What’s it worth? The economic case for medical research

Originally posted on Wellcome Trust Blog:
What’s it worth, a report published today, is one of the first ever estimates of the economic gains from investment in publicly funded UK cancer research. The research was commissioned by the Wellcome Trust, Academy of Medical Sciences, Cancer Research UK and the Department of Health. Liz Allen, Head…

Managing your brain to optimise learning and memory: Some notes

This is a short popular media piece I wrote a while back for the Memory Lab exhibition (2011) on managing your brain to optimise learning and memory. I dug it out after receiving a few emails on this topic regarding study advice. There are two general things you can do – manage your lifestyle, and manage… Read More

A summary of the evidence that most published research is false | Simply Statistics

A ‘must-read’ piece on two major ideas wandering about the literature at the moment, namely that: Most published research is false There is a reproducibility crisis in science via A summary of the evidence that most published research is false. Related articles A summary of the evidence that most published research is false (simplystatistics.org) Biomedical… Read More

Exercise, but not environmental enrichment, improves learning after kainic acid-induced hippocampal neurodegeneration in association with an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor.

Take-home message: further evidence that aerobic exercise provides substantial neuroprotection against brain insult, even if there are equivalent losses of neurons in key brain regions compared to sedentary controls. [Download the paper] Much more on exercise. Exercise, but not environmental enrichment, improves learning after kainic acid-induced hippocampal neurodegeneration in association with an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic… Read More

Resveratrol as an exercise mimetic – direct comparisons with aerobic exercise, and positive effects on cognitive function: Our posters from Society for Neuroscience ’11, ’12, ’13

Aerobic exercise has marked effects on cognitive function, even in an elderly group at risk for  Alzheimer’s disease. Aerobic exercise may not be suitable for certain groups, especially the frail or those at risk of falls. Exercise mimetics may therefore prove an attractive for treatment option the frail, who would benefit from exercise-induced changes in peripheral and central function. The polyphenol, resveratrol, rose to… Read More

How many drug trials for Alzheimer’s disease have failed? Why do so many new therapeutic drugs fail in development?

This topic came up in the context of a conversation with my colleagues in the Science Gallery, who are putting on an exhibition called Fail, which will explore the question: ‘Can we change our perception of failure in order to embrace this essential driver of innovation?’ There have been many failed Alzheimer’s disease drug trials. This is… Read More

Business leaders must take a stand on mental health – FT.com

Business leaders must take a stand on mental health – FT.com via Business leaders must take a stand on mental health – FT.com. Great, timely and important piece. A quote: The fact that we only talk about workplace stress when there is a high-profile case of mental ill-health is a problem. And another: … mental… Read More

Hippocampal Volume is Decreased in Adult-Onset Hypothyroidism.

Take-home message: We provide preliminary evidence that hypothyroidism results in structural deficits in the adult human brain. Decreases in volume in the right hippocampus were evident in patients with adult-onset overt hypothyroidism, supporting some of the findings in animal models. [Download the paper] Thyroid. 2013 Nov 8. Hippocampal Volume is Decreased in Adult-Onset Hypothyroidism. Cooke G, Mullally S, Correia N, O’Mara… Read More

Guest Post: Memories of Soviet Neuropsychology During the Great Terror – Susanna Blumenshtein and Bluma Zeigarnik

I previously wrote a short piece on Bluma Zeigarnik, the Zeigarnik Effect and Memories from the Great Terror which also mentioned Susanna Blumenshtein, a Russian neuropsychologist, and very brave friend of Bluma Zeigarnik. I mentioned I didn’t speak Russian – but happily my friend @laurenceknell does. Laurie did some digging around, and found a Russian Wiki page, and has translated it below:… Read More

DSM 5 controversies and a ‘novel’ reading of its contents

The new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, version 5 was released in May, attended by DSM 5 Controversies in the media, blogs and the academic literature (see this also). Thomas Insell (Director of the NIMH) comments that The goal of this new manual, as with all previous editions, is to provide a common language for describing psychopathology. While DSM has been described as a “Bible”… Read More