Laura’s Psychology Blog

One Professor’s Observations of the World of Psychology….   

September 15, 2014

readings in psychology for 15 september 2014 #PsychScience #psychology

the 12th was Roger and my 42nd wedding anniversary! Here we are in 1974 ( married 2 years) dressed very 70's California.

the 12th was Roger and my 42nd wedding anniversary! Here we are in 1974 ( married 2 years) dressed very 70’s California.

“Dizzy and nauseated? You could be dehydrated or have high blood pressure—or there could be a giant hole in your brain. After a 24-year-old woman complained of these symptoms at a hospital in China, doctors scanned her brain anddiscovered that her cerebellum was missing, a new study in Brain reports. Despite missing the entire region, which helps control movement, balance, and speaking, the woman displays only mild clumsiness and slightly slurred speech—a remarkable example of the brain’s ability to compensate, New Scientist reports today.”

“”Our aim was to investigate what is going on in the brains of people when they watch violent movies,” said lead investigator Nelly Alia-Klein, PhD, Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at the Friedman Brain Institute and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “We hypothesized that if people have aggressive traits to begin with, they will process violent media in a very different way as compared to non-aggressive people, a theory supported by these findings.””

“Taski found that the mechanical pulse was modified at the collision point, but he did not completely examine the details of annhilation itself. Apparently, no other studies have replicated the original 1949 experiments. Falsification of the annhilation scenario really only requires showing sufficient exception, enough that there no longer is a “general case”. Thomas Heimburg, from the Neils Bohr Institute in Copenhangen, has recently been able to do just that. Using a simple worm axon preparation where spikes could be timed and measured after stimulation from both ends, Heimburg showed that pulses survive collision.”

“Researchers Jose Fernandez and Dhaval Dave analyzed the number and wages of auxiliary health providers based on California Department of Developmental Services data from 2002 to 2011. Each time autism cases doubled, the number of autism health providers grew by as much as 14 percent over that of non-autism health providers, they found.”

“The Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, led by the University of Birmingham in conjunction with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology, is the largest project of its kind.”

“”Responding sensitively to infant crying is a difficult yet important task,” notes Esther M. Leerkes, professor of human development and family studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, who led the study. “Some mothers may need help controlling their own distress and interpreting babies’ crying as an attempt to communicate need or discomfort. Home visiting programs or parenting classes that help parents become more aware of stress and teach ways to reduce it, as well as individualized parent education efforts, may help build these skills.””

“Results show that past use of benzodiazepines for three months or more was associated with an increased risk (up to 51%) of Alzheimer’s disease. The strength of association increased with longer exposure and with use of long-acting benzodiazepines rather than short-acting ones.

Further adjustment for symptoms that might indicate the start of dementia, such as anxiety, depression or sleep disorders, did not meaningfully alter the results.”

“Dr Robert Dickinson from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London, who led the study, said: “After a blow to the head, most of the damage to the brain doesn’t occur immediately but in the hours and days afterwards. At present we have no specific drugs to limit the spread of the secondary injury, but we think that is the key to successful treatment.

“This study shows that xenon can prevent brain damage and disability in mice, and crucially it’s effective when given up to at least three hours after the injury. It’s feasible that someone who hits their head in an accident could be treated in the hospital or in an ambulance in this timeframe.”

“Led by Ifat Levy, assistant professor in comparative medicine and neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine, the team found that those with larger volume in a particular part of the parietal cortex were willing to take more risks than those with less volume in this part of the brain. The findings are published in the Sept. 10 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.”

““If you ask any psychiatrist seeing patients with autistic behavior their most striking observation from the clinic, they will say there are more males compared to females,” said Dr. Anilkumar Pillai, MCG neuroscientist and corresponding author of the study in Molecular Autism.”

September 2, 2014

readings for psychology for 2 september 2014 #psychscience #psychology

Our 2nd edition of Introductory and my 3rd edition of Behavioral Neuroscience

Our 2nd edition of Introductory and my 3rd edition of Behavioral Neuroscience

Here is what we are reading today:

“A study by Melissa Koenig of the University of Minnesota and colleagues shows that by the time they reach the age of seven, children can think strategically, in an adult manner. The researchers found that when playing games, children older than 6.5 use strategies comparable to those used by adults. The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

“”In a recent study by psychologists Colin Camerer and Tetsuro Matsuzawa, chimps and humans played a strategy game – and unexpectedly, the chimps outplayed the humans.”

“”Like people, each animal has unique experiences as it goes through its life. And we suspect that these life experiences can alter the expression of genes, and as a result, affect an animal’s susceptibility to stress,” says senior author Bruce McEwen, Alfred E. Mirsky Professor and head of the Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology. “We have taken an important step toward explaining the molecular origins of this stress gap by showing that inbred mice react differently to stress, with some developing behaviors that resemble anxiety and depression, and others remaining resilient.””

“Sharing regular family meals with children may help protect them from the effects of cyberbullying, according to a study by McGill professor Frank Elgar, Institute for Health and Social Policy. Because family meal times represent social support and exchanges in the home that benefit adolescents’ well-being, Elgar suggests that this family contact and communication can also reduce some of the distressing effects of cyberbullying.”

“”It is the last nail in the coffin for the hypothesis that Neanderthals were cognitively inferior to modern humans,” said Paul Tacon, an expert in rock art at Australia’s Griffith University. Tacon, who was not involved in the study, said the research showed that the engravings were made with great effort for ritual purposes, to communicate with others, or both.

“We will never know the meaning the design held for the maker or the Neanderthals who inhabited the cave but the fact that they were marking their territory in this way before modern humans arrived in the region has huge implications for debates about what it is to be human and the origin of art,” said Tacon.”

“”Our work has shown that two types of first-order tactile neurons that supply thesensitive skin at our fingertips not only signal information about when and how intensely an object is touched, but also information about the touched object’s shape” says Andrew Pruszynski, who is one of the researchers behind the study.

The study also shows that the sensitivity of individual neurons to the shape of an object depends on the layout of the neuron’s highly-sensitive zones in the skin.”

“It looks like environmental enrichment is a way to improve the treatment of children with autism and perhaps other mental disorders. Moreover, the therapy can be done at almost no cost and with no need for any kind of expertise. But the really big idea is that there may be no reason to wait until you or your child has a neurological disorder to enrich your mind. We are currently working to evaluate the notion that it may be possible to use this approach to maximize our mind’s capabilities throughout our lifetime.”

 

 

August 3, 2014

readings in psychology for 3 august 2014 #PsychScience #psychology #biopsych

Ronnie makes taking a selfie very challenging!

Ronnie makes taking a selfie very challenging!

Here his what I am reading today:

“”A fundamental aspect of the human experience is the desire to punish harmful acts, even when the victim is a perfect stranger. Equally important, however, is our ability to put the brakes on this impulse when we realize the harm was done unintentionally,” said Rene Marois, the Vanderbilt University professor of psychology who headed the research team. “This study helps us begin to elucidate the neural circuitry that permits this type of regulation.””

“”These animals ate fat and sugar, and did not gain weight, while their control littermates did,” said lead author Sabrina Diano, professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine. “We showed that the PPAR gamma receptor in neurons that produce POMC could control responses to a high-fat diet without resulting in obesity.””

“The research titled ‘Flexibility of the father’s brain’ was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

‘Shifts in society and culture have led to increases in men’s involvement in the care of infants,’ writes researcher Dr Sarina Saturn of Oregon State University.”

“”Our results suggest that use of contemporary oral contraceptives [birth control pills] in the past year is associated with an increased breast cancer risk relative to never or former oral contraceptive use, and that this risk may vary by oral contraceptive formulation,” said Elisabeth F. Beaber, PhD, MPH, a staff scientist in the Public Health Sciences Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.”

“During brain development, nerve fibers grow and extend to form brain circuits. This growth is guided by molecular cues (Fig. 1), but exactly how these cues guide axon extension has been unclear. Takuro Tojima and colleagues from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute have now uncovered the signaling pathways responsible for turning growing nerve fibers, or axons, toward or away from guidance cues.”

“introducing eNeuro: a new open access neuroscience journal committed to scientific excellence and innovation in publishing.

“Nadine Gogolla and her colleagues in the laboratory of Takao Hensch at Harvard University have now searched for common neural circuit alterations in mouse models of autism. They concentrated on the insular cortex, a brain structure that contributes to social, emotional and cognitive functions. ‘We wanted to know whether we can detect differences in the way the insular cortex processes information in healthy or autism-like mice’, says Nadine Gogolla, who was recently appointed Leader of a Research Group at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology.”

 

 

May 18, 2014

readings in psychology for 18 may 2014 # glass #PsychScience @psychology #aps14sf

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 10.40.52 PM

My daughter Karen calls us “Dr. Freberg and Dr. Freberg 2.0 (two point oh). We’ll be presenting at this years Association for Psychological Sciences Convention in San Francisco this month… and demonstrating and discussing Google Glass… catch us and we’ll show you how it works!

“Paleontologists in Argentina say they recently discovered fossils belonging to the largest dinosaur on record. During its lifetime, the new species of titanosaur is believed to have stood 65-feet-tall, was more than 130-feet-long, and weighed 77 tons (155,000 pounds).

“Given the size of these bones, which surpass any of the previously known giant animals, the new dinosaur is the largest animal known that walked on Earth,” researchers Dr. Jose Luis Carballido and Dr. Diego Pol told the BBC.”

“In his epic encyclopedia Natural History, the great Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder wrote of the bonnacon, a sort of bull whose defensive strategy was to hit its foes with blasts of dung “so strong and hot, that it burneth them that follow after him in chase, like fire, if haply they touch it.” Natural history in Pliny’s time, you see, consisted of a good amount of hearsay. From 12-year-old boys, apparently.”

““The loss of bitter taste is a complete surprise, because natural toxins typically taste bitter,” says zoologist Huabin Zhao of Wuhan University in China who led the study. All whales likely descend from raccoon-esque raoellids, a group of herbivorous land mammals that transitioned to the sea where they became fish eaters.”

“The technique relies on electrically stimulating the nerve pathways in the spinal cord. “In the injured area, the nerve cells have been damaged to such an extent that they no longer receive usable information from the brain, so the stimulation needs to be delivered beneath that,” explains Dr. Peter Detemple, head of department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology’s Mainz branch (IMM) and NEUWalk project coordinator.”

“”I think if anybody ever had a doubt that this was just some sort of odd pickiness or something like that in people with autism, this shows, no, there really is a brain basis for this,” said Dr. Paul Wang, head of medical research for nonprofit advocacy group Autism Speaks.”

“”The study indicates that nondirective meditation allows for more room to process memories and emotions than during concentrated meditation,” says Svend Davanger, a neuroscientist at the University of Oslo, and co-author of the study.”

“Social isolation has been recognized as a major risk factor for mobidity and mortality in humans for more than three decades. The brain is the key organ of social connections and processes, however, and hte same objective social relationships can be experienced as caring and protective or as exploitive and isolating. We have provided evidence that the perception of social isolation (i.e. loneliness) impacts the brain and behavior and is a risk factor for broad based morbidity and mortality….”

Discover the Association for Psychological Science

“The 26th APS Annual Convention will begin on Thursday, May 22, 2014, and will end on Sunday, May 25, 2014.”

March 1, 2014

readings in psychology for 1 march 2014 @PsychScience

 

springIShere

 

Well, spring is finally here… in California!

Here is what we are reading today:

“Google Glass, the tech giant’s experimental eyewear-based computer, may soon give epidemiologists a faster and more reliable way to track infections and other diseases. Researchers report online today in ACS Nano that they’ve created an app that allows Google Glass wearers to snap pictures of common immunology-based diagnostic tests and immediately beam those images back to a central computer server.”

“A couple weeks earlier a team of researchers led by Diana Reiss and Preston Foerder, then at City University New York, had visited Kandula’s home at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. They placed sticks and sturdy cubes around the yard and strung a kind of pulley system similar to a laundry line between the roof of the elephant house and a tree….”

“For human beings, feelings of romantic love and sexual desire are often intertwined in complex ways. Recent work by neuroscientists, however, has pointed out ways these two feelings are actually different.”

“Bill Watterson went back to the drawing board for one more round.

The celebrated but reclusive Calvin and Hobbes creator agreed to illustrate the movie poster for a feature-length documentary about comics titled Stripped. The film tells the story of the decline of newspapers and how it’s affecting the medium of strip comics. Watterson also gave a rare audio interview for the film.”

“Professors Pradeep G. Bhide and Jinmin Zhu have found evidence that ADHD associated with nicotine can be passed across generations. In other words, your child’s ADHD might be an environmentally induced health condition inherited from your grandmother, who may have smoked cigarettes during pregnancy a long time ago. And the fact that you never smoked may be irrelevant for your child’s ADHD.”

“Bisphenol A is a chemical that is used in a wide variety of consumer products and exhibits hormone-like properties. Fetuses, infants, children or adults exposed to the chemical have been shown to exhibit numerous abnormalities, including cancer, as well as reproductive, immune and brain-behavior problems.”

“So the scientists turned to human embryonic stem cells. Co-authors Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, director and physician-in-chief of the Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine and director of the Stem Cell Derivation Laboratory of Weill Cornell Medical College, and Dr. Nikica Zaninovic, assistant professor of reproductive medicine, generated stem cell lines from donated embryos that tested positive for fragile X syndrome.”

“”One of the major problems with the nervous system is that it doesn’t regenerate very well after injury,” said Chay Kuo, M.D., Ph.D., the George W. Brumley assistant professor of cell biology, neurobiology and pediatrics. “Neurons don’t multiply, so when they’re injured, there’s a loss of function. We’d like to know how to get it back.””

“The researchers were looking for these noncoding genes, Kosik continued, because as organisms become more complex through evolution, the number of these noncoding genes has greatly expanded. “But the coding genes—the ones that make proteins—have really not changed very much,” he said. “The action has been in this noncoding area and what that part of the genome is doing is controlling the genes.””

“If you don’t listen closely to what patients with Wernicke’s aphasia are saying, you might not notice that it makes very little sense. Their speech “sounds” normal. 

Wernicke’s aphasia affects comprehension, usually for both written and oral language. Patients with this condition cannot repeat sentences they hear. They can’t understand what they hear. Surprisingly, they do not seem upset about their deficits.”

“A new study by Professor Jeff Bowers and colleagues at the University of Bristol argues that highly selective neural representations are well suited to co-activating multiple things, such as words, objects and faces, at the same time in short-term memory.”

“”Phantom-limb pain is very common in amputees,” said study researcher Max Ortiz Catalan, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, in Sweden. “Unfortunately, today there is no single treatment that works for everybody.””

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Quote to Ponder

It is not a lack of love,
but a lack of friendship
that makes unhappy marriages
-------- Nietzsche



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