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  • Jo Bowyer
    replied
    Depression is under-recognised in the sport setting: time for primary care sports medicine to be proactive and screen widely for depression symptoms

    http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/50/3/137?etoc

    An important role of the team physician is to provide care for the whole athlete. This includes mental health issues for instance screening for depression and knowing the factors that affect the onset of depression. The USA Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening adults for depression when staff-assisted depression care supports are in place to assure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and follow-up.1 Most studies report prevalence rate of depression among college athletes ranges from as low as 15.6% to as high as 21%.2 Depression levels were significantly higher in current college athletes (about 17%) compared with former, graduated college athletes (8%).

    The stress of sports and athletic participation place athletes at risk. Performance failure was significantly associated with depression. The statistically strongest predictors of depression in student-athletes were female gender, lower self-esteem, less social connectedness and decrease sleep. Female student-athletes had 1.32 greater odds (95% CI 1.01 to 1.73) of experiencing symptoms of depression compared to male student-athletes. Freshmen had 3.27 greater odds (95% CI 1.63 to 6.59) of experiencing symptoms of depression than their more senior counterparts.3

    USPSTF recommends the use of one of these three screening tools; 9-Question Patient Health Questionnaire—Depression Screener (PHQ-9), Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), Depression Screener from the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). The PHQ-9, a nine-question survey, when the cut-off is a score of 5 or more has 95% sensitivity and 88.3% specificity when scored with a cut point of 11.


    Gender Differences in Depression Appear at Age 12

    http://neurosciencenews.com/age-depression-gender-6528/

    Update 28/04/2017
    Last edited by Jo Bowyer; 28-04-2017, 11:59 AM.

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  • Jo Bowyer
    replied
    Why I tense up when you watch me: Inferior parietal cortex mediates an audience’s influence on motor performance

    http://www.nature.com/articles/srep19305

    Abstract
    The presence of an evaluative audience can alter skilled motor performance through changes in force output. To investigate how this is mediated within the brain, we emulated real-time social monitoring of participants’ performance of a fine grip task during functional magnetic resonance neuroimaging. We observed an increase in force output during social evaluation that was accompanied by focal reductions in activity within bilateral inferior parietal cortex. Moreover, deactivation of the left inferior parietal cortex predicted both inter- and intra-individual differences in socially-induced change in grip force. Social evaluation also enhanced activation within the posterior superior temporal sulcus, which conveys visual information about others’ actions to the inferior parietal cortex. Interestingly, functional connectivity between these two regions was attenuated by social evaluation. Our data suggest that social evaluation can vary force output through the altered engagement of inferior parietal cortex; a region implicated in sensorimotor integration necessary for object manipulation, and a component of the action-observation network which integrates and facilitates performance of observed actions. Social-evaluative situations may induce high-level representational incoherence between one’s own intentioned action and the perceived intention of others which, by uncoupling the dynamics of sensorimotor facilitation, could ultimately perturbe motor output.

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  • Jo Bowyer
    replied
    Social Influences in Sequential Decision Making

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/art...l.pone.0146536

    Abstract

    People often make decisions in a social environment. The present work examines social influence on people’s decisions in a sequential decision-making situation. In the first experimental study, we implemented an information cascade paradigm, illustrating that people infer information from decisions of others and use this information to make their own decisions. We followed a cognitive modeling approach to elicit the weight people give to social as compared to private individual information. The proposed social influence model shows that participants overweight their own private information relative to social information, contrary to the normative Bayesian account. In our second study, we embedded the abstract decision problem of Study 1 in a medical decision-making problem. We examined whether in a medical situation people also take others’ authority into account in addition to the information that their decisions convey. The social influence model illustrates that people weight social information differentially according to the authority of other decision makers. The influence of authority was strongest when an authority's decision contrasted with private information. Both studies illustrate how the social environment provides sources of information that people integrate differently for their decisions.

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  • Jo Bowyer
    replied
    Parkinson’s Patients Benefit From Aerobic Exercise

    http://neurosciencenews.com/aerobic-...rkinsons-3460/

    You’ve likely heard this before: Exercise is good for you. It helps your heart, bones, back and more.

    But here’s one thing you might not have heard: Ongoing aerobic exercise may slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system.

    “Aerobic exercise means vigorous exercise, which makes you hot, sweaty and tired” says J. Eric Ahlskog, Ph.D., M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic. This could include activity such as walking briskly or using an elliptical machine.

    That doesn’t mean stretching or balance exercises are not helpful, Dr. Ahlskog notes. Those types of exercises help with Parkinson’s symptoms, such as rigid muscles, slowed movement or impaired posture and balance.

    But to help fight the progression of Parkinson’s disease, including dementia — one of the most feared long-term outcomes of the disease — Dr. Ahlskog points to scientific studies that show aerobic exercise enhances factors that potentially have a protective effect on the brain. For instance, aerobic exercise liberates trophic factors – small proteins in the brain that behave like fertilizer does when applied to your lawn. Exercise helps maintain brain connections and counters brain shrinkage from Parkinson’s disease as well as from brain aging, says Dr. Ahlskog, author of “The New Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Book,” which further explores the benefits of aerobic exercise.

    In an editorial published online today in JAMA Neurology, Dr. Ahlskog makes the case that modern physical therapy practices should incorporate aerobic exercise training and encourage fitness for patients with Parkinson’s disease.

    As a society, Americans are becoming increasingly sedentary. It is a particular challenge for people with Parkinson’s disease to begin and maintain aerobic exercise. “That is where a physical therapist might serve a crucial role in helping to counter Parkinson’s disease progression,” Dr. Ahlskog says. “The physical therapist could identify the type of exercise that would appeal to the individual, initiate that plan and serve as exercise coach.”

    For anyone with or without Parkinson’s disease, an aerobic exercise routine takes hard work and ongoing commitment.
    I have had three patients who have done this to good effect over a number of years. Despite various notes of caution from me, all thought that they had found an answer - sub plot a "cure". When they eventually become reliant on others for everyday care, they were devastated and felt cheated despite the fact that they had given themselves extra years of productive life. I would still encourage those who wish to do this as it is possible that further progress will be made with regards to drug regimes and deep brain stimulation.

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  • Jo Bowyer
    replied
    Preferential decoding of emotion from human non-linguistic vocalizations versus speech prosody

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...01051115300478

    Highlights

    We compared the time course of neural responses evoked by emotional speech prosody and non-linguistic vocalizations (e.g., laughter) by measuring event-related brain potentials.

    Vocalizations and speech were differentiated rapidly, with preferential decoding of vocalizations at early stages of sensory processing and attention allocation (N1–P2 component).

    Vocal expressions conveying anger elicited a larger late positivity associated with cognitive (re) appraisal of these signals when compared to sad and happy expressions.

    In vocal communication, non-linguistic vocalizations are given temporal precedence over speech-embedded emotions due to their distinct evolutionary and neurofunctional origins.
    Abstract
    This study used event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to compare the time course of emotion processing from non-linguistic vocalizations versus speech prosody, to test whether vocalizations are treated preferentially by the neurocognitive system. Participants passively listened to vocalizations or pseudo-utterances conveying anger, sadness, or happiness as the EEG was recorded. Simultaneous effects of vocal expression type and emotion were analyzed for three ERP components (N100, P200, late positive component). Emotional vocalizations and speech were differentiated very early (N100) and vocalizations elicited stronger, earlier, and more differentiated P200 responses than speech. At later stages (450–700 ms), anger vocalizations evoked a stronger late positivity (LPC) than other vocal expressions, which was similar but delayed for angry speech. Individuals with high trait anxiety exhibited early, heightened sensitivity to vocal emotions (particularly vocalizations). These data provide new neurophysiological evidence that vocalizations, as evolutionarily primitive signals, are accorded precedence over speech-embedded emotions in the human voice.
    Keywords
    Emotional communication; Vocal expression; Speech prosody; ERPs; Anxiety



    The Science of Laughter – And Why It Also Has A Dark Side

    http://neurosciencenews.com/neuroscience-laughter-6661/

    When you hear someone laugh behind you, you probably picture them on the phone or with a friend – smiling and experiencing a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Chances are just the sound of the laughter could make you smile or even laugh along. But imagine that the person laughing is just walking around alone in the street, or sitting behind you at a funeral. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so inviting.
    What illness can teach us

    While we have garnered detailed knowledge of brain features crucial for facial expressions, swallowing, tongue and throat movements, far less is known about how positive emotions actually get transformed into laughter. Luckily, a number of illnesses and conditions have helped shed some light on its underlying neural functions.

    One particularly well documented syndrome, thought to be first identified by Charles Darwin, involves an unsettling exhibition of uncontrolled emotion. It is clinically characterised by frequent, involuntary and uncontrollable outbursts of laughing and crying. This is a distressing disorder of emotional expression at odds with the person’s underlying feelings. The condition is known as pseudobulbar affect syndrome and may be expressed in several different neurological conditions.
    Briefly summarised, the condition arises from a disconnect between the frontal “descending pathways” in the brainstem – which control emotional drives – and the circuits and pathways that govern facial and emotional expression. Some disorders specifically associated with the condition include traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke.

    Indeed, a study last year found that an increasingly twisted sense of humour and laughing at inappropriate times could be an early indication of dementia. Pseudobulbar affect syndrome is also one of the most common reported side effects of stroke in terms of emotional change. And given the high incidence of stroke each year, the condition is likely to be highly prevalent in the general population.
    Update 12/05/2017




    Social Laughter Triggers Endogenous Opioid Release in Humans

    http://www.jneurosci.org/content/ear...I.0688-16.2017

    Abstract

    The size of human social networks significantly exceeds the network that can be maintained by social grooming or touching in other primates. It has been proposed that endogenous opioid release following social laughter would provide a neurochemical pathway supporting long-term relationships in humans (Dunbar, 2012) yet this hypothesis currently lacks direct neurophysiological support. We used positron emission tomography (PET) and μ-opioid-receptor (MOR) specific ligand [11C]carfentanil to quantify laughter-induced endogenous opioid release in 12 healthy males. Before the social laughter scan, the subjects watched with their close friends laughter-inducing comedy clips for 30 min. Before the baseline scan, subjects spent 30 min alone in the testing room. Social laughter increased pleasurable sensations and triggered endogenous opioid release in thalamus, caudate nucleus, and anterior insula. In addition, baseline MOR availability in the cingulate and orbitofrontal cortices was associated with the rate of social laughter. In a behavioral control experiment, pain threshold — a proxy of endogenous opioidergic activation — was elevated significantly more in both male and female volunteers after watching laughter-inducing comedy vs. non-laughter inducing drama in groups. Modulation of the opioidergic activity by social laughter may be an important neurochemical pathway that supports formation, reinforcement, and maintenance of social bonds between humans.

    SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT

    Social contacts are of prime importance to humans. The size of human social networks significantly exceeds the network that can be maintained by social grooming in other primates. Here we used positron emission tomography to show that endogenous opioid release following social laughter may provide a neurochemical mechanism supporting long-term relationships in humans. Participants were scanned twice; following 30-minute social laughter session, and after spending 30 minutes alone in the testing room (baseline). Endogenous opioid release was stronger following laughter versus baseline scan. Opioid receptor density in the frontal cortex predicted social laughter rates, Modulation of the opioidergic activity by social laughter may be an important neurochemical mechanism reinforcing and maintaining social bonds between humans.
    Update 03/06/2017
    Last edited by Jo Bowyer; 03-06-2017, 05:13 AM.

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