The Connected Hippocampus, 1st Edition, Preface and Table of Contents: O’Mara & Tsanov (ISBN-13: 978-0444635495)

The Connected Hippocampus: Preface Available here (Elsevier) and here (Amazon). The hippocampus is an intriguing and anatomically remarkable structure: it is possessed of a remarkable curvilinear appearance in coronal section, and it is easy to spot in anatomical section with the naked eye in just about any mammalian species. A special and important function has been ascribed to it… Read More

Kindness – How do Children Become Kind?

[This is a non-technical piece I did for the Powering Kindness campaign on the development of kindness in children, and how it relates to changes in brain function]. It’s an age-old argument – are we born to be kind to others or do we learn to be kind to others? Across all societies, humans of all ages… Read More

What use are PhD’s? What future do they have?

 A picture attached to a tweet I received from Where will a biology PhD take you? Probably not academia: <8% of new PhDs will get tenure. via @jameswilsdon pic.twitter.com/wtkafMWOWZ — Mo Costandi (@mocost) April 15, 2014 @mocost (and others) is profoundly depressing. It plots the number of biology PhD students in the US (86,000) against the… Read More

Semliki Forest virus-mediated gene therapy of the RG2 rat glioma

Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2010 Dec;36(7):648-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2990.2010.01110.x. [Download the paper] Semliki Forest virus-mediated gene therapy of the RG2 rat glioma. Roche FP, Sheahan BJ, O’Mara SM, Atkins GJ. AIMS: Glioblastoma multiforme is the most common and most malignant adult brain tumour. Despite numerous advances in cancer therapy there has been little change in the prognosis… Read More

Validation of the face-name pairs task in major depression: impaired recall but not recognition

Take-home Message: memory – and especially associative memory – is impaired in a wide variety of neuropsychiatric and neurological conditions. Face-name pair learning is a useful method to tap into deficits in associative memory; usefully, it is a task dramatically impaired by lesions of the extended hippocampal formation. Here, we show that patients with depression showed… Read More

Prolonged rote learning produces delayed memory facilitation and metabolic changes in the hippocampus of the ageing human brain.

Take-home message: repeated practice with material that must be remembered facilitates remembering in an aged population in whom there is expected to be a degree of age-related memory loss. This practice produces changes in the brain in structures that support learning and memory. Think of it like this: memory can be exercised via practice, much… Read More

Rosiglitazone enhances learning, place cell activity, and synaptic plasticity in middle-aged rats.

Rosiglitazone enhances learning, place cell activity, and synaptic plasticity in middle-aged rats. Wang BW, Hok V, Della-Chiesa A, Callaghan C, Barlow S, Tsanov M, Bechara R, Irving E, Virley DJ, Upton N, O’Mara SM. [Download here] Neurobiol Aging. 2012 Apr;33(4):835.e13-30. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.08.013. Epub 2011 Oct 4. Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. Abstract As an antidiabetic agent, rosiglitazone (ROSI) binds and activates peroxisome proliferator-activator… 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

Age-related declines in delayed non-match-to-sample performance (DNMS) are reversed by the novel 5HT6 receptor antagonist SB742457.

Age-related declines in delayed non-match-to-sample performance (DNMS) are reversed by the novel 5HT6 receptor antagonist SB742457 (available here) Callaghan CK, Hok V, Della-Chiesa A, Virley DJ, Upton N, O’Mara SM. Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland. callaghc@tcd.ie Abstract Alterations in synaptic plasticity and neurocognitive function with age have been well documented in the literature. These changes are… Read More

Terrorism, Torture and Memory: Royal Irish Academy | About | Science Series

[My book ‘Why Torture Doesn’t Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation’ (Harvard UP) can be preordered from Amazon (.com) – more details at end of post] Royal Irish Academy | About | Science Series via Royal Irish Academy | About | Science Series. This links to a podcast of an unusual interdisciplinary evening, featuring a neuroscientist (me), a political scientist (Richard… Read More