Doing a TEDx talk – some thoughts

So, I did a TEDx talk. Extraordinary enough to be asked, and humbling too (thanks Science Gallery folk!). Nerve-wracking also. There is a peculiar nakedness to a TEDx talk. You stand on the red spot – you shouldn’t move around much (at least the online instructions tell you not to). No rostrum to hide behind –… Read More

Zombie Neuroscience: Shane O’Mara at TEDxDublin – YouTube

Take-home messages: (1) Get a kit, make a plan, be prepared; (2) “It’s always a source of disappointment to the family of a zombie that the zombie doesn’t love them anymore”; (3) Kill the brain. via Zombie Neuroscience: Shane O’Mara at TEDxDublin – YouTube.

Impaired capacity for autonoetic reliving during autobiographical event recall in mild Alzheimer’s disease

Take-home message: Autonoesis or ‘Autonoetic consciousness is the human ability to mentally place ourselves in the past, in the future, or in counterfactual situations, and to analyze our own thoughts‘ (wiki). Here, we focus on impairments of autonoesis in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), using the Episodic Autobiographical Memory Interview (EAMI). We find impairments in AD patients with the following pattern: AD [Download the paper]… Read More

Hippocampal-anterior thalamic pathways for memory: uncovering a network of direct and indirect actions.

Our major theoretical take and review of the extended brain systems that support explicit, declarative memory in the brain. [Download the paper.] Take-home message: there’s a lot more to memory than the hippocampal formation, and you forget (!) the connected thalamic structures at your peril, because the anterior thalamus provides a subcortical circuit supporting memory and spatial… Read More

Are People Overoptimistic about the Effects of Heavy Drinking? [J Risk Uncertain. 2013] – PubMed

Heavy drinkers have a sense that excessive alcohol consumption isn’t doing them much good. But, paradoxically, they believe the rapid and complex visuomotor integration required for driving is unaffected. Presumably the lack of conscious access to the non-declarative habit systems of the brain (tell me exactly how to drive a car, play a musical instrument… Read More

Risk factors for the development of depression in patients with hepatitis C taking interferon-α

Risk factors for the development of depression in patients with hepatitis C taking interferon-α Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2011;7:275-92. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S13917. Epub 2011 May 15. [Download the paper] Smith KJ, Norris S, O’Farrelly C, O’Mara SM. Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. Interferon-α, currently used for the treatment of hepatitis C, is associated with a substantially elevated risk of depression. However,… Read More

Age and cortisol levels modulate judgment of positive and negative facial expressions.

Age and cortisol levels modulate judgment of positive and negative facial expressions. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2012 Jun;37(6):827-35. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2011.09.015. Epub 2011 Oct 26. [Download here] Feeney J, Gaffney P, O’Mara SM. Source School of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. feeneyj@tcd.ie Abstract There is some evidence that older adults respond to emotional stimuli differently to young adults, and… Read More

The awesomeness of ocular anatomy and physiology: the scleral membrane and the oculocephalic reflex as defenses against insult

Today brings one of those dismal events that afflict us all from time-to-time: a stupid accident that makes you deeply thankful for that combined achievement of evolution – a tough scleral membrane and the oculocephalic reflex. Moving furniture outside, I manage to stab myself in the dorsolateral aspect of my right eye while bending down to… Read More

Hangover nation: What is it about Ireland and drink?

A piece I did for the Irish Examiner a little while back: We drink too much in Ireland. As a nation, we consistently place highly in the global heavy drinking league. Excess alcohol consumption causes many problems. It is, for example, the major cause of death in men aged 35 to 50 in Ireland. A HSE report… Read More

Interactions Between Paired-Pulse Facilitation, Low-Frequency Stimulation And Behavioral Stress In The Pathway From Hippocampal Area CA1 To The Subiculum: Dissociation Of Baseline Synaptic Transmission From Paired-Pulse Facilitation And Depression Of The Same Pathway.

Here’s an old and difficult to access paper (Download: Commins & O’Mara Psychobiol) of ours from Psychobiology – from the days before all journals were online. Hard to remember those days now… Psychobiology evolved into Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience (see past titles here – scroll to bottom). (This is the longest title on any paper I have ever published…) Commins,… Read More