Illustration for a post on the safety of Ritalin, showing a girl concentrating intently in a laboratory

Safety of Ritalin: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The safety of Ritalin has been in the spotlight in recent years.  Ritalin is widely used to manage the symptoms of attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity (ADHD). If you or your child use Ritalin, you might like to know that there is a growing body of scientific research showing that there is a small increase…

Illustration depicting neuroplasticity in the brain

Powerful Tools to Boost Neuroplasticity after TBI

How do you boost neuroplasticity after a traumatic brain injury?  What can you do to ensure that you make the best recovery possible? Neuroplasticity and the Long Haul Recovery from a traumatic brain injury can be a long and difficult journey. It that may take a number of years, even longer than the two year…

mental illness

Mental Illness, Love and Telomeres

Telomere length predicts lifespan.   Now, a new study has shown an association between childhood trauma, shortened telomere length and mental illness such as bipolar mood disorder and schizophrenia. Hmmm…  What’s that telling us? DNA Transcription Cell division is essential to life and telomeres are part of that process.  Telomeres form protective caps on the end…

image depicting depression. A woman with braids is crying.

Turns Out That Depression Isn’t Strongly Genetic After All. Really? Astonishing!

A powerful piece of medical dogma is the notion that depression has genetic roots.  This is the idea that if your mother suffered from depression, then the chances are that you will too. A closedly associated notion is the “chemical imbalance” in the brain idea. This is the claim that depressed patients do not have…

city man people street

Short-cuts Result in the Misdiagnosis of Dementia: It’s Terrible!

A recent study showed a high rate of misdiagnosis of dementia when using brief cognitive screening tools. Incredibly, 35.7% of patients were incorrectly classified by at least one of the three screening procedures that were examined. The researchers looked at the well known Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Memory Impairment Screen (MIS) and animal naming…

Elective Abortion in Multiple Sclerosis

Wow, this is a remarkable finding…  It turns out that pregnant women who are suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS), and who elect to undergo an abortion, have significantly increased risk for relapse and the development of new lesions in their brains.  This finding is described in an Italian study of female MS sufferers, published on…

An image of Purkinje cells in the cerebellum. They may play a role in mood disorders.

Mood disorders: Do herpes and inflammation make you cranky?

Does Herpes Virus Cause Mood Disorders? New research published in Frontiers in Microbiology shows remarkable links between herpes virus infection and mood disorders.  Dr Bhupesh Prusty and his team conducted post-mortem brain biopsies on people who had suffered from bipolar mood disorder (BMD), major depressive disorder (MDD), schizophrenia, and on control patients with no history…

Image of the active zone of a synapse.

The Amazing Microanatomy of the Synapse

Synaptic Update Wow, what a fascinating take on the synapse!  Compare these two images of the active zone of a synapse.  One (Figure 2 below) is easily recognized as a typical textbook rendition of a synapse, but the other not (Figure 1).  The image that looks like hallucinatory spaghetti comes from a relatively recent paper…

Depiction of the human ApoE protein that is involved in Alzheimer's disease

Amazing Plan to Neutralise the Bad Guys in Alzheimer’s Disease

If you have one copy of a gene called apoE4, then your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease are more than doubled.  Moreover, if you carry two copies of apoE4, then you have a 12-fold risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Remarkably, some brilliant researchers have found a way to neutralize apoE4, albeit that the research is…

Artificial Sweeteners: Stroke and Dementia Risk

If you consume artificially sweetened drinks in preference to those that contain sugar, you have an increased risk of having a stroke or developing dementia.  Compared to people who do not drink artificially sweetened drinks, the risk for the most common type of stroke is 2.96 times higher, and for all types of stroke the…