In the 15th October 2009 edition of the Nature Podcast there is a look at a study of Colombian Guerillas who learnt to read in adulthood. This was a structural study (although I wasn’t sure if this was a structural MRI study) comparing the guerillas with people who learnt to read in childhood. The team wanted to learn if there were any differences between the two groups in terms of brain structure. Triangulating with the abstract in the Nature paper, the researchers found differences in the angular gyrus, interhemispheric connections and dorsal occipital gyri amongst others. They also suggest that the Angular Gyrus modulates information in the dorsal occipital gyrus although I wasn’t clear on how this was inferred from the structural data (a post-mortem study might infer this from the directionality of individual synaptic connections). In the 8th October edition of the Nature Podcast, there is a look at a study of personal genotyping in two companies which found differences in the results between the two which the researchers attributed to the use of different gene markers. There is also a discussion of some of the recommendations for such testing. They also report on a genetics conference in Honolulu in which genome wide association studies and linkage analyses in 1000 autism families finding a significant association with a region on chromosome 5. In the 1st October 2009 podcast there is a brief report on a study in people with partial cortical blindness who were presented with faces and who developed examples of physiological mimicry (e.g. muscle twitching in the relevant areas). This has implications for the pathways involved in emotional processing and also the level at which it is undertaken (i.e. conscious versus unconscious).
You can follow ‘The Amazing World of Psychiatry’ Twitter by clicking on this link
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).
If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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