henry copeland @hc

having fun with people and pixels, via racery, pullquote, twiangulate, improv, running

Recent quotes:

What Went Wrong In The First-Ever Clinical Trial Of Deep Brain Stimulation For Depression? - Digg

Finally, Mayberg has long offered her patients comprehensive, personally tailored programs of psychiatric and social-service support to help them rebuild their lives. After years of deep depression, most patients' lives, relationships and ways of thinking have been entrenched in illness and disability long and deeply enough that surgery alone was unlikely to make them whole. Like a patient with a knee repair, says Mayberg, "they need rehab to get well again." So her team helps them get psychotherapy, occupational or physical therapy to rebuild skills or physical health, and other assistance to connect them to needed social services.

Q&A With 'The Performance Cortex' Author On Neuroscience In Sports

But the problem — and this is what the teams were kind of stuck on — is that it takes 40 minutes or so. That’s a barrier that, at this point, you can’t really get around. If you’re going to actually get anything out of the technology and get any usable information, you need to have this rigorous approach. You can’t just stick a guy in an EEG, have him in front of a laptop and see 10 pitches. You’re not going to get anything out of that. So it takes time. Teams at this point are so afraid of burdening the players with any extracurricular activities. That was an issue. Until the point where the neuroscience technology gets to be so easy to use and relatively [burden]-free where you can wear it while walking around, I think that’s going to be a hard barrier for entry. Or it’s just going to take a team to say we’re willing to have our players sacrifice some time for what we might be able to get out of it.

Meditation could help anxiety and cardiovascular health -- ScienceDaily

In "Mindfulness Meditation Reduces Aortic Pulsatile Load and Anxiety in Mild to Moderately Anxious Adults," Durocher, along with fellow researchers Hannah Marti, a recent Michigan Tech graduate, Brigitte Morin, lecturer in biological science, and Travis Wakeham, a graduate student, explains the finding that 60 minutes after meditating the 14 study participants showed lower resting heart rates and reduction in aortic pulsatile load -- the amount of change in blood pressure between diastole and systole of each heartbeat multiplied by heart rate. Additionally, shortly after meditating, and even one week later, the group reported anxiety levels were lower than pre-meditation levels.

What's in a name? Researchers track PTSD's many identities during war -- ScienceDaily

The paper revealed that PTSD symptoms were known as shell shock during World War I, and irritable heart or soldier's heart during World War II. The term gross stress reaction was introduced in the first edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 1952, but was omitted in a second edition in 1968 during the Vietnam War. It wasn't until 1980, with the publication of the manual's third edition, that the term PTSD was introduced to describe military trauma and non-war related factors, such as sexual abuse. "PTSD has existed forever," Chekroud said. "It's just a question of what we've been calling it." Chadi Abdallah, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale and the editor of Chronic Stress, said the history of disjointed terminology resulted in a 60-year delay in understanding traumatic symptoms experienced by veterans and others.

Animal study connects fear behavior, rhythmic breathing, brain smell center -- ScienceDaily

Other groups have observed that the amygdala and prelimbic prefrontal cortex, which govern learning and memory, emotion, and decision-making, were electrically active during "freezing," at an average of 4 Hz. Moberly observed that freeze behavior, breathing rate, and electrical activity of these brain regions were coordinated literally on the same wavelength.

How Watching ‘Caddyshack’ Helps Me Stave Off Depression

To escape the world into a Caddyshack screening while I’m depressed means suspending time and entering another world. In this world, body and mind, self and soul, coexist side-by-side, not naturally, but as conjoined twins. In this world, I need beginnings, middles, and endings. Inside this world, I need Kenny Loggins overtures, bromances, cliffhangers, sight-gags, dumb homunculi and military-grade explosions. In this world I need Caddyshack.

Revisiting existing drugs finds molecules that control body clocks: Discovery of an anti-aging supplement that reduces jet lag in mice -- ScienceDaily

For most travellers, flying west (e.g. from Asia to Europe), which delays the circadian clock, does not cause too many health problems. On the other hand, flying east (e.g. from Asia to America), which fast-forwards the circadian clock, forces people to wake up earlier than usual and tends to cause severe jet lag symptoms, such as fatigue and insomnia. Therefore, Yoshimura and his group decided to investigate circadian period-shortening compounds that will fast-forward the circadian clock and relieve jet lag symptoms when travelling east. Among the 13 circadian period-shortening compounds that the group identified, the researchers focused on a steroid hormone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which is commercially available as an anti-aging supplement in USA. In humans, DHEA is produced in the adrenal gland, gonads and brain, and is a precursor for testosterone and estrogen. DHEA is one of the most abundant circulating hormones in the blood stream, but its concentration usually decreases with age. This is why DHEA is sold as a supplement for anti-aging and for boosting metabolism. Further investigation showed that DHEA shortens the period of the circadian clock in cultured human cells in a dose dependent manner. The team found that DHEA speeds up the circadian rhythm in human cells, as well as in cultured cells and tissues of mice. As previous studies have demonstrated the safety of orally administering DHEA in mice, experiments were carried out to test whether DHEA had an effect on the circadian rhythm of mice.

Circadian system

Circadian clock research has been ongoing for many decades and has led to the discovery of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm, which was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Almost all of the cells in our body contain a circadian clock and are mainly controlled by a central circadian pacemaker, located in the hypothalamus of the brain. The circadian clocks contained in most tissues and cells are driven by transcriptional-translational feedback loops composed of circadian clock genes and proteins.

When there's an audience, people's performance improves -- ScienceDaily

When participants knew an audience was watching, a part of the prefrontal cortex associated with social cognition, particularly the thoughts and intentions of others, activated along with another part of the cortex associated with reward. Together these signals triggered activity in the ventral striatum, an area of the brain that motivates action and motor skills. In essence, the presence of an audience, at least a small one, increased people's incentive to perform well, Chib said, and the brain scans validated this by showing the neural mechanism for how it happens. While people were watching, participants were an average of 5 percent better at the video game -- and as much as 20 percent better. Only two participants didn't perform better in front of others.

National Institute Of Mental Health Forsakes the DSM, the Bible Of Psychiatry

NIMH's move away from the DSM is a necessary paradigm shift that will, in the long run, enable researchers to find new ways to improve psychiatric diagnosis, and heal a society which is simultaneously under-treated for mental illness and over-medicated in all of the wrong ways. Dr. Thomas Insel, the director of the NIMH, explained that while the DSM manual has improved reliability and helped to standardize mental health treatment across different health care providers, the diagnostic categories still lack underlying scientific validity. He wrote: "Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure. In the rest of medicine, this would be equivalent to creating diagnostic systems based on the nature of chest pain or the quality of fever."

Running helps brain stave off effects of chronic stress: Exercise protects vital memory and learning functions -- ScienceDaily

"Exercise is a simple and cost-effective way to eliminate the negative impacts on memory of chronic stress," said study lead author Jeff Edwards, associate professor of physiology and developmental biology at BYU. Inside the hippocampus, memory formation and recall occur optimally when the synapses or connections between neurons are strengthened over time. That process of synaptic strengthening is called long-term potentiation (LTP). Chronic or prolonged stress weakens the synapses, which decreases LTP and ultimately impacts memory. Edwards' study found that when exercise co-occurs with stress, LTP levels are not decreased, but remain normal.

'Mono' virus linked to 7 serious diseases: Epstein-Barr virus may affect health in more ways than known -- ScienceDaily

The new paper shows that seven seemingly unrelated disease states actually share a common set of abnormal transcription factors, each affected by the EBNA2 protein from the Epstein-Barr virus. When these EBNA2-related clusters of transcription factors attach themselves to one portion of the genetic code, the risk of lupus appears to rise. When those same transcription factors land on another part of the code, the risk of multiple sclerosis appears to rise. And so on. "Normally, we think of the transcription factors that regulate human gene expression as being human," Kottyan says. "But in this case, when this virus infects cells, the virus makes its own transcription factors, and those sit on the human genome at lupus risk variants (and at the variants for other diseases) and that's what we suspect is increasing risk for the disease."

The Future of Therapy: Becoming Someone Else in VR - WSJ

Later, I ask Sanchez-Vives what might have been happening neurologically during my talk with virtual Freud. She explains that different areas of the brain are activated when we think about ourselves as opposed to others. Becoming someone else in virtual reality, she says, “can give us access to different brain resources and, therefore, to different ideas about how to solve a problem.” “You are always better at giving advice to a friend than yourself,” Slater adds. “And when you see yourself sitting there, you become like a friend.” I imagined that Freud would be both wise and direct, and I tried to channel that when dispensing advice from his body. But I was also kinder than I normally would be. Hearing my problems from his perspective underscored for me that the criticisms I level at myself are often not based in reality and sound ridiculous when spoken aloud. Even though I already knew everything Freud had to say—after all, those were my words coming out of his mouth—the emotional distance of being someone else helped me access a different part of myself. “It’s a novel way of perspective taking,” Sanchez-Vives says. “You take a distance from your emotions and yourself.”

Researchers Watch Brain's Lining Heal After Head Injury - Neuroscience News

“The lining of the brain, with help from the immune system, has a remarkable ability to put itself back together again after injury,” said Dorian McGavern, Ph.D., scientist at the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the senior author of the study published in Nature Immunology. “As we learn more about all the cells involved in the repair process, we may be able to identify potential targets for therapy that lead to better outcomes for patients.” The study came about from an observation on MRI scans of adult patients who experienced a concussion or mTBI. Around half of patients with mTBI show evidence of injury to blood vessels in the meninges, which appears on MRI scans as a vascular dye leaking out of the damaged vessels. The meninges are a collection of membranes that line the central nervous system and help protect brain and spinal cord tissue from various forms of injury. Damage to the meninges can cause cell death in underlying brain tissue.

Stimulating the entorhinal cortex (Ent) suppresses depression

Yun identified a protein in the Ent-hippocampal pathway, called TRIP8b, that increases during stress, and inhibits cell firing. In the current study, the researchers used mice genetically engineered to “knock down” or eliminate TRIP8b in Ent neurons. Ent neurons in those mice were more likely to fire, and produced new hippocampal neurons at a faster rate.

20 to 30 Percent of Us Hear Something When Viewing Silent Videos, Do You? - Neuroscience News

As the unpaid volunteers were recruited via adverts with text such as “Do you experience ‘hearing motion?’”, it’s certainly possible that there was a self-selection bias. But, on enrolment, the paid participants did not know what the study was about, so, in theory, they should be more representative of the general population. Thirty-one per cent of this paid group (an even higher percentage, in fact, than in the bigger, unpaid group) reported past experience of vEAR. When it came to the survey results, anyone who rated half of the videos at greater than or equal to 3 was identified as experiencing vEAR. Just over 20 per cent of the paid participants fell into this category. Taken with the self reports of past experience of vEAR, the findings suggest that the phenomenon is far from rare. The higher-rated videos often depicted relatively familiar events that are reliably associated with particular sounds (like fists hitting a punchbag), suggesting that an understanding of what’s happening in the scene was involved in causing the illusory sounds.

How Harry Potter virtual running groups helped me conquer my depression

I dread solo runs the way the average person hates tax time. The solitary nature of the run forces me to turn inward, and as a goal-oriented overachiever with a fear of failure, I hate the introspection that these runs cultivate. The thought of spending hours wrestling with my body, willing it to keep going, with no distractions and no community support makes me question my sanity. I've tried all of the recommended tips and mental tricks, as well as fitness gadgets and apps to make solo running for long distances better. Only one thing has done the trick: virtual runs.

Does physical activity influence the health of future offspring? Study finds an intergenerational benefit -- ScienceDaily

When Fischer and co-workers exposed mice to a stimulating environment in which they had plenty of exercise, their offspring also benefited: compared to the mice of a control group, they achieved better results in tests that evaluate learning ability.

Circadian Clock That Controls Daily Aggression Rhythms Located - Neuroscience News

“The mice were more likely to be aggressive in the early evening around lights out, and least aggressive in the early morning, around lights on,” Saper said. “It looks like aggressiveness builds up in mice during the lights on period, and reaches a peak around the end of the light period.”

Brain Waves Synchronize at Live Music Performances - Neuroscience News

“When the brain waves were synchronized in this live condition, they synchronized around the rate at which people tend to feel the beat. We call this ‘the delta band.’ This seemed to be the highest in the live condition.” This indicates greater enjoyment of music in the presence of a live performance, as well as greater enjoyment when experienced as part of a group.

The pharmaceutical industry is no stranger to fake news - STAT

The DCI Group’s founders began their careers running a campaign for tobacco called the smoker’s rights movement, which sought to reframe public health concerns over secondhand smoke as a matter of personal choice and freedom. The DCI Group also helped block bills to permit the reimportation of FDA approved drugs. Turing Pharmaceuticals hired DCI to help CEO Martin Shkreli when he came under legal scrutiny for high drug prices and securities fraud.

Tianjing Li: What’s not shared—building on the FDA’s transparency momentum – The BMJ

While I applaud and welcome the initiatives that FDA is taking to enhance the transparency of its decision making, how, I wonder, can the scientific community raise their game in making use of the wealth of information contained in CSRs? Until now, it is debatable whether the value of CSRs is fully appreciated by the average clinicians. While methodological investigations have been carried out by a handful of academic researchers who are keen on fixing the pervasive problem of selective reporting and transforming the landscape of clinical trial data sharing, very few systematic reviews on drug interventions have included data from CSRs. One recent survey of 160 systematic review authors (over 7,000 invited) found that only 20 authors requested regulatory data and only 12 included CSRs in their systematic reviews. This observation implies that systematic reviewers need guidance, training, and resources to disentangle the rich information contained in CSRs. Likewise, evidence users, particularly those who may believe selective reporting is a story of the past, should keep a vigilant eye on claims made in the published literature about the efficacy and safety of drugs.

The Dark Side of the Enlightenment - WSJ

This astonishing arrogance is based on a powerful idea: that mathematics can produce universal truths by beginning with self-evident premises—or, as Rene Descartes had put it, “clear and distinct ideas”—and then proceeding by means of infallible deductions to what Kant called “apodictic certainty.” Since this method worked in mathematics, Descartes had insisted, it could be applied to all other disciplines. The idea was subsequently taken up and refined by Thomas Hobbes, Baruch Spinoza, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau as well as Kant. This view of “reason”—and of its power, freed from the shackles of history, tradition and experience—is what Kant called “Enlightenment.” It is completely wrong. Human reason is incapable of reaching universally valid, unassailably correct answers to the problems of science, morality and politics by applying the methods of mathematics. The first warning of this was Descartes’s 1644 magnum opus, “The Principles of Philosophy,” which claimed to reach a final determination of the nature of the universe by moving from self-evident premises through infallible deductions. This voluminous work is so scandalously absurd that no unabridged English version is in print today. Yet Descartes’s masterpiece took Europe by storm and for decades was the main textbook of the Cartesian school of science. Kant followed this dubious example with his “Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science” (1786), in which he claimed to have deduced Newton’s laws of motion using pure reason, without empirical evidence.

Research: The Industrial Revolution Left Psychological Scars That Can Still Be Seen Today

Our research shows that a region’s historical industries leave a lasting imprint on the local psychology, which remains even when those industries are no longer dominant or have almost completely disappeared. We found that in regions like Blaenau Gwent in the UK and the Rust Belt in the U.S., people reported more unhappy personality traits, lower life satisfaction, and lower life expectancy than otherwise similar regions where these industries did not dominate (think Sussex and Dorset in the non-industrial South of England and regions in the American West). For example, in the UK, neuroticism was 33% higher, conscientiousness 26% lower, and life satisfaction 29% lower in these areas compared with the rest of the country. This effect was robust even when controlling for other historical factors that might have affected the well-being of regions, such as historical energy supply, education, wealth, geology, population density, and climate.

Sitting-Time, Physical Activity, and Depressive Symptoms in Mid-Aged Women - American Journal of Preventive Medicine

In main effects modeling, women who sat >7 hours/day (OR=1.47, 95% CI=1.29, 1.67) and women who did no physical activity (OR=1.99, 95% CI=1.75, 2.27) were more likely to have depressive symptoms than women who sat ≤4 hours/day and who met physical activity guidelines, respectively. In interaction modeling, the likelihood of depressive symptoms in women who sat >7 hours/day and did no physical activity was triple that of women who sat ≤4 hours/day and met physical activity guidelines (OR 2.96, 95% CI=2.37, 3.69).

Antidepressant withdrawal

About half (54%) met their goal of completely discontinuing one or more medications; 46% reported another outcome (use was reduced, use increased, or use stayed the same). Concerns about medications’ effects (for example, long-term effects and side effects) prompted the decision to discontinue for 74% of respondents. They used various strategies to cope with withdrawal symptoms, which 54% rated as severe. Self-education and contact with friends and with others who had discontinued or reduced medications were most frequently cited as helpful. Although more than half rated the initial medication decision with prescribers as largely collaborative, only 45% rated prescribers as helpful during discontinuation. Of respondents who completely discontinued, 82% were satisfied with their decision.