Major Depression Treatments Boost Brain Connectivity

VIENNA — Inpatient treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) can lead to brain connectivity increases that are associated with degree of symptom improvement, new research suggests. In a “repeat” MRI study, adult participants with MDD had significantly lower brain connectivity compared with their healthy peers at baseline — but showed significant improvement at the 6-week … Read more

Nicotine Blocks Estrogen Production in Women’s Brains

The production of estrogen in the thalamus appears to be curtailed by just one dose of nicotine, equivalent to that in a cigarette, reveals a whole brain analysis of healthy women in the first study of its kind. The findings were presented at the 35th European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Congress. The researchers performed both … Read more

Children With Mild TBI at Risk for Behavioral and Emotional Problems

The study covered in this summary was published on medRxiv.org as a preprint and has not yet been peer reviewed. Key Takeaways Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) and possible mTBI are associated with greater risk for poor behavioral and mental health outcomes in adolescents. An unexpected finding was the association of mTBI with decreased cerebrospinal … Read more

When Boxers Retire, Cognition and Memory Improve

Boxers and mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters can recover cognitive and memory skills after they retire from fighting, results of a longitudinal study show. Dr Aaron Ritter “What is most exciting about the findings is that it shows us brain resiliency in action,” Aaron Ritter, MD, associate staff, neuropsychiatry and behavioral neurology, Cleveland Clinic Lou … Read more

Sleep Loss Linked to Reduced Generosity, Even at a Neuronal Level

Sleep loss, ranging from the individual level of missing a night’s sleep to a societal level of losing an hour’s sleep because of Daylight Saving Time, is associated with reduced altruism or an inclination to help others, new research suggests. These effects were observed even at the neurologic level on brain MRIs, investigators report. “In … Read more

Anorexia Linked to Notable Shrinkage of Key Brain Structures

Patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) have not able shrinkage in key brain structures and these deficits are less severe in patients on the path to weight recovery, a new brain imaging study shows. The reductions of cortical thickness, subcortical volumes, and cortical surface area were “very pronounced in acutely underweight anorexia,” Stefan Ehrlich, MD, PhD, … Read more

MRI Plus Deep Learning Models Estimate Brain-Aging

The covered study in this summary was published in bioRxiv.org as a preprint and has not yet been peer reviewed. Key Takeaways Using the Layer-wise Relevance Propagation algorithm and various structural MRI modalities (T1-weighted, fluid-attenuated inversion recovery [FLAIR]and susceptibility-weighted magnitude images [SWI]), brain age can be estimated. The structural abnormalities found were changes in the … Read more

The Psychopathic Brain: New Insight

Structural brain differences appear to distinguish psychopaths from individuals without psychopathic traits, new research shows. Using MRI, researchers found that the striatum was about 10% larger on average in adults with psychopathic traits than in matched control persons and that this relationship was mediated by stimulation seeking and impulse. The striatum is a subcortical region … Read more

Abnormal Growth of the Amygdala in Infants Tied to Autism

A new study suggests that overgrowth of the amygdala in infants during the first 6 to 12 months of life is tied to a later diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). “The faster the amygdala grew in infancy, the more social difficulties the child showed when diagnosed with autism a year later,” first author Mark … Read more

‘Pandemic Brain’ Not Limited to Patients Infected With COVID-19

The stress of living through a pandemic may cause brain inflammation even in those uninfected with SARS-CoV-2, a new study suggests. Healthy individuals who tested negative for the virus that causes COVID-19 had elevated levels of inflammatory markers known to be involved in depression, stress, and mental fatigue. The study indicates a possible link between … Read more