What Color is Your Mental Parachute?
Discussion, they were a bit splashy in the title of their paper (Phantasia –The Psychological Significance Of Lifelong Visual Imagery Vivdness Extremes). And the condition of “Aphantasia” existedlong before it was named and popularized. But these researchers have caught the imagination of the general public, so to speak:The delineation of these forms of extreme imagery also clarifies a vital distinction between imagery and imagination: people with aphantasia –who include the geneticist Craig Venter, the neurologist Oliver Sacks and the creator of Firefox, Blake Ross–can be richly imaginative, ...
Source: The Neurocritic - July 30, 2020 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Traces of Fear in Aphantasia
When reading a vivid story that describes a shark attack, do you imagine yourself in the ocean, seeing the dorsal fin approach you?“...sun glints off the waves / suddenly a dark flash / in the distant waves / maybe it was a shadow / you turn to the beach / more people are pointing / they look anxious / looking back out to sea / a large fin / slices the surface / moving closer...”Or is your “mind's eye ” — your visual mental imagery of the evocative scene ⁠— essentially a blank?–early warning: picture of snake belowOne's subjective internal life of thinking, perceiving, imagining,...
Source: The Neurocritic - June 30, 2020 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

The COVID Stress Scales
Danger. Deprivation. Xenophobia. Contamination. These are some of the fears related to COVID-19. Scores ofCOVID questionnaires have popped up recently to assess fear, anxiety, stress, and depression related to the novel coronavirus and its massive disruption to daily life. Most are freely available for use as research tools, but few have been validated and peer reviewed.The COVID Stress Scales (CSS) developed byTaylor and colleagues (2020) were recently published in theJournal of Anxiety Disorders. The authors propose a new COVID Stress Syndrome, and present evidence that the CSS subscales are intercorrelated (which is sug...
Source: The Neurocritic - May 31, 2020 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

The Noble Prize for a Life Well-Lived
In honor of a beautiful and affectionate cat.RIP, beloved MaxApril 19, 2003– April 24, 2020So much acrimony and confusion and death...In the true meaning of the word, Max lived a noble life.“But he was just a cat,” you say. Yes, that's true. But he was loving and kind and selfless until the very end. He was a wonderful companion, and a great source of comfort to me (especially after my partner died inOctober 2018).Max and SandraFeb. 2, 2017He was cherished by previous caretakers and human friends, who showered him with gifts.Christmas Eve, 2017Christmas Day, 2018But now he's gone and life continues, fille...
Source: The Neurocritic - April 27, 2020 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

The " Six Feet Away " Rule is Woefully Inadequate
“...the rapid international spread of COVID-19 suggests that using arbitrary droplet size cutoffs may not accurately reflect what actually occurs with respiratory emissions,possibly contributing to the ineffectiveness of some procedures used to limit the spread of respiratory disease ” (Bourouiba, 2020).Dr. Lydia Bourouiba has published an important paper that updates 1930s-era models of respiratory infectious disease transmission based on the size of droplets emitted when a person breathes or talks or coughs or sneezes. Large droplets were thought to contaminate the area immediately surrounding an infected ind...
Source: The Neurocritic - March 27, 2020 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Coping with COVID-19: Resources for Managing Mental Health
Despite coronavirus, Trump keeps shaking hands(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Don't shake hands. Maintain a distance of 6 feet. Don't touch surfaces that could contain respiratory droplets. Don't touch your face. [It'svery hard tonot touch your face.]When your leaders fail to follow the most basic guidelines forpreventing the spread of COVID-19, trust and confidence are eroded.Trump coronavirus press conference an exemplar of what not to do  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)The coronavirus pandemic has raised (nearly) everyone's level of anxiety and stress. Rampant panic buying, superstore shelves emptied of toilet pap...
Source: The Neurocritic - March 15, 2020 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

The City of Lost Engrams
I was travelling back in time to an unreal place when The City appeared again after a long absence. It had been 16 months since we ’d been together, and The City was not pleased. A vivid image of the security lines at the airport ushered me out of town to continue my journey to The Place That Doesn’t Exist.A diabolical entanglement known as time has stolen memories from their homes in thedentate gyrus,lateral amygdala,precuneus, and elsewhere. These engrams hold the key to the past and the future. Without them – and their mysteriously stored representations – “we are condemned to aneternal pre...
Source: The Neurocritic - February 22, 2020 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

02202020
New and exciting content will be available for you this weekend. Until then, please enjoy Lena Lovich and my four part series on money, religion, and numerology from 2008.080808 (god is a number part 1)01 1 01 1 01 (god is a number part 2)3.14159265 (god is a number part 3)7 (god is a number part 4)You certainly do have a strange effect on meI never thought that I could feel the way I feelThere's something in your eyes gives me a wild ideaI never want to be apart from you my dearI guess it must be trueMy lucky number's two--Lena Lovich,Lucky Number (Source: The Neurocritic)
Source: The Neurocritic - February 20, 2020 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Netflix Neurology: Inside the Brain of Aaron Hernandez (for a few seconds)
from Dr. Ann McKee / Boston UniversityA recent addition to the Netflix “making a murderer” franchise isKiller Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez. At the end of any such story, there is no single answer as to what “made” the murderer.The story ofAaron Fernandez is still in the public eye because of his fame as a professional football player for the New England Patriots (2010-2012). He was so successful that he signed a 5 year, $40 million contract with the team in August 2012. His alleged involvement in a July 2012 double homicide came to light in 2014, after he had been charged with the June 2013 m...
Source: The Neurocritic - February 2, 2020 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

People Neurology: Bennet versus Ann feud captured live!
In aPeople Neurology exclusive, contentious footage of Dr. Ann McKee and Dr. Bennet Omalu was captured at the 5th AnnualChronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Conference. Dr. Omalu was not invited due to their long-standing animosity, but he crashed the party anyway during Dr. McKee's highly anticipated Keynote. While she was presentingquantitative proteomic analysis of the postmortem brain tissue of Aaron Hernandez, Dr. Omalu stood up and admonished the entire audience: “Remember, I discovered CTE! [NOTE: this is false.1] You will all answer for this on judgment day. ”The crowd gasped... “Don't believe th...
Source: The Neurocritic - January 27, 2020 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Computational Psychiatry, Self-Care, and The Mind-Body Problem
Schematic example of how the “mind” (cerebral cortex) is connected to the “body” (adrenal gland) - modified from Fig. 1 (Dum et al., 2016):“Modern medicine has generally viewed the concept of‘psychosomatic’disease with suspicion. This view arose partly because no neural networks were known for the mind, conceptually associated with the cerebral cortex, to influence autonomic and endocrine systems that control internal organs. ”Psychosomatic illnesses are typically seen in pejorative terms — it's all in your head so it must not be real! Would a known biological mechanism...
Source: The Neurocritic - December 31, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Pheromone Friday
Pheromones, emitted chemicals that elicit a social response in members of the same species, have been most widely studied in insects as a mode of communication. In theinsect world, pheromones can signal alarm, mark trails, control worker bee behavior, and elicit sexual behavior.Sex pheromones are the chemicals that come to mind in popular lore. Do human beings secrete substances that are likely to attract potential mates? Unscrupulous players in the fragrance industry would like you to believe that's the case. Unable to attract women (or men)? There's a difference between marketing an intoxicating and sensual fragrance tha...
Source: The Neurocritic - November 29, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Olfactory Attraction and Smell Dating
Smell Dating, an interactive exhibit byTega Brain andSam LavigneatThe Glass Room.A conceptual art installation, an extended olfactory performance piece, anelaborate participatory project, or an actual smell-based dating service?Smell Dating is all of these and more!How it worksWe send you a t-shirtYou wear the shirt for three days and three nights without deodorant.You return the shirt to us in a prepaid envelope.We send you swatches of t-shirts worn by a selection of other individuals.You smell the samples and tell us who you like.If someone whose smell you like likes the smell of you too, we'll facilitate an exchange of ...
Source: The Neurocritic - November 11, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

The Neural Correlates of Channeling the Dead
November 2nd is theDay of the Dead, a Mexican holiday to honor the memory of lost loved ones. If you subscribe to certain paranormal belief systems, the ability to communicate with the dearly departed is possible via s éance, which is conducted by a Medium who channels the spirit of the dead.Since I do not subscribe to a paranormal belief system, I do not think it's possible to communicate with my dead wife. Nor am I especially knowledgeable about the differences betweenmediumship vs. channeling:Mediumship is mostly about receiving and interpreting messages from other worlds.Mediums oft...
Source: The Neurocritic - November 2, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Is Mourning Rewarding? (revisited)
Can we reduce the persistent, unbearable pain of losing a loved one to 15-20 voxels of brain activity in the nucleus accumbens (O'Connor et al., 2008)? No? Then what if I told you that unrelenting grief — and associated feelings of sheer panic, fear, terminal aloneness, and existential crisis — isn't “suffering”. It's actually rewarding!Well I'm here to tell you that it isn't.Looking back on apost from 2011, you never realize it's going to be you.1The top figure shows that activity in thenucleus accumbens was greater in response to grief-related words vs. neutral words in a group of 11 women with &l...
Source: The Neurocritic - October 6, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Are there evil people or only evil acts?
“I can guarantee that someone in the world thinks you are evil. Do you eat meat? Do you work in banking? Do you have a child out of wedlock? You will find that things that seem normal to you don't seem normal to others, and might even be utterly reprehensible. Perhaps we are all evil. Or, perhaps none of us are. ”– Julia Shaw,Evil: The Science Behind Humanity's Dark SideEarlier this month,Science magazine andFondation Ipsen co-sponsored a webinar onImpulses, intent, and the science of evil. “Can research into humankind’s most destructive inclinations help us become better people?”It's fr...
Source: The Neurocritic - September 22, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Ivanka Trump to Head New Agency of Precrime
APrecog capable of predicting future crimes in the film version ofMinority Report.In a strange twist suitable for the dystopian reality show broadcast from theWest Wing dining room, a charity formed to fight pancreatic cancer has morphed into projectSAFE HOME— “Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes”.SAFE HOME — “Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes” — project by this hypothetical HARPA. Because guns don't kill people, mental extremes do...— sarcastic_f (@sarcastic_f)August 23, 2019After three highly publicizedmass sho...
Source: The Neurocritic - August 24, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Manipulating Visual Cortex to Induce Hallucinations
fromTerence McKenna - Ayahuasca StoriesWhat is a hallucination? The question seems simple enough. “Ahallucination is a perception in the absence of external stimulus that has qualities of real perception. Hallucinations are vivid, substantial, and are perceived to be located in external objective space. ” When we think of visual hallucinations, we often think of trippy colorful images induced by psychedelic drugs (hallucinogens).Aredreams hallucinations? How about visualimagery? Opticalillusions of motion from viewing a non-moving pattern? No, no, and no (according to this narrow definition). Hallucinations are...
Source: The Neurocritic - August 11, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Brain Awareness Video Contest 2019
What Color is Monday? This video on synesthesia is one of the Top Ten videos in the Society for NeuroscienceBrain Awareness Video Contest. Voting for the 2019 People's Choice Award closes 12 p.m. Eastern time on August 30, 2019.However, it wasn't immediately apparent to me how you're supposed to cast your vote...The entire playlist ison YouTube. 1  4:09Now playing Multitasking2 4:43Now playing How Ketamine Treats Depression3 4:40Now playing Procrastination: I'll Think of a Title Later4 3:55Now playing Seeing Culture in Our Brain5 3:58Now playing Theory of Mind6 4:00Now playing How Neu...
Source: The Neurocritic - August 5, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Is there an objective test for Aphantasia?
Still image fromKaleidoscopes for Binocular RivalryHow well do we know our own inner lives? Self-report measures are a staple of psychiatry, neuroscience, and all branches of psychology (clinical, cognitive, perceptual, personality, social, etc.). Symptom scales, confidence ratings, performance monitoring, metacognitive efficiency (meta-d'/d '), vividness ratings, preference/likeability judgements, and affect ratings are all examples. Evenmonkeys have an introspective side! 1In thelast post we learned about a condition calledaphantasia, the inability to generate visual images. Although the focus has been on visual imagery,...
Source: The Neurocritic - July 21, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

The Shock of the Unknown in Aphantasia: Learning that Visual Imagery Exists
Qualia are private. We don ’t know how another person perceives the outside world: the color of the ocean, the sound of the waves, the smell of the seaside, the exact temperature of the water. Even more obscure is how someone elseimagines the world in the absence of external stimuli. Most people are able to generate an internal “representation”1 of a beach — to deploy imagery — when asked, “picture yourself at a relaxing beach.” We can “see” the beach in our mind’s eye even when we’re not really there. But no one else has access to these private images, thou...
Source: The Neurocritic - June 30, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

' I Do Not Exist' - Pathological Loss of Self after a Buddhist Retreat
Eve is plagued by a waking nightmare.‘I do not exist. All you see is a shell with no being inside, a mask covering nothingness. I am no one and no thing. I am the unborn, the non-existent.’– fromPickering (2019).Dr. Judith Pickering is a psychotherapist and Jungian Analyst in Sydney, Australia. Her patient ‘Eve’ is an “anonymous, fictionalised amalgam of patients suffering disorders of self.”   Eve had a psychotic episode while attending a Tibetan Buddhist retreat.“She felt that she was no more than an amoeba-like semblance of pre-life with no form, no substanc...
Source: The Neurocritic - June 16, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

The Secret Lives of Goats
Goats Galore (May 2019)If you live in a drought-ridden,wildfire-prone area on the West Coast, you may see herds of goats chomping on dry grass and overgrown brush. This was initially surprising for many who live in urban areas, but it's become commonplace where I live. Announcements appear on local message boards, and families bring their children.Goats Goats Goats (June 2017)Goats are glamorous, and super popular on social media now (e.g.Instagram, moreInstagram, andTwitter). Over 41 million people have watchedGoats Yelling Like Humans - Super Cut Compilation on YouTube. We all know that goats have complex vocalizations, ...
Source: The Neurocritic - May 19, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

The Paracetamol Papers
I have secretly obtained a large cache of files from Johnson& Johnson, makers of TYLENOL ®, the ubiquitous pain relief medication (generic name: acetaminophen in North America,paracetamol elsewhere). The damaging information contained in these documents has been suppressed by the pharmaceutical giant, for reasons that will become obvious in a moment.1After a massive upload of materials to Wikileaks, it can now be revealed that Tylenol not only...eases social rejectionmends a broken heartlessens mortality salience(i.e., fear of death)reduces antisocial behaviortreats chronic anxiety disorder...but along with the goo...
Source: The Neurocritic - April 27, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Does ketamine restore lost synapses? It may, but that doesn't explain its rapid clinical effects
BravadoSPRAVATO ™ (esketamine)© Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 2019.Ketamine is the miracle drug that cures depression:“Recent studies report what is arguably the most important discovery in half a century: the therapeutic agent ketamine that produces rapid (within hours) antidepressant actions in treatment-resistant depressed patients (4,5). Notably, the rapid antidepressant actions of ketamine are associated with fast induction of synaptogenesis in rodents and reversal of the atrophy caused by chronic stress (6,7). ”– Duman& Aghajanian (2012).Synaptic Dysfunction in Depression: Potent...
Source: The Neurocritic - April 13, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

An Amicable Discussion About Psychology and Neuroscience
DiscussionsThe role of semantic information in reading aloudMax Coltheart vs Mark Seidenberg2012: Panel DiscussionsWhat is the role of the insula in speech and language?Nina F. Dronkers vs Julius FridrikssonThis one-on-one format has been very rare at CNS. Last year we saw a panel of four prominent neuroscientist address/debate...Big Theory versus Big Data: What Will Solve the Big Problems in Cognitive Neuroscience?.@gallantlab" This debate is silly "#CNS2018pic.twitter.com/cpT7tKI0xa— CNS News (@CogNeuroNews)March 24, 2018Added-value entertainment was provided byDr. Gary Marcus, which speaks to the issue o...
Source: The Neurocritic - March 31, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

#cns2019
It's March, an odd-numbered year, must mean.... it's time for theCognitive Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting to be in San Francisco!I only started looking at the schedule yesterday and noticed the now-obligatory David Poeppel session on BIG stuff 1 on Saturday (March 23, 2019):Special Session -The Relation Between Psychology and Neuroscience, David Poeppel, Organizer, Grand BallroomThen I clicked on the link and saw a rare occurrence: an all-female slate of speakers!Whether we study single cells, measure populations of neurons, characterize anatomical structure, or quantify BOLD, whether we collect reaction times or...
Source: The Neurocritic - March 22, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Depth Electrodes or Digital Biomarkers? The future of mood monitoring
Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) vs.Mindstrong HealthMood Monitoring via Invasive Brain Recordings or Smartphone SwipesWhich Would You Choose?That's not really a fair question. The ultimate goal of invasive recordings is one of direct intervention, by delivering targeted brain stimulation as a treatment. But first you have to establish a firm relationship between neural activity and mood. Well, um, smartphone swipes (the way you interact with your phone) aim to establish a firm relationship between your “digital phenotype” and your mood. And then refer you to an app for a precision intervention. Or to your t...
Source: The Neurocritic - February 19, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Is executive function different from cognitive control? The results of an informal poll
It ended in a tie!Is executive function different from cognitive control?— sarcastic_f (@sarcastic_f)January 30, 2019Granted, this is a small and biased sample, and I don't have a large number of followers. The answers might have been different had@russpoldrack (Yes in a landslide) or@Neuro_Skeptic (n=12,458 plus 598 wacky write-in votes) posed the question.Before the poll I facetiously asked:Other hypothetical questions (that you don't need to answer) might include:Are you a clinical neuropsychologist? Do you use computational modeling in your work?1What is your age?Here, I was thinking:Clinical neuropsychologi...
Source: The Neurocritic - February 2, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Unlucky Thirteen
Today is the 13th anniversary of this blog. I wanted to write a sharp and subversive post.1 Or at least compose a series of self-deprecating witticisms about persisting this long. Alas, it has been anextremely difficult year.Instead, I drew inspiration from Twitter (@neuroecology) and ablogger who's been at it even longer than I (@DoctorZen). Very warily I might add, because I knew the results would not be flattering or pretty.Behold my scores on the “Big Five” personality traits (and weep). Some of the extremes are partly situational, and that's why I'm presenting these traits separately. Sure, negative e...
Source: The Neurocritic - January 27, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

What Can Brain Imaging Tell Us About Violent Extremism?
In this study,Sacred Values included:Palestinian right of returnWestern military forces being expelled from all Muslim landsStrict sharia as the rule of law in all Muslim countriesArmed jihad being waged against enemies of MuslimsForbidding of caricatures of Prophet MohammedVeiling of women in publicWhat were theNonsacred Values? We don't know. I couldn't find examples anywhere in the paper. It's crucial that we know what these were, to help understand the “sacralization” of nonsacred values, which was observed in an fMRI experiment (described later). So I turned to the Supplemental Material ofBerns et al. (201...
Source: The Neurocritic - January 21, 2019 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

2018 Was a Year to Forget. Really.
Our memory for the details of real-life events is poor, according to arecent study.Seven MIT students took a one hour walk through Cambridge, MA. A day later, they were presented with one second video clips they may or may not have seen during their walk (the “foils” were taken from another person's recording). Mean recognition accuracy was 55.7%, barely better than guessing.1Minimal recognition memory for detailed events.Dashed line is chance performance.Adapted from Fig. 2 ofMisra et al. (2018).How did the researchers capture the details of what was seen during each person's stroll about town (2.1 miles / 3.5...
Source: The Neurocritic - December 31, 2018 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Folie à deux and Homicide for the Holidays
Nothing says home for the holidays like a series of murders committed by family members with a shared delusion. So sit back, sip your hot apple cider or spiked egg nog, and revel in family dysfunction worse than your own.{Well! There is an actual TV show calledHomicide for the Holidays, which I did not know. Kind of makes my title seem derivative... but it was coincidental.}“Folie à deux”, orShared Psychotic Disorder, was a diagnosis in DSM-IV-TR:(A) A delusion develops in an individual in the context of a close relationship with another person(s), who has an already-established delusion. (B) The de...
Source: The Neurocritic - December 23, 2018 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Manifestations of Fear in Cross-Cultural Interpretations of Sleep Paralysis
Frontispiece from:Blicke in die Traum- und Geisterwelt (A look into the dream and spirit world), byFriedrich Voigt (1854).What are you most afraid of? Not finding a permanent job? Getting a divorce and losing your family? Losing your funding? Not making this month's rent? Not having a roof over your head? Natural disasters? Nuclear war? Cancer? Having a loved one die of cancer?FAILURE?There are many types ofspecific phobias (snakes, spiders, heights, enclosed spaces,clowns,mirrors, etc.), but that's not what I'm talking about here.What are youreally afraid of? Death? Pain? A painful death?Devils, demons, ghosts, witches, a...
Source: The Neurocritic - November 21, 2018 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Survey Skeleton
Karger Medical and Scientific Publishers has a lovely Survey Skeleton peeking out enticingly on some of their journal websites now.It's to lure you to take theirsurvey, where you can win attractive prizes.......such as the uniqueVesalius: The Fabric of the Human Body (value CHF 1,500).Just thought you should know. (Source: The Neurocritic)
Source: The Neurocritic - October 31, 2018 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

There Is a Giant Hole Where My Heart Used To Be
With profound grief, I announce that Sandra ’s journey has come to an end.Gardens at Government House, Victoria BC (June 2017)Sandra Dawson was taken from this earth by the indiscriminate brutality of metastatic cancer. She died on October 2, 2018 at the age of 51. This horrific experience was not a “fight.” She did NOT lose a battle against the unchecked proliferation of malignant cells. Instead, Sandra saw the final phase of her life a journey. She was incredibly brave while facing the ravages of this terrible disease, and she was ultimately accepting of her fate. She was gracious and gen erous in shari...
Source: The Neurocritic - October 2, 2018 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Dr. Bernard Carroll: blogger, funny tweeter, and critic of scientific and ethical lapses in psychiatry
Dr. Bernard Carroll (Nov 21, 1940 – Sep 10, 2018)The sound of one hand clapping while putting lipstick on pigs: Ketamine, A Promising Depression Treatment, Seems To Act Like An Opioidhttps://t.co/79eBIWmPqE— Bernard Carroll (@bcarroll40)August 29, 2018I was friends with Dr. Carroll ( “Barney”) on Twitter, and always enjoyed his wit.As we await McCain ’s interment,Not forgetting Trump ’s deferments,The question arisesWho gives out the prizesThat give the nod of our preferment.— Bernard Carroll (@bcarroll40)August 31, 2018Before that he was an early commenter and supporter of my blog...
Source: The Neurocritic - September 20, 2018 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Brain stimulation during sleep does not enhance memory for learned material
“Learn while you sleep” has been the claim of snake oil salesmen since the 1950s. The old pseudoscience methods involved listening to tapes and records. From a 1958 article byLester David:Max Sherover, president of the Linguaphone Institute of New York ... coined the word “dormiphonics, ” defining it as a “new scientific method that makes quick relaxed learning possible, awake or asleep.” Dormiphonics, declares Mr. Sherover, works by “repeated concentrated impact of selected material on the conscious and subconscious mind.”An “experiment” was conducted at the Tula...
Source: The Neurocritic - September 10, 2018 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

A Preventable Tragedy in a Man with Semantic Dementia
TAKE HOME MESSAGE: All suicide attempts andparasuicidal gestures should be taken very seriously in patients with dementia.“Previous parasuicide is a predictor of suicide. The increased risk of subsequent suicide persists without decline for at least two decades.”A newcase report on a 53 year old man1 withsemantic dementia (SD) presented his prior parasuicidal gestures as “stereotypic behaviour” [ed. NOTE: repeated attempts to hang himself with a cord is“stereotyped behavior”], with tragic consequences:The patient showed abnormal behaviours such as following around his wife and frequently...
Source: The Neurocritic - August 19, 2018 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Improved Brain Health for All! (update on the BRAIN initiative)
adapted from Figure 3 (Koroshetz et al., 2018). Magnetic resonance angiography highlighting the vasculature in the human brain in high resolution, without the use of any contrast agent, on a 7T MRI scanner. Courtesy of Plimeni& Wald (MGH).[ed. note: here's a great summary onIf, how, and when fMRI goes clinical, by Dr. Peter Bandettini.]TheJournal of Neuroscience recently published a paywalled article onThe State of the NIH BRAIN Initiative.This paper reviewed the research and technology development funded by the “moonshot between our ears” [anewly coined phrase]. The program has yielded a raft ofpublication...
Source: The Neurocritic - August 12, 2018 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

An epidemic of " Necessary and Sufficient " neurons
A great deal of neuroscience has become“circuit cracking.”— Alex Gomez-MarinA miniaturized holy grail of neuroscience is discovering that activation or inhibition of a specific population of neurons (e.g.,prefrontal parvalbumin interneurons) or neural circuit (e.g.,basolateral amygdala→ nucleus accumbens) is “necessary and sufficient” (N&S) to produce a given behavior.from:Optogenetics, Sex, and Violence in the Brain: Implications for Psychiatry1 In the last year or so, it has become acceptable to question the dominant systems/circuit paradigm of “manipulate and measure&rdq...
Source: The Neurocritic - July 13, 2018 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

The Lie of Precision Medicine
My next blog post will be entitled " The Lie of Precision Medicine "— sarcastic_f (@sarcastic_f)June 23, 2018This post will be my own personalized rant about the false promises of personalized medicine. It will not be about neurological or psychiatric diseases, the typical topics for this blog. It will be about oncology, for very personal reasons: misery, frustration, and grief. After seven months of research on immunotherapy clinical trials, I couldn't find a single [acceptable] one1 in either Canada or the US that would enroll my partner with stage 4 cancer. For arbitrary reasons, for financial reaso...
Source: The Neurocritic - June 24, 2018 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

Citric Acid Increases Balloon Inflation (aka sour taste makes you more risky)
fromBalloon Analog Risk Task (BART)– Joggle Research for iPadRisk taking andrisk preference1 are complex constructs measured byself-report questionnaires ( “propensity”), laboratory tasks, and the frequency of real-life behaviors (smoking, alcohol use, etc).  A recent mega-study of 1507 healthy adults byFrey et al. (2017) measured risk preference using six questionnaires (and their subscales), eight behavioral tasks, and six frequency measures of real-life behavior.Table 1 (Frey et al., 2017).Risk-taking measures used in the Basel-Berlin Risk Study.-- click on image for a larger view --The authors we...
Source: The Neurocritic - June 17, 2018 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

What counts as " memory " and who gets to define it?
Do Plants Have “Memory”?A new paper byB édécarrats et al. (2018) is the latest entry into the iconoclastic hullabaloo claiming a non-synaptic basis for learning and memory. In short, “RNA extracted from the central nervous system ofAplysia given long-term sensitization training induced sensitization when injected into untrained animals... ” The results support the minority view that long-term memory is not encoded by synaptic strength, according to the authors, but instead by molecules inside cells (à laRandy Gallistel).Adam Calhoun has a nice summary of the paper atNeuroecology...
Source: The Neurocritic - May 21, 2018 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs

“My family say they grieve for the old me” – profound personality changes after deep brain stimulation
Okun (2012).New England Journal of Medicine.Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus inParkinson's disease (PD) has been highly successful in controlling the motor symptoms of this disorder, which include tremor, slowed movement (akinesia), and muscle stiffness or rigidity. The figure above shows the electrode implantation procedure for PD, where a stimulating electrode is placed in either thesubthalamic nucleus, (STN), a tiny collection of neurons within the basal ganglia circuit, or in the internal segment of theglobus pallidus, another structure in the basal ganglia (Okun, 2012). DBS of the STN is more co...
Source: The Neurocritic - May 13, 2018 Category: Neuroscience Authors: The Neurocritic Source Type: blogs