Posts tagged Medicine

"…psychopathy is best conceptualized as a neurodevelopmental disorder.”
Dr. Kent Kiehl is on this team which means a few things: it’s gonna be about fMRI, it’s gonna be about an incarcerated population or psychopaths and I should have contacted him a long time ago about how to be awesome. This study looks at the relationship of brain volumes in the paralimbic & limbic areas and psychopathic traits in male adolescents to see if they are the same as previously observed in incarcerated adult males. They found that:






Consistent with hypotheses and the adult literature, psychopathic traits (..cough cough) were associated with decreased regional gray matter volumes in diffuse paralimbic regions, including orbitofrontal cortex, bilateral temporal poles, and posterior cingulate cortex. 






Blues check: The above composite from their study, shows gray matter volumes significantly associated with Total Psychopathy Checklist–Youth Version scores, increases are in yellow-oranges and decreases are in blue. This is a fascinating link to make regarding a disorder that is usually considered a personality disorder. 

"…psychopathy is best conceptualized as a neurodevelopmental disorder.”

Dr. Kent Kiehl is on this team which means a few things: it’s gonna be about fMRI, it’s gonna be about an incarcerated population or psychopaths and I should have contacted him a long time ago about how to be awesome. This study looks at the relationship of brain volumes in the paralimbic & limbic areas and psychopathic traits in male adolescents to see if they are the same as previously observed in incarcerated adult males. They found that:

Consistent with hypotheses and the adult literature, psychopathic traits (..cough cough) were associated with decreased regional gray matter volumes in diffuse paralimbic regions, including orbitofrontal cortex, bilateral temporal poles, and posterior cingulate cortex. 

Blues check: The above composite from their study, shows gray matter volumes significantly associated with Total Psychopathy Checklist–Youth Version scores, increases are in yellow-oranges and decreases are in blue. This is a fascinating link to make regarding a disorder that is usually considered a personality disorder. 

emergentfutures:



Drones Reimagined: Startup Plans Medical Supply Drone Network
Matternet has a vision of creating a network of autonomous flying drones that can deliver medical and other vital supplies to regions that either do not have access to such things, or find getting them tough. The drone network would serve areas with no serviceable road access, or places that have been devastated by natural disasters or war.
Full Story: InQuid



Autonomy/economy: 150 drones at $900k, $0.24 per flight.

emergentfutures:

Drones Reimagined: Startup Plans Medical Supply Drone Network

Matternet has a vision of creating a network of autonomous flying drones that can deliver medical and other vital supplies to regions that either do not have access to such things, or find getting them tough. The drone network would serve areas with no serviceable road access, or places that have been devastated by natural disasters or war.

Full Story: InQuid

Autonomy/economy: 150 drones at $900k, $0.24 per flight.

“To BD or not to BD: functional neuroimaging and the boundaries of bipolarity”




Bipolar disorders are major mood disorders defined by the presence of discrete episodes of depression and either mania, in bipolar I disorder, or hypomania, in bipolar II disorder. There is little contention that both are serious psychiatric conditions or that they are associated with substantial suffering, disability, risk of suicide and cost to the community. Recently, focus has shifted away from classic manic-depressive illness toward a ‘bipolar spectrum’ model, which allows for much softer presentations to be conceptualized as bipolarity, but the boundaries of this concept remain contentious. In this article, we will consider the contribution of neuroimaging to delineating the bipolar phenotype and differentiating it from similar disorders. [via]




Prediction: this model will be the case one day with psychopathy and other one card shark conditions, maybe not the next revision of the DSM…but eventually.

To BD or not to BD: functional neuroimaging and the boundaries of bipolarity

Bipolar disorders are major mood disorders defined by the presence of discrete episodes of depression and either mania, in bipolar I disorder, or hypomania, in bipolar II disorder. There is little contention that both are serious psychiatric conditions or that they are associated with substantial suffering, disability, risk of suicide and cost to the community. Recently, focus has shifted away from classic manic-depressive illness toward a ‘bipolar spectrum’ model, which allows for much softer presentations to be conceptualized as bipolarity, but the boundaries of this concept remain contentious. In this article, we will consider the contribution of neuroimaging to delineating the bipolar phenotype and differentiating it from similar disorders. [via]

Prediction: this model will be the case one day with psychopathy and other one card shark conditions, maybe not the next revision of the DSM…but eventually.

Physicians in China treat addictions by destroying the brain’s pleasure center




Drug addiction in China is highly stigmatized. And now, some doctors are trying to cure it with a radical procedure known as as a “stereotactic ablation.” More simply, it’s the practice of destroying parts of the brain’s “pleasure centers” (the nucleus accumbens) in heroin addicts and alcoholics as a way to stop drug cravings. At the same time, however, damage to this region could also impair a person’s ability to experience natural longings and other emotions, including joy. [& img via]




So the idea is using heat to kill cells in a targeted area of the brain, which is also used in severe cases of depression and OCD. But in the accumbens, it’s a risky surgery to consider because, “That region is saturated with neurons containing dopamine and endogenous opioids, which are involved in pleasure and desire related both to drugs and to ordinary experiences like eating, love and sex.” @maiasz over at Time Healthland details this trade off:




…21% of the patients they studied experienced memory deficits after the surgery and 18% had “weakened motivation,” including at least one report of lack of sexual desire. The authors claim, however, that “all of these patients reported that their [adverse results] were tolerable.” [via]





…because there is probably a pill for the other stuff.

Physicians in China treat addictions by destroying the brain’s pleasure center

Drug addiction in China is highly stigmatized. And now, some doctors are trying to cure it with a radical procedure known as as a “stereotactic ablation.” More simply, it’s the practice of destroying parts of the brain’s “pleasure centers” (the nucleus accumbens) in heroin addicts and alcoholics as a way to stop drug cravings. At the same time, however, damage to this region could also impair a person’s ability to experience natural longings and other emotions, including joy. [& img via]

So the idea is using heat to kill cells in a targeted area of the brain, which is also used in severe cases of depression and OCD. But in the accumbens, it’s a risky surgery to consider because, “That region is saturated with neurons containing dopamine and endogenous opioids, which are involved in pleasure and desire related both to drugs and to ordinary experiences like eating, love and sex.” @maiasz over at Time Healthland details this trade off:

…21% of the patients they studied experienced memory deficits after the surgery and 18% had “weakened motivation,” including at least one report of lack of sexual desire. The authors claim, however, that “all of these patients reported that their [adverse results] were tolerable.” [via]

…because there is probably a pill for the other stuff.

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“A Canadian man who was believed to have been in a vegetative state for more than a decade, has been able to tell scientists that he is not in any pain.” [via]

Most of you know Adrian Owen from his work with patients in vegetative states, namely the paper in 2010, where he showed that 1 in 5 patients can communicate via brain activity in a scanner (remember the “think about playing tennis” experiment?) Knowing now that a patient may able to communicate pain, or other needs, as well as being able to form memories while in a vegetative state, is nothing short of a breakthrough.

Above, Prof. Owen explains the difference in activity between a healthy, vegetative and brain dead state, and hints towards why it might be reversible.

“Criminal Minds: Use of Neuroscience as a Defense Skyrockets”

According to Duke University researcher Nita Farahany, the number of cases in which judges have mentioned neuroscience evidence in their opinion increased from 112 in 2007 to more than 1,500 in 2011. The actual number of cases in which neuroscience evidence is presented is likely much higher because trial data is notoriously incomplete: Many criminal cases are settled outside of court, and the database that Farahany worked from, Westlaw, doesn’t contain every criminal case. [via]

You guys know how I feel about this. Although the legal standard (involving several valid scientific reasons) of using neuroimaging for lie detection has not been met, the most common use for brain scans has been for sentencing mitigation, which mainly relies on a more clinical diagnostic approach vs a theoretical one. Meaning one of the formidable tools a criminal attorney can have right now is an expert witness/neuroscientist who specializes in fMRI and the budget to have the client scanned. So farewell former psychologist associates!  jk, I stopped pimping experts a while ago. Sorta. 
Above: “This poster provided by Celia Gordon, the defense attorney for convicted sex offender and “fake firefighter” Peter Braunstein, shows a scan of Braunstein’s brain compared with that of a normal brain.” The problem, as the ever-great-in -my-book Stephen Morse says, is “that there are thousands of people with a “broken looking brain” who act rational.”

Criminal Minds: Use of Neuroscience as a Defense Skyrockets

According to Duke University researcher Nita Farahany, the number of cases in which judges have mentioned neuroscience evidence in their opinion increased from 112 in 2007 to more than 1,500 in 2011. The actual number of cases in which neuroscience evidence is presented is likely much higher because trial data is notoriously incomplete: Many criminal cases are settled outside of court, and the database that Farahany worked from, Westlaw, doesn’t contain every criminal case. [via]

You guys know how I feel about this. Although the legal standard (involving several valid scientific reasons) of using neuroimaging for lie detection has not been met, the most common use for brain scans has been for sentencing mitigation, which mainly relies on a more clinical diagnostic approach vs a theoretical one. Meaning one of the formidable tools a criminal attorney can have right now is an expert witness/neuroscientist who specializes in fMRI and the budget to have the client scanned. So farewell former psychologist associates!  jk, I stopped pimping experts a while ago. Sorta. 

Above: “This poster provided by Celia Gordon, the defense attorney for convicted sex offender and “fake firefighter” Peter Braunstein, shows a scan of Braunstein’s brain compared with that of a normal brain.” The problem, as the ever-great-in -my-book Stephen Morse says, is “that there are thousands of people with a “broken looking brain” who act rational.”

Restraint chains used to control mentally ill patients, and documentation regarding the purchase of such restraints in 1751 and 1752. Housed in Pennsylvania Hospital’s Historic Collection [via]

Restraint chains used to control mentally ill patients, and documentation regarding the purchase of such restraints in 1751 and 1752. Housed in Pennsylvania Hospital’s Historic Collection [via]

“Scientists create first ‘atlas of the brain’ - and release it online so researchers across the world can unlock our mind’s secrets”

The Allen Institute for Brain Science, based in Seattle, created the atlas so that other researchers can compare and contrast their own findings from brain scans and genetic surveys, with the hope that having a ‘baseline’ to work from will unveil more secrets about psychiatric conditions. (…) This allows us for the first time to overlay the human genome on to the human brain. ’It gives us essentially the Rosetta stone for understanding the link between the genome and the brain, and gives us a path forward to decoding how genetic disorders impact and produce brain disease.’

Scientists create first ‘atlas of the brain’ - and release it online so researchers across the world can unlock our mind’s secrets

The Allen Institute for Brain Science, based in Seattle, created the atlas so that other researchers can compare and contrast their own findings from brain scans and genetic surveys, with the hope that having a ‘baseline’ to work from will unveil more secrets about psychiatric conditions. (…) This allows us for the first time to overlay the human genome on to the human brain. ’It gives us essentially the Rosetta stone for understanding the link between the genome and the brain, and gives us a path forward to decoding how genetic disorders impact and produce brain disease.’

There is a very important distinction to be made between somebody who is psychotic, which means they have something like schizophrenia, and people who are psychopathic, which means they are a psychopath and don’t care about other people (…) no empathy and no guilt.
David Eagleman clearing confusion with regards to commonly misused psychological terms. “Neuroscientist weighs in on CO shooting suspect” [via]   
Convinced that the son they know and love is still “in there,” Chris’s parents have spent the past three years searching for a way to bring him back out. So far, their best hope has come from an unlikely source: Ambien. A growing body of case reports suggests that the popular sleep aid can have a profound — and paradoxical — effect on patients like Chris. Rather than put them to sleep, both i and its generic twin, zolpidem, appear to awaken at least some of them. The early reports were so pronounced that until recently, doctors had a hard time believing them. Only now, more than a decade after the initial discovery, are they taking a closer look.

Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science

"Every day there are news reports of new health advice, but how can you know if they’re right?" 

Clearly, if your a person and you haven’t watched this TED talk, you must. It’s like snorting an 8 ball of his blog, car jacking a ‘68 Mustang GT 390 Fastback and crashing it into a wall of distorted evidence and  contradictory claims … and a few minutes later, when the dust settles, it all makes sense. 

jtotheizzoe:

Smartphone brain scanner.

Did you hear that?  A FREAKING SMARTPHONE BRAIN SCANNER.

Wow.

(by jakobeglarsen)

SOCIAL BRAIN!

Hieroglyphic for the word brain. 
From the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, 16th century B.C.E. -the earliest recorded reference to the brain in case #6. Ooooo, found it!
 Interactive, checkitout.

Image 1,2.

Hieroglyphic for the word brain

From the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, 16th century B.C.E. -the earliest recorded reference to the brain in case #6. Ooooo, found it!

 Interactive, checkitout.

Image 1,2.

Physician's Empathy Directly Associated With Positive Clinical Outcomes

It has been thought that the quality of the physician-patient relationship is integral to positive outcomes but until now, data to confirm such beliefs has been hard to find. Through a landmark study, a research team from Jefferson Medical College (JMC) of Thomas Jefferson University has been able to quantify a relationship between physicians’ empathy and their patients’ positive clinical outcomes, suggesting that a physician’s empathy is an important factor associated with clinical competence.

I’ve always appreciated a straight shooter, the focus is where it should be.