National Caregiver’s Month is taking place in America. Such a campaign would be useful in other countries also. The American Psychiatric Association have produced a leaflet which provides helpful advice to caregivers.
The Schizophrenia Commission has released a report on the care of people with Schizophrenia in the UK. The report recommends a number of changes including an emphasis on setting up more recovery houses.
A moderately sized study (n=314) showed no significant relationship between tremors and visual hallucinations in people with Parkinson’s Disease.
One small SPECT study (n=32) showed brain region differences in Benzodiazepines in Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia. In people with Alzheimer’s Disease there was a reduction in Benzodiazepine receptors in the Temporoparietal region whilst in Vascular Dementia there was a reduction in the Frontal region.
Non-concordance with medication is related to a number of factors in older adults with cognitive impairment in this medium sized study (n=339). The researchers found that taking more than 4 medications was significantly associated with an odds ratio of 2.58 for non-concordance. Prior non-concordance and scores on memory and perseveration tests were also significantly correlated with non-concordance.
UK Doctors have set up a new political party which focuses on National Health Service issues. The complex issues around this new political party are discussed further in the article.
Rappers have found a new outlet for their music – the MRI scanner. Moving from music venues to the close confines of the MRI scanner, one group of rappers underwent functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging while rapping. Rapping like jazz is creative in the sense that the rapper will improvise during a freestyle performance. The researchers found a reduction in activity in the Prefrontal Cortex during the freestyle performance (compared to a rehearsed performance) and an increase in activity in the Medial Prefrontal Cortex as well as other brain regions. The researchers suggest that the Medial Prefrontal Cortex may play an important role in improvisation. Now there’s something to sing about.
Professor John Hawks has an interesting response to a piece about online education and discusses his experience of teaching Anthropology.
Stone-tipped spears in South Africa dating back 500,000 years are the earliest such tools to have been discovered. They provide evidence of sophisticated cognitive abilities in middle Pleistocene hominids and are likely to have been created by the common ancestor of our species and Neanderthals – Homo Heidelbergensis.
One important microRNA sequence which differentiates humans from Chimpanzees has recently been identified in a paper published in Nature Communications. miR-941 is thought to be involved in neurotransmitter signallying and is estimated to have evolved from the so-called junk DNA one million years after our lineage diverged from the lineage of Chimpanzees. The researchers have mapped out a detailed pathway for changes in the gene during human evolution and suspect that it has played an important role in our development.
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