In a very interesting study, one group of researchers looked at the age of Olfactory neurons in adult humans. They used a method normally reserved for archaeological studies – C14 radiocarbon dating and found that the C14 in the sampled Olfactory neurons matched levels in the atmosphere at the time of the person’s birth. This suggested that people were not forming new Olfactory neurons after birth – a finding which surprised the scientists conducting the researcher. There are potential clinical implications. For instance some research shows a correlation between Alzheimer’s Disease, Lewy Body Dementia and the loss of sense of smell – Anosmia although this is complicated by other factors such as smoking which has also been associated with Anosmia in research studies. This research suggests that we would have a limited number of neurons that we then lose without replacement over the lifespan*. For those not familiar with the theory behind Radiocarbon dating, the video below explains this (This is by Mr Paul Andersen, Montana Teacher of the Year 2011. Note the 1950 threshold date in the discussion) and there is also a related discussion in the write-up.
There is a research study in the British Journal of Psychiatry in which the researchers look at people with Lewy Body Dementia and compare them with a control group using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Arterial Spin Labelling MRI. The researchers found that people with Lewy Body Dementia manifested less activity (fMRI) in V5/Middle Temporal Region (also known as Brodmann Area 17 – see Appendix) when presented with motion stimuli compared to the control group. People with Lewy Body Dementia also had reduced perfusion particularly in the higher visual association areas compared to the control group (article freely available here).
There is an interesting piece at the BPS Research Digest on a man HK with hyperthymesia – an enhanced autobiographical memory. There are previous cases including Sheresheveski and Jill Price (see review of her book here).
Via @VaughanBell there is a very interesting piece on diagnostic substitution and Autism by Professor Deevy Bishop with a comment by Professor Uta Frith.
The Neuroskeptic reviews a new way of teaching neuroanatomy – using a shower cap!
Via @HugoSpiers there is this great video entered for the Neuroscience Brain Awareness Contest by Professor Dwayne Godwin
Bertie Gladwin has just completed his Master’s Degree in Intelligence History at the age of 91 and is planning to do a PhD. Gladwin completed his first degree in Psychology in his sixties and his second degree at the age of 70 in Molecular Biology.
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