News Round-Up:22nd-28th September 2008

Here is a round-up of some of the news in September. Interesting findings include the importance of the subthalamic nucleus and ventral tegmental area in verbal memory, hemispherectomy in children and language function and spontaneous eye blinking and attention.


In a study of Xhosa people with schizophrenia, a number of factors influencing development of abnormal involuntary movements were found including age being a risk factor and anhedonia appearing to be a protective factor (STT1).


In a study of 35 older adults, serum Beta-Amyloid levels were correlated with worse peformance on cognitive testing (STT3). In a study of apathy (measure using the Apathy Evaluation Scale) in people with dementia, apathy was more likely if the person was living with someone other than their spouse and was also associated with irritability and functional impairment (STT1). Verbal memory and learning was correlated with integrity of the subthalamic nucleus and ventral tegmental area in this study using magnetic transfer ratios. Ageing affected these areas and the hippocampus differently (STT3).

Anxiety and Related Disorders

A study of PTSD in WWII prisoners of war found that higher IQ appeared to be a protective factor against developing PTSD and that PTSD was associated with performance on certain frontal lobe tests (STT2).

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

A study of 100 children who were exposed to irradiation prenatally from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor revealed differences between these children and 50 controls (classmates) including left brain neurological findings, lower IQ and a number of EEG findings (STT2). In this study of language function in children who underwent hemispherectomy, there was found to be an equivalent capacity for the right and left hemispheres to develop receptive verbal vocabulary. There were a number of other interesting findings and these results may be possibly should be of interest to theories of language development (STT3).


Spontaneous eye blink rate is predictive of the ability to identify a target rapidly presented after a first one – a phenomenon referred to as attentional blink. The authors suggest that this is mediated by dopamine and involves working memory (STT4).




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.

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