Mapping of the Human Visual Cortex – News Roundup: October 2012 2nd Edition

There is one Swedish study which looked at the use of Aspirin in older adult women in relation to cognitive decline (see write-ups here and here). The researchers used a simple measure of cognitive function – the Mini Mental State Examination in a group of older adult women aged 70 to 92. The researchers followed 681 women with high cardiovascular risk. The researchers found that the group taking Aspirin had a smaller decline in cognition than those who had not. Furthermore there was a more noticeable effect in those taking Aspirin at baseline. However there was no difference in the incidence of Dementia despite this. Furthermore a previous study provided evidence of no benefits for cognition in a similar group. Thus the evidence here suggests a trend but does not show a difference in the incidence of Dementia. Aspirin can also cause side-effects and so it will be interesting to see if the results of this research together with the balance of the advantages and disadvantages of Aspirin result in these findings being integrated into future guidance for prescribing doctors.

The Royal College of Physicians in conjunction with the Royal College of Nursing has published the Best Practice in Ward Rounds. The report is written in the context of general medical ward rounds but many of the recommendations are applicable to other specialities including

  • Board Rounds
  • Safety checklists
  • Resource issues
  • Preparatory material for patients
  • Goal setting

In one study, researchers investigated whether instructions for activities of daily living could be better remembered by people with Alzheimer’s Disease if they were sung rather than spoken. Although this might seem unusual it follows from previous research in this area. The researchers found that subjects were better at remembering the general content of lyrics that were sung. However when it came to the specific content there was no advantage. The researchers propose a model based on these findings.

via @EvoMRI here is a brief but instructive video on why Open Education matters.

Neuroscience News

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have generated a map of the human visual cortex that relates function to surface anatomy. They used a combination of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and mathematical transformations to localise function. The research was published in the Journal Current Biology. There are further resources at the GK Aguirre lab.

Gerstner and colleagues have written a review article on modelling in Neuroscience. They divide models in Neuroscience into simple (allowing mathematical modelling) versus complex (requiring simulations) and top-down versus bottom-up. This offers a useful starting point for discussion of modelling in Neuroscience.

Evolutionary Psychiatry

One research team have found evidence that different parts of the brain are likely to have evolved independently. The team looked at mice and found that the genes governing the size of distinct brain regions did not influence the size of other regions in the brain. Their evidence suggests therefore that one part of the brain can increase in volume independently of other brain regions. This is interesting in terms of research in Homo Floresiensis in relation to Brodmann Area 10.

In a PLOS One study researchers have found evidence that Hominins at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania were eating meat up to 1.5 million years ago. From evidence of Porotic Hyperostosis in the skull of a child the researchers inferred that hominins at this time were physiologically dependent on nutrients from meat since there is also evidence of meat consumption at these sites. We know that our closest cousins Chimpanzees (who diverged from our lineage approximately 6 million years ago) are omnivores but this new evidence is the earliest for physiological adaptation to meat.


News Round-Up 2008-2011

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 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.

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