Alzheimer's: "The Last Day of Her Life" from The New York Times Sunday Magazine
by Robin Marantz Henig
The New York Times Sunday Magazine
17 May 2015
News about our knowledge of the brain and behavior
from Anthony Risser, Ph.D.
Another shameful day for psychology in the eyes of the world.
The ability to learn not only from experienced but also from merely fictive outcomes without direct rewarding or punishing consequences should improve learning and resulting value-guided choice. Using an instrumental learning task in combination with multiple single-trial regression of predictions derived from a computational reinforcement-learning model on human EEG, we found an early temporospatial double dissociation in the processing of fictive and real feedback. Thereafter, real and fictive feedback processing converged at a common final path, reflected in parietal EEG activity that was predictive of future choices. In the choice phase, similar parietal EEG activity related to certainty of the impending response was predictive for the decision on the next trial as well. These parietal EEG effects may reflect a common adaptive cortical mechanism of updating or strengthening of stimulus values by integrating outcomes, learning rate, and certainty, which is active during both decision making and evaluation. Neuronal processing of real (rewarding, punishing) and fictive action outcomes (which would have happened had one acted differently) differs for 400 ms and then converges on a common adaptive mechanism driving future decision making and learning.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PMID: 24050408 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
A lecture from October 2014 by Prof. Edgar Jones on the topic, "Shell Shock: The First World War and the Origins of Psychological Medicine"
This is a very informative historical presentation about the topic.
Flinker, A. et al. (2015). Redefining the role of Broca's area in speech. www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1414491112
The authors report one of their findings that when the motor cortex is activated during spoken responses, Broca’s area is "surprisingly silent". They provide additional information about activity of Broca's area - relative to motor cortex - depending upon the novelty of what is spoken.
The study used electrical recording from the cortical surface in a sample of seven participants who were to undergo neurosurgical treatment for refractory epilepsy.
The authors note that results were consistent to the presentation of patients with cortical lesions that are limited to Broca’s - it is typical for this presentation not to cause a Broca’s aphasia but to result in an acute, transient mutism.
The authors conclude that Broca's area might not be the historically defined 'seat of articulation' but may be "a key node" in the transformation of neural information as it is processed within comprehensive networks essential for speech production.
Please read the paper itself to get a full understanding of the methodology, results, and implications of this study.
NHS dementia plan to give GPs cash for diagnoses criticised as ‘ethical travesty’
NHS condemned as ‘odious’ after introducing scheme whereby GPs given £55 each time they identify the disease in a patient
21 October 2014
The authors and signatories may over-extend themselves in stating that they represent "the scientific community", but the points they raise are important to add to the conversation.
World Alzheimer Report 2014
Access the report here
Perhaps the Nose Knows: UPSIT and Alzheimer Disease
Anthony H. Risser, Ph.D.
12 September 2014