Monthly Archives: July 2013

Research Characterises Dementia Tweets and 11 New Alzheimer’s Disease Gene Associations News Round-Up July 2013 4th Edition

 
 

A Genome Wide Association study identified 11 new gene candidates for Alzheimer’s Disease.

A PLOS One study finds that Dementia tweets are mainly about research and health matters. The researchers encourage the Dementia research community to use this medium.

Researchers in this study identified 26 genes that are coexpressed in Autism. The genes were expressed in the Granule cells in the Cerebellum.

Researchers have announced preliminary results suggesting alterations in a BCHE gene promoter linked to Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). They found a link with 20% of LBD cases but it is important to note that these are preliminary findings.

Researchers in this study used analysis of movements to support the diagnosis of Autism.

Researchers in this study found an association between Human Herpes Virus 6 infection and cognitive dysfunction.

Researchers in this population based study in women (n=1084) found an association between mood disorders and increased gastro-oesophageal reflux disease symptoms using the strcutured clinical interview for DSM-IV-TR and GHQ-12. Lifetime mood disorders was associated with an adjusted odds ratio of 1.6 (95% CI 1.1-2.4).

In the US NIH funded REGARDS study researchers found that exercise was associated with lower stroke risk (n=27,000 for the data included in the analysis). The study found a curious difference between genders with only men experiencing a significant reduction in stroke risk.

NHS Choices looks at the recent study suggesting slower decline in Dementia and an association with ACE inhibitors. There is other research which has also examined this relationship.

Migraine was associated with variations in structure of brain arteries in this study.  Researchers looked at 170 people with and without migraine. They found an association of Migraine with incomplete circle of willis. However there were many cases without this association.

This small study (n=26) suggests Modafanil was associated with increased activation in dorsal attention networks.

 

Neuroscience

brain.1

Researchers have proposed an explanation for a falling buildings illusion observed with Hong Kong skyscrapers. There is a write-up here.

There was a fascinating study which suggests that the movement of mitochondria in neurons affects synaptic firing.

In one study 1121 diners were given menus with and without calorie information and the choices were compared between the different menus. The calorie information didn’t appear to influence choice.

There is an overview of and link to recent studies in this article including drugs for new Serotonin receptors in this Scientific American MIND news roundup.

Transient monocular visual impairment was associated with Internal Jugular venous abnormalities in this study.

Disney have developed a new haptic technology discussed in this post which has many potential applications.

Researchers in China have translated sign language into text in real time.

A new theory of sleep is based on the concept of ‘local sleep’ where groups of neurons exhibit sleep related activity.

This Plos One meta-analysis looks at fMRI studies and the relationship between sample size and activation foci.

Researchers in this study found evidence that bodily and facial expressions may compete for attention from the other person during social interactions. The expressions influence the  brain responses (event related potentials) of the other person.

In this study evoked response potentials were examined in adult and older adult subjects. The researchers found that older adults were slower to modify ERP amplitude response to repetitive stimuli.

There is an NHS Choices analysis of the full moon and sleep impairment study.

There is a very interesting article on how a 97 year old digital artist Hal Lasko has been producing creative masterpieces with a simple desktop painting program.

Robotic Parkour?

Evolutionary Psychiatry, Evolution & Culture

Neanderthaler_Fund

Researchers have identified two large species of Virus known as Pandoraviruses and are arguing for a new taxonomy based on their distinctiveness.

Chimpanzees were found to exhibit self-control in inhibiting responses in a delayed response task in this study.

There is evidence that creatures were living on land 2.2 billion years ago.

A multidisciplinary team have developed a mathematical theory which suggests that small organisms do not form species.

Researchers looked at the effect of social group size in two species of Lemur in this interesting study.

There is an interesting experimental archaeology study reconstructing 10,000 year old settlements in Ireland.

Researchers concluded that 7 million year old Italian ape Oreopithecus Bambolii didn’t habitually walk upright.

Appendix

News Round-Up 2008-2011

News Round-Up 2012

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 justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. 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.

A Brief Animation on the Historical Naming of the Hippocampus (Updated 27.7.13)

This brief animation explains the historical naming of the Hippocampus and its parts.

[I have updated this due to overlooking subtleties in the history of the naming in the original video].

An index of the TAWOP site can be found here and here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. 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 justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. 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.

Challenging Stigma

awarenessThere was a happy ending to the campaign against the lyrics in the song ‘Jodeci Freestyle’. People in the Autistic community had felt very hurt by the lyrics. People with Autism can be stigmatised and this can have many consequences. People with Autism had felt that there was more stigma coming from people with a lot of influence when the song came out.

Anna Kennedy (OBE) together with the Anti-Bullying Alliance launched a campaign asking Hip Hop artists J.Cole and Drake to apologise to the autistic community and change the lyrics. J.Cole responded with an apology on his site and Drake also apologised and agreed to rewrite the lyrics.

On this issue Drake and J.Cole showed that they had the responsibility that is needed with influence. Their apologies were sincere and demonstrated character. In their apologies they drew attention to the difficulties that people with Autism experience and in so doing influenced other people to connect with these issues.

In turn Anna Kennedy also demonstrated tremendous strength of character with the support of the Anti Bullying Alliance and many other supporters in addressing this issue with two of the most influential people in Hip Hop.

A struggle has taken place which resulted in an apology and a change to the lyrics in a song. Each day there are many words spoken and many actions which contribute to stigma and which may pass without comment.

The events here show that the struggle can be worth it not just for those who are stigmatised but for those who stigmatise. Challenging stigma isn’t about competing narratives – it’s about dialogue.

An index of the TAWOP site can be found here and here. The page contains links to all of the articles in the blog in chronological order. 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 justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. 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.

Can Big Data Solve Big Problems?

Big data is the next big thing. Societies globally are generating vast amounts of data. This data can get covered in the metaphorical layers of dust or else be utilised. Using these vast amounts of data presents novel challenges but is a new frontier for data mining. This applies to areas such as Psychiatry as much as it does for other areas. Dr Philip Parker talks us through some of his innovations in data mining algorithms which turn vast datawarehouses into useful applications. Does this give us insights into the future of medicine?

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 justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. 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.

7 Tesla MRI Scanner Sheds New Light on the Hypothalamus

Model BrainA new study published in PLOS One looks at the Hypothalamus using a sequencing technique on the images produced by a 7 Tesla MRI scanner. MRI competes with other methods for understanding anatomy. Post-mortem histological studies make estimates of volume based on shrinkage of brain structures after death. In addition, histological studies look at the properties of brain matter highlighted by the staining technique.

With MRI, the researchers are able to image the Hypothalamus using several properties of the tissue. The researchers in this study contrasted the volume of the Hypothalamus estimated using this approach with that of other methods. The researchers estimated the volume of the bilateral Hypothalamus at 1.1 cm3. In their discussion the researchers emphasise the importance of other approaches including histology in utilising the study results for a better understanding of anatomy.

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 justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. 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.

Parkour: Can The Principles Be Applied Elsewhere?

Zachary Cohn gives a fascinating talk on Parkour. Parkour is also known as freerunning. I hadn’t heard of it before I came across this talk. Essentially Parkour involves breaking down complex actions into small repeatable parts. Once all of the parts are learnt, the practitioner is able to complete an action which at first seemed unattainable. There is a philosophy behind Parkour which is equally interesting. Cohn explains how Parkour has applications outside of the sport itself.

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 justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. 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.

A Diversion into the Limbic System Building a Model of the Insular Cortex – Part 16

A Model of the Insular Cortex

In this series we are looking to build a model of the Insular Cortex in terms of emotional regulation. Along the way we have seen that a number of other brain circuits are involved in emotions as reflected in the diagram above. In this post I have taken a diversion into the Limbic System to better contextualise the role of the Insular Cortex in emotions.

We can ask the question what is the role of the Limbic System in emotions that would distinguish it from the Insular Cortex? In order to begin to answer this question we would need to better understand the Limbic System itself. In this post I’m looking at a review article about the Hippocampus, a key part of the Limbic System. The paper is titled ‘Decoding information in the Human Hippocampus: A User’s Guide‘ by Chadwick, Bonnici and Maguire.

The authors look at a neat statistical analytical technique known as multi-voxel pattern analysis (MPVA) which is increasingly being used in fMRI analysis. In fMRI analysis, the brain is divided up into voxels which are volume units. This facilitates analysis of the activity detected by the scanner. Much of the analysis has involved region of interest analysis where activity in a region of the brain is analysed in relation to the experimental variables of interest.

The problem inherent in this technique is that it makes an assumption about brain activity which then constrains the subsequent analysis. The analysis assumes that the region is involved in the activity rather than discrete areas within multiple regions or even discrete areas within brain regions. However if activity occurs within discrete networks within a single region, then a region of interest analysis will overlook this activity which is lost in the averaged data.

MVPA divides voxels into groups and assesses activity against the experimental variables of interest. In a simple example it would be state A or B. There are multiple groups which allow multiple tests of the data. The analysis uses the number of experimental states to facilitate an assessment of the accuracy of the analysis in predicting activity-state correlates.

The paper then summarises some of the research that has been done using this approach and the results are very interesting. Check the paper for more details (including a few missing steps based on frequency maps to get to some of the results below) but what some of the research is suggesting is that

1. The Hippocampus works by separating out patterns that are presented to it and turning them into unique events. A crude example would be separating out apples and oranges that are presented in sequence. Components of both apples and oranges such as red, orange, peel and shape would be utilised to discriminate one from the other. This has been suggested from previous research but some of the experimental evidence here is quite neat.

The Hippocampus

2. The Hippocampus stores information about scenes according to spatial location distributed amongst different memories. Based on research by Hassabis and colleagues there was also a suggestion that the Posterior Parahippocampal Cortex played a role in storing different aspects of environments in a way which was possibly complementary to the Hippocampus

The Parahippocampal Gyrus

3. Episodic memories were likely to be stored in the Hippocampus, Parahippocampal Cortex and Entorhinal Cortex with Hippocampal activity appearing to be better correlated with these memories.

4. That the Hippocampus may form memories based on principles utilised in neural networks. The story here however is less straightforward. Rather than simple attractor networks it looks as though the Hippocampus creates/stores simple networks and then generates modified networks based on novel but slight different patterns. To me this sounded a bit like the process of induction.

5. Activity in the Hippocampus was correlated with higher level decision making based on classifying patterns.

Perhaps the fifth point is one of the most important ones as it suggests that the Hippocampus as part of the Limbic System could be playing a central role in decision making on the basis of received sensory information/perception. This easily lends itself to a discussion of the emotions.

Related Resources on this Site

Developing a Model of the Insular Cortex and Emotional Regulation: Part 1

Building a Model of the Insular Cortex – Part 2: Reviewing a Model by Craig – Part 1

Building a Model of the Insular Cortex – Part 3: Reviewing a Model by Craig – Part 2

Building a Model of the Insular Cortex – Part 4: Reviewing a Model by Craig – Part 3

Building a Model of the Insular Cortex – Part 5: The Evolution of the Insular Cortex

Building a Model of the Insular Cortex – Part 6: A Recap

Building a Model of the Insular Cortex – Part 7: The James-Lange Theory

Building a Model of the Insular Cortex – Part 8: The Cannon-Bard Thalamic Theory of Emotions

Building a Model of the Insular Cortex – Part 9: Charles Darwin on the Expression of the Emotions

Building a Model of the Insular Cortex – Part 10: The Limbic System

Building a Model of the Insular Cortex – Part 11: A Second Recap

Building a Model of the Insular Cortex – Part 12: GABA receptors and Emotions

Building a Model of the Insular Cortex – Part 13: GABA receptors and Nematode Worms

Building a Model of the Insular Cortex – Part 14: Are GABA Receptors Related to Anxiety in Humans Because Worms Wriggle?

Building a Model of the Insular Cortex – Part 15: Another Recap

What does the Insular Cortex Do Again?

Insular Cortex Infarction in Acute Middle Cerebral Artery Territory Stroke

The Insular Cortex and Neuropsychiatric Disorders

The Relationship of Blood Pressure to Subcortical Lesions

Pathobiology of Visceral Pain

Interoception and the Insular Cortex

A Case of Neurogenic T-Wave Inversion

Video Presentations on a Model of the Insular Cortex

MR Visualisations of the Insula

The Subjective Experience of Pain

How Do You Feel? Interoception: The Sense of the Physiological Condition of the Body

How Do You Feel – Now? The Anterior Insula and Human Awareness

Role of the Insular Cortex in the Modulation of Pain

The Insular Cortex and Frontotemporal Dementia

A Case of Infarct Connecting the Insular Cortex and the Heart

The Insular Cortex: Part of the Brain that Connects Smell and Taste?

Stuttered Swallowing and the Insular Cortex

YouTubing the Insular Cortex (Brodmann Areas 13, 14 and 52)

New Version of Video on Insular Cortex Uploaded

Contributors to the Model (links are to the posts in which contributions were made – these links may contain further links directly to the contributors)

Ann Nonimous

The Neurocritic

Psico-logica

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 justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk. 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.