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High-flying pilots at increased risk of brain lesions

By:  American Academy of Neurology / August 19, 2013

A new study suggests that pilots who fly at high altitudes may be at an increased risk for brain lesions. The study is published in the August 20, 2013, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.


For the study, 102 U-2 United States Air Force pilots and 91 non-pilots between the ages of 26 and 50 underwent MRI brain scans. The scans measured the amount of, or tiny  associated with  in other neurological diseases. The groups were matched for age, education and.
"Pilots who fly at altitudes above 18,000 feet are at risk for decompression sickness, a condition where gas or atmospheric pressure reaches lower levels than those within body tissues and forms bubbles," said study author Stephen McGuire, MD, with the University of Texas in San Antonio, the US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. "The risk for decompression sickness among Air Force pilots has tripled from 2006, probably due to more frequent and longer periods of exposure for pilots. To date however, we have been unable to demonstrate any permanent clinical neurocognitive or memory decline."
Read more at Medical Xpress

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This Is Your Brain on Rejection


By:  / Posted: 08/15/2013 1:04 pm
Rejections are the most common psychological injury we encounter in daily life. They range in 'potency' from mild such as when friends fail to share our Facebook posts, to trulydevastating, such as being blindsided by divorce or being shunned by our families. The one thing all rejections have in common is -- they hurt! Indeed, the expression 'hurt feelings' is one we tend to associate almost exclusively with rejection, as do cultures around the world.
So, what exactly happens in our brains that makes rejections so painful?
To answer that question, scientists placed people in fMRI scans (functional MRIs show what happens in the brain when someone performs a specific task), and had them play a computerized ball-tossing game with two other people. The game was rigged such that subjects always got excluded (i.e. rejected) by the two other players after a couple of rounds of tosses.
Read more at Huffington Post 

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Bipolar Disorder Identified Using Brain Scan


brain-zafirides
Identifying bipolar disorder through MRI  proves successful in initial results, say researchers.


By Peter Zafirides, M.D. on August 18, 2013

What are some of the most troubling numbers in all of mental health?

6 to 10
 
Why these specific numbers? It’s because they represent the number of years it usually takes to properly diagnose a mental health condition. Dr. Elizabeth Osuch, a Researcher at Lawson Health Research Institute, is helping to end misdiagnosis by looking for a ‘biomarker’ in the brain that will help diagnose and treat two commonly misdiagnosed disorders.
 
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Bipolar Disorder (BD) are two common mood disorders. Currently, diagnosis is made by patient observation and verbal history. But mistakes in diagnosis are not uncommon. Patients can find themselves going from doctor to doctor receiving improper diagnoses and prescribed medications to little effect.
 
Dr. Osuch looked to identify a ‘biomarker’ in the brain which could help optimize the diagnostic process. She examined youth who were diagnosed with either MDD or BD (15 patients in each group) and imaged their brains with an MRI to see if there was a region of the brain which corresponded with the bipolarity index (BI). The BI is a diagnostic tool which encompasses varying degrees of bipolar disorder, identifying symptoms and behavior in order to place a patient on the spectrum.

Read more at the Healthy Mind 

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New 'Consciousness Meter' Could Aid Brain-Injury Treatments


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Brain scans could uncover dyslexia before kids learn to read


The colors of the arcuate fasciculus indicate the level of randomness of water diffusion within the structure, and thus the integrity of white matter tracts and fiber organization. Those values, in turn, correlate with scores on a verbal task.
(Credit: Zeynep Saygin/MIT)







Dyslexia is a common learning disorder that affects around 1 in 10 people in the U.S., where it is typically diagnosed around second grade but sometimes goes undiagnosed and unmanaged well into adulthood. And though it is technically a learning disorder, it actually occurs in people with normal vision and intelligence, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Now researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston Children's Hospital say that a type of MRI scan called diffusion-weighted imaging could help diagnose the disorder in kids before they even start to learn to read -- a discovery that could help teachers and experts intervene early to manage it.
The research, published August 14 in the Journal of Neuroscience, involved scanning the brains of 40 children who are part of a larger study assessing pre-reading skills. Researchers confirmed a correlation between the size and organization of the arcuate fasciculus and performance on tests of what is called phonological awareness, or the ability to identify and manipulate the sounds of language.
Read more at CNET 

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