Posts tagged fmri

“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.

fMRI as a lie dectector: and another thing…

Aside from the common problems of reliability and general acceptance in the scientific and legal field… which are issues with any new technology…there is another problem with using fMRI as a lie detector in the courts that is often ignored by brain porn skeptics that is perhaps the easiest to explain:

Defendants cannot be forced to testify against themselves — the Fifth Amendment. So the legal and ethical question here is: If the police put you into a machine that’s reading your mind, are you being forced to testify against yourself? At present, a person can be forced to surrender DNA. Is an f.M.R.I. scan the same thing? - Dr. Matthew Liao, neuroethicist. [via]

Practicing my pre-processing and modeling speed: matlab, spm8 and not cursing out loud.

Practicing my pre-processing and modeling speed: matlab, spm8 and not cursing out loud.

Check it out: The first neurobiological model for third-party punishment
Here’s a a very recent update to my last post on the Neurobiology of Punishment by Joshua W Buckholtz and René Marois, breaking down the events that take place in the brain when asked to make decisions regarding punishment. Of the five processes you have the frontal cortex (higher mental functions) the amygdala (emotional responses) and the intraparietal sulcus and temporal-parietal junction (interpreting the intent of others, thoery of mind).

In the modern criminal justice system, judges and jury members – impartial third-party decision-makers – are tasked to evaluate the severity of a criminal act, the mental state of the accused and the amount of harm done, and then integrate these evaluations with the applicable legal codes and select the most appropriate punishment from available options. (…) 
 [via] 

  One of the key take aways is that:

..it’s assumed legal decision-making is purely based on rational thinking, research suggests that much of the motivation for punishing is driven by negative emotional responses to the harm. This signal appears to be generated in the amygdala, causing people to factor in their emotional state when making decisions instead of making solely factual judgments.

Getting ahead of ourselves: glossy brain porn v. emotion  
What happens if the jury is presented with neuroscientific evidence suggesting what may have caused the accused to offend, e.g., a brain scan showing a tumor? This may challenge the negative emotional response since it’s been reported that this type of evidence is so seductive to juries. >law & order, donk donk<

Article here.
[Img: Parts of the brain involved in third party punishment. (Rene Marois, Deborah Brewington/Vanderbilt University)]

Check it out: The first neurobiological model for third-party punishment

Here’s a a very recent update to my last post on the Neurobiology of Punishment by Joshua W Buckholtz and René Marois, breaking down the events that take place in the brain when asked to make decisions regarding punishment. Of the five processes you have the frontal cortex (higher mental functions) the amygdala (emotional responses) and the intraparietal sulcus and temporal-parietal junction (interpreting the intent of others, thoery of mind).

In the modern criminal justice system, judges and jury members – impartial third-party decision-makers – are tasked to evaluate the severity of a criminal act, the mental state of the accused and the amount of harm done, and then integrate these evaluations with the applicable legal codes and select the most appropriate punishment from available options. (…) 

 [via

  One of the key take aways is that:

..it’s assumed legal decision-making is purely based on rational thinking, research suggests that much of the motivation for punishing is driven by negative emotional responses to the harm. This signal appears to be generated in the amygdala, causing people to factor in their emotional state when making decisions instead of making solely factual judgments.

Getting ahead of ourselves: glossy brain porn v. emotion  

What happens if the jury is presented with neuroscientific evidence suggesting what may have caused the accused to offend, e.g., a brain scan showing a tumor? This may challenge the negative emotional response since it’s been reported that this type of evidence is so seductive to juries. >law & order, donk donk<


Article here.

[ImgParts of the brain involved in third party punishment. (Rene Marois, Deborah Brewington/Vanderbilt University)]

"Hey, whatcha readin&#8217;?" series
Whenever I answer this question, I&#8217;ve either made a fast friend or they back away slowly like I have something contagious. &#8230;.Mostly the latter.

In the context of MRI, an image is simply not a photograph of the object being scanned. It is a map that depicts the spacial distribution of some property of the atomic nuclei (or spins) within the sample. That property might reflect the density of the spins, their mobility or the T1 or T2 relaxation times of the tissue in which the space reside.

-fMRI by Huettel, Song &amp; McCarthy.

"Hey, whatcha readin’?" series

Whenever I answer this question, I’ve either made a fast friend or they back away slowly like I have something contagious. ….Mostly the latter.

In the context of MRI, an image is simply not a photograph of the object being scanned. It is a map that depicts the spacial distribution of some property of the atomic nuclei (or spins) within the sample. That property might reflect the density of the spins, their mobility or the T1 or T2 relaxation times of the tissue in which the space reside.

-fMRI by Huettel, Song & McCarthy.

&#8220;The price of your soul: How the brain decides whether to sell out&#8221;

An Emory University neuro-imaging study shows that personal values that people refuse to disavow, even when offered cash to do so, are processed differently in the brain than those values that are willingly sold.


The brain imaging data showed a strong correlation between sacred values and activation of the neural systems associated with evaluating rights and wrongs (the left temporoparietal junction) and semantic rule retrieval (the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex), but not with systems associated with reward.


The experiment also found activation in the amygdala region, a brain region associated with emotional reactions, but only in cases where participants refused to take cash to state the opposite of what they believe. &#8220;Those statements represent the most repugnant items to the individual,&#8221; Berns says, &#8220;and would be expected to provoke the most arousal, which is consistent with the idea that when sacred values are violated, that induces moral outrage.&#8221; [via]

[img]

The price of your soul: How the brain decides whether to sell out

An Emory University neuro-imaging study shows that personal values that people refuse to disavow, even when offered cash to do so, are processed differently in the brain than those values that are willingly sold.

The brain imaging data showed a strong correlation between sacred values and activation of the neural systems associated with evaluating rights and wrongs (the left temporoparietal junction) and semantic rule retrieval (the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex), but not with systems associated with reward.

The experiment also found activation in the amygdala region, a brain region associated with emotional reactions, but only in cases where participants refused to take cash to state the opposite of what they believe. “Those statements represent the most repugnant items to the individual,” Berns says, “and would be expected to provoke the most arousal, which is consistent with the idea that when sacred values are violated, that induces moral outrage.” [via]

[img]

"Cross-Cultural Variation and fMRI Lie-Detection"

Welcome to a paper I’ll be referencing IRL. I was actually fighting with myself last night about populations to use for my fMRI study (I don’t want to use college students, since my study isn’t about college students), which Bruni brings up in the abstract:

On several basic features of perception and cognition, Western university students turn out to be outliers relative to the general human population, so that data based on them should be interpreted with caution.

So, I’m really glad I have this paper to base my request of special population off of now…since I’m not sure how easy it will be getting access to the population I need

So big up to Tommaso Bruni, former ‘guest list neighbor’ at the Neuroethics and Law Blog!  From Bruni’s conclusion:

The long and the short of this paper is that cross-cultural experiments on fMRI lie-detection should be performed before this technique enters courts, because the lab experiments with US citizens risk having an unacceptably low external validity. As a matter of fact, I suggest the technique cannot live up to the Daubert standards without such checks, because no error rate calculated in the lab can be projected onto real life without them. I do not take any position about the ethical acceptability of fMRI lie-detection, but argue that more neuroscientific research is needed (not only in the cross-cultural field) in order to assess its full potential both legally and morally. I therefore encourage and endorse more funding for fMRI lie-detection research. Only sound and carefully conducted empirical research can lead to new forensic technologies that can be useful to ascertain the truth and to justly determine legal proceedings. (via)

I ABSOLUTELY agree with him on why (technically) lie detection isn’t ready for courts.

Hey look internet, I agree with someone!

&#8220;The Dark Side of Social Encounters: Prospects for a Neuroscience of Human Evil&#8221;

This article discusses how findings from social, cognitive, and affective neuroscience might contribute to our understanding of human evil. Integrating theories of personality and social psychology as well as the notions of deindividuation and dehumanization with recent neuroscientific insight, the authors elaborate on the nature of human evil and its potential roots in brain systems associated with affective processing and cognitive control. (via)

Dehumanization, the erosion of empathy, right?  So, what I&#8217;m working on now will be involving the functional integrity/neural corelates of evil.  And, ya know, if my Bronx hero, Zimbardo is on board with it saying, &#8220;&#8230;investigating the neural correlates of human evil may advance existing areas of inquiry, such as aggression research and somatic marker theory, and also reveal new findings and further research questions&#8221;, then I&#8217;ve got my ticket to ride.
img &#8221;Lucifer the Morning Star, descending to the Abyss&#8221; by Kazuya Akimoto.


This painting is just begging to be on my wall.  B E G G I N G. 

The Dark Side of Social Encounters: Prospects for a Neuroscience of Human Evil

This article discusses how findings from social, cognitive, and affective neuroscience might contribute to our understanding of human evil. Integrating theories of personality and social psychology as well as the notions of deindividuation and dehumanization with recent neuroscientific insight, the authors elaborate on the nature of human evil and its potential roots in brain systems associated with affective processing and cognitive control. (via)

Dehumanization, the erosion of empathy, right?  So, what I’m working on now will be involving the functional integrity/neural corelates of evil.  And, ya know, if my Bronx hero, Zimbardo is on board with it saying, “…investigating the neural correlates of human evil may advance existing areas of inquiry, such as aggression research and somatic marker theoryand also reveal new findings and further research questions”, then I’ve got my ticket to ride.

img ”Lucifer the Morning Star, descending to the Abyss” by Kazuya Akimoto.



This painting is just begging to be on my wall.  B E G G I N G. 

"Research finds normal brain communication in patients with agenesis of the corpus callosum"
Caltech neuroscientists have found that people born with agenesis of the corpus callosum, which is a total or partial lack of the band of white matter connecting and facilitating communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, still showed bilateral/synchronized activity and normal communication interhemisphericly. The question is how?

The fact that these areas are synchronised has led many scientists to presume that they are all part of an interconnected network called a resting-state network. Much to their surprise, Tyszka and his team found that these resting-state networks look essentially normal in people with AgCC, despite the lack of connectivity.
The typical corpus callosum comprises almost 200 million axons - the connections between brain cells - and is the largest fibre bundle in the human brain. In AgCC, those fibres fail to cross the gap between the hemispheres during fetal development, forcing the two halves of the brain to communicate using more indirect and currently unknown means.  Via

"Research finds normal brain communication in patients with agenesis of the corpus callosum"

Caltech neuroscientists have found that people born with agenesis of the corpus callosum, which is a total or partial lack of the band of white matter connecting and facilitating communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, still showed bilateral/synchronized activity and normal communication interhemisphericly. The question is how?

The fact that these areas are synchronised has led many scientists to presume that they are all part of an interconnected network called a resting-state network. Much to their surprise, Tyszka and his team found that these resting-state networks look essentially normal in people with AgCC, despite the lack of connectivity.

The typical corpus callosum comprises almost 200 million axons - the connections between brain cells - and is the largest fibre bundle in the human brain. In AgCC, those fibres fail to cross the gap between the hemispheres during fetal development, forcing the two halves of the brain to communicate using more indirect and currently unknown means.  Via
Electrically Stimulating News for Your Brain:
Keeping a little pace with my translational neuroscience research theme here are two blurbs that came out. 
&#8220;Electrical stimulation of brain boosts birth of new cells&#8221;
Stimulating a specific region of the brain leads to the production of new brain cells that enhance memory, according to an animal study in the September 21 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings show how deep brain stimulation (DBS) — a clinical intervention that delivers electrical pulses to targeted areas of the brain — may work to improve cognition. 
 Throughout life, new cells are born in parts of the hippocampus, the brain&#8217;s learning and memory center. In the new study, Frankland and his colleagues found that one hour of electrical stimulation to the entorhinal cortex — a region that directly communicates with the hippocampus — in adult mice led to a two-fold increase in new cells in the hippocampus. Although the burst of new cells lasted for only about one week, the cells produced during this time window developed normally and made connections with other nearby brain cells. via
Why only a week? What happened to those connections? And what&#8217;s that image mean? Look at the little dotted circle:

Mice who received deep brain stimulation (DBS) to a region in the brain called the entorhinal cortex showed an enhanced ability to learn how to navigate to a designated target. This image shows DBS mice (S) spent a greater amount of time (indicated in red) swimming near a submerged landing (dotted circle) compared with non-stimulated mice (NS). via

And moving from this idea from mice to men, what can you do with all those new cells? Well, in this study using both fMRI and TMS, giving both spacial and temporal data comparing stroke patients and healthy volunteers,  researchers  showed: "Electrical Stimulation to the Brain Can Improve Learning"

Researchers from the University of Oxford conducted a study showing that applying a small current of electricity to a specific part of the brain can increase its activity, therefore making learning quicker and easier.
(&#8230;) an unexpected result was also discovered.
 
When this brain stimulation was applied to healthy adults, using the trans-cranial current simulation device, their speed of learning also increased.  They found that depending on the direction of the current passed through the brain, rate of learning decreased or increased in that part of the brain. via

 
Fascinating, I&#8217;m sure we will be hearing lots more about this. One of the big neurogenesis questions we had when I worked in this area was kinda a chicken or the egg question: do new cells increase memory/learning efficacy or does learning and using your memory encourage neurogenesis? We did get somewhere with frequencies &amp; neuron death&#8230;but that&#8217;s a whoooole other enchilada.

Electrically Stimulating News for Your Brain:

Keeping a little pace with my translational neuroscience research theme here are two blurbs that came out. 

Electrical stimulation of brain boosts birth of new cells

Stimulating a specific region of the brain leads to the production of new brain cells that enhance memory, according to an animal study in the September 21 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings show how deep brain stimulation (DBS) — a clinical intervention that delivers electrical pulses to targeted areas of the brain — may work to improve cognition. 
 Throughout life, new cells are born in parts of the hippocampus, the brain’s learning and memory center. In the new study, Frankland and his colleagues found that one hour of electrical stimulation to the entorhinal cortex — a region that directly communicates with the hippocampus — in adult mice led to a two-fold increase in new cells in the hippocampus. Although the burst of new cells lasted for only about one week, the cells produced during this time window developed normally and made connections with other nearby brain cells. via

Why only a week? What happened to those connections? And what’s that image mean? Look at the little dotted circle:

Mice who received deep brain stimulation (DBS) to a region in the brain called the entorhinal cortex showed an enhanced ability to learn how to navigate to a designated target. This image shows DBS mice (S) spent a greater amount of time (indicated in red) swimming near a submerged landing (dotted circle) compared with non-stimulated mice (NS). via

And moving from this idea from mice to men, what can you do with all those new cells? Well, in this study using both fMRI and TMS, giving both spacial and temporal data comparing stroke patients and healthy volunteers,  researchers  showed: "Electrical Stimulation to the Brain Can Improve Learning"

Researchers from the University of Oxford conducted a study showing that applying a small current of electricity to a specific part of the brain can increase its activity, therefore making learning quicker and easier.

(…) an unexpected result was also discovered.

When this brain stimulation was applied to healthy adults, using the trans-cranial current simulation device, their speed of learning also increased.  They found that depending on the direction of the current passed through the brain, rate of learning decreased or increased in that part of the brain. via

Fascinating, I’m sure we will be hearing lots more about this. One of the big neurogenesis questions we had when I worked in this area was kinda a chicken or the egg question: do new cells increase memory/learning efficacy or does learning and using your memory encourage neurogenesis? We did get somewhere with frequencies & neuron death…but that’s a whoooole other enchilada.

"Weaving Functional Brain Imaging into the Tapestry of Evidence: A Case for Functional Neuroimaging in Federal Criminal Courts"

Lab Related Abstract:  

Recent advances in brain imaging technologies allow researchers to “peer inside” a defendant’s brain. Although functional neuroimaging evidence is frequently used in civil litigation, federal courts have been hesitant to admit it into evidence in criminal trials. (…) Meanwhile, federal judges repeatedly admit various forms of forensic science into evidence without seriously considering whether they pass the relevant admissibility standards. This Note argues that this has created a double standard for evidence admissibility. Functional neuroimaging evidence may, in fact, be more scientifically reliable than much of the forensic science evidence currently admitted at trial. via. image

I’ve discussed the hypocrisy of allowing various types of evidence in criminal cases that have been found to be highly unreliable like eyewitness accounts or the ever popular slam dunk confession … but this paper underscores how judges should not only evaluate neuroimaging admissibility on its own scientific merits but compare it to other types of forensics already allowed in and moreover, the evidentiary standards that governed these decisions.   2 points!