Extracting reliable neurobiological biomarkers for complex subjective experiences isn't easy
"The self is the psychological counterpart of the default mode functionality of the brain. " (Scalabrini et al., 2021).The self studying how " The Self " is represented and constructed by the brain is apex meta-neuroscience.1 We can say that the self is a manifestation (or an illusory byproduct) of activity in thedefault mode network (medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex/precuneus, and angular gyrus), but what does this really mean? How do we relate specific neural states to aspects of a changeable self? In a field increasingly focused onremote control of genetically-defined microciruits, pinning down subje...
Source: The Neurocritic - July 31, 2022 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

ABCT Apologizes for Past Support of Gay Conversion Therapy
It ' s 2022, and theAssociation for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) has just issued a belatedapology because two of their past Presidents published papers on “aversion therapies” for “converting” gay and transgender individuals to the socially prescribed norms of sexuality and gender identity. Well, they didn ' t actually say this, nor did they name the prominent and distinguished clinical psychologists who authored these papers. Although these luminaries signed on to the mea culpa, there was no direct admission of the harm caused by these ill-advised practices. Instead, the document focused on “th...
Source: The Neurocritic - June 12, 2022 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

THIS device may not nudge your brain into deep sleep
TheWashington Post used this picture of a saline-filled 280-channelGeodesic Head Web1 to illustrate a new wearable device that aims to enhance slow wave sleep (SWS). The device delivers low-level current (0.5 mA) at 0.5 Hz to mimic the frequency of EEG naturally recorded during SWS (0.5-1 Hz). However, this is impossible with saline sensors, which would also dry out well before the night is over.  The WaPo article accurately showed different stages of applying the net, including measuring the head, checking impedences, and filling sensors with saline (above). A published journal article used similar Geo...
Source: The Neurocritic - May 31, 2022 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Nostalgia and Its Analgesia
This study found that presentation of nostalgic pictures was associated withenhanced mortality salience, along with increased activation in the right amygdala (Yang et al., 2021). Which is the opposite of previous studies... ReferencesBoym S. (2007).Nostalgia and its discontents.The Hedgehog Review. 9(2):7-19.Routledge C, Arndt J, Sedikides C, Wildschut T. (2008).A blast from the past: The terror management function of nostalgia.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 44(1):132-40.Wildschut T, Sedikides C. (2022).Benefits of nostalgia in vulnerable populations.European Review of Social Psychology 27:1-48. Yang Z, Se...
Source: The Neurocritic - April 30, 2022 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Machine Yearning - Sad Robots and Prolonged Grief
Crying Robot, byMr.A What is ' machine yearning ' ?Intense longing exhibited by cartoon robots? Or a clever pun that describes a network analysis of prolonged grief symptoms? (Malgaroli et al., 2022).My late wife was a writer who was very fond ofrobots andFuturama. This post is an opportunity to incorporate them all into a brief narrative about the computational psychiatry ofprolonged grief disorder.Concert goers booed the avant garde tuba playing robot, but it wasn ' t programmed to feel sad, or to stop.#Citybots#Warsaw#TwitterFiction— S. Kay (@blueberrio)March 16, 2014Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD) is anICD-1...
Source: The Neurocritic - March 31, 2022 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

The Ongoing Debate about Hippocampal Neurogenesis in Adult Humans is over.
modified from Franjic et al. (2022). Cross-species comparison shows transcriptomic signatures of neurogenesis in the hippocampus of adult mouse, pig, and monkey— but not human.Does the adult brain generate new neurons throughout the lifespan? The prevailing view in most of the 20th century was that no new neurons are born in the mammalian brain once development ceases. A series of studies inthe 1960s showed otherwise, but these were ignoreduntil the 1990s. A now-historical paper from 2000 recounted thedeath of a dogma: adult neurogenesis is here to stay,even in humans. Thousand of studies in animals (mostly rodents) demo...
Source: The Neurocritic - February 28, 2022 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Vortioxetine for Post-COVID Brain Fog
If you ' re relatively young and healthy, is a mild case of COVID-19 really “mild”, like a cold or the flu? Are you still at risk forlong COVID— a persistent state of fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, exercise intolerance, and “brain fog” (impairments in memory, attention, and concentration)— even if you ' re fully vaccinated?If you have post-COVID brain fog and live in Toronto, you might beeligible for a clinical trial run by the Brain and Cognition Discovery Foundation. The study will assess the effects ofvortioxetine (brand name Trintellix), an FDA-approved antidepressant thatmay improve cognitive function in peop...
Source: The Neurocritic - January 17, 2022 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Your Own Personal DBS
The second calendar year of COVIDsurges to a close, and hospital personnel continue their frenetic pace of caring for the infected (most of whom are defiantly unvaccinated). For the rest of us, Vaccine Scientists are the2021 Heroes of the Year... surely they will outsmart the latest variant of the sneaky virus. Their astonishing achievements built on less glamorous (and less recognized) work conducted over the course of 20 years. As told byTime magazine:In 2005, [Dr. Katalin] Kariko and [Dr. Drew] Weissman reported their findings in what they thought would be a landmark paper in the journalImmunity, then waited for the acc...
Source: The Neurocritic - December 31, 2021 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Is Precision Psychiatry Realistic?
Fig. 1 (Fernandes et al., 2017). Domains related to ‘precision psychiatry’.“The right drug for the right patient” was a catch phrase in the early years of the personalized medicine movement (2000), represented by the emerging field ofpharmacogenomics. No more “one size fits all” prescribing — the Human Genome Project will allow doctors to predict howyou will respond to any given medication.The last time I went to the drug store, I picked up my cheap generic prescription without the benefit of genomic testing.The term “personalized medicine” was outdated by 2011. The National Research Council (PDF) pr...
Source: The Neurocritic - November 30, 2021 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Xylological Delusions of Being a Tree
The mythology surroundingreverse inter-metamorphosis, a delusional syndrome that involves transformation into a beast, has frightened and fascinated for hundreds of years. A special instance of reverse inter-metamorphosis isclinical lycanthropy, the delusion that one has been transformed into a wolf (or another animal). A recent review identified 43 cases in the literature between 1852 and today (Guessoum et al., 2021). Psychotic depression and schizophrenia were the most common co-existing psychiatric diagnoses in these individuals.The article advocates a cultural and person-centered approach to treatment, as did many of ...
Source: The Neurocritic - October 31, 2021 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

A Curious Case of Auditory-Gustatory Synesthesia... in someone who can't smell
 A fascinating case study from 1907 describes the self-reported sensory “taste” experiences evoked by hearing specific words, names, or sounds (Pierce, 1907). The subject was a young woman about to graduate from college. As far as she could tell, she ' s always had these experiences, and for most of her life she didn ' t know they were unusual. Thissurprise upon discovering the uniqueness of one ' s one internal experience is similar to what is reported by many contemporary individuals with less typical phenomenology, such asaphantasia (the inability to generate visual images).Pierce noted that the subject was ano...
Source: The Neurocritic - September 30, 2021 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Reading Aloud without a Mask, Olfactory Bulbs, Omega Variant
Conclusion and recommendation:" Ineligibility because of age and lack of vaccination contribute to persistent elevated risk for outbreaks in schools, especially as new SARS-CoV-2 variants emerge. However, implementation of multiple prevention strategies within schools can mitigate this risk. "Olfactory Bulbs Speaking of smell,over 20 papers show MRI signal abnormalities in the olfactory bulbs of COVID-19 patients with anosmia (loss of smell). This isn ' t new, but anosmia has been reported inbreakthroughcasesas well. The images below show some resolution in a patient from time 1 to time 2.Magnetic Resonance Imaging Al...
Source: The Neurocritic - August 31, 2021 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Why would nasally-transferred coronavirus only affect the left side of the brain?
WE GET QUESTIONS!Q– “I survived a mild case of COVID. Should I be worried about the volume of gray matter in olfactory-related structures in the left hemisphere of my brain?”A– Most of what you ' ve read on social media may be overstated.One of the scariest things aboutSARS-CoV-2 (other than possible death) is that it affectsmultiple organs, including the brain. The vast majority of studies have compared measures in COVID survivors to those obtained from participants without COVID. Thesecross-sectional studies cannot determine whether pre-existing differences can account for disease-related ' changes ' .An importan...
Source: The Neurocritic - July 31, 2021 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

The rs-FC fMRI Law of Attraction (i.e., Resting-State Functional Connectivity of Speed Dating Choice)
Feeling starved for affection after 15 months of pandemic-mandated social distancing? Ready to look for a suitable romantic partner by attending anin-person speed dating event? Just recline inside this noisy tube for 10 minutes, think about anything you like, and our algorithm willPredict [the] Compatibility of a Female-Male Relationship!This new study byKajimura and colleagues garnered a lot of attention on Twitter, where it was publicized by@INM7_ISN (Simon Eickhoff) and@Neuro_Skeptic. The prevailing sentiment was not favorable (check the replies)... Oha... " Resting-State Connectivity Can Predict Compatibility of a...
Source: The Neurocritic - June 29, 2021 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Did dreams evolve to transcend overfitting?
A fascinatingnew paper proposes that dreams evolved to help the brain generalize, which improves its performance on day to day tasks. Incorporating a concept from deep learning,Erik Hoel (2021):“...outlines the idea that the brains of animals are constantly in danger ofoverfitting, which is the lack of generalizability that occurs in a deep neural network when its learning is based too much on one particular dataset, and that dreams help mitigate this ubiquitous issue. This is the overfitted brian[sic] hypothesis. ” The Overfitted Brain Hypothesis (OHB) proposes that the bizarre phenomenology of dreams is critical...
Source: The Neurocritic - May 31, 2021 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs