Many people will be familiar with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as a historical treatment for “mental illness”, in which an electrical current is passed through the brain to trigger seizures, with the aim of somehow treating the illness. In fact, ECT is still being administered to about a million people each year to treat severe depression, including about 2,500 in England, under anaesthetic. The majority are women, and over 60 years of age.
For months, Patricia Merryweather-Arges, a health care expert, has fielded questions about the coronavirus pandemic from fellow Rotary Club members in the Midwest. Recently people have wondered “Is it safe for me to go see my doctor? Should I keep that appointment with my dentist? What about that knee replacement I put on hold: Should I go ahead with that?” These are pressing concerns as hospitals, outpatient clinics and physicians’ practices have started providing elective medical procedures — services that had been suspended for several months.
Tau protein has been imaged in the brains of living patients with Alzheimer’s disease by Karolinska Institutet researchers. The amount and spread of tau proved a predictor of future memory loss. Brain imaging for measuring tau can be useful both for improving diagnosis and for developing more effective treatments, say the researchers. “Modern brain imaging techniques offer new possibilities for predicting how the disease will develop. This is important both as an aid to diagnosis and a means of optimizing intervention for the individual patient, and for the development of drugs," says Konstantinos Chiotis, doctor and researcher at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, and lead author of the paper.
Cannabis use results in an average depression symptom improvement of nearly four points on a 0-10 scale just moments after consumption, researchers at The University of New Mexico report. A recent study showed that the vast majority of patients that use cannabis experience antidepressant effects, although the magnitude of the effect and extent of side effect experiences varied with fundamental properties of the plant. Conventional pharmaceutical medications for treating depression, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MOIs), tricyclics antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), typically require several weeks or even months to begin to alleviate symptoms of depression.
How your brain handles the fear of a close-up threat may make it more likely that you will have some long-term stress from the experience, according to new research from Duke University. “Clinically, people who develop PTSD are more likely to have experienced threats that invaded their personal space, assaults, or rapes, or witnessing a crime at a close distance. They’re the people that tend to develop this long-lasting threat memory.
Figurative language, by which the speaker intends to communicate something other than what is actually said by the words used, is commonplace in human communication. Some claim that metaphorical expressions such as “My home has become a prison” or “My daughter is a monster” are used on average six times during every minute of conversation. People with a diagnosis of schizophrenia will have been, just like anyone else, exposed to non-literal language from childhood.
The virus that causes COVID-19 can infect organoids made from human brain cells, known as mini-brains, researchers say. Early reports have suggested that more than a third of COVID-19 patients show neurological symptoms, but until now it was not clear whether the virus infects human brain cells. Through their use of tiny tissue cultures that simulate whole organs, the researchers have now demonstrated that certain human neurons express a receptor, ACE2, that the SARS-CoV-2 virus uses for entering the lungs — and possibly the brain.
Auditory hallucinations, a phenomenon in which people hear voices or other sounds in the absence of external stimuli, are a feature of schizophrenia and some other neuropsychiatric disorders. How they arise in the brain has been unclear, but new research indicates that altered brain connectivity between sensory and cognitive processing areas may be responsible. “Our results demonstrate aberrant development of the thalamic nuclei involved in sensory processing and [an] immature pattern of thalamo-cortical connectivity to the brain’s auditory regions," said lead author Valentina Mancini, MD.