A group of researchers in Sweden followed up a cohort of people in three age groups: 85, 90 and over 90. The researchers found that people in these groups were less likely to develop Dementia if they scored more highly on cognitive testing (the Mini-Mental State Examination) or if they had more social contacts. Depression was associated with a higher incidence of Dementia over 5 years.
An American group have produced an overview of guidelines used for treatment approaches in Schizophrenia.
An Australian group have looked at the ability to think about the future in people with behavioural variant Frontotemporal Dementia (bvFTD). There were 30 subjects in the study, 10 with bvFTD, 10 with Alzheimer’s Disease and 10 controls. Amongst other results, the researchers found that atrophy in the medial temporal regions (specifically identifying the right Hippocampus) and Occipital Cortex was associated with impairments in thinking about the future. This is a small sized study and it would be interesting to see the results of further replication studies.
The authors of one paper on the aging brain conclude that although there is evidence of plasticity in older adulthood in response to cognitive stimulation there is still a need for research into how gains are generalised. The authors also cite evidence from studies such as the Experience Corps Project which show that the environment can play a significant role in achieving cognitive gains.
A group of researchers in America have looked at how people access information about mental health on Google through the year. They looked at search date from 2006 to 2010 and found that people were more likely to look for information on terms including anxiety, depression and schizophrenia in the winter than in the summer. They identified a gap between peak and trough of 14% in the USA. In their conclusion the researchers note the similarity between their findings and the seasonal variation evident in Seasonal Affective Disorder.
News Roundup Elsewhere
There is a round-up of links at the BPS Research Digest which includes a TEDx collaboration with publishers Wiley to deliver a set of neuroscience talks with supplementary material. The Somatosphere blog features links to articles including one on lay accounts of Depression.
The University of New South Wales has a short piece debunking common myths about DSM-5.
The Shrinkrap bloggers celebrated their seventh year of blogging recently.
At Psychology Today, Dr Klitzman looks at the significance of the 10th Anniversary of the completion of the mapping of the human genome.
There is a write-up of a study here looking at a cluster of neurons in the Inferior Temporal Gyrus which are active when a person looks at numerals.
There is a PLOS One paper by Condemi and colleagues looking at a mandible from Italy circa 40,000 years ago. The researchers found that the mandible had features consistent with Neandertals as well as humans when using different types of analysis. A sample of mitochondrial DNA was consistent with Neandertal mitochondrial DNA. The specimen was suggested to be the earliest evidence of Neandertal-human hybridisation although other interpretations are possible. Indeed there is a good write-up on this piece by associate Professor John Hawks. Hybridisation has
many significance for a number of reasons including several important disease gene differences.
Associate Professor John Hawks has in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison generously offered a free online course on human evolution due to start later in the year. Interested readers can sign up here.
Ayers JW, Althouse BM, Allem JP, Rosenquist JN, Ford DE. Am J Prev Med. 2013 May;44(5):520-525. Seasonality in Seeking Mental Health Information on Google.
Condemi S, Mounier A, Giunti P, Lari M, Caramelli D, et al. (2013) Possible Interbreeding in Late Italian Neanderthals? New Data from the Mezzena Jaw (Monti Lessini, Verona, Italy). PLoS ONE 8(3): e59781. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059781
Denise C. Park, Gérard N. Bischof. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2013 March; 15(1): 109–119. PMCID: PMC3622463 The aging mind: neuroplasticity in response to cognitive training.
Stahl SM, Morrissette DA, Citrome L, Saklad SR, Cummings MA, Meyer JM, O’Day JA, Dardashti LJ, Warburton KD. CNS Spectr. 2013 Apr 16:1-13. [Epub ahead of print] “Meta-guidelines” for the management of patients with schizophrenia.
Wallin K, Boström G, Kivipelto M, Gustafson Y.Int Psychogeriatr. 2013 Apr 11:1-9. [Epub ahead of print] Risk factors for incident dementia in the very old.
Irish M, Hodges JR, Piguet O.Cortex. 2013 Mar 19. pii: S0010-9452(13)00071-3. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2013.03.002. [Epub ahead of print] Episodic future thinking is impaired in the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia.
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