciousness – Part Two http://ow.ly/jNW2a  Insights into Conciousness – Give Phenomenology a Chance

Daniel Bohr: Notes from a consciousness conference – Part 1: Hypnosis & Magic  Notes from a consciousness conference – Part 2: The neural symphony of consciousness fading  The borders surrounding our conscious world (Notes from a Consciousness Conference Pt 3

Consciousness – Tononi-Koch versus Searle. There is also a podcast on decoding consciousness here.

Open Science

There is a new PubChem interface for researchers to upload chemical structures (relevant to researchers in genetics and biochemistry etc) http://1.usa.gov/10Fl8c7 

This New Scientist article neatly summarise how data from Twitter has been utilised for scientific research including tracking diseases.

DSM-V/ICD-11

The long awaited fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders is now out. The American Psychiatric Association site provides a useful outline of the changes in the new edition. DSM-5 is used in America and a number of other countries in the world. The World Health Organisation produces the International Classification of Diseases which is used elsewhere including the UK and they are soon due to publish an 11th Edition with discussion about possibly reconciling the two diagnostic systems at some point. As above, the APA has given an overview of the changes which includes the following factsheets

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder and Bereavement Exclusion

Conduct Disorder

Eating Disorders

The APA have produced a number of other factsheets also.

Dr David Kupfer, head of the DSM-V planning committee gives an overview of the progress on DSM-V to date in the video below. The references to an electronic version and DSM-V as a ‘living document’ are particularly interesting.

The American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is due out this month. In the period leading up the launch of DSM-5 there has been considerable debate.
  • Professor David Kupfer, head of the DSM-5 taskforce responds to the NIMH statement here (with a write-up here).
  • The Observer features a debate between psychiatrist Professor Simon Wessely and psychologist Dr Oliver James.
  • The BBC programme ‘All in the Mind‘ features an interview with Professor Simon Wessely about the anticipated impact of DSM-5 in the UK.
  • There is a look at the launch of DSM-5 at the Shrink Rap blog
  • Psychiatrist Dr Allen Frances writes at New Scientist about the NIMH statement about the research strategy (see here also) and the history of debate about DSM-5.
  • Dr Charles Parker looks at the NIMH statement in relation to DSM-5 at the CorePsych blog.
  • Ferris Jabr writes at Scientific American about how the NIMH strategy will mean a shift for DSM.
  • Jamie Doward at the Guardian writes about the recent response from the British Psychological Society to DSM-5
  • At the Psychiatric Times there is a look at a new mobile phone app for DSM-V
  • There is a look at the NIMH statement in relation to DSM-V at MIT Technology Review
  • Dr David Shaffer writes about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) here.
  • There is a detailed response to the NIMH statement at the ‘Boring Old Man 1‘ blog.

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Condemi S, Mounier A, Giunti P, Lari M, Caramelli D, et al. (2013) Possible Interbreeding in Late Italian Neanderthals? New Data from the Mezzena Jaw (Monti Lessini, Verona, Italy). PLoS ONE 8(3): e59781. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059781

Denise C. Park, Gérard N. Bischof. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2013 March; 15(1): 109–119. PMCID: PMC3622463 The aging mind: neuroplasticity in response to cognitive training.

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Garcia-Ptacek S, Eriksdotter M, Jelic V, Porta-Etessam J, Kåreholt I, Manzano Palomo S.Neurologia. 2013 Apr 16. pii: S0213-4853(13)00052-2. doi: 10.1016/j.nrl.2013.02.007. [Epub ahead of print] Subjective cognitive impairment: Towards early identification of Alzheimer disease.

Hui CL, Tang JY, Leung CM, Wong GH, Chang WC, Chan SK, Lee EH, Chen EY.Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2013 Apr 23. [Epub ahead of print] A 3-year retrospective cohort study of predictors of relapse in first-episode psychosis in Hong Kong.

Irish M, Hodges JR, Piguet O.Cortex. 2013 Mar 19. pii: S0010-9452(13)00071-3. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2013.03.002. [Epub ahead of print] Episodic future thinking is impaired in the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia.

Martinez-Martin P, Chaudhuri KR, Rojo-Abuin JM, Rodriguez-Blazquez C, Alvarez-Sanchez M, Arakaki T, Bergareche-Yarza A, Chade A, Garretto N, Gershanik O, Kurtis MM, Martinez-Castrillo JC, Mendoza-Rodriguez A, Moore HP, Rodriguez-Violante M, Singer C, Tilley BC, Huang J, Stebbins GT, Goetz CG. Eur J Neurol. 2013 Apr 22. doi: 10.1111/ene.12165. [Epub ahead of print] Assessing the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease: MDS-UPDRS and NMS Scale.

Posner J, Hellerstein DJ, Gat I, et al. Antidepressants Normalize the Default Mode Network in Patients With Dysthymia. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70(4):373-382. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.455.

Robles Bayón A, Gude Sampedro F, Torregrosa Quesada JM.Neurologia. 2013 Apr 16. pii: S0213-4853(13)00055-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nrl.2013.02.010. [Epub ahead of print] Bradycardia in frontotemporal dementia.

Ronny Stahl, Tessa Walcher, Camino De Juan Romero, Gregor Alexander Pilz, Silvia Cappello, Martin Irmler, José Miguel Sanz-Aquela, Johannes Beckers, Robert Blum, Víctor Borrell, Magdalena Götz. Trnp1 Regulates Expansion and Folding of the Mammalian Cerebral Cortex by Control of Radial Glial Fate. Cell, 2013; 153 (3)

Stahl SM, Morrissette DA, Citrome L, Saklad SR, Cummings MA, Meyer JM, O’Day JA, Dardashti LJ, Warburton KD. CNS Spectr. 2013 Apr 16:1-13. [Epub ahead of print] “Meta-guidelines” for the management of patients with schizophrenia.

Stoilova T, Colombo L, Forloni G, Tagliavini F, Salmona M.J Med Chem. 2013 Apr 23. [Epub ahead of print] A New Face for Old Antibiotics: Tetracyclines in Treatment of Amyloidosis.

The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 17 July 2013. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61570-6. A two-decade comparison of prevalence of dementia in individuals aged 65 years and older from three geographical areas of England: results of the Cognitive Function and Ageing Study I and II

Underwood M et al. Exercise for depression in elderly residents of care homes: a cluster-randomised controlled trial. The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 2 May 2013.

Verhülsdonk S, Quack R, Höft B, Lange-Asschenfeldt C, Supprian T.Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2013 Apr 15. pii: S0167-4943(13)00045-9. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2013.03.012. [Epub ahead of print] Anosognosia and depression in patients with Alzheimer’s dementia.

Wallin K, Boström G, Kivipelto M, Gustafson Y.Int Psychogeriatr. 2013 Apr 11:1-9. [Epub ahead of print] Risk factors for incident dementia in the very old.

Appendix

News Round-Up 2008-2011

News Round-Up 2012

Index: There are indices for the TAWOP site here and here Twitter: You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link. Podcast: You can listen to this post on Odiogo by clicking on this link (there may be a small delay between publishing of the blog article and the availability of the podcast). It is available for a limited period. TAWOP Channel: You can follow the TAWOP Channel on YouTube by clicking on this link. Responses: If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. Disclaimer: The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog. Conflicts of Interest: For potential conflicts of interest please see the About section.

8 thoughts on “Annual News Round-Up 2013 (Updated 2.1.14)

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