Neuroscience

The Corpus Callosum

Category archives for Neuroscience

Ethanol is a poison.  But the difference between poison and medicine sometimes is only a matter of dosage. For decades, there have been studies that purport to show a small benefit from regular consumption of small amounts of ethanol, with obvious problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption.  Physicians, however, are divided about what to do…

FDA Approves Tapentadol

Tapentadol is a drug for pain.  It was approved by the US FDA for the treatment of moderate to severe pain.  The FDA news release was dated 24 November 2008, although the actual approval was a few days earlier. Tapentadol acts on μ-opioid receptors, making it similar to morphine and its ilk.  Do we need…

Update on Deep Brain Stimulation

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) currently is under investigation for treatment of sever, treatment-resistant depression (TRD).  It is not really news.  I wrote about it in 2005.  The background information in the earlier post still is pertinent, so I won’t repeat that now.  Briefly, though, the treatment consists of surgical implantation of a pacemaker-like device.  The…

Huntington’s Disease is a serious, progressive disease that involves degeneration of part of the brain.  In particular, there is loss of neurons and development of gliosis in the striatum.  The disease is named after George Huntington, who  described it in 1872. Huntington’s Disease can be diagnosed by genetic testing.   There has been a lot of…

Neuroscience of Oil Addiction

There is an interesting and thought-provoking essay at The Oil Drum.  It was written by Nathan Hagens, a student at the Gund Institute, University of Vermont.   He makes some errors in the science, and engages in some armchair hypothesizing (see graph above), but the overall conclusions are not affected.  

A study published in JAMA indicates that treatment with bright light alone (1,000 lux), or bright light combined with melatonin, can improve symptoms in patients with dementia.  Melatonin alone appeared to have a slight adverse effect. This already has been reported by Time, the BBC, Modern Medicine, PsychCentral, MedGadget, and Medical News Today.  As I…

Brain Stimulation Wars

Just as we learn of favorable studies about rTMS (see yesterday’s post on this blog), studies that suggest that ECT could be surpassed, the ECT camp fires again.  A new study by Sackeim indicates that a new form of ECT is highly effective, with lower negative impact on cognition.  The difference is in the length…

Jonah posted an interesting video of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) on The Frontal Cortex.  That got me to wondering if there was anything new.   In January 2007, the US FDA concluded that rTMS was safe, but they were unconvinced of its effectiveness.  Their conclusion was arguable, but the arguments fell short.  For one thing, the…

I have to admit, I retain some skepticism about the concept of Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Research such as the topic of this post helps, though, to lend some credibility to the concept.   It is true that exposure to bright light therapy (BLT) can alleviate symptoms of SAD.  That alone would seem to verify the…

XP13512 Update

XP13512 is an experimental new drug currently in phase III trials for the treatment of restless legs syndrome.  I was reminded about this after seeing a post at sleepdoctor, and following the link to Sleep Expert, and browsing from there.  The author, Dr. Poceta, wrote about XP13512.  He appropriately discloses that he was involved in…